The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Time To Look Up At Spurs.

You stick with me son and we can both stay right here
and go places together.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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So what's new to tell you? My agent has been in touch with the Blog Writers Guild and to just write 'ditto' would put me in breach of the Articles of Affiliation and that covers 'Same as usual' as well.

 As we forecast in our last blog, and remember we are not always wrong which implies that occasionally we are right, 'Come Monday' and we are indeed third as predicted This was courtesy of yet another late, late goal from the boot of Mr. G.Bale. Nothing new there then.

We fought back to win when all seemed lost. We had over 60% possession and 25 shots, 16 of them on target. Caulker could have had a hat trick of headers from Bale corners; Siggy got his first Premiership goal; Ade missed an absolute sitter from a Sigurdsson rebound off the post and Carroll got an assist.

But for Jaaskelainen who was their outstanding player it could have been half a dozen.. He held out after we drew level until the 90th minute when The Force could no longer be resisted. We worked hard for it and we deserved it again. Lloris was outstanding and made a brave, bold match winning save at 2-1down.

We got the early goal. Cue elation. Then conceded the penalty. Cue disappointment and WTF was the experienced Parker doing by lunging at Carroll. We went one down courtesy of confusion at the back. Cue despair and anger. We equalised after a goalmouth scramble from another Bale free kick. Cue relief and rising stirrings of hope as we battered them.

Then Bale got knocked down, the ball breaks to Tom Carroll via Sigurdsson. Tom stares at Bale as if to say; 'Don't lie there feeling sorry for yourself'. Bale obliges, receives the ball, shifts left and scores with a last minute scorcher. Cue delirium and thoughts of the NLD to come.

Here is our league progress chart:
Unbeaten in 11games in the Premiership, one defeat in 15 games. But feast your eyes on it for yourselves.

Courtesy of Statto.com.

All is set fair as it was this time last year last year for a season defining clash at The Lane with Arsenal.  Strategically speaking a draw would do to maintain our four point lead but in our current run of form we may well be looking up towards Man. City rather than over our shoulder at Chelsea and others.

The Press can't mention the name Gareth Bale at the moment without bracketing it with that of Christiano Ronaldo, or mention Spurs without the addition of the words 'one man team'. To me that is more than a little insulting to Christiano and Tottenham.

Bale is in a purple patch and long may it last. Or at least until we qualify for second, third or fourth and he departs for new challenges somewhere a bit warmer which would rule anywhere in  Manchester obviously.

But Ronaldo and Messi have been performing at their level for several years not weeks and like all players in a team game including Gareth they have support systems off and on the pitch which make their performances possible. Not least a Manager who is handling his whole squad well and Bale in particular very well.

How many Spurs fans would have brought on Carroll, Siggy and Livermore as late substitutes to help win a vital match. But it revitalised and rebalanced the team. How many would have played Caulker and Dawson together and dropped Benny for the fixture? I trust the man and he clearly trusts his squad.

And who did Bale rush to celebrate the winner with? To the touchline and AVB. Bale himself has turned his back on the 'diver' tag and now shrugs off the tackles as he did at Norwich and again last night at W.Ham. Encouraged by Carroll he was quickly to his feet and on both occasions went on to score.

As game it was hardly a classic but with a W. Ham team lumping balls up to the arch lump Andy Carroll then there was little danger of that. We tried to remain cool, relaxed and aloof but eventually we had to take them on and as the game progressed and we went behind we increasingly did just that.

 Jimmy's Video Spot:
All the goals, the celebrations, the joy, the despair. Good picture quality and because the commentary is in Arabic it won't get taken down any time soon. What Vertonghen was doing for Joe Cole's goal, or Lloris for that matter I've no idea. See what you think.
If you've got it, flaunt it Joe.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Spurs eyeing third place come Monday.

 Well that was their original plan.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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 Conceding late goals used to be the clear indicator of our alleged lack of mental strength at Tottenham. But since Everton in early December we haven't repeated that particular party trick. In fact the foot's in the other boot. Even without our walking virility symbol the Boy from Brazil we seem to have shaped up pretty well lately.

