The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Pochettino to shuffle the pack again.

The end of a perfect day.
Or just another false dawn.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Don' be silly, of course I'm going to get carried away. Best performance in every way since we beat Newcastle 5-0 under Harry over two years ago. We're on our third manager since then but this was a welcome glimpse of the proper Spurs.

Of course we're not even nearly there yet and we've had more false dawns at Spurs than breathtaking sunsets but two  Premiership wins albeit against mediocre opposition and top of the League unusually for us on goal difference will do for now.

 The next game against Liverpool will tell us a lot more but they looked vulnerable against Man. City last night. We've picked some of the low hanging fruit so now for the higher reaches of the Premiership tree.

While we're on a fruity theme, in the 30' a popular song of the day was 'Life is just a bowl of cherries'. It was of a rather philosophical bent about living in the day and enjoying the moment and I recommend it to all Spurs fans for the next few days.

We certainly served up a varied fruit salad against QPR, and the scoreline was the cream on top. A scrappy last minute win against W.Ham did little to prepare us for the riches displayed on Sunday.

We were fighting the twin hoodoos of a Sunday lunchtime fixture after the Europa win on Thursday night and the threat of the return of the mighty Harry.

Skilful rotation of his forces by Mauricio, who I could easily get to like, and a purposeful game plan put paid and in some style to a tired looking Redknapp and a tired looking QPR.

 All dead men walking by the looks of things though there are rumours that Harry will be offered a new contract. Or Tony F. has taken out a contract. I'm not sure which.

Harry's life seem to be flashing before him as he sat slumped in has seat even as his team were conceding more space, more possession and more. goals. Meanwhile Pochinetto was a hive of activity on the touchline to make sure there was no let up.

Harry is 4/1 to be the next manager sacked whilst Sam Allardyce is favourite at 2/1. Surely just a coincidence that they both had the misfortune to come up against a revitalised Spurs. Brenden Rogers be afraid, be very afraid. 4/1 hmmm.

Did our new man discover the secret of a successful fruit Sundae? Well it seems to be at least four parts hard work and endeavour to four parts talent and a couple of the essential dashes of good fortune here and there.

Against W.Ham we waited over an hour and a half for a goal to come but on Sunday four came along together. All the players against QPR bar Dier were available last season so it might just be a case of last years signings coming good under a more purposeful game plan and a fitter squad.

 Have we nearly gelled yet? You can change the proportions to suit yourselves but pressing from he front is important if not always fully delivered  and an expectation that even the flair players will contribute to all aspects of the game.

 Even Eriksen was not found wanting and Lamela has already shown that he is up for a fight. With Capoue adding strength as well as good distribution to the midfield alongside the 19 yr. old Bentaleb, one of Timothy's better ideas, we dominated from the start.

 Just 12 minutes for the first of Chadli's well taken pair. A goal in the first 20 minutes for a welcome change. Chadli's pass down the line for Rose whose early ball flummoxed a bewildered looking Ferdinand for the 4th. was another from the bowl of exotic fruits.

Another old stager, something of a Harry specialty, Dunne didn't even make it out after halftime and both might be regretting listening to Harry's beguiling words, though Tony Fernades lavish hospitality might have played a part.

Fitness and effort played a part against Limassol and W.Ham again down to Pochinetto's  insistence on the work ethic side of the game, double training sessions and all. Late lapses of concentration may have been dumped in the dustbin of Spurs recent history

Kaboul, not quite his old self, was caught out by a speculative straight long ball but Phillips fluffed the chance. Otherwise with Vertonghen growing more confident by the minute and both full backs playing very well Lloris completed the weekend crossword in L'Equipe well before half time.

Several players had a claim for MOM: Lamela certainly caught the eye and his run and cross for Chadli's second was a peach, or whatever your favourite fruit might be. His fierce dipping corner was headed in at the near post by Dier.

Rose has a claim for his best performance in a Spur's shirt and Capoue as well as Lamela, Eriksen and Chadli  all made telling contributions.

