The Blog that's not always wrong.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Referees, Game Changers and Comebacks

Must be easier not to go away in the first place.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well that all turned out very nicely. Lull them into a false sense of security with the early goal; allow them to bask in their impressive home record and rejoice in our poor recent away results. Then let Dele loose on them. 

 Mauricio's cunning plan worked a treat and I just hope not too many Spurs fans and 'Musings' faithful slit their wrists prematurely.

Like Liverpool we went 1-0 down early, equalised before half time and then we both knocked 'em for six. Well four anyway. Just as well too.

With all our rivals winning even a draw here would have cast a depressive pall over our New Year. At this stage of the season no game is a 'must win' but some games just feel like it.

So Spurs are alive and kicking still. We made an important statement here after the first 15 minutes: scored four; contrived to miss a penalty and hit the bar with an Eriksen special. Only Lloris did his best to keep their hopes up.

The penalty was contentious and can be argued in various ways. The original foul was outside the box and could have been given as a free kick.

 Redmond might have got a red card for it anyway under the strict application of the current rules.

Harry missed the penalty anyway as Van Dijk had repeated his trick of interfering with the penalty spot as he had done at Arsenal and Harry slipped and skied the shot. Surely some retrospective punishment is due.

But the sending off changed the game. Yiddo Mike Dean came up trumps again. In the last seven games that he has reffed us we have won six and drawn one. And he's given us three penalties. Can you referee us every week.

Actually this is all a bit simplistic as we go back a lot further than that, 56 games or so, and have suffered many adverse decisions. I'm sure that it all evens itself out over time. I think I'm sure anyway

Dele changed the game too with his headed equaliser and Cristian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko continue to make major contributions. I am deleting all my negative comments about Moussa Mk. 2

Dele is our wild card and destined for greatness with us I hope. His unpredictability is a worry for opponents and occasionally frustrating for his fans. His equaliser was all about anticipation.

The icing on the Xmas cake was the coolly taken final goals by Son and Dele again. Almost carbon copies of each other. Harry's bullet header from an Eriksen corner, I kid you not, had put us ahead.

Negatives: the petulant and unnecessary booking by Vertonghen in the last minute at 4-1up who now misses the Watford game. Whatever was he thinking ? Quite.

And Walker misses the Watford game after accumulating five yellows. Let's just hope that Toby has fully recovered from his bug otherwise its Dier and Wimmer in the centre of defence and Trippier at right back.

Not that it should prevent us from beating Watford. There I said it. But both Wimmer and Trippier have served us well in the past and I am confident they will again when necessary.

So the 'Comeback Kids' triumph again ( Spurs have the most points gained in the Premiership from losing positions: 13) There's plenty of fight when the chips are down, as when all our rivals win.

Curiously though in the last couple of seasons we somehow falter when we have the chance to go top or top four. Our fatal flaw perhaps. We can't be arsed unless the chips are really down and not even then at times.

But,but, but whatever happens tomorrow will see us ahead on almost all measures and should send us all into the New Year in a positive frame of mind.

Happy 2017 to you all.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Virgil out-leaps everybody. Dele out-leaps Virgil. Harry makes up a lot of ground. Three fine headers and two cool finishes.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Comes Early at The Lane.

 Merry Xmas and a Successful New Year.
The Greg Meyer Column.
Christmas Night at a Kent Pub 2016.
Christmas Comes Early at The Lane.
Christmas came early at White Hart Lane on Sunday last, at 5:32pm to be precise. The ecstatic moment, Danny Rose scoring the second against Burnley to put Tottenham effectively out of sight of a restricted Turf Moor mob.
Deep in the Spurs back line , immediately adjacent to Block 25 East Side actually, Harry Kane took possession, a deft swivel inside a Clarets opponent and then a lofted pass up the left aiming just beyond the half way line at Christian Eriksen.
The said pass turned into a beautiful wall pass via an attempted Burnley mid air intercept. It fell kindly to Moussa Sissoko who barged past another Burnley shirt. He does not do 'glide' as does the other Moussa.
From there a majestic run by Sissoko through the Burnley heartland led to a sublimely weighted pass to our Danny Rose. He obliged with an unstoppable Exocet rocket past the until then excellent Tom Heaton. The Lane went ballistic.
Block 25 were dancing ,hugging complete unknowns, behind, next door,all around. Curiously the acclaim was a mixture of French  (here to see Hugo surely),German, American, Singapore, Australian and yes some token English regulars.
Wholehearted rejoicing across the globe pitch-side. Perhaps an indicator of how global the Spurs brand is these days.
Christmas came tout suite in another guise this year. The world's best keeper signed a new contract for Spurs till 2022. After a promising early career as a tennis player young Hugo Lloris swapped his racquet for keeper's gloves and has never looked back.
Revered as a ghod at The Lane his new contract was every Spurs fans wish list priority. Of course the yuletide cheer was compounded when Michel Vorm took time out from his modelling career with wife Daisy and also signed on till 2018.
I still remember that horrible goal against Leicester in the FA Cup that burrowed under his flailing arm. Nevertheless an excellent security blanket. Perhaps it speaks volumes for the spirit and camaraderie engendered by Team Pochettino.
Vorm is unlikely to achieve much ahead of Lloris but is prepared to stay with the Spurs "family". Warms the cockles of a Christmas heart.
Christmas came coincidentally early this year for a manager looked upon by most Spurs fans as a competent manager but allegedly dubious on certain personal fronts. Various reported Super Injunctions relating to him suggest confirmation of a multitude of outings on the internet.
Alan Pardew told Newcastle of his defection around Christmas 2015. So the timing was somewhat ironic not to say coincidental when the P45 from Palace arrived in Thursday's post. Mind, as always with this time of year, Santa helped out with a 4 million pound payout.
Drinks are on Alan and especially so if he fronts ...
At A Kent Pub. 
Spirits and beer are flowing in equal measure here. We have a new publican who despite lukewarm initial expressions of support for West Ham promises to change his ways.
We are still alive on 3 big fronts and our lawyer and others are convinced a title tilt is still realistic.
An early New Years Eve present would be 3 points at Southampton.
Cheers ... thanks for your support ... keep the cards and letters coming in ... Greg Meyer.            coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot.
Burnley at the Lane. Full backs rampant. Walker makes amends. Thanks Santa.


Monday, 19 December 2016

Spurs toolbox gets some overdue refinement.

Got anything a little more delicate?
It's a parked bus not the Great Wall of China.
The JimmyG2 Column
A very hearty Xmas welcome to both our readers. Your not expecting original jokes for the sort of money you're paying, Shirley? A fun-packed festive edition to lift the spirits......(Editor: Get on with it Jimmy. Time's money to these busy people.)

Well anyway a good week by any measure. Eriksen back from his recent sleepwalk-about; Dele a little more focused; six points caught up on Arsenal; Sissoko beginning to look the part; excellent performances from our dynamic full back duo.

Against Burnley they once again  provided both goals and assists and are essential to Mauricio's new flexible game plan with three at the back and flying wing backs . Danny Rose outstandingly the MOM  and not for the first time lately.

A special mention for Jan Vertonghen who in the absence of Toby with a temporary back problem stepped