Dempsey sneaked in the equaliser in Fergy time against Man. Utd. Bale has three late goals to his name recently: a couple of winners at W. Brom and Newcastle and the equaliser against Norwich. Against Lyon he left it very late in the first leg to put us ahead in the tie.

And now cometh the hour and a half cometh that man Dembele picking a good moment to get his second goal since joining us and taking us through when most of us had just about given up hope. Not me of course because I don't start out with any hope in the first place.

At home in no doubt canny, tactical, Euro mode they played like the away team to defend their narrow lead. 1-0 would have taken them through and they had got the early goal. 1-1 would do the same for us and we set about it methodically and very eventually found a shot that did the business.

'He who laughs last' as they say. We were not brilliant and nor was Dembele for much of the game but we kept at it and once again recovered from an early goal and justly reaped the rewards. In this case a tie against Inter Milan in the last 16. Lyon got a mouthful of feathers and stuffed cockerel was well and truly off the menu.

In the meantime if things work out this weekend we could be third, three points behind Man. City. If we beat W.Ham, which we should, and Chelsea and Man City draw, which is a distinct possibility, then everything is back on. Well not quite everything. Man Utd are just a speck on the horizon now.

We don't often do predictions but are on a roll at the moment after the Lyon result ( Spurs 3-2, Musings said) So as the mists clear from my Auntie Marjory's crystal ball and the Tarot cards start to fall favourably I see third place on Monday night.

And why don't sane Spurs fans, there's a contradiction in terms if you like, make predictions? Because, until lately, Spurs were not that predictable, lacking mental strength and all. But increasingly under Andres they are becoming more so.

The football is not as exciting as it sometimes was under Harry, but the team seem to know what they are doing; they appear to be playing to a plan, making the most of the available talents and by and large delivering the goods. We are currently a team that is more than the sum of its parts and that is down to good managership.

Some of the parts on Thursday night were definitely not fully manufacturer approved. Parker made everybody giddy by his ever decreasing circles; Lennon doesn't seem to be on speaking terms with his team-mates: Benny, like Scotty, saw plenty of the ball and both took up good positions but they were very wasteful.

Friedel got away with a bungled clearance and saved the only shot on target which was straight at him. The near post header opener for Lyon which resulted from a silly foul by Walker seemed to be Bale's responsibility. But at least Gareth had a go, made some good runs and got a couple of swervers on target.

His direct running put more pressure on the Lyon defence than the crablike approach of much of our play. Under the scrutiny of Zinedine Zidane who has  a coaching role at Real Madrid he was, fortunately for us, not that outstanding on the night. Scouting for Real or just having a night at with his mates at Lyon: who knows?

We gradually put some passes together but faced with a two deep lying ranks of four we were fine until the final third where we lacked ingenuity until the very end when Dembele dropped a shoulder as he does and hit a clean shot into the corner.

He should shoot more often and Dempsey less. The enigmatic Adebayor still recovering from his recent mental and physical exertions ran about quite a bit, but to no conclusive purpose. We need him to find his form quickly in the coming weeks. Gallas played well once again alongside Vertonghen and possibly has one eye on the NLD.

Friedel had very little to do such was the lack of ambition of Lyon. Any Frenchmen who went hoping to see the Cockerel fed to the Lyons were sadly disappointed. Hugo will certainly be re-assured that he made the right choice in coming to Spurs.

Holtby was disappointing as many, like us, have placed a lot of hope in the boy. But it's early days and the keeper was fortunate to push one of his shots onto the post  to safety. He's honest and lively but comparisons to Van Der Vaart seem as premature now as they were when he first arrived.

What we are lacking is pace and creativity in midfield as both Dembele and Parker are slow thinking on the ball. A couple of full backs that could cross a ball would help especially when Bale goes tactical walkabout leaving plenty of space down the left. Walker doesn't seem to have the decisiveness or ability to capitalise on any space vacated by Aaron.

Did I mention that we could have done with another striker? Clearly Andres is not too bothered as both Kane and Obika have been allowed to go out on loan again which I find strange as Defoe is not even back in training and could be a month away from match fitness.

