The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Setback for Sherwood.

Tim's our manager until Niagara Falls freezes over. Oops!
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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And it was all going so well as the man in a barrel said as he went over Niagara Falls. But it's still 16 points out of 21 from the last seven games which most of us would have taken when Tim took over. And Hull away is up next so be of good cheer fellow fans.

In fact none of the next five are that terrifying at all: Hull, Everton, Newcastle, Norwich, and Cardiff. Even better three of them are away from home. Best get some points on the board before the next five though which include Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

If we are still there or somewhere close after the Liverpool game then the run in looks promising. Not that I think we will be. Even with my look on the brightside specs I can't see past 6th. Last night showed us the truth of where we are.

With any luck the Oligarchs and Sheiks will soon take themselves off to a million seater hovering super stadium in the desert near Dubai and play amongst themselves with a solid gold ball, on solid gold astroturf, for the Multi Squillionares Euro-Trophy. Solid gold naturally.

If they don't the top of the Premiership will increasingly be contested only by the finest players and officials that money can buy. Are these reflections pure sour grapes and a way of ignoring the harsh truths of last night's game? To an extent but we can't avert our gaze any longer.

If Tim had a game plan on Wednesday against City it was opaque at best and certainly didn't work out even before the incorrect decision to rule Michael Dawson's equaliser offside.When the kick was taken there were five at least City players playing him on.

Equally doubtful was the red card, penalty and sending off of Danny Rose who clearly got the ball before in any way making any contact with Dzeko. This decision will be appealed which won't change the result but will save us from Kyle Naughton at left back for the next three matches.

But even before that we were seriously second best and City might have been three or four up within half an hour. The woodwork, Hugo and wild finishing especially by Dzeko saved us until later. We rallied and 1-1 at half time may have seen us make more of a game of it but it would only have delayed the inevitable.

We showed some spirit for a time but City exploited the extra man ruthlessly to administer our second five goal defeat at home in a single season for the first time it is suggested in our history. I find that hard to believe. But it is the sort of stat. that will weigh heavily in the balance when Tim's future is discussed.

Tim's team sheet and formation sent us out with one leg tied behind our backs and it was men against boys for the most part. We had too many missing players both on and off the pitch. Bentaleb who has repaid Tim's faith in him was hopelessly out of his depth against the power and experience of City.

Dembele's one trick pony repertoire was quickly sussed and it was some relief when he was forced to go off. Capoue should have been on from the start in any case. Not as an alternative to Nabil and Moussa but as a belt to their braces. Under intense pressure our passes were going astray.

Both Siggy and Lennon contributed less than diddly. Eriksen who created mayhem with his dead ball kicks was lost in midfield and  the abandoned Adebayor who gets an A for effort struggled manfully against three or four defenders. Tim was hoping for miracles but was disappointed.

Dawson and Chiriches did their best as 3rd and 4th choice centre backs but in the circumstances even when Aguerra went off it was not quite good enough.

We did better than last time though so Tim won't get the sack this week as progress is clearly being made if only statistically. Against the likely Premiership winners it was an uphill struggle from the start and the dodgy decisions by the officials made a bad situation even worse.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Nothing available for the Dawson 'goal' but here is the red card for Danny Rose. Doesn't show Mariner awarding a corner before the linesman intervenes but clearly shows Dzeko crumbling before he is touched and Rose clearly getting the ball first. 50/50 on the appeal succeeding.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Your place at five oclock to make love. If I'm late start without me.



 
Did Tim say Swansea
     was a two oclock start Daws?
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          The JimmyG2 Column.
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  Yet another nail biting start and yet another three points. I don't think Man. City will allow us the luxury of a late lie in so alarm clocks will have to be set and watches synchronised. Mind you it's an evening kick off and not till Wednesday week so we should be there on time.

As Tallulah Bankhead once said; 'I'll be at your place to make love at 5 oclock. If I'm late start without me. City won't need a second bidding and could be out of sight by half time. 'Out of sight!' Oh please yourselves.

If Bony's neat turn and powerful strike had gone in we might be discussing a whole different football game. In the end it was 'The Tale of Two Strikers' a classic that Charlie Dickens, preoccupied by trivialities like the French Revolution, never quite got around to.

Level on points with Liverpool in fourth; advancing steadily into positive goal difference territory; two clean sheets and 15 goals scored in our 6 Premiership games under Timothy; and 16 points out of 18. Not exactly a Catalogue of Horrors is it?

