The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Suspense at Spurs growing.

 Step away from the scissors.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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It's all gone a bit Buster Keaton at Spurs: hanging by our fingertips from skyscrapers; narrow misses from falling buildings, speeding cars and express trains. Isn't that better than Alice in Wonderland.

Our season: our ability to buy established players: our ability to keep the decent players we've got: ultimately our reputation are all going down to the wire along with Southampton and Liverpool.

Keep us hanging by a thread why don't you Spurs.This could all have been over one way or another weeks ago.  Four games to go and any of them could cut the cord and send us plunging down below. Well, out of Europe anyway.

The only difference is that for Buster it all comes right in the end whilst at best we'll finish sixth or seventh and do the poor man's tour of some of the more remote and lesser known parts of Europe. With any luck.

We fell from the Champions' League roof a while ago but we're still hanging on to the Europa Cup ledges for grim death. Southampton was the latest installment and as predicted by Musings it ended in a draw.

So the suspense goes on. Suspense! Sorry. Now there's good draws and bad draws and this was one of the better ones. We came from behind twice away from home to a team with a reputation for being a bit mean on their own ground.

You could also argue that we gifted them both their goals, a slip by Mason and then Davies dwelling on the ball and later misplacing a header to set up their second. But this was a draw written in the stars.

Only Bentaleb and Dier enhanced their reputations and Chadli confirmed that he at least knows where the goal is for the second week running with a well taken second equaliser.

Chadli's goal made us the first Premiership side to have three players with 10 or more goals. But conversely only 4 teams have conceded more.Think about it Mauricio.

 Lamela in fine Argentinian Hand of God tradition steered one home to keep himself in the top echelon of our scorers and assisters. He and Maradona must have attended the same Buenos Aires coaching Academy.

Kane was well marked and starved of supply and Eriksen was his shy retiring off-field self but on the field for this one.  Mason flickered intermittently, Dier with two assists, playing out of position did well.

Vertonghen once again couldn't be bothered to play above the level of those around him and he plays as if waiting for a phone call to summon him elsewhere.

As soon as the dreaded words ' Pelle's in a lean spell at the moment' were uttered we knew exactly what was going to happen. He duly scored twice.

 Not quite sure where Fazio had got to for the second. Is he in fact an upgrade on Michael Dawson whose heart and loyalty went some way to boost his averagibility. There are some things money can't buy.

And so the race for the UEFA continues. I use the word 'race' loosely. Although I remember fondly slow bicycle races from my schooldays and have a scar to prove it.

 Liverpool are still delusionally talking of catching Man. Utd. Apparently they weren't going to do a Tottenham and waste the Suarez money. How did that go Brendan?

I love my European Thursday nights and finishing 6th would not only make Musings predictions correct but give more players the chance to play. Does it help them? Just ask PFA Young Payer of the year Harry Kane.

There are plenty of other young players on the edges of the squad who could benefit from playing in  the EUFA and give the first team squad, poor lambs, a breather at least in the early stages.

Not playing in it doesn't make top four any more likely in the near future so let's use it to our advantage. Bring some of the squad into the fold. Poor lambs: into the fold. Oh please yourselves.

In the meantime the inevitable Schneiderlin debate raises its head. Is he better than Mason or Benteleb? Does it  actually matter? He could play a defensive role neither of those two relish and would release them to play further  forward.

On Saturday he was certainly bested by Benteleb but perhaps not by Mason. He's a good player but it's not 'instead of', but 'as well as' if the asking price is reasonable. £20 million currently.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Like Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd usually the underdog. No stunt doubles, no safety harness. All his own work. Some of Spurs performances rival Buster for  breathtaking unpredictability and last minute escapes.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Sometimes it's never too late.


All a bit Alice in Wonderland at Spurs.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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Actually in terms of achieving things, and catching planes it often is. We don't always need to hear the fat lady to know the opportunity has gone.Top Four? Forget it. That particular important date has gone for now.

But it's never too late to play some entertaining football or put in some effort and make the best of a bad job.