So it's 'In  AVB we trust' and as he seems to be doing a good job, best to leave him to it and in all honesty what other option do we have?

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Both goals. Better late than never. A stitch in time. And other wise words. There is a brilliant video of a penalty competition amongst the Spurs players on Spurs Community from Spurs TV which unfortunately I can't download. Spurs v Germany. Good fun. Well worth a look.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Big decisions loom at Spurs.

I think you'll find that was at White Hart Lane
45th and 93rd minutes.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 You could say that our 'work in progress' Gareth Bale is er...well, progressing after another match winning appearance against Lyon in the Europa Cup on Thursday. Two stunning free kicks and six goals in four matches.

The first was a ridiculously long way out and as I said to my brother:  He'll never score from there'. The rest is history as they say. But the dipping swerve shot, which he and Christiano have been working on, deceived the keeper by its late swerve and went in.

The second repeated the trajectory of the first and despite the centre half's advice to his keeper to 'Just bloody save it' and Walker's advice to his team mate to 'Leave this one to me', did almost exactly the same. As I said to my brother; 'He'll never do it again'.

Lightning certainly struck Lyon twice in the same place.  But two good strikes and even two fine goals do not a performance make. Nor does his recent run of form and crucial goals, a legend make. The answer to the question 'Where in the Pantheon of Spurs All time Greats does Gareth sit?' is, ' Waiting in the lobby  at the moment'.

He did not even have a particularly good game overall. But he was in good company there. He missed an easy chance, only took on and beat his marker once and supplied at best two telling crosses. He has scored our last six goals, the last three from free kicks and is clearly having a purple patch and a more than decent season.

He is now our leading scorer and currently the key problem for our opponents. And while they are double and triple marking Gareth and trying to tie his boot laces together they are taking their eye off our other players who can enjoy the extra space afforded them and make hay while the sun shines out of the Boy Bale.

Lennon and Walker  took advantage in the first half; Holtby showed his usual appetite; Brad and Willy showed the good effects of rest and recreation but the others were low key and moderate at best. For the second game  running Bale was the difference. Adebayor was invited to step up and tripped over the step.

But for Legend status we need to see a lot more in terms of performance over a sustained period.
It is not the current fashion for rising stars to do a Giggs, Scholes, Callaghan or Gerrard and stay loyal to a club for a decade or more.

 There is too much money around in football these days to turn a boy's head even one as apparently well grounded as Gareth.

Unfortunately for clubs that don't or won't pay top whack and are not yet perennial Champion's League contenders it is not the current method to build teams over a sustained period. But even now there has to be an element of longevity and loyalty before you become a true legend.

Let's see if he stays at Spurs beyond the current season and puts in another good shift before we start elevating him alongside Mackay, Blanchflower, Gazza, Greaves........... (write in your own 'legend' in the space provided.) If for some reason we don't make CL this year then that will be a truer test of loyalty than if we do. But don't hold your breath.

Talented rising star, he certainly is. Key figure in our season so far; agreed. But not quite a legend, in fairness to the Legends of Yesteryear. If he leaves for pots of gold elsewhere at the end of the season then he will surely go down as the 'Legend In The Making That Got Away'.

But just how good is he? Is he the equivalent of Barcelona's Messi or Real Madrids's Ronaldo. Is he World Class? All well over the top at the moment for me. Messi has already scored 37 goals this season in La Liga and Ronaldo 24. Gareth has 13 and counting but has some way to go.

 He is clearly our key player but for the same reason that he is not accorded 'Legend' status he cannot yet deemed be 'World Class' although he has on occasions given several top class performances.

All these accolades have been shrugged off by him as befits his restrained nature. You cannot open the sport's pages these days without some journo talking up his prospects, usually at the expense of Spurs chances of retaining him beyond the current season.

The Club have done well by the boy, rescuing his career after injury and handling him sensitively as he slowly became the player he is. Just how close Harry came to selling him during the dark 'hoodoo' days we may never know but whatever we did has been rewarded ten-fold in both football and financial terms.

