The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pochettino to take the fall for Levy.



 Dublin?
Well Sir, sure I wouldn't start from here in the first place.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Where do we begin after Sunday. We got beat 4-1 against the champions last week but I took more positives than negatives from the game. There were signs that Mauricio was getting through.

This week the reverse is true. We dominated the first half but didn't create much. Ade's goal barely justified his selection. That Rose, and another home grown, Mason were our best players gives some idea of the lack of quality available.

 Their equaliser within six seconds, six seconds I ask you, of the second half restart was a blow from which we didn't have the resolve to recover. A rookie playing poorly headed their winner and Vertonghen hardly made a challenge.

Pochettino wasn't even back to his seat for their first goal and Dier was somewhere else entirely. Newcastle got a roasting at half time, made substitutions and were out, warmed up and waiting. We were caught stone cold and not for the first time.

'Tardy' as my old headmaster used to say of me doesn't quite have the ring of modernity. Try these: crawling, creeping, dallying, dawdling, dilatory, dillydallying, dragging, lagging, languid, leisurely, sluggish, snail-pacedunhurried.

Well we were one up after all and Newcastle are relegation fodder so what's the hurry. We lack mental and physical pace all over the pitch, Lloris excluded and even he was on the back foot for Ameobi's goal.

This was always going to be a year of transition and I entertained no illusions other than Pochettino bedding in and shaping them up and shipping some out. But with one win in seven in the Premiership and 11th place in the league things become more urgent by the week.

The Premiership table makes grim reading even at this stage. It's not two from eight obviously but all our alleged rivals are above us including Liverpool, Everton and Man. Utd who have all supposed to have made 'disastrous' starts.

We are three above the relegation zone and five below West Ham who are in the last Champions' League spot. We are cast adrift in the dangerous bottom half shallows and my prediction of a six place finish is looking ridiculously optimistic.

We are bungee jumping but someone forget to secure the rope. Whether we blame Daniel Levy, Mauricio, Baldini, Jermaine Jenas or the tea lady is a matter of judgement and opinion. After pre-season and nine games it is hard to blame the coach though he has not helped himself at times.

Appointing Kaboul as captain was probably not wise given his injury record and tendency to errraticism. There are talks of cliques in the dressing room and favourites on the team sheet. This is mainly journo gossip. Spanish speaking players talk to each other in Spanish, shock.

But Poch needs a year or two to implement his plans and genuine efforts made to supply his wants and needs in the transfer window. No more pathetic 'third party' excuses and shortsighted penny pinching.

Adebayor with an upset stomach played ahead of Kane and Soldado both of whom impressed recently. But our problems are more deep seated and go further back than Pochettino's foibles.

Levy has form on a number of counts. Not fixing the roof when the sun was shining as the Tories were fond of saying.. The time to invest was during the Harry Redknapp Champions' league years.

The knives are not out for him yet, just being sharpened in readiness. The mutterings are getting louder, protests are mooted and even elements of the press have turned on him. The teflon coating might just be starting to flake off.

We sold the heart of the team over recent years and any of the team with heart, and failed to replace key players going back to Berbatov. Moreover if you change your manager every six minutes you are building a house without foundations.

We have an unbalanced squad, light on strikers and overloaded with moderate midfielders. We splashed the Bale cash but not prudently.

That Harry Kane has emerged as a serious contender for a starting place and Ryan Mason has joined Bentaleb, injured at the moment, as a regular in midfield is a tribute to our own grown production line and fills me with pride and, fatally, hope.

Rose already first choice has seen off Davies.  Paulinho has slipped quietly beneath the waves. Fazio and Chiriches, have been observed drowning not waving. Capoue after Sunday looks to be floating towards them with a faulty life-belt. 

It calls into doubt the quality of those purchased in the post Bale spending spree and the judgement of those making the calls. Compound that with our third manager in a year and you have the makings of a disaster.

Early days perhaps but even in a season of transition you need to see some firmly based progress. As the country gentleman said; Top four? Well I wouldn't start from here in the first place.We have been treading water whilst others have progressed.

It wouldn't be a problem if Levy didn't have such an itchy trigger finger. Bottom half at Easter and Mauricio will be leaving instructions to his household:  'Don't answer the phone it might be for me'.

