The Blog that's not always wrong.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sherwood could get lucky.


 Mr. Scapegoat's waiting outside Mr. Levy.
It's Tim Sherwood Sir. 
Whatever.
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The JimmyG2 Column. 
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 Where to start? This is the kind of a mess, not totally unfamiliar to Spurs fans, that needs a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow rather than a dustpan and brush to clear up. Timothy Sherwood has been given the unenviable task of bailing out Dan Levy from his latest hasty misjudgment.

But this is a totally cynical appointment which serves only to buy him a little time. If Tim succeeds in whatever terms were agreed between them then Levy is a bold and wise Chairman. And if he doesn't then he can appoint a new and prestigious candidate who might have become available by the end of the season.

Win, win for Levy as it always seems to be. A shedload of total bollocks will be spoken in the aftermath as Tim keeps us more or less where we are now, slightly worse off than when AVB left. Silver linings are being desperately searched for already.

After all Tim is an insider and knows the club; he is  an experienced player at the top level; has a knowledge of the youngsters which has already seen Benteleb on the pitch; perhaps Fredericks will start against Stoke; more swash and buckle. Give the fans what they are alleged to want.

Meanwhile we will slip lower and lower down the league as the headless chicken approach fails to deliver against all but the most inept Premiership clubs. Slip too far and he will be sacked at the end of the season or even before. The AVB baby has been thrown out with the bathwater.

Do I want him to fail? Why would I? He has the privilege of being in charge of the team I have followed for over half a century.. But the signs are not good. Pinning your hopes on a revitalised Adebayor is a short cut to Nowheresville as W. Brom. showed.

Against W.Brom in the absence of Sandro and Paulinho ignoring a seasoned defensive midfielder like Capoue was suicidal. Playing Siggy on the wing and Chadli on the wrong wing was perverse. Leaving Lamela too long on the bench is self defeating.

Tim has to cram years of managerial experience into an extremely short time frame and while he learns from his mistakes the Premiership rolls relentlessly on. Mid-table beckons and it's not entirely his fault. Appointing him shows how little Levy knows about the supporters.

Promoted above his pay grade with an injury ravaged defence would be a test for a seasoned manager let alone a novice who has yet to complete his coaching badges. But he willingly put his head on the block and should not be surprised if the guillotine falls.

If I had any sorrow left over from the plight of THFC I would almost feel sorry for him. Almost. He is Levy's human shield and will take the fall for him when the time comes. He is keeping the seat warm for yet another continental name and faced with an impossible task.

 If only he wasn't so cocky and objectionable. Of course he may get lucky. Sandro, Kaboul and Vertonghen may ride over the hill with colours flying and bugles sounding. Soldado might find his scoring mojo; Adebayor might find a rich vein of form; Lamela may fulfil his potential and price tag.

A stream of youngsters could be fed into the system; the football might come together in a more expansive but controlled way. But it's a big ask and in many ways an unfair one. If Sherwood asked for the job then Levy should have politely shown him the door with consoling words.

Glen Hoddle would have been a willing stop gap and might not only have had more chance of success but could have stood the inevitable fall with less dire consequences to his already shaky managerial reputation. Tim may never recover.

 Spurs  will, eventually as the wheel of fortune slowly turns. But it may suit Levy to have a willing and temporary scapegoat who can rise and fall without trace, a Trivial Pursuits footnote in the history of the once mighty Spurs. This could  end in tears for all concerned.

And that includes the fans who are mere observers with no say or influence. We are watching on with horror, hoping for the best, clinging on to our love of Tottenham as time and time again ridiculous decisions at boardroom level are made and managers ignore the blindingly obvious.

We will be back to mid-table once again for this and probably next season as we lose our best players again and desperately try to stabilise and re-build. The best we can hope for is some good football and for some of our young talent to make it into the squad.

These are the only positives I can see from this cynical and desperate appointment. Come on Tim, surprise us all. I'm not holding my breath.

Happy New Year everyone after all, as the man said, it's not a matter of life and death.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
A moment of calm as we pause for thought before plunging back into the stormy Premiership waters.
A practical, down to earth man with the vision of a football philosopher.


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Lamela in the spotlight again.

