The Blog that's not always wrong.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Spurs duo team up.

 The cockerel basks in the sunset glow of a successful week.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Another week and suddenly the clouds break and a shaft of sunlight bursts through. With more banana skins around than the Chimpanzee house at Whipsnade we picked our way tentatively to the end of a successful week.

Mauricio seems to be getting things clearer in his own head and in the heads of the players. Harry Kane increasingly our talisman sets the example by his effort and scores goals too. Watch and learn Roberto.

Eriksen  is settling into the playmaker role. The back five are more settled and the return of Kyle Walker gives us pace and width. The injury to Mason may disrupt things for a while and Bentaleb needs a rest.

He gave the ball away from the kick off on Saturday and never quite recovered. Stambouli looks favourite to step up against Leicester on Boxing day.

Corners turned perhaps. Last week began with a late win at Everton and so did this week at Swansea. After Everton it was mainly downhill, not quite thrashed by Chelsea and ending with the disappointing draw with Palace.

This week has been much more positive with the sweet revenge on Newcastle and some delightful football and a circumspect win at home against a surprisingly positive Burnley side.

We are still still in all competitions and 6th. equal on points with Arsenal in the league. Most people would have taken that at this stage of the Pochettino evolution. In the League Cup we are a two legged tie against Sheffield United away from Wembley.

Shades of Juande Ramos. We successfully avoided Liverpool and Chelsea in the semi final draw despite the best efforts of Graham Souness. Conspiracy Theorist? Moi? (See Video)

 But we seem to be perpetually hovering on the edge of meltdown; flirting continually with disaster and generally giving our more nervous fans, which includes me, the colleywobbles. 89th. minute? Don't look away yet.

 At Swansea Kane and Eriksen were the bright spots  and of course Lloris who defied the elusive Boney when he should have scored. Davies is still improving and will give Rose more than a run for his money.

Eriksen  is challenging Chadli as our top Premiership scorer  and needs to be in a position where he can hurt the opposition more. Kane's early goal settled everyone's nerves but we might easily have been down at halftime.

We played well for 20minutes ceded control to a lively Swansea, rode our luck and re-emerged to clinch victory after some sustained pressure for the last 20. Double training, lady luck, Pochittino's influence starting to bear fruit. All or none of the above.

Even Soldado scored within two minutes of replacing Kane and might have had a second.The boy Kane presses his claims at a more senior level with another strike.

 Chadli rubbed salt into Newcastle's wounds with a goal in the first minute of the second half. However did they manage to beat us in the league? But that was then. Is this another false dawn or has a corner been turned.

Burnley told us a little more. It was a faltering performance against a side we should have beaten easily. Another Kane early goal following clever wing play by Chadli should have opened the floodgates.

But we made heavy weather of it and ran out 2-1 winners again. The good news is that Lamela opened his Premiership account with a fine winning goal cutting in from the right and setting up Kane for a tap in which he missed.

The bad news is that Mason was carried off with an ankle injury. Walker continued his rehabilitation and it looks as though he and Lamela might make a good pairing. Lamela cutting in leaves space for Kyle to overlap. Early days but the hope is all.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The Capital One Cup draw. Jamie Redknapp gets the Souness death stare for not following instructions and pairing Chelsea with Liverpool.
'Not like that you fool, how I showed you.' Jamie wisely avoids eye contact.

Apologies for the foul language but thanks to Joel anyway.

Like the football Fazio and Vertonghen are not wholly convincing and nor are the midfield youngsters Mason and Bentaleb lately. Soldado is playing like a man who suspects that his number is up. Lamela continues to work hard and disappoint.

Results though continue to paper over the cracks which is more than enough for the moment

Monday, 8 December 2014

Spurs launch exciting new initiative.

 Plenty to clutch at.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Clinging to the top half by our fingernails while W.Ham go third and Newcastle beat Chelsea. I mention these two teams because a few weeks ago both Pardew and Sam were tipped for the chop. Now both teams are in the top seven.

Where will it all end? Spurs go from bad to even more worser. A week that started encouragingly with a comeback win against  Everton and included a fine performance by Harry Kane and a winning goal from Soldado fizzled out with a whimper.

Midweek we managed to not be absolutely thrashed by Chelsea and we almost drew first blood with a Harry Kane header which struck the crossbar in the opening minutes. But after the first quarter of an hour we hardly troubled them.

Apparently we had 70% possession in the second half but that's the Mourinho way. 2-0 up they were never going to expose themselves and contained us and scored another when Remy put Vertonghen on his backside to score.

Against Crystal Palace at home we  looked a spent force especially the Academy three. Football these days is more a squad than a team game and Mauricio should have used his players more sparingly.

In the end we were fortunate to hold onto a point. We started so slowly that latecomers might have thought that the kick off had been delayed. At home to Palace  Hugo was MOM which tells its own story.

The first 20 minutes were straight out of the AVB's autobiography' Possession: my way'. It wasn't until the final 15 minutes that we played with any pace or energy which seems the wrong way round to me.

 Lennon should have started or been on much earlier to give us width. After all it worked against Everton.

 Let's clutch at a few straws: Take the positives as they say. Fazio and Vertonghen look like an effective pairing in the making. Davies had a decent game again but every little breeze seemed to whisper ' Lloris'.

Now most of us suspected that this season of 'Transition 5' was not going to be good. Little did we think that it might be actually bad. But unless we get some gel and pretty soon we might slip even lower. We have the worst goal difference in the top half.

6th was acceptable as Pochettino and the dozen or so previous signings adapted to the new systems. I don't know what Daniel's cut off point is but bottom half at the start of 2015 might be pushing his limits. He wouldn't would he?