 Lamela will be the popular choice partly due to the relief that many fans will feel that our record signing might be worth the money.

A hatrick from Soldado on Thursday would complete the rehabilitation of all but  Chiriches and Paulinho though both have shown glimpses of their real ability at times.

Of course the strands of hope and achievement might unravel against Liverpool but for the moment the momentum and confidence of three straight wins and a fourth on the cards against Limassol and playing at home might just do the trick.

We are moving the ball from the back more quickly and from the midfield more precisely. There is a positive feel to the attitude and the play. The third goal came at the end of a two minute, 48 pass move and  every player was involved.

Under AVB a 48 pass move was always a possibility, possession being the name of the game, but it might not have taken us far over the half way line and would have taken most of the match to complete.

I know, it was only two teams that might be fighting relegation and there are tougher tests to come. But we are nicely set up to beat Limassol and we might just sweep Liverpool away. They certainly looked vulnerable against Man City.

Well as Doris Day amongst others used to sing: ' We're not here to stay; we're on a short holiday
Life is just a bowl of cherries Don't take it serious, it's too mysterious'.

We may be top today but it's probably only temporary; enjoy it while you can.

Jimmy's predictions.
Liverpool (Ever cautious as befits the President of the Take a Draw Society) 2-2.
Limassol. Clear win with the team comprising anyone not needed for Liverpool and Lloris. 2-0

Those we have loved.
Michael Dawson to Hull for a ridiculously cheap £3 million (allegedly). I thought he left weeks ago.

Those we haven't quite got to love enough yet.
Andros Townsend in part exchange for Sneiderlin. Not really a goer 3/10 chance.

Those we might get to love.
Defender Federico Fazio from Sevilla for £10 million give or take. Done according to 'insiders'.

Jimmy's Video Spot. (Spurs 48 pass move video has been blocked by the F.A.  (Meanies.)
So Daniel Levy gets down and with the lads for the ice bucket challenge. Nominated by AVB. No hard feelings there then! Nominating Perez has probably scuttled our chances of Christiano coming or the return of Modric and Bale.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Opportunity knocks for Pochettino.

We're definitely going somewhere.
Just not sure where or how far yet.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 Thought I'd give it a couple of weeks before I launched into my definitive analysis of the season so far; our prospects for the future; who should leave; who might come in; how long Mauricio will last; when the new Stadium will be completed and other related Spurs matters.

Actually that's a load of hogwash. Missed the W.Ham game due to family holiday commitments and the Limassol tie as I was on a plane returning from same. Two games missed, two wins. Anyone like to sponsor me not to watch Spurs for a few games? Or a season or two?

But I've read all my fellow bloggers; the Spurs websites; all the papers; and watched the highlights and downloads. Not a patch on watching it live and taking a personal view as the drama unfolds of course. That's what you pay us bloggers for.

We might easily have lost the West Ham game after a harsh sending off for Kyle Naughton. A red card that we didn't even appeal apparently. Noble rolled his penalty wide after scoring his previous ten.

Eric Dier scored the winner in injury time to seal his reputation for at least as long as Danny Rose did after scoring that goal against Arsenal. What he was doing up there to get on the end of a thoughtful ball from Harry Kane not even he can tell you.

But let the record books show that he launched Mauricio's career and expunged some of the ugly memories of last season in one fell swoop at the Bolyn ground. He also put to bed the chance of us bloggers weaving cunning puns around his name. But he's young there's plenty of time.

In Greece we lulled them into a false sense of security before Lamela  and Soldado repaid some of their eye watering fees. Not eye watering for me, it's not my money, well very little of it. Actually it's not DL's money either. The Bale Inheritance funded it and more.

The defending was a shambles for the goal  and another chance saved by Hugo's legs but as long as we score more than we concede, the Tottenham way if you will, then the faithful will go home happy. Actually the faithful rarely go home happy whatever the result.

Lamela is showing signs of class and Soldado's goal was straight out of his Valencia songbook. Eric also set up Kane for the winner. We have talked up all three of them on The Musings and as it says on the tin, 'We are not always wrong'.