Keep rolling them dice Danny boy.
Our number is bound to come up sooner or later.
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The Greg Meyer Column
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 Christmas Evening 2013.
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A Lamela Christmas  ... A Fairy Tale In Argentina and North London.
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Rather fairy tales and Christmas carols than the nightmare of just lately. Searching for positives through a Christmas mist of disillusionment has been difficult.
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It started with Liverpool, accelerated through the Andre dismissal (or was it his decision to go),was compounded by the Ham Cup fiasco and culminated in the longer term appointment of Tim Sherwood.
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It is still slow motion at our pub. Dodging Christmas jibes from condescending Arsenal elves and coming to terms with a season that promises .... what.
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Lovely evening at our pub Christmas eve, the flicker of light that was Southampton away and then the old bloke on the sled flies in and all is forgotten. Subsumed in an avalanche of food, wine and sheer goodwill.
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As well it helped to know our pub pin up boy was relaxing like us with family. No fancy night club exploits. The Lamela clan, in as far as our best sources suggest , a lively North London Greek restaurant.

Settling in quite nicely.
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Not At A Kent Pub.
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Our mob are on the way back. A rousing victory at the Lane tomorrow might complete the recovery. Probably too soon. We are still coming to terms with Andre going and in the words of a long suffering Blackburn fan who know Tim Sherwood well...
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 " A complete tosser."
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Hope not but it's a worry when you are still completing your Coaches badges.
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Look all is far from lost and in the immortal words of Sir Clement Freud ... a long time Spurs man ...
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"If you resolve to give up smoking,drinking,and loving Spurs,you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer."

Cheers ... hope springs eternal or is it to dare is to do ... happy Christmas ... Greg Meyer.       coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Cheer up it's Xmas. Things can only get better ( or worse, obviously).
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Monday, 23 December 2013

Back to the Future with Tim.

Two steps back, three steps forward at Southampton.
Progress in a Retro kind of way.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Gung Ho, Gung Ho,
As up the league we go.
Andres out; it's Sherwood's shout
Gung Ho, Gung Ho.

As the early doubters of aeroplanes said, 'It can't possibly fly'. But it did and landed too with its landing gear more or less intact. It shouldn't have: 442 away from home; Adebayor restored to the starting team; all creative guns firing, Bentaleb debuting ahead of Capoue and Holtby. What's going on?

Tim has to impress Levy and curry some favour with the fans and muy pronto or he'll be out by New Year's Day. So this was the Anything but the AVB Show. Quick build up; Lamela, Eriksen and Soldado starting together for the first time, no established defensive mid.

If he were dead AVB would be turning in his grave. But we got away with it thanks to another MOM performance by Adebayor and the fact that Southampton, a team on the slide, were not that good. However if we win on Boxing Day I and many others could get to quite like the man. The past is history. Fact.

Sherwood is not a well loved man at Spurs, dark mutterings of behind the scenes muggings on ABV and quite public demolition of Hoddle's efforts, as well as not being one of our favourite performers make a high wall of resistance to him ever becoming full time manager.

But it might suit Levy's plans for him to have enough success to leave him in place until the end of the season when more suitable long term candidates will become available. All this speculation after one game but Tim's porthole of opportunity is a very small one.

If he can transform himself from one of the Three Ugly Sisters into Cinderella by the turn of the year then the Tottenham Pantomime will be a Box Office success. Oh yes it will. But look out Tim, Levy's behind you and a couple of losses and the Final Curtain will come down in the middle of Act 1.

So yet another away win; three Premiership goals for the first time this season; another promising Academy graduate bloodied in some style; Mr. Sherwood you are spoiling us. He has two winnable games to come before the going gets really tough so he's going for it.

It's all a bit Redknapp-lite  and has a comforting retro feeling about it and although the approach might appeal in theory to most Spurs fans it is a little lacking in sophistication and very high risk. A bit like Tim himself with his unshaven look and chopped off sentences and thoughts.

But fans, like Levy himself, are mainly interested in results at the moment and if they can be achieved in a more swash-buckling style then he will please all parties. Suddenly 442 is the new 433. Soldado certainly benefited although he didn't take any of the chances presented. But he did get chances.

He and Ade belied their years and galloped like yearlings turned out in new green pastures. If Sherwood can retain the commitment of Adebayor and the confidence of the wider squad he has more than a fighting chance of getting the job. 

I don't think Sherwood will improve on what AVB might have and already had achieved  and his sacking was an act of bad faith. But if Tim becomes our new manager I will support the him through the team. So far what's not to like?

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Roberto Soldado. Lest we forget. Where did Ade learn those dramatic volleys? From watching old Soldado videos obviously. If he doesn't score 20+ goals this season I'll eat this blog! The dynamic duo might just be very good for each other and Spurs.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Spurs Options Shrinking by the Day.