 Even those that have hated Tim from birth are beginning to soften in their hostility and are almost grateful that the midwife didn't drown him in the barrel with the kittens. If he's not careful he might get the job on a permanent basis and then his troubles really will begin.

Spurs fans are a difficult lot to please. I will always remember the apocryphal Jenas story after he supposedly scored a first half hatrick, headed two off the line, then went in goal and saved a penalty. 'Ah' said the long suffering Spurs supporter, 'But can he do it every week? Timothy be warned.

The Spurs midfield for the first half hour was like kids tadpoling with a large holed net. Not much was intercepted, everything passed straight through. Fortunately Swansea's admirable approach play wasn't matched by their penetration in the final third. 

Bentaleb amongst many others improved as the game progressed. In our first really menacing counter Adebayor laid the ball up to Eriksen, then sprinted 50yds while Lennon and Eriksen passed the ball amongst themselves to get on the end of a delightful curling cross from the Dane to head us into the lead on 35 minutes.

All the air went out of the Swansea balloon once Walker from the bye-line had induced Flores to put through his own net soon after half time. It  should have been 3-0 soon after but Dembele ignored Adebayor well placed for a tap in but failed to score himself when through on goal. Another  Xmas card saved.

In the end it didn't matter as Rose obliged when put through by Sigurdsson,fresh on as sub, and Adebayor scored his 6th goal in eight starts to go top scorer with Soldado who sat this one out with Defoe on the bench. Ade is equal on goals but in half the starts.

On our current form over the last six away games we are ranked top and Tim is in line for the ultimate kiss of death, the Manager of the Month award. We have lost only once in the last 10 Premiership games. Better yet the football is improving too.

All credit to Tim for varying his tactics away from home, for using his subs judiciously especially the canny introduction of Naughton for Lennon who had become increasingly peripheral. Walker went to what we used to call wing half and he may find this his eventual resting place. Shades of Gareth Bale.

So hats off to Tim, the boys are certainly playing for him and his resurrection of Adebayor has been the key and the biggest black mark against  AVB. We  know he can do it, Ade knows he can do it and Tim knows too. For how long is anybody's guess. And all over a beanie hat. I think not.

3-0 up and cruising we conceded a late goal to the impressive Bony but nothing could stop us achieving our fifth consecutive away victory for the first time since 1961. Although it should be acknowledged that the first two of these were under AVB. Give the man his due.

I expect you are tired of hearing this statistic but I mention it just in case you were on a space mission or monastic retreat at the weekend. This takes us back to the Bill Nicholson era but comparisons are not being made just yet.

You are either too young to remember The Nicholson Years or so old that you have forgotten them completely and are wondering why you are standing at the top of the stairswith a bucket and mop. But out of the recent upheavals a new optimism is emerging.

Can he do it every week? Well he has so far. Wednesday week will tell us a lot more. Will we see 442 at home to the likely Champions? He just might but he seems more flexible lately and to be honest I really don't know.

Jimmy's Video Spot:  
Christian Eriksen: Increasingly important to Tim and Spurs. Hard to pick a favourite from this sequence. Five minutes of magic from the man destined to be our playmaker hopefully for years to come. Pipped for MOM by Adebayor on Sunday, his day will surely come.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Sherwood threatens to succeed.

Gone but not forgotten:
The first half against Crystal Palace.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 13 points out of 15 since Tim Sherwood took over tells the most important part of the Tottenham story this season as far as most fans are concerned. However the first half performance against Crystal Palace was as bad as I remember in many years of following Spurs.

 The bad, the worse and the truly awful. But if the poor initial attitude of the players can be laid at his door so can the revival after half time. Words were clearly said and multiple hair dryers accurately aimed.

We could have easily been 3 down at half time and might have conceded another three at corners in the last 15 minutes. The penalty was soft but Dembele's immediate reaction told it all. In the end we won and although nothing will be forgotten much will be forgiven. Bentaleb was most people's MOM not that he had any serious rivals.

It was a crucial win as all of the top seven teams won. The top four have all got a two points per game or better average. Safe from relegation on the magical 40 points; we are 3 points off a Champions' League place and a mere 8 points behind Arsenal who return to the top.

The gap between 7th and 8th is widening and the mixed blessing of Europa football looks assured. Not bad for a side that sacked its manager before the half way stage of the season in a somewhat desperate bid for Premiership salvation and appointed an unqualified insider on a short term contract.