So what about our new favourite Argentinian, Mauricio Pochettino? He has been well received on the whole and two wins from two competitive games will do nothing to dampen the enthusiasm. Timely and effective substitutions, beating our second favourite adversary with ten men for an hour, last minute victories,coming from behind away from home.

What's not to admire? And he speaks the lingo better than most of our recent managers. If he can put one over on Harry on Sunday, six from two you might say, he might have convinced a lot more of the waverers. He has a plan but unlike AVB it includes positive football not mere possession.

We have the players for pressing from the front, well we will when Ade is up to speed, but not the defenders for the high line, especially with the other Kyle still worryingly out. Lloris is pretty nippy but he can't be everywhere.

If we had had a more strenuous and purposeful pre-season and not allowed the abacus brigade to walk all over the men in track suits and boots then our new leader might not be having to sort out his best squad as we approach September.

Of course having key players return late from the World Cup and the nonsense of allowing transfers after the season has started always causes some confusion. But so far, so good.

Paulinho has done nothing to re-build  his reputation, Townsend has reverted to one man band mode, Bentaleb still looks decent and Ben Davies is surprisingly no better than Danny Rose. But it's early days and the fixture fixer has been more benign than we might have hoped.

We don't do ITK on Musings unless we're really desperate for material. Which of our players hasn't been linked with a move away?  And which available player out there hasn't been the subject of a Spurs 'swoop'?
We probably still need another centre half especially if Daws goes.

But we have more than enough new players already of whom only Eriksen could be said to be a success and he hasn't exactly shone so far this season. Too many incomers scuppered AVB last season, and Mauricio deserves a little breathing space.

Interesting that Levy couldn't supply AVB with his main objective Moutinho and history repeats itself with the failure to secure Sneiderlin. Did I see the headline 'Schneiderlin done' somewhere?  But there's still a few days to go folks. Watch this space.

Golden Spoon awards: (New feature)
Erik Lamela, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Mauricio.

Wooden Spoon:
Paulinho scoops the pot so far by all accounts.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
A game not widely available especially if you're 39000 feet up. Three minutes of our latest European adventure starring Erik Lamela who changed the game when he replaced Townsend on 70 minutes with Harry and Roberto in supporting roles.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Captain Hugo Lloris

Losing once to us in a season Timothy is misfortune;
twice is carelessness;  three times is rank incompetence.
The Greg Meyer Column.
 Friday 15 August 2014 .... Bonaparte's Birthday.

Captain Hugo Lloris.
 He captains La France and is Spurs only world class player. Guaranteed to play every game if needed. Not so with the other eligibles on a short list. Before we check the candidates a quick look at the crew he may have under him for this season.
  The window is still slightly ajar as is the exit door. So far our transfer dealings and a general overview of the squad can be classified as follows ...

The "You're Having a Larf " Division.

Danny Rose has been given a new 5 year contract. Five more years to perfect his headless chicken style of defending. Five more years to hone how to hit the first defender with finite precision when crossing the ball.Five more years to excel in the overhit cross, a fall back position when the aforementioned defender is not available to block the ball.
 Perhaps our Argentinian managerial maestro studied at the school of magic. Otherwise a belief in miracles is required whereby Danny comes good.
 Harry Kane seems an enthusiastic likeable young chap, much in the vein of Michael Dawson. Another five years to hone his skills. Granted there is promise in certain departments however these do not include pace, the ability to go past a player or strike fear into the visiting defence. 
Not a realistic barometer but ponder on who is third choice at Chelsea, Man U, etc. Good luck for all our sakes Harry.
 Mr. Invisible(s).
Apart from some spin on the Official Site yesterday our Brazilian import may as well never have left Brazil after his largely invisible offerings in the World Cup. Paulinho has been quoted as saying he is determined to show the Spurs fans his real self. An appearance for Spurs down the track is mooted. Again some Argentinian magic will be needed.
 He may be listed on the squad sheet but thats the only place you will see his name mentioned. Benoit Assou-Ekotto's only likely contribution herein is an irregular jokey twitter exchange with his professed mate Emmanuel.
  The Transfer You Have that isn't a Transfer.