Been there, done that 
and now that nice Mr. Levy has bought us the t shirt.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it got worse. A second loss to relegation aspirants W.Ham at home within a month. If Sherwood is the answer it's a damn funny question. Though to write him off after one game would be unfair. But life is just that at the moment.

Levy will give him just enough rope to do that for himself. Lose to Southampton on Sunday and it's the velvet drapes pretty soon after if we can get anyone decent at this time of the season. Or anyone half decent for that matter.

I assume that emissaries are bush beating the undergrowth as we speak. Some who haven't even been invited have already made their apologies. They have other places to go or more important people to see. If it wasn't all so grimly familiar it might even be amusing.

Brendan Rogers says today that he turned us down because of Levy and our record of turning over managers. He might have a point and it might apply to others this time round. People like Martinez and Rogers that we turned their noses up last time round are not available now.

We actually improved on last time out against W.Ham only losing 2-1. One up with ten minutes to go and losing has a familiar ring to it. At least AVB seemed to have put a stop to that kind of carry on. Andres has left the building Jimmy; let it go.

The retro 1990's feel to the side, 442, wide wingers worked for a time but we slowly ran out of pace and ideas. Then, having learned nothing over 18 months, Sherwood inverted the wingers and substituted Adebayor our best player and the rest is whatsit.

His options were limited due to injuries and another game on Sunday but we got the dead cat rather than the proverbial new Manager bounce. Playing Siggy and Dembele as a midfield two without a defensive protector was hopeful to say the least. Neither played well.

Rose made a welcome return. Capoue is not central defender, and Lloris is understandably losing his authority behind a constantly changing and inexperienced central defence. The much maligned Michael Dawson might even have been effective against Carlton Cole if he had been available.

Playing and persisting with offside specialist Defoe was like writing his own P45. Let's just hope that the Canadians were out shooting elk or ducks in a barrel and didn't notice. Townsend is out for a month or so with hamstrings which at the moment is probably a lucky break for all concerned.

We couldn't score in the crowded bus park in a hectic opening 20 minutes despite having at least three good opportunities. And we couldn't defend when the Fat Controller gave the green light at the end. I don't suppose AVB is laughing somewhere but a grim smile might be in order. Move on Jim.

New Manager.

Frank de Boer heads the new manager sweepstake at 2/1. Leaving Ajax at this stage seems unlikely and getting through unscathed to the end of the season would seem to be a priority. Sherwood is around 4/1 ahead of Hoddle (6/1) and Laudrop  (8/1). Both de Boer and Laudrop have already ruled themselves out but let's not spoil the fun.

 We surely have too many points in the bank to encounter serious embarrassment. Too good to go down. But they said that about the Titanic. I'm off to have a crafty couple of bob on Capello at around 10/1. He has the experience and authority to impose himself on our demoralised squad.

He's also a mate of Baldini who seems to have escaped any consequences of the meltdown. Most importantly he's available at short notice as he hasn't signed his new Russian contract and might sign a short contract, say 18 months to bridge the consolidation period we are inevitably entering.

Perhaps Levy can pull a lively rabbit out of the hat. Trouble is he tends to shoot them before they reach puberty. The football might be more AVB than we would like but Levy won't want to burn his fingers again and Capello would be a safe pair of hands, bit like Brad.

He was at the game on Wednesday, purely by chance apparently, so he knows what he is taking on. Having managed  England he is used to nursing sick animals and lame ducks. Having been sacked at Real Madrid after winning the league he is psychologically equipped to handle the likes of Levy. 

You read it here first. At least the fans showed up against W. Ham. And not many tears were shed for you know who. I doubt whether we have finished shooting ourselves in the foot just yet.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The whole sorry story. So good they showed it twice. Master tactician Sam Allardyce at work. Defoe looks up and crosses perfectly for Adebayor to volley home.

 What a strange sentence that is on re-reading. But we were beaten by two high balls into the box. The final blow delivered by a striker who hasn't scored for a year. You just know exactly what's going to happen when you hear those words.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Is Levy the real culprit at Spurs.

Merry Xmas AVB
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Looking for warmth and affection? Mince pies, comfort and joy on this miserable day. Try the Salvation Army there's nothing for you at the Musings. I do not believe that AVB should have been sacked and if we finish higher than we are now I will donate substantial monies to Charity.

Best points per game record than any other manager since the century before last; qualified for next stage of the Europa unbeaten; in the quarter finals of the league cup; trying to make sense of an unbalanced scattergun influx courtesy of the Bale inheritance and Baldini.