AVB has continued the development process and we seem to have moved on from: 'Bale: he plays on the left'. To : 'Bale he plays where he likes within the tactical parameters of AVB's game plan'. It should not be outside the wit of man in the light of his new contract to coax, bribe or threaten him to stay another year.

We need to make the Champion's League but he is young, has a new close family, his idol growing up was Ryan Giggs whose career might provide a useful template at least for the medium term. Big decisions are looming for him.

At the moment he is aroma of the day, flavour of the month, and bouquet of the season. Whether he remains and becomes the fragrance of the decade is open to question if you believe what journalists gladly predict and fans suspect and fear.

Europa Cup

We are still on course for our Europa league prediction (3-2 Spurs). We forecast a victory at WHL and a 1-1 draw at Lyon next Thursday will send us off to Ladbrokes to collect our holiday money. 1-0 to Lyon puts us out; 0-0 sends us through as would any draw. Team selection could be crucial in the second leg.

Assuming of course that you were bold enough to put your money where Musings mouth was. We certainly weren't. We didn't get where we are today by betting on Spurs to win anything. But you know as the great sage Bob Dylan once wrote and sang, 'The Times they are a-changing'. Retaining Bale would help.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Enough already about Gareth Bale. Let's spend a couple of minutes with our next great hope, Lewis Holtby, who seems to be settling in and enjoying himself already.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Gareth Bale Experience.

A bird? A plane?  Don't be ridiculous, that's our Gareth.
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The JimmyG2 Column 
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Hello folks and welcome to another instalment of the ' 90 minutes at home with Gareth Bale Show' featuring a goal, another goal and almost but not quite more goals. He scored two against Newcastle to secure the points that saw us briefly in third: he missed another much easier chance and had  two efforts well saved by Krul.

  He so dominated the match that other players barely get a mention in the reports. In fact he so dominated the reports that some are worrying that perhaps we are becoming so dependent on the boy that it is harmful for the team. Apparently it's Gareth Bale that's in the running for top four not THFC.

Eh what! Barcelona don't fret about the contribution of Messi: they admire and celebrate it. Real Madrid don't worry about yet another Ronaldo hat-trick: they relish it and look forward to the rewards they might bring.

In any case football is a team game and I don't fancy Lionel's, Christiano's or Gareth's chances if they go out on the pitch on their own. Not that I think it was one of our better performances. Dawson was terrific at the back doing his usual Captain's leading from the front role. A neat trick for a centre half.

 He was unfortunate to deflect the ball past Lloris for the goal, another candidate for runner up in the MOM stakes. It's what the on course bookmakers do when there's a racing certainty. 'Betting without the favourite' and Baler is an odds on candidate for MOM lately.

So no disputing the runaway winner this week. His strength, his speed, his touch, his skill and his determination put him four or five times into scoring positions and the fact that he missed with his right foot gives other mere humans hope for advancement. He could even afford to joke about it after the match.