Lose tomorrow and,or Sunday and the fans will be out in the kitchen rattling those pots and pans especially the ones with non stick coatings.

However I am confident we will win both. Crisis averted for another week. Don't answer the phone Mauricio if we happen to lose both.

Jimmy's Video Spot. Best viewed on mute;
Well life at Spurs is not all gloom and doom. In the Europa we put five past Asteras in the Harry and Erik show. Lloris was sent off and Harry went in goal. The rest is history as is Harry's goalkeeping career. Laugh before you cry.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sharkface … Lamela’s Tango … Wenger’s Unfortunate Condition.

Sorry Harry, 
hatricks in Europe just don't make the headlines these days.
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The Greg Meyer Column.
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Trafalgar Week Saturday 25 October.
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Sharkface … Lamela’s Tango … Wenger’s Unfortunate Condition.
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Pablo Picasso ( would have been 153 years old  today ) never played football but he would have appreciated the outrageous artistry of a certain Argentinian maestro at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.
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Genius comes in many forms and Pablo certainly exhibited that in a prolific output over his 91 years. Still but a tender 22 years Eric Lamela is by no means prolific yet. However courtesy of the Internet his rabonesque strike on Thursday means he is fast closing on Pablo regards the planet Earth  recognition stakes.
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Eric was obviously brought up on the tango of which a recognized dance step is the rabona. Courtesy of the Net we see him scoring against River Plate as a teenager. Voila he treats the world to that tangoesque strike again last Thursday.
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Maybe his instinctive decision to tango rather than use his non preferred right foot had something to do with his relaxed and confident state of mind. After all besides his Argentinian manager there were a total of seven Argentinians in the Asteras Tripolis outfit.
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From his very first You Tube dance video we have taken to the lad. In part the leaving of Berbatov,  Modric and then our beloved Bale meant  who was going to provide that certain magic worth the admission price alone.
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Lamela has yet to consistently blossom , a first season to forget, but the dance band is gathering momentum. He certainly provided one of those special and memorable moments.
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“ I was at the Lane when Eric Lamela scored a Rabona.” 
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Mind it seems that one of the game’s most respected managers had not heard about it.
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The Selective and Blinkered Vision that is Arsene Wenger. 
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 At his Friday press conference Arsene was asked for his comment on the goal that anyone that had a computer, mobile phone, radio, television, could not but have come across.
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'No. Sorry' said Arsene he had been watching another game at the time . So what. Surely a man professing to be up with most things football might just have seen a news snatch on multi media. Unless you resided in a cave deep in the Amazonian jungle then there was no missing it.
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Seems the antipathy that our French rival holds towards most things Spurs is still very much alive and dancing.
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Sharkface.
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Football fans can be mischievous when allocating nicknames towards rival teams managers.
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I am sure the good natured  naming of Brendan Rogers by Spurs fans is perhaps of mixed origin. Those recent comprehensive defeats have not endeared Brendan to North London
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Mind his protestation that Liverpool will not do a “Spurs” after selling Luis Suarez are looking increasingly wobbly. Surely you sell a Bale and a Suarez then replacement and back to where you were does not occur overnight.
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 Brendan has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the degree of difficulty. “ We’ll not do a Spurs.”
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Seems a certain Italian Mario is exacerbating the apparently well laid Rogers plans. Certainly losing no sleep over  the potential sharks circling if Brendan stuffs up …
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At A Kent Pub.
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Surely no Europa hangover against Newcastle on Sunday. Given his substitution against the Greeks then Lamela to start. Harry Kane probably not. Still whilst our Pub are not yet convinced he is certainly improving.
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 Hard taskmasters here at the home of fine English ale.  He has certainly pulled a long way ahead of another touted forward. Mrs Townsend must have the maternal stoicism of Job. Andros may yet make it but not sure it will be in football.
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Don’t much mind Newcastle save and except for a certain arrogant Dutchman. Tim Krul’s antics at the World Cup coming on top of his amazing display against us last season cement his place in our Pub’s Hall of Dislike.
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Still expect our men to prevail.
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Cheers … perhaps no rabona .. but a tap in from Eric would suffice … Greg  Meyer.    coys.
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 Jimmy's Video Spot.
What else? Adebayor grafts away and causes a defender to set up Erik for the coup de grace rabona style. That's final blow not cut the grass. Mauricio pretends he's not impressed and intends to fine him at this point, but lets him off with a warning as his second goal wasn't bad.