Three poor performances and some dreary football agreed but still only five points off Champions' League places. More disruption; more turmoil; another period of instability. Once again Spurs head off into the unknown without a compass, a map or a sextant.

This is knee jerk of the highest order by the King of Knee Jerk Mr. Daniel Levy who appointed Andres Villas Boas in the first place. Sherwood will fill in until a permanent candidate is selected unless he does well, which I hope he does.

Many hats will be in the ring including that of Glen Hoddle who has stepped up and offered to help us out. Thanks Glen I can't see that one flying. Baldini's chum Capello is available. Thanks but no thanks. Basel manager Murat Yakin has apparently been contacted and so it goes on.

We will see. Most of the desirable candidates like Laudrop will be difficult to prise away from their current employers so it may be after Xmas before things take shape.

It was ironic that it was Liverpool who executed the coup de grace when Spurs fans have spent so much energy lately ridiculing the club and in particular their manager Brendan Rogers. Perhaps a little humility is in order.

Next up W.Ham in the League Cup and Dnipra in the Europ under the guidance of another victim of Levy's short attention span, Juande Ramos. Revenge time Juande, revenge time. I have no great hopes for the immediate future: it might be different  but it's not likely to be any better.

Changing managers is statistically not a proven method of improving results. Research shows that over the medium term it makes no significant difference after the first few games. But never let facts get in the way of a good sacking.

A juicy piece of red meat thrown to the fans who like guard dogs distracted by the bait focus their attention on a new manager and take their eyes of the main culprit, a Mr D. Levy. A serial offender still at large.If you have to sack them every 18 months perhaps you shouldn't have appointed them in the first place.

Nine managers in the 15 years that Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal. Around 18 months each. On what basis are they appointed? Who does the due diligence or is it all seat of the pants stuff? I liked AVB in all his geekiness and thought it would come right.

A thoughtful, passionate, intense, serious football man who had done and was doing pretty well. We'll never know now. The football would have improved as the squad gelled but Levy once again has pulled the plug before the project had time to get off the ground.

AVB is not blameless of course. A high line with Michael Dawson in it is a disaster waiting to happen. Falling out with key players in positions where we have little or no cover is not advisable. The football has been turgid on the whole and he has been slow to adapt.

However landing a manager with seven newcomers from several different leagues, with varying competence in English and no Premiership experience and then complaining that he hasn't managed to integrate them all into the squad playing sparkling football is adding insult to injury.

So good luck Andres. We took a chance when you were cast out by Chelsea but didn't have the nerve to stay the course. Time and Dan Levy wait for no man. The common factor in all our recent disasters is not the managers but the Chairman who obviously fancies himself as a chip of the old Abramovich block.

 So here we go again. A sad week for Spurs and its reputation and another hefty compensation pay out dribbled into the sand.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Let's remember happier times. If you keep selling your best players and sacking your managers progress is going to be a little uncertain. to say the least.

Friday, 13 December 2013

AVB Tearing the wings off butterflies.

Step away Andre. That's how it's meant to fly.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Better. Much better. Much better than better in fact. Have we turned the corner? Or is this just another twist in the maze? Liverpool will tell us much more of course than a dead rubber in the Europa but there seems to be more than just the Three Steps to Heaven for Spurs on Thursday.

Step one: we attacked Anji with more pace, determination and flair.
Step two: Soldado's hat trick was excellent news, not only for us. Class will out.
Step three: Danny Rose and Eriksen returned without too much apparent stress.
Step Four: Even with a makeshift defence we coped pretty well.
Step five: Youngsters started and came on and did OK. In Ryan Frederick's case more than OK.

Was Friedel was at fault for the first goal? Hugo has spoilt us and might have cut it out. Naughton was wrestling with his man and not concentrating on the ball. But this overall performance was better than medicine for me. Keep taking the tablets.

The jury is still out on Erik Lamela who shows talent in patches but has yet to put in a complete performance. Perhaps that's the nature of the beast. He was unlucky not to score with a header and had a shot well saved. He found Soldado for the second with an incisive pass.

The Jury however has returned and its verdict on Soldado is, as we said from the start, this man is quality. As soon as we got the ball quickly into the box he was alert and alive. With Townsend on the left and Lamela or Lennon on the right he will thrive.

Townsend and Rose combined well in the first half and why Townsend and Lamela were swapped is a mystery. If it ain't broke Andre, if it ain't broke. I bet AVB used to tear the wings off butterflies as a kid to see if it made them fly better.