I think he was the cherry, oh go on then, the icing and the cherry, on the cake, but he wasn't the cake, the whole cake and nothing but the cake. We need to enjoy him while we can and when we have just crumbs for memories, at the end of this or next season, we can get out the recipe books again.
So while AVB plots how to keep him, Daniel Levy is carefully working out how much each goal puts on his value ready for the bidding to begin at the end of the season.
'Just form an orderly queue there gentlemen. May I start the bidding at £50 million? £50 million thank you. £50 million I have'.
We couldn't have given him away when Harry first came. Twenty or more appearances without a win: from hoodoo to gold mine in a couple of seasons. Of course the hope is that if we make Champions' League he might give us another season unless Daniel can't stop himself from taking the cash while the boy is hot.
And talking of hot Gareth, Madrid is no place in the summer for a young baby. But enough of the phenomenon that is The Boy Bale. There were other Tottenham players out there.
Dembele seems to be carrying an injury; Dempsey is not a natural line leader and Scotty, though his timing and mobility are still improving, his passing was usual combination of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Caulker was sounder than of late and Aaron snapped and crackled now and again but failed to pop. Holtby started and showed what an asset he is going to be. He was set up by a classic Lennon lay-off but failed to hit the target. But he was energetic and enterprising and full of promise once again.
Naughton who was mysteriously playing out of position once again did ok until replaced late on by Benny who was perhaps being rested for Thursday. Walker was better than of late going forward.Vertonghen was rested completely and stayed on the bench.
Newcastle's approach play was good but Lloris only had to make one serious save late on and though the possession was only slightly in our favour overall we made more chances and had more shots, on and off target, and deserved the win.
We didn't play particularly well but closed them down quickly and prevented them from playing. Their goal demonstrated how quickly they could strike. Pardew asserted that Bale was the difference and on this occasion he might well have a point.
We are now unbeaten in ten and Europa excitement looms against Lyon this week and next. It would be a pity if Lloris misses out on a game against his old club and I expect him to start the game in France at least. I think that we will beat them at The Lane but calling the overall result is beyond my pay grade. Tottenham to win 3-2 overall.
A breather then from Premiership activity until the 25th February when we travel to West Ham. Another win and draw at least at home against Arsenal should see us well set up for the final run in. Fourth is on the cards and perhaps better. In AVB ((and Bale) we trust.
What to do with a player like Emmanuel Adebayor?
Well if he can't get back from Africa in a week and you're desperate for strikers then you hire a private jet for him obviously. He hadn't trained and missed the agreed deadline set by AVB so he was made to sit on the bench for 69 minutes in the cold. A punishment of sorts I suppose.

Personally I suspect that he's having a laugh and in the name of Head Coach authority and team spirit and morale I would not have selected him at all. It would have demonstrated to all the players that it's the team that is important and no single player is above any of the others. Strikers or no strikers.

Another 20 minutes wouldn't have cost us the game and an important marker would have been drawn  in the sand.

 Jimmy's Video Spot:
Fed up with Gareth Bale? Then do not under any circumstances watch the following video. Avoid it, do something else. He's not bad though if you just want to have a sneaky look. He might just do a Ryan Giggs or a Jamie Carragher and stay with us for the rest of his career. 10 years will do Gareth. But it's not the modern way unfortunately.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Spanish Formation for Spurs

They seek him here; they seek him there.
Those Frenchies will be seeking Gareth everywhere
 on Thursday.
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  The Greg Meyer Column
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Sunday February 10 2013  Captain Tottenham Hotspurs Birthday.
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Spurs Spanish Armada ... Super Bowl ... Super Bale.
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This column had its genesis at 30,000 feet via a laptop somewhere above the Grand Banks returning to England. Said laptop had just spent a week in snowy downtown Newport, Rhode Island . Our visit coincided with Super Bowl Sunday.
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 Shades of Gareth Bale were on show before a viewing audience of 108 million viewers. It was a relief to see our Gareth in action on the following Wednesday and of course yesterday. American footballers have their own particular skills but Bale a la Newcastle has no American rival.
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Indeed compulsory attendance at a Super Bowl party is about the barbecued spare ribs, about meeting old friends once per year, about drinking lots of beer and occasionally checking the football score. However most important given the huge viewing audience is the premiere of a whole host of advertisements.
 Everything from cars, beers,etc etc is paraded an expectant audience.
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The most favoured party game is not voting for best player but best ad. Yes they do football differently in the States. This years Bowl was kept topical given the current plethora of match fixing allegations. Just after half time with the Ravens on a runaway high speed train with the game, 28-6, the lights went out. A blackout for 30 minutes halted the game. Upon resumption the 49ers came back in hurricane fashion(it was played in New Orleans) and lost by 2 points.

Conspiracy theories abounded. Still in the land of the free perhaps the fairy tale ended happily. We somewhat reluctantly left our US cousins to get back to proper football. No advertisements non stop throughout the game. No power outages. Just plain high speed spectacle. Gareth Bale anyone.
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The Spanish Formation.