 Welcome home EL. Kisses the badge too. Odds on to be at Real next season.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Spurs closing the gap on City.

And quite hilly too.
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The JimmyG2 column.
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 Well hello! It seems a long time since my last Confession. Actually it's only 10 days since I last Mused.  There's not a lot of difference between the two at times with Spurs.

I've lost concentration. I'm suffering from football deprivation. I don't count the European qualifiers

All that was put right at lunchtime on Saturday when there was more football than we could cope with including a masterclass from Aguerro. Spurs were definitely the underdogs which is how I prefer it. Less chance of a losing when we we were expected to win.

We've lost our last several against Moneychester City and my hopes were flying so low that they were not only below the radar they were being used for sewer maintenance and exploring several caves discovered below the site of the new Stadium.

It only needs the sighting of a rare orchid or a  bat colony and we could be spending the next decade at MK Dons not just a season. That's just the latest rumour of course which as you know we never comment upon.

What else can I tell you?  Costly research has revealed that football is getting too expensive, but you worked that out for yourselves for nothing.The common man is heading back to the common, or Hackney marshes as they are known locally.

The 38th game nonsense is back on but remember season ticket holders you will be eligible to attend the match in Qatar, Jakarta or wherever. Daniel however will not be funding your travel expenses.

 Not quite like laying on a coach and a couple of crates of brown ale for away games is it?

Game set and match to the prawn sandwich brigade, now known as the Caviar and Champagne Society. It makes sense in Corporate terms. By 2020 all the games could be played abroad which in Corporate terms would make even more sense.

However I digress. It wasn't quite Slaughter House 5: The Sequel against City but we were still well beaten. We gave them a scare at times and there are more positives then negatives from the game apart from the points.

The main ones are the indications that the squad are increasingly buying in to Mauricio's message. Mason demonstrated the effectiveness of the hard presss and set up the opening for the first goal.

 Last time we had over 60% possession and conceded five goals. Logically in some tactical universe it made sense to let them have more of the ball.

If we had only excluded Aguerro from this generosity it might have been closer. You will have observed that the last three beatings are in a descending sequence 6,5,4 so the season after next we should at least get a draw.

 If only the ref... but let's not go down that road. The sending off was wrong and should be successfully appealed. But the foul on Soldado was outside the box.

Lampard was offside and interfering with play by obscuring Lloris's view for the first. He was also throwing himself to the floor before Lamela even arrived for the second goal. But down that particular long long trail trail a winding mental instability lies.

 Soldado had a good game generally, assisting the Eriksen equaliser and setting up Mason but the penalty miss will stick in the memory longer. Actually it was a very good save rather than a miss.

Mason impressed once again with his attacking instincts; Eriksen was stung into a lively performance by the criticism of his national coach; Lloris oozed class but only just pipped Hart for the GOTM award.(Goalkeeper Of The Match award).

I'm not sure that playing a high line against the Champions on their own ground was a wise strategy but on the whole I like his style.Very Spurs. The more circumspect approach which got a draw against Arsenal might have been better in some ways.

Perhaps City had another gear but we will never know as they didn't need it this time. Fazio was an odd choice for such a pressure match but presumably Verts was not ready. He hooked Capoue and Lamela who were struggling so at least we know he watches the games.

We're still all on a learning curve with Mauricio and I am happy to extend him the time and space to develop his ideas with the squad we have now and the incomers of his choice in January. Perhaps even DL is getting bored with sacking managers.

 Whether he will persevere with Bobby Soldier next week remains to be seen. But at least the fella runs about a bit. Expect to see Harry Kane and Ade on Thursday against a weakish Greek side in the Wafer.
(Asteris Tripoli).

I say 'weakish' but beware. They are unbeaten and head the group and have been very successful on their own terms. They have a strong home record but fortunately they are playing the first leg at White Hart Lane.