We left it too late, not in the Newcastle game, but in the season and the stable door was bolted at Newcastle just as the horse, Champions League, out of Billionaire Plaything and Eye Watering Wages disappeared over the horizon.

We faffed around for half an hour playing mainly amongst ourselves at the back until Chadli had the bright idea of having a shot on goal. Much too far out to beat Crul but it swerved a little, dipped a little, bounced in front of him and went in the corner.

About then we realised that Newcastle were not going to give us too much trouble. We invited them out to play but they were washing their hair and couldn't make it.

Young Ayoze Perez showed some nice touches and looked hungry but he was feeding off scraps and eventually starved to death though it was his counter attack that led to the goal.

You would have thought  constant showings of the Ameobi 6 second goal in the first game against Newcastle might have alerted us to the need to keep it tight for at least a minute  after half time.

But straightaway on the restart Chadli lost it on the half way line and Perez is off sensing a lite bite at least. Eventually Colbeck scores after Janmaat's shot is blocked by Dier.  Nearly 18 seconds on the watch so that's an improvement of sorts.

I'm not behind the sofa for long. Within a quarter of an hour Eriksen pulls off one of his teasing free kicks and curls one inside the far post from near the touchline without anyone getting a touch.

Lamela's usual prancing decoy run fools no-one and it goes in anyway. 2-1 Spurs and instead of enjoying the last half hour I'm anxious for the whistle to blow. Can we be trusted to see it out.

 See it out? O ye of little faith. Lamela breaks following a brave header by Mason and sets up  Kane who coolly scores his 30th. Lineker's record lies ahead. The youngsters show up again.

Our three top scorers on the score-sheet and our top assister making an overdue start contributing again. Chadli has been a bit off since his compassionate leave following the death of his father but he usually gives glimpses of quality.

The kid from Argentina is another that at least shows some heart as well as skill. Suited for the Premiership?  Not on his showing so far but he's young and could still come good. Levy won't take a big money hit on anyone so our most expensive signing will have at least another season.

Success, like beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder and depends on what criteria you apply and how harshly you apply them. Of the Magnificent Seven bought with the Bale money only the two above make the grade.

Soldado has wormed his way into our affections,  as has Vlad Chiriches but neither can be filed under 'The boy done good'. Lamela and Paulinho have their supporters but the Jury seems to have got lost on the way back to the courtroom.

While we're on the subject of success do we think that this has been a successful season, assuming we make 6th which is where most people including Musings had us marked down for  from the start.

With a Cup final as a bonus and Mauricio operating in hand me downs from a previous regimes I would certainly give him a vote of confidence on his performance so far though some of his decisions have been eccentric to say the least.

By beating Chelsea and Arsenal we have put down markers for the future but our performances against the so called lesser teams have been disappointing verging on the insipid and tending towards dire.

Saturday's game against Southampton like the Man.Utd showdown could be a turning point either way. I'm confidently predicting a tentative 1-1 draw which will leave the whole thing hanging in the balance.

So what would success look like for next season? Forget top Four and winning the Europa unless Levy splashes the cash pre-season. But we know how well that worked out the last time he left his wallet on the bus.

Could we make the Champions League next season. As Alice remarked. "one can't believe impossible things." But the Queen advised her to practise and in time like her she could believe six impossible things before breakfast. That might do it.

Priority for me though is to get some pleasure out of watching Spurs. I don't want to be praying for the final whistle with half an hour to go. Let's have some entertainment Mauricio.

Secondly bringing in our own and developing young talent gives me more satisfaction than buying silverware with expensive imports. I want the club to have some real investment, some personal stake in the game.

It would be good to see some progress in terms of a better challenge for top four even if we fall short. The key for me is the football not just the result. Playing with spirit and heart: style and flare.

 I don't need to quote Danny Blanchflower about not waiting for the opposition to die of boredom do I.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Ten minutes of joy from one success story at Spurs this season. He's small, he's too young to be losing his hair, he can't tackle and he's been a bit inconsistent lately but he sure can hit a ball with mean accuracy. I like the boy.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Spend,Spend,Spend.