The history buffs here at our pub have discerned the very real impact English culture has already had on Luis Andre V-Boas. Certainly the Spanish Armada did not get much of a run in Portuguese schools. However a failed attempted sacking of England by the Spanish, a successful sacking of a Portuguese by a Russian, and the successful Spanish World Cup expedition by Spain have collided at Spurs HQ.
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What do you do when in successive Transfer Windows your Chairman fails to sign a new striker. What do do when all you have left is a Millwall returnee, an African Tourist and a crocked out of form little bloke. Go Spanish of course. It helps to have an up and coming Cristiano Ronaldo of course. Portuguese as well.
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So far so good. Worked in grand fashion against Newcastle. Difficult to triple team our Welsh wonder when he does not play an orthodox left wing. Adebayour is back and fingers crossed. Jermain is currently in a spin dryer getting well quicker. Harry Kane. Hmm nothing wrong with going back to Millwall.
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England hosts France on Thursday night. Our bet is Andre gives the Spanish formation a rest. Ade to start. By the time little Jermain Defoe's blood and head stops spinning at the health clinic we will be back for our next premier game against  West Ham away. Barring further injury the Spanish experiment may be on the back burner.
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At A Kent Pub.
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Mine Host is back from Teneriffe. A damn sight warmer than Rhode Island. Given Spurs continued progress and the stuttering in part of our rivals its a great time to be Spurs.
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Second is possible but so is fifth. Fourth would do but at the Lane on Saturday you got the feeling with Andre Villas Boas all bar the title is possible.
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Watching Everton game today. Is that a first for an Assistant Referee wearing gloves? Works for an early player of the year Spurs nomination, Aaron Lennon. Bale gets the headlines deservedly but as he freely acknowledges it takes 11 plus.
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Before we go a landmark for Robert Dennis " Danny " Blanchflower born 87 years ago.
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Cheers and as they say here at our pub,
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                 " Work is the curse of the drinking class."  Oscar Wilde.
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                 coys   Greg Meyer.
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Jimmy's Video Spot.
Gareth, who else, straight from the shower by the look of him. What a lovely boy and he says all the right things. You won't like Madrid Gareth, trust me. Look at how that nice Luka Modric is struggling. And they've got the Portuguese Gareth Bale already. If he had a right foot he'd be quite dangerous.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

It's the Hope

Evening Mr.Hope. Nice to see you round these parts again .
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The JimmyG2 Column
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 Memo to Mr. D. Levy. The law according to Messrs Sod and Murphy: 'What can go wrong, will go wrong'. Only one striker available? Put money on him getting injured. The fact that he has done little for several games and had done next to nothing before twisting his ankle is beside the point.

AVB and the team can probably improvise something more or less effective as they did against West Brom. but it's not quite the same as having a man available to slot into the system. Anyway let's not crucify Daniel Levy any more. He's taken a chance and maybe blown our money, or saved our money in this case.

But he certainly got lucky with the dismissal of Popov which handed us the initiative when to be fair we were struggling just a bit. Even then it took the Boy Bale another 20 minutes to work his magic for the second game running. He came up with a fine strike following good work by Holtby and Walker to take the three points.

Holtby had came on to replace Defoe after 39 minutes and looked as if he'd been a Tottenham player all his life. If he inspires his fellows with his energy, enthusiasm and skill we are in for an exciting run in. Clearly a McDonald's: man he is reportedly 'lovin it' at Spurs.

Until then it looked like another of of those games familiar to Spurs fans over the last couple of seasons where we press but can't make the breakthrough. As we approached the 70 minutes mark I was preparing to put on my 'resigned to a draw' face. On form strikers are always handy in these situations but let it rest Jimmy for goodness sake.

But the fickle finger having writ had moved on and induced Popov to express his view of a touchline mix-up with Walker in a more than phlegmatic manner. A red get out of jail card for Daniel. I thought it was harsh personally although if it sends a strong message about spitting then fair enough.

The pair were some distance apart and unless he's the Macedonian Long Range Spitting Champion there was little likelihood of any harm to Kyle's person. Most refs would have turned one of their blind eyes to the event.

It was hardly a full- throated 'gob' to be fair and since all players spit with alarming frequency anyway he could hardly have been accused of materially influencing Health and Safety. But it gave us and Daniel a lifeline and for this relief much thanks.