Surely a basic premise dictates when you sign a player this window he plays this season or even goes out on loan after showing his face at Spurs Lodge. Not so !

 DeAndre Yedlin was signed from Seattle Sounders but does not join us until next season. Surely not another Bongani Khumalo. At best you could say he is great long distance cover for the right back position. Mind if Kyle Walker's pelvis continues its present downhill decline then DeAndre might take a long haul Atlantic flight sooner than expected.
 The "Something we couldn't do last year " Division.
Hugo Lloris and a certain sulky Belgian despite tabloidal moves abroad to PSG and Barcelona respectively are still with us. Vertonghen on his day, having taken the prescribed medication, is a classy centre back. Hugo has no temperament issues and is just that. Class. 
Perhaps Christian Eriksen fits here as well. An emerging world class candidate who is here for another season and should blossom even further.

 The Reluctant Tourists.
 Despite the best efforts of Hull City, QPR, and some at the Lane last season's captain, Michael Dawson, is still here. Along with Younes Kaboul both seem to have resisted attempts to be shown the exit door. Kaboul if, and thats a much bigger word than it looks,when fit is good value. Dawson , an honest club man, unfortunately now playing with less and less pace. Unfortunate when you start with none at all.
The  " Really Actually Happened Signings " Club.
Welcome Ben Davies, Michael Vorm and Eric Dier. Quality signings albeit not superstars. On showings to date will fit well with the Pochettino style of play.

 The " Daniel Levy Superstar Coming Soon To A Stadium Near You Signings "  .
A distinguished list which has included notables like the Brazilian Rivaldo. Those names put up intended to assuage the fans appetite for a big name signing. In AVB's case it was Jose Moutinho and Hulk. Alas a last minute difficulty means no signing. Never the fault of our illustrious chairman.
 A common thread here mostly is the difficulty of the actual deal. Third party ownership anyone. Some might cynically opine a reluctance by Daniel to part with sufficient "readies".

 Well seems a foregone again. Mateo Musacchio of Villareal seemed a perfect fit at Centreback. Argentinian as well. Unfortunately seems to have gone down the gurgler a la Moutinho et all.

 The "One That Got Away " Club.
A more realistic signing seemed to be Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton. Desperate to follow his manager, even went on strike, but seems as though our Chairman is money shy. It's not like we have spent yet you say. Quite right we agree. And so to our final category ...

 The "Reason Our Pub Goes To Football."
Language sorted, back sorted, new manager sorted, then our pub's cult figure is set to entertain, set to score goals and set to move towards that world class status that lurks within his athletic frame.

 Erik Lamela will be like a new signing after featuring for only a handful of games in the first part of last year. His confidence seems to be growing apace. His obvious enjoyment of playing and training with his teamates is apparent all over social media. 
If he fires then along with Adebayour, surely a new Soldado, then certainly the goals will flow. I know optimism abounds here ...
 At A Kent Pub.
 Spurs have no official captain at the moment. Michael Dawson is keeping the armband warm but surely our Hugo deserves it. A leader from the back, world class , no language difficulties and a truly respected icon at White Hart Lane. 
In his role as sweeper keeper he is hardly anchored to his line and in those moments of crisis when a leader is needed he is there. Corners of course. Hang the other candidates. Hugo gets our vote every time.
Given it is Napoleon's birthday what a tremendous time to announce it. I am sure our French following might raise a glass of Beaujolais. I am damn sure our pub will.
Cheers ...  our pub predict four or five this year .... Greg Meyer.    coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot: 
Strikers scoring; defences almost keeping a clean sheet; the lane full of kids at a fiver a throw; the ground lovely in the sunshine. Just like old times. Unbeaten in pre-season. It's a shame we have to move with the times in many ways.
At least we have less than 24 hrs to wait to see if the growing optimism is well founded.
Anyway I call 6th.