However points on the board are what counts especially in our injury hit circumstances. So, so far so good even if some of the football is no better than under the dark days under AVB. At least the intent is there. Tim talks the talk but as yet the players are yet to fully walk the walk.

Those who accept playing badly and winning will be delighted with the Crystal Palace example. Personally they are welcome to it and it brings into question the whole point of watching Spurs or any team for that matter.

Taking the positives to emerge from Tim's brief reign to date: Eriksen has established himself as a key figure as well as Nabil Bentilab who has been preferred to the more experienced Capue.  Rumours are circulating that Sherwood is critical of the Frenchman's attitude in training.

Adebayor has been given the kiss of life; a key demand of Levy ever aware of the bottom line, and we are getting more players into the box. Play has certainly been speeded up and with this in mind Townsend has been backed for an early return.

Lamela, Sandro and Vertonghen are on the verge of returning to full training so to coin a phrase : things can only get better even if it's three steps forward, two steps back at the moment in terms of the football played. The Crystal Palace game had ugly reminders of the worst of the negativity under AVB.

Judgment on Tim is premature after five games and I have an open mind on his future. Points mean prizes but I will be surprised if we finish in the top five or much above where AVB left us, in seventh  which would be an achievement in itself.

It will be Levy's call in the final analysis and I suspect that Tim will neither clearly succeed nor obviously fail.His future will hang agonizingly in the balance when we finish outside the top four. A decent run in the Europa may stay the hangman's noose.

I predict that Sherwood will do enough to remain manager until the end of his contract and if his promotion of youngsters, Carroll and Kane in addition to Bentaleb reaps dividends this might influence Levy's decision. But he will be working in the full knowledge that Levy will be looking for an excuse to sack him as his term runs out. Or maybe sooner.

If Adebayor stays focused; Soldado finds his scoring touch; Lennon stays fit and Eriksen continues to develop his creative role then it could all come good for Tim, the team and the fans. But let's not get carried away.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Worst penalty miss ever? Well that's probable an extreme claim. Puncheon did at least send Hugo the wrong way. One nil down after 8 minutes might have been a bridge too far.


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Lamela Conspiracy In The Cup.


The Lamela File: The latest in a long line:
 The truth is out there.
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The Greg Meyer Column.
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 January 3, 2014 ... A Birthday Cast of Thousands.
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The North London Cup Derby ... A Conspiracy ...  Surely Not.
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Lamela to start in the Cup. A lay down misere surely. Argentinian and English for a certain winning hand Australian for a winning hand in that grand old card game 500, much used by Tim Sherwood to while away the down time sitting in hotels awaiting a football game.
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Hang now it's all internet betting and the like. Just ask Andros. Andros Townsend is out injured and who might take his place on the wing. Erik Lamela would surely be at short betting odds.
However early news from Spurs suggests Lamela is not available. Manager or should that be head coach Sherwood has mentioned injury and thigh in the same sentence. Yes others have opined splinters in the aforementioned thigh.
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Whatever the interesting developments are the rumours apparently regards Erik's brothers tweet information. Brian Lamela, a hitherto reliable oracle of all matters Lamela ( Erik that is) suggests there is no such thigh or injury problem. Hmmm.
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Far be it for the conspiracy team at our pub to suggest ...
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the manager misunderstood Erik. Argentinian is not Tim's first language nor his second , third etc. Mind Erik is hardly well endowed with cockney fluency.
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 the manager has yet to believe Lamela should qualify for a start. That despite an encouraging 15 minutes against Stoke. As well Lamela has previous at the Emirates earlier this season.
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 the manager's agenda does not yet include our headline signing. To date he has variously suggested he is not completely familiar with him. Hmmm.
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Unfortunately the headquarters of the Erik Lamela Fan Club goes with the third option. Certainly a big mistake and to be hoped a change of mind sooner by Mr. Sherwood.
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 The home of that fan club... of course...
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The Kent Pub.
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The optimism level has risen following Old Trafford. A cup win is realistic but still in the lap of who plays for who.
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The media would have you believe Arsenal will send a weaker side out. Absolute  bollocks..
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Before we return to the serious side of life here on a Friday evening ...
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Birthdays Galore.
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Raise your glass to Michael Schumacher, the Lord of the Rings Man Tolkein, Victor Borge, Stephen Stills, Mel Gibson,Inspector Morse, and a man still recovering at Manchester, Jonny Evans.
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Cheers ... To believe is to do ... Lamela will be a Star ... Greg Meyer.   coys.
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 Jimmy's Video Spot.
Just in case you've forgotten, here is the most recent compilation of our Erik. Could be a bluff by Tim 'Mind Games' Sherwood. Not injured at all and starts against Arsenal. I'm not as convinced as Greg but happy to be proved wrong. Bit like me and Tim to be fair.
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Friday, 3 January 2014

How Timothy got the job.