Daniel and Baldini went to see this after the Bale money arrived*

Well it was bound to happen. Sacked manager returns and inflicts a third defeat against the manager that replaced him. Were you watching Daniel Levy.

The only goal was scored by Benteke who has been revived like Adebayor by Timothy. Pity he couldn't work the same magic on Roberto Soldado. Not that it matters now. Our season came to an end at the hands of not so crazy Louis a few games ago.

Only pride remains and even the Academy boys are spent. Except Danny Rose of course who would be a runaway winner of the player of the season award but for the emergence of  Harry Kane. There's a thing. Apparently a target for Man.City for £10 million.

Or is it Chelsea? Or even Real Madrid, But why would we sell him? Give him a new contract, double his wages and even make him captain as a reward for improvement and endeavour. We won't get anything better for that sort of money.

I say only pride but what else matters when it comes down to it. But something has gone wrong at Spurs. Harry bereft of any sort of service is now trying to do it all on his own. That's not what being captain involves Harry.

Eriksen, Chadli, Mason, Bentaleb and others who raised our hopes earlier seem to be out of energy and imagination. Kyle Walker, Lloris and Vertonghen are injured or sick. Others are out of favour. We are but a shadow of our former selves.

Pochettino seems to have shrugged his shoulders and turned his back on this season. and is looking forward to Summer signings and next season.

Why isn't Lamela starting. He shows more energy and effectiveness in 10 minute cameos than others show in the whole game. Why isn't Dembele giving Mason a rest?

Why are substitutions made so late? Perhaps Mauricio is dropping broad hints about the limitations of his squad to him upstairs. 

But the pedestrian football we are serving up is not acceptable. Against Aston Villa the pattern established against Burnley continued. Slow build up, sloppy passing and very limited signs of passion and spirit.

Now this  young squad will develop under Pochettino if he gets the chance. That's not a given with quick draw McLevy in control. With Yedlin (21) making a promising start and perhaps Pritchard (21) to step up next season the future is still bright.

But that doesn't excuse lack of effort and interest for the rest of this season. Nor the Head Coach not giving other players and formations a try now that we have only 'pride' and  the UEFA to play for.

Daniel will be more than miffed if we miss out on that £10 million or so. That's enough to buy at least an arm and a leg of a reasonable striker. A good one will cost.......Fill in the punchline for yourselves.

We are exactly where I thought we would be with bonus of the League Cup final but we were on the verge of achieving more. It's not so much the fact that we have missed out but the manner in which we did so..

This is the way the season ends not with a bang but a whimper. spursyid 61put his finger on one aspect in a thread on ftl. He observed that since the Lyon game 2 yrs ago only six players in the eighteen  man squad that day still remain at the club.

It has long been my contention that the constant churning of players, and Managers/ Head Coaches, is a serious impediment to the progress of the club. More churns than United Dairies as my Gran used to say about her stomach.

I lost a dog once through a United Dairies milkman. I was a kid playing in the street with a a scatty cocker spaniel. I fell and dog came over and started licking me boisterously.

 The Milkman, Dave, thought it was attacking me and lashed it with his horse whip and it shot off never to be seen again. Horse whip!. Don't see many of them on the streets today.

Curiously I don't recall the dog's name. But we only had one milkman for years and we had a dozen or more dogs when I was a kid. Sorry to digress but at least it takes your minds off the football.

I am looking forward to exciting times that I can enjoy and a future of fulfillment and not just hopes. Then perhaps I can put away my enthralling reminiscences and concentrate on the happenings on the pitch.

I wonder how many of the current squad and indeed manager will be at Spurs in another two years. There is no continuity, consistency or cohesion possible under this approach.

 The buying policy has been clueless and the selling policy crazy. I make that the five C´s of a club that seems to delight in shooting itself in the head rather too often.

Mauricio is struggling at the moment but needs to be given time to implement his ideas and continue his work with our own grown before we fall foul of the foreign player/ own grown balance. Which is probably why City want Danny and another reason to keep him.

I have no great hopes for the Newcastle game so we will probably hammer them three or four nil.