Am I condoning spitting? Absolutely not but unlike Steve Clarke I can express a plea for a more measured response to the occasion. He was left with no wriggle room on this and had to swallow the medicine, unlike Popov. I thought that the sending off was a hasty and excessive judgement in the circumastances.

So when all about us Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Man. City were dropping points we took full advantage which we don't always do. This was an away win at a difficult ground; a clean sheet thanks to the sharpness of Monsieur Hugo; unbeaten in eight; clear lilywhite water between us and our rivals, and just the one defeat in 13 games.

Of the top ten only Utd., Arsenal and ourselves bagged all three points. Perhaps the strain is beginning to tell on some of our rivals. That's called wishful thinking Jim. Liverpool in particular with the addition of Sturridge are playing increasingly well.

Daniel's second helping of good fortune came when Togo got knocked out of the African Cup of Nations in time for Adebayor to hot foot it back to White Hart Lane, hopefully freshly inspired and in time for the Newcastle game. We've got strikers coming out of the woodwork and I haven't even mentioned Harry Kane.

Incidentally Adebayor says this morning that he is 'physically exhausted' by his efforts in South Africa. Seems to be getting his excuses in early.

The West Brom game was the beginning of our fourth group of eight games and followed our best haul yet of 16 points from the previous eight. The next batch looks trickier and we are unlikely to average two points per game with Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal amongst our opponents.

But if Adebayor returns on form, Bale remains on song, Lloris stays on his toes and Holtby continues to inspire the fans and his team-mates, it is by no means impossible. For a Tottenham fan I'm getting quite optimistic. Amongst that lot there's a couple of Europa games against Lyon.
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The Year of Transition is turning into the Year of Possibility and Hope. We've already had more satisfaction than many thought possible with the sacking of Harry and the appointment of AVB.  But we all know what Hope can do. It's a serial killer stalking the back alleys of N.17. just waiting for the opportunity to stab us in the back.

There are worries and doubts but I'm trying not to dwell on them. Caulker and Walker are young and have some concentrating to do. Benny is experienced and returning to form but anyone who doesn't have a slight heart in mouth attitude to him is ignoring evidence to the contrary.

Dawson can be as daft as ever on occasions. Parker has a big role to play in the absence of Sandro but is not quite back to form. Dembele is looking a little leaden footed and I would have kept Townsend in house as speed cover for Bale and Lennon. He was MOM in his first appearance for QPR on loan.

Siggy and Dempsey are not quite there yet and Vertonghen isn't the towering a figure he first seemed. But you see what's happening here, doubts are creeping in and Hope is disappearing into the mist. If only we had signed a top class striker.... Don't go there Jimmy: that way madness lies.

Jimmys Video Spot. The full MOTD2 coverage.
Early pressure from W.Brom. Good keeping from Lloris. Some nice passing and movement from Spurs.
I made the first half slightly in favour of Spurs, W.Brom were hardly the better team even at that stage.(Savage).
Then the Spit, The Strike and it's all over. And I've apparently defended the indefensible. (Shearer)


Friday, 1 February 2013

Levy Calls Shots But Passes On Striker.

 We seem to have missed the bus again.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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So what can I tell you? You probably heard that we didn't sign Leandro. Apparently we made an insulting offer, £17 million or something at the last minute, £13 million in The Guardian, and the ungrateful bastards turned it down. So what's new?

Hardly likely to break the Spurs bank to pay decent money for a half decent striker. We are left with an injured Defoe ( who isn't scoring anyway) an absent Adebayor when he returns (who isn't scoring anyway) Obika and Harry Kane, recalled from Norwich, to mount our Champions' League challenge.

In most businesses this would be seen as investment or even insurance but at Spurs buying a striker for more than a tenner is akin to pouring money down the drain. The Leandro saga has dragged on for some years now and in football circles is probably regarded as a kind of running gag.

 Internacional hinted that it was 'possible' if the deal could be done 'quickly'. Having negotiated with Daniel for the past two or three years they were presumably falling about the place laughing at this example of Brazilian humour.(Edited. What was I thinking? The joke lives on though because a deal in the Summer is again  'possible' but not according to AVB. Apparently we've moved on but I'm not sure where to.