Holtby's goal was a thing of beauty, clever and brave. He almost stole the show but Bobby's hat-trick takes the honours. Dembele was strong again and it was a pity he couldn't have been rested for Sunday.

Capoue is clearly destined for stardom and even out of position at centre back alongside Fryers looked composed and moves the ball quickly out of defence. Once or twice he forgot that it was Brad in goal and forced him out of his comfort zone.

The arrival of Fredericks was a real tonic. I do like to see a youngun on and a good youngun is a bonus. By Walker's Delight out of Townsend's Folly this boy has pace and spirit. Where do we find them? Coulthirst needed longer to make his mark but I liked the look of him.

Will Bobby Soldier start on Sunday? I think he should but I am not convinced that AVB will see it that way. There's no logic in dropping him for Defoe who might be better used against W. Ham in midweek. What are hat-tricks for after all if not to secure a starting place.

Liverpool are struggling with the loss of key players especially Gerrard and we have enough quality to see them off at home. The turnaround since City will be complete and normal service restored. Crisis ? What crisis?

Beating Liverpool would be the easy way to demonstrate our credentials. Easy way. Spurs. Not three words that go easily into a sentence. Come on Tottenham help me through the run-up to Xmas with a bit of seasonal footballing therapy cheer. You can only stand so much shopping.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
All the goals against Anzhi. Two quality assists from Lamela and Townsend. A cheeky Klinsmann dive from his half compatriot Holtby. A penalty that never was though I'm not sure it was a dive by young Ryan. Soldado arm wrestles his way for the headed opener. The second is what we pay him for: one touch and bingo.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

You really don't want to know.


Me and Spurs are definitely on the right road.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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So anyway there I was half way through my forensic analysis of the Fulham game when there were ambulances, flashing lights and emergency admissions. You don't want to know, trust me.

It was the usual Musings meanderings: Hugo top of AVB's Christmas Card list following his stand-out performance against Fulham; fully recovered after his bang on the head against Everton and so on. Good job I didn't have time to post that one after his efforts against Sunderland.

So anyway there I am I'm in A&E, (or had I been shifted upstairs by then?) I forget. No not that far Upstairs, not the Great Grandstand in the sky, just up to the first floor: Admissions. Anyway by 9 o/c on the Saturday Mrs JimmyG2 had phoned through the Spurs result, to assist my recovery.

So I knew the result but nothing about the game. It felt a bit like that episode of the Likely Lads. Actually that's rubbish because they didn't want to know the result. Anyway I'm in a four berth ward in the bed next to a lifelong Tottenham fan of similar vintage to my own, discussing the 60's and whether we'll ever see their like again, as you do.

He'd got one of them fancy phones with App thingies so he filled in in the details of the result against Sunderland. Since then I've watched a recording of MOTD and a download or an upload, whatever, of the complete game, courtesy of her indoors who knows about these things.

We always make a lot about the performance on Musings but it was mightily reassuring to know that the three points were safe and the Manager too for another week. In fact my fellow Spurs fans are beginning to come on board with us on that one.

 The main complaint at the moment is not the results but that the football has been dire. But we're off the sliproad and setting off on the High Road to Footballing Recovery. Things are looking up injuries excepted.

In that department it's constant good news/bad news. The bad news is that Vertonghen's out but the good news is that Rose is back for the weekend. Maybe. The bad news is that Chiriches is out but the Good news is that Capoue's back. And so it goes on.

But the Very Good News is that we've got 7/9 points since the Man.City fiasco and we lie in 6th, two points off the CL places. More importantly I think I detect signs of improvement in the actual football. Even Defoe played better, passing, running the left channel and hitting the post twice.

Defoe and Holtby closed down from the front with creditable spirit and energy. At one point Defoe turned in exasperation when he discovered that his team-mates had gone into conservation mode but had neglected to let him know. But at least the spirit is there.

But most importantly we made chances and for twenty minutes after we went ahead, courtesy of O'Shea, always liked him, we pressed and dominated and Sunderland could barely get out. On another day Sunderland might have scored 2 or 3. But on another day we might have scored 5 or 6.

Lloris gifted Johnson his first goal of the season with a pathetic punch to a cross he had ample time to catch. Fully recovered Mr Lloris? I think not. He was later grateful to Dawson for a timely clearance after another fumble. He did make one graceful catch later on.

 Naughton had his best performance at left back in place of the injured Vertonghen who may be out until the New Year; Capoue slotted in pretty well for the injured Chiriches in the back four alongside Dawson; AVB juggled his resources effectively.

