That Picture Editor will have to go.
Although on second thoughts.
The JimmyG2 column.
The JimmyG2 column.
As I dip the quill we are third and have the best goal difference in the Premiership. It's a long while since that last happened at this stage of the season. If we can maintain it, this could be a crucial factor come May.
With a 0-0 stalemate between and Man. City and Leicester on Tuesday we maintain our goal difference status but drop back to 4th. four points ahead of Crystal Palace.
An encouraging gap is opening up between the top four and the rest. The team with the best goal difference at the half way stage has won the league in nine out of the last ten seasons so I am reliably informed.*
I'm looking forward to every game now though I'm pleased the Watford slog is over. Three consecutive wins over Christmas; seven scored and only one conceded.
We were undoubtedly lucky at Watford. An inch from losing it and a fortuitous winner by Son who was offside in the build up but not flagged. In the pre goal-line technology days the Watford goal would certainly have been given.
The whole ball and nothing but the whole ball, so help our lucky stars. If I were a Watford fan I would be mightily miffed.
But you make your own luck by dint of effort and application. As Gary Player once said when accused of being a lucky golfer: 'the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get'.
A new formation by Mauricio showing unacustomed tactical flexibility with Dier in a back three which released the full backs and Trippier certainly made good use of it. If Danny Rose could cross like Kieran he'd be Marcelo and playing for Brazil.
But there are fine lines in football just as there are in life. Had he taken his chance against Norwich and put in just one good cross all would be forgiven. But still not bad for the scapegoat before last.
Ironically it was Dier who failed to stop Ighalo from turning and poking the ball past a hesitant Lloris. But any of the central three could have been beaten by the awkward bounce.
The pitch certainly suited their style rather than ours. I thought that preparing a special surface to suit the home team was a purely cricketing phenomenon. Is it the pitch producing the approach or the approach requiring the pitch?
Another previous hate figure, Erik Lamela scored the opener and vied with Trippier for MOM. A deceptively languid run and a clever disguised finish just as you thought he was going to get caught in possession.
30 million probably not but then the price tag is not his fault and he has come good consistently this season. He was top assister last year too.
Dembele another revived figure went off injured at half time to be replaced by Eriksen another player under the spotlight. Tom Carroll started and at Central Casting is filed with Christian rather than Moussa.
Tom as usual was effective in a controlled way, consistently positive wherever possible and Eriksen's class shows in everything except his tackling. Both these players have their doubters but I'm not one of them.
Lamela's goal came as a result of the Pochettino inspired pack hunting mentality of Deli Alli and Carroll who pressured Watford in their own half and released Lamela. 16 minutes in and one up.What can possibly go wrong.
They scored just before half time and on the hour Ake got a straight red card for a high studs up tackle into the middle of Erik Lamela. This seemed to unsettle us and we let the game drift against ten men who dug in.
The latter stages were a bit topsy turvy and I went from confidence that we would win, to relief that in fact we didn't lose, to elation when we got the goal and the three points from a difficult game.
(* From SIMB via parklanerob on ftl.)
Jimmy's Video Spot. Latest on Erik Lamela
Skill, vision, determination, a rabona, the eyes. Pochettino's representative on the pitch. It's taken a while to settle and recover from injury but those who doubted he was the real deal will just have to think again.