* Viv who died this week blew her big win in some style. In today's terms it was worth about £10 million. Wouldn't even buy half a decent footballer. Ya hear me Manuel Pellegrini.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Possibly my goal of the season against Burnley. Absolute quality from Soldado and movement, desire and ability from Danny Rose who points  exactly where he wants it. You may well ask what on earth was he doing up there. Best not.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Is there Life after Burnley?

 For Death read Burnley: For hell read UEFA:
Bit over the top Jim but still.
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The JimmyG2 Column

Here's a new game to get us through the end of the season and beyond. Is there a beyond after the end of the season? Of course there is: next season. There's always next season. The Afterlife as we believers call it.

Each week we will supply a performance continuum on which to plot your reaction to the game. It's free to enter and your current subscription will cover it. A small charge may be necessary in the future to cover administration costs.

(Owing to a printing malfunction the continuum sheets are not available this week. Watch this space.)

Why am I avoiding talking about the actual game. Obviously you didn't see it. The clue is that this weeks axis runs from Unacceptable through Uninspiring to Pathetic. Inept and tedious are somewhere along the line too.

Let's take the positives as they say. The back five revamped at half time due to an injury to Kyle Walker played OK. The undervalued Michel Vorm made a couple of decent saves and we kept a welcome clean sheet away from home.

The exciting, but not always in a good way, Vlad Chiriches made a decent stab at centre half and then at right back. Davies was bloodied at centre half and wasn't much worse than anyone else.

Danny Rose was one of the few to show any concern for the result and I made him MOM once again.
He gets into good positions and then wastes them but at least he gets into good positions.

Mauricio might take some cheer from the defensive performance against allegedly lively forwards but seems to have over compensated in his team talk to remedy our defensive failings.

 Chadli woefully out of form started again. No Lamela, Dembele, Fazio or Soldado. Even the mighty Andros can't make much of an impression in eight minutes. He struggles to do so at Spurs over the full ninety. England is another matter

Is Mauricio saying something to those up above about the limitations of his squad and its balance or is he still juggling his players and formations. Does he not yet know his best team as the pundits would have it

With our Academy contingent visibly wilting  and the rest looking forward to their holidays lacklustre doesn't even come close. Must put that on the performance continuum (which as I explained we haven't got) for this week.

The first ten minutes tells you most of what you need to know. Lately Eriksen's late goals have given the lie to my theory that how Spurs perform for this period is the key to the result.

But against Burnley I noted a dozen basic errors of control and passing, four of them by Walker, in this period. Then I snapped my pencil in frustration and ceased noting.

 Burnley incidentally should have been a goal up in two minutes but Danny Ings managed to find Vorm when scoring was the easier option.

 We had only a couple of shots on target in the whole game. Making Harry captain was asking for trouble. He had little service and consequently did little.

The game was crying out for Eriksen to step up but he didn't. Brazilian International Paulinho was possibly the worst player on the pitch and raised a cheer for the most inept attempt on goal this season or perhaps even longer.

So we played out a tedious draw when with Liverpool getting thumped by a resurgent Arsenal and City going down to a revitalised Crystal Palace a win would have put us enticingly close to a challenge for top four.

Twas ever thus at Spurs. They raise our hopes and then falter at the moment of delivery. And you know what they say about hope.

Perhaps the City loss puts things in perspective and Burnley have had good results against higher flying teams than us including both the Manchesters and Chelsea. But perspective is for historians not fans.

Of course I would have taken our current position at the start of the season and still would. With a seven point gap between Southampton in 7th. and Swansea in 8th. there is little likelihood of us avoiding the UEFA  as some would like.

Wednesdays and Saturdays; Thursdays and Sundays. As bad burnt as scalded. It allows the manager to explore the darker depths of the squad, keeps the fans off the streets, and is worth a lot more this season and could even lead to the Champions' League by the back door.

So there you have it. A missed opportunity. All games are ' must win' at this stage and Villa certainly is for a variety of reasons. The Sherwood factor looms large but whatever the result he will claim the credit for it.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
This is what I'm talking about Mo. Take a leaf out of Bro Schillings book. Before the game, during the game and after the game. Fire them up and get that dressing room jumping. No more first ten minutes lethargy.