There are some straws to clutch at and the Everton game gave us hope. Eriksen, Davies and Soldado are threatening to come good; Lamela still flatters to deceive but at least makes an effort and young hopeful Yedlin is due at Xmas from America.

Kyle Walker is due to return soon but there is no respite in the fixture list with Europa and Cup games offering Mauricio little space for single, let alone double, training sessions.

The Palace game leaves us feeling a little flat although they are not a poor side. In Bolasie they had as good a player as any on the pitch  and they recently beat Liverpool in style.

We were resigned to two steps forward, one step back this season but progress has been much more faltering. One step forward three steps back especially at home.

15 games in is too soon to be getting in wrist slitting or manager sacking mode but we need more consistent evidence that the team is absorbing and buying into the Head Coach's methods and approach.

I'm booking myself in on the Santa Claus Stadium tour so as to catch the ear of the venerable gentleman. There's only one thing on my list: A Soldado hat trick by Boxing Day. He might have had one against Palace.

 At least he was getting into the right places. That's it Jimmy: clutch them straws: seize them positives. Build that boat.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Atlantic, all 5000 miles of it, in a balsa wood boat. So the straws might come in handy. Though maybe not this season.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Distinguished visitor brings new hope to Spurs.

Spotted on the High Rd.. around teatime on Sunday
The JimmyG2 Column
Father Xmas is alive and well and was last seen kicking a ball about on White Hart Lane: reindeer, sleigh; big sacks and everything. Xmas has come early. Enjoy it while you can.

 Just when you thought you were too old for the man with whiskers who is normally dressed in red. Not this year though. Presents gift wrapped for everyone at no extra charge.

First unwrapped was a midfield of our very own Academicians  Mason and Bentaleb playing ahead of a whole host of expensive imports. The latter our personal gift from Timothy for which much thanks. Actually a leftover present from last Xmas.

Pochettino enhanced his reputation for encouraging new talent against the opinion many others both inside and outside White Hart Lane. Not only did the team selection  prove to be right but crucially the motivation and the game plan was too.

Second out of the sack was another of our very own, Harry Kane, by popular acclaim the MOM for his endeavor and inspiration. He was instrumental in both goals and ran himself into the ground pressing from the front in a manner to gladden Mauricio's heart.

He ran further than anybody else on the pitch. I love that boy and we have championed his cause for the last couple of years. This bandwagon is getting seriously overloaded now though. Lineker is yet another Johnny- Come- Lately.

Third was a winning goal set up by by a newly inspired Lennon for Senor Roberto Soldado. The relief all round the ground and on the pitch was wondrous to behold. I nearly cried. He's on top of my Xmas tree after scoring a cracker.

Soldado, Kane and Lennon in one flowing move. That's three sets of knocker,s if you'll pardon the expression, silenced at one go.Well quietened anyway for the time being.

The extended love for Soldado in the face of so much scoring failure  is a rare and beautiful thing at Tottenham. He's clearly a gifted footballer and his record at Valencia speaks for itself.

 But it has been his attitude, his dignity under trying circumstances and professionalism that has won everybody over. It is a latitude not extended to everyone at Spurs. We want goals from our strikers no matter how much link play they perform.

The fans responded to the increased pace and positivity of the team in style and can take some of the credit for yet another comeback. The levels of both play and noise were significantly raised.

I don't know what Pochettino threatened the players with, extra training on Xmas day perhaps, but even Eriksen did his defensive share, protecting Davies from the threat of Coleman. As well as orchestrating the attack and scoring the equaliser following a fine run and shot by Boy Wonder Kane.

 If Christian had been an Academy boy I might have voted him MOM but charity begins at home. Even Vertonghen seemed to be enjoying himself which is like having a gold, frankincense and myrrh stuffing for the turkey

Lennon put in his usual defensive stint and little was seen of the attacking threat of Baines. Mauricio had got all the angles covered.

The final parcel to unwrap was the football.  The best performance by Spurs home or away since the days of Harry. The fans of possession football may marvel at our success with so little of the ball (39%)

Possession for a purpose is the new catchphrase. Having the ball in the right places and doing something with it. Everton played most of their football in front of our defensive shield and Lloris was well protected.

Chiriches has at least one Walkeresque moment per game but you just hope it won't be fatal. Hugo bailed him out after an under-hit back pass. Otherwise his cavalier spirit is effective. He's a better right back than Dier.

So that's three of the last four games won from a goal down. Our sixth concession of a goal in the first 15 minutes. Can we try scoring first preferably in the first five. It must be easier lads surely.

Figgy pudding all round and don't spare the brandy butter.

Question: Your thoughts welcomed:

Fined £20,000 for failing to control our players: 3 red cards with only a third of the season gone: 5 Yellows against Everton. Is this a welcome show of spirit and aggression or an outbreak of indiscipline?

Chelsea tomorrow.
It's a pity we don't have a whole week to savour this performance but we will take on Chelsea in midweek with renewed spirit. Expectations are not high against the champions elect but I'm going for a dogged draw. Hugo MOM.

Pitch invasions:
I quote from a Mr.O.Wilde. spokesman for the UEFA Disciplinary Committee.
To allow one pitch invasion may be regarded as unfortunate;
to allow two looks like carelessness;
to allow three is rank incompetence and heads will roll.

Roberto Martinez.
An uncharacteristically churlish response from the Everton manager. He's usually quite generous. Before the game he was talking us up for Champions' League so he obviously fancied their chances.

After the game the disappointment of going a goal up early and then losing to the better team clearly threw him off balance. He had the look of a man fearing it was all slipping away from him.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Best highlights and goals I could find. No soundtrack so you can't hear the chants of 'yiddo' when Soldado scores. Kane pounces; Lennon leads the charge, and Roberto slots it home as if  he does it every week.