And whatever happened to Negredo who was virtually on the 259 from Kings Cross with about a dozen others hotly tipped to be on the verge of signing for Spurs. Deals were all 'very close' as the ITK community are fond of saying.. The real joke is that qualifying for the Champions League would cover such an 'investment' with ease.

Anyway on the plus side we got Lewis Holtby who by all accounts is a find and and more importantly in Tottenham terms a steal as well. The general opinion seems to be from AVB down to the man on the terrace, (Happy Days) or even the man on the 259 omnibus, that he is indeed a man worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Rafael Van Der Vaart.  No pressure then.

He certainly understands 'pass and move' from the clips I saw of his Norwich performance. He made more passes with greater accuracy in nineteen minutes than Clint Dempsey did in 71. Another AWOL suspect in a match littered with such Spurs disappearances. 

However he is not a striker or even a particularly prolific goalscorer (24/130 appearances over 6 seasons) and the question remains: Who is going to convert the increasing numbers of chances he will certainly help make, into goals? Yet another missed chance in every sense of the word.

I didn't see the Spurs game against Norwich. Cue the old joke about them not coming to see me when I was bad. But the game that I was at was uncannily similar. The opponents went ahead and we replied on 80 minutes and the game ended 1-1. This was the Real Madrid/Barcelona Copa Del Rey 1st leg at the Bernabeu.

'My other team is Real Madrid' as they say and my daughters had got me a ticket for my birthday as I was in Madrid at the time. From the highlights or excerpts as they are more properly known and fan site reports I clearly enjoyed better night's entertainment than Spurs fans, where a combination of Norwich tenacity and a high wind spoilt our evening.

Defoe was apparently awful, Parker likewise, the defence all over the place, even Lloris was edgy. Bale retrieved the game with an excellent solo run and learnt the moral and practical rewards of not going to ground when clipped. And the boy Holtby gave us all some hope for the future in a 20 minute cameo.

For the record here in Spain Barcelona were the better side overall but were foiled by a defence that knows how to defend. Messi and captain Ronaldo were a little subdued and Barca take a valuable away goal to the Camp Nou and will probably qualify for the final.

If our new stadium, which seems as distant a prospect as the signing of a decent striker, generates half the atmosphere and excitement of the Bernabeu then the sooner we start mixing the cement the better. It would be worth a goal at least for home games. The power at the Bernabeu of 80,000 voices in unison against the opposition is a force to be reckoned with.

But the stadium story seems to have gone as quiet as the new signings narrative will for a blessed couple or three months if we're lucky. Shrewd management of our restricted resources? Lack of ambition? A cautionary step on the road to selling the club?

Levy is the man calling the shots but seems to have sold the pass on bringing in a striker. It's a big ask for Harry Kane to try to fill Leandro's  boots but if he can just fill one of them it's another £25 million in the Daniel' kitty for something, God only knows what.

We can all plot our position on the chart of expectations but I think our failure to invest in striker over several windows has gone beyond a joke and if it leads to a failure to secure top four from our current position then even in financial terms it will prove to be a bad misjudgement.

If our current run of three draws, and the loss at Leeds is our blip we might just get away with it. Only Everton narrowed the gap. Unbeaten in 7, one loss in 12 and still just clear in fourth. But we all remember the loss of form at a crucial time over the past two seasons and start to fear the worst.

West Brom could well turn out to be another draw. Their recent record like that of Norwich is dire but these are beginning to look like must win games if we are to keep clear of the chasing pack. A fit, available, and decent front man would have helped. 

But as they sang in the Crosby Stills and Nash classic, if you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with. Come in Jermain all is forgiven. Any chance of a goal on Sunday just for old times sake? One might just be enough.
Spurs 1-0

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Here's the Bale goal, as much for my benefit as yours. Is that the finest lay-off that Defoe has ever made? Gareth not so much ignores a  'clip' on the halfway line as a hack and not a even a hint of a booking for Tettey. Nice to see Holtby joining in the celebrations.