So the answer to the question which you didn't ask ask 'Are we nearly there yet? Is 'No, but we are heading in the right direction' Please Mr. Levy give the man time to impose his vision on the squad.

 Jimmy's Video Spot:
John McCormack ' There's a long long road awinding'  or the Beatles 'Long and winding road'
Now just let me think a moment. Done.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Big Yellow Taxi warning for Spurs.


Big Yellow Taxi
Read on: all will be revealed.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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 I missed the actual live excitement of the game but caught up with it on a download yesterday. And actually 'live excitement' is not a totally gross exaggeration. The traditionally close scoreline always has the potential for  an outbreak of nailbiting.

This was the sixth consecutive single goal victory in the Premiership between us and Southampton. Apart from a glaring miss by Mete late on Lloris was relatively unbothered. This was a much needed win for the team and the coach and moved us up from 12th to 6th.

Actually only goal difference and alphabetics keeps us from 4th. But 6th is about right and where I predict us to be at the end of the season. With only 7 games played it is too early to draw any precise conclusions.

Chelsea have made the early running and will probably win the Premiership by 5 or more points but only 3 points separate 4th (Man Utd) from 16th (Stoke). It's all still to play for as they say.

What of the Pochinetto Project; the Mauricio Masterplan; the Argentinian Assignment? Well it was launched in some style into the choppy waters of the Premiership with yet another new man on the bridge against QPR but has been stuck in the doldrums from time to time.

It's still rolling on although it gets stuck in the mud at times. Up to it's axles against W.Brom. Just to show that Musings can mix its metaphors with the best of them, But there looked to be bursts of progress against Southampton.

Even Adebayor sprinted about for the first ten minutes of each half and came alive for his part in the Erickson goal. But you get the impression that he's not  fully signed up. You get the same money whatever effort you put in.

 Lamela who is the only one who really understands the Argentinian for 'press you bastards' was prominent. With both sides initially closing down quickly the centre of the park was very congested but we had the better of it in the end.

Erickson whose goal was crucial  would like to take more part but doesn't really have the energy. But with a more settled back line  even Vertonghen looked happier. Marginally. Injury to Naughton bought on Dier and there was minimal disruption.

Danny Rose had recovered from his injury and played well. Strange that there were concerns over the fitness of the two most abused players in the team. You don't know what you've got till it's gone as Joni used to sing. Naughton could be out for six weeks.

 Some said that Kaboul was edgy but I didn't see that myself. I thought he looked strong and decisive. If he was yellow carded for his nothing foul on Mete then as the last man he should have been sent off but he was not forced to walk the plank.

Lets face it though against Southampton and Besitkas we prospered because their strikers were slightly worse than ours. Chadli our top scorer made a clever layoff for the assist. Another of the 'You don't know what you've got' fraternity.

Capoue emerged as a key player, Lloris was relatively unbothered. None of their players were significantly better than ours so if we've got any pieces of eight going spare I would blow it all on a figurehead for the front end of the ship.

Vertonghen was quietly effective which is how I like my centre halves; Mason didn't look out of place in the starting lineup and as at Arsenal we seemed to be taking a more strategic approach. The passing was quicker and we got forward  with some degree of urgency.

We are getting less possession but more points. And what do points mean? There are no awards for keeping the ball to ourselves other than that the opposition can't score if we've got the ball. A very unSpurs like philosophy to my mind.

So a re-evaluation is going on of our assets and Rose has not yet been displaced by Davies. Let Mauricio have a good look before the next window. Remember that Cinderella was found skulking in the scullery.

We paved Paradise and put up a Parking Lot. There might be a warning there for those eagerly awaiting the next transfer window. Let's clean up this lot first; there might be some stained glass hidden under the dust.

By all means sell Ade, Townsend, Lennon, Chiriches, Soldado, Paulinho, Chadli if you can replace them with something better but make sure you've examined the horse's teeth and got a second opinion.

Always look a gift horse in the mouth. It's got to be fed after all.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Had to be really. The wonderful Joni Mitchell In Concert in 1970. Prawn sandwich audience didn't recognize the intro. Shame about the frock Joni but the song is on a piece of vinyl that I still play. You're welcome.