Holtby started and seems to have got the nod over Siggy. Likewise Defoe over Soldado which defies logic but on the performance made sense. Walker was pretty good once again and seems to have got over his blip of last season.

Dembele was probably the pick with another forceful show. Paulinho got forward well and scored the equaliser with a sharp close in finish. Nobody played badly. Shadli got nearly a full game, he didn't do a great deal but looks comfortable and supplied a headed assist.

Sandro clearly handled but got away with it and you almost feel sorry for Sunderland. Almost. Townsend took the pressure off effectively when he came on down the left. Lennon is playing well so Lamela may have to wait though he Soldado, Siggy and anyone not required first up for the Liverpool game may get starting roles against Anji on Thursday.

AVB is difficult to second guess  but needs to go on ploughing his own furrow as spirits and performance are looking up and results too. Two wins in a week both after going 1-0 down. What's not to like? 

And no you really don't want to know. But like Spurs I'm definitely on the mend.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
This is AVB in 'happy' mode. Doesn't get carried away does he? But he must be quietly pleased with this week's performances and results.
 

Monday, 2 December 2013

AVB and Spurs take offence

Until Wednesday anyway.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 So not only Spurs but AVB came out fighting on Sunday. And not before time you might think. We've been stuck in the trenches for long enough. Being nice to the press doesn't actually work either. Just ask Harry. It didn't secure the England job for him or stop him going down with QPR. It's the football stupid.

AVB for whom English is a second or third language had to point out to a couple of daily hacks ( I nearly typed 'hackers' there) that when he says 'we' he includes himself and is not referring solely to the players. If he had been he would have said 'they'.

So journalists put back in their boxes, for now, and Man.Utd all but put back in theirs. Except for a couple of soft gifts we would have beaten a fairly ordinary opposition. This was more like it. A livelier, quicker more determined performance all round.

Walker showed both sides of his abilities by scoring the opener with a free kick which went under the wall, crossing with almost Beckamesque quality, delivering pretty decent dead ball kicks throughout the game and then failing to clear a cross and setting up Rooney by mistake.

Sandro added to a fine performance with a stunning 25 yarder after thoroughly bamboozling Cleverly. Then Lloris brought down Welbeck To give Rooney a chance to equalise from the penalty spot. A much better all round effort and no signs that AVB had lost the dressing room as has been widely alleged.

Lennon fizzed for an hour and was substituted for Townsend which was greeted with boos by the footballing illiterati at the Lane. Andros quickly demonstrated that he is a deserved understudy to Aaron with a completely ineffective performance.

Defoe did the same for Soldado who looked much more lively and combined well with Paulinho on a couple of occasions. He certainly missed a decent opportunity but Defoe did nothing in his twenty minutes to suggest that he should rate above him.

Walker and Sandro stole the honours but nobody played badly during Operation Fightback. Not even Daws who got skinned by Welbeck a couple of times but who always brings his unique enthusiasm, as does Walker. The sort of invaluable spirit which we need to show more of.

Not that we have any choice: Kaboul is not currently available and Verts is needed at left back until Rose returns. So the heat is off until at least Wednesday night when we face Fulham at The Cottage who have a Jol shaped hole where their manager used to be.

The starting eleven should be very similar and three points would not just lower the temperature but might even turn the gas off completely. But beware wounded journalists licking their wounds and sucking their pencils in the undergrowth.. Stick it to them again Andre.

Most fans agreed that the spirit shown on Sunday has given Andre a breathing space in their eyes whose main complaint was the style of football being played. But in truth the pressure was largely an artificial confection, the result in Andres eyes of a vendetta by the Press.

After all the season is barely a  third completed; we qualified for the next stage of the Europa at the head of our group without conceding a goal. We have progressed in all competitions and despite being down in ninth place we are only one win away from a CL place.

Balewatch:
Making hay while Ronaldo is injured. A perfect hat-trick at the weekend which seems to have won over not only the fans but the partisan Spanish press. It has taken Bale only 13 games to score his first perfect hat-trick one, a feat that took Ronaldo 62 games to achieve and which Messi never has.

The only other British player to do the treble was our very own Garry Lineker for Barcelona against Real 25 yrs ago.  Bale in Spanish can mean 'worth or 'value' and it seems as if the Real fans have had to agree that he is.

 I wish him a long and successful career in Madrid partly from pride in the boys progress which I hope you all share and because we don't want him back in the Premiership any time soon.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
'Made in Tottenham' you might say. In the last six games Bale has scored 8 and provided six assists. This one was not a thing of great beauty but certainly confident and effective.