Any idea what happened to AVB?
There's an eye, a tongue, a leg and a toe in here.
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The JimmyG2 Column. 
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So Dan and Joe and Tim's cunning plan bears fruit. Cue thunder and lightning and  three cloaked figures
cackling and giving the pot of intrigue a final stir.

I've studied your AVB dossier Timothy. We think you're right: we need to sack him..

Does that mean I get the job Mr.Levy?

We don't think you're quite ready Timothy but I'll get back to you when we've surveyed our options.

(3 minutes later )
Timothy how about an interim caretaker role on a rolling 3 month contract and see how it goes?

Nah, ten years minimum sir. That's the least I can accept.

Be reasonable Timothy. Walk before you can run and all that. 18 months is the absolute best we can do.

That'll do me nicely sir.

There's no money in January. With the fringe youngsters you've plenty of players.
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With injuries and loans sir we're down to the bare bones.

That has a vaguely familiar ring. Who writes your scripts?

I'll need Les and and the boys with me and a big bonus if we make top four.

Never hustle a hustler Mr. Sherwood.

As discussed Mr. Lewis: short contract, no money; we can sack him if we fall into the bottom half. If he does well? Very little chance of that, it's Man.Utd. at Old Trafford next and then Arsenal in the Cup at the Emirates. Anyway we can claim the credit for it if he does. Shrewd appointment and all that.

Well if you're sure Daniel. But it's like renting your house out to someone with no references and hoping they don't chop up the furniture for fuel if the winter turns nasty. You put in the minimum games Lamela clause?

Oh sugar. I knew there was something. I'll have a word. Trust me Mr Lewis we know what we're doing. Whatever happens nothing will stick to us.

When shall we three again? When the Arsenal match is done. When the battles lost or won.

I know very few people who welcomed the announcement of Tim's appointment though many were pleased to see the back of AVB. However he has exceeded everyone's expectations, including mine. Repeating AVB's defeat of Man.Utd at Old Trafford will endear him to any wavering fans.

More importantly it takes us to within 2 points of Liverpool and the Champions League. It starts 2014 in style and will spread confidence though the squad. It will give him greater authority within the club.

Obviously the Jury is still out after only four games but 10 points out of a possible 12 is a bit of a surprise even to his most ardent supporters. But he has coached some excellent performances and restored Adebayor which has cheered up Soldado considerably.

Soldado was involved in both goals on Wednesday and set up Lennon with a gilt edged chance. Eriksen scored and assisted and played a much more crucial role. We were wasteful with the ball as Tim himself admitted early on but played with more freedom.

We rode our luck in defence. Lloris continuing his recent erratic behavior brought Young down and headed from the very edge of the area. How Smalling's early shot didn't go in is a mystery. But we gained more control if not possession. The last twenty minutes was hectic but this is not the Man.Utd of old.

Tim presents well in the media, he appears genuine and straightforward, doesn't moan or bullshit and has handled the squad well so far. We finished on Sunday with Kane and Bentaleb playing with a confidence which belies their age.

In addition due to injuries to many of our foreign stars we had another 4 English players: Dawson, Lennon, Rose and Walker. We spent all that money on imports and beat Man. Utd with a showing of 6 English players at least three of whom are young and home grown. There were two more on the bench.

I'm not saying it's a policy it's just that Sherwood who has worked with the youth and tellingly with Adebayor when he was banished by AVB last year is sticking firmly within his comfort zone. Which is probably why Lamela hasn't featured yet under the new regime.

With Lennon resurgent he may have to wait a bit longer unless Daniel sends the High Rd. Heavies into the Manager's office before the Arsenal game. Latest news is that he has a thigh injury in any case.
 

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The man of the moment; quite witty, ' They've got hearts haven't they', composed and echoing Harry's man of the people schtick. Sounds as if he knows what he's doing even if he doesn't. What's not to like so far? He has an opportunity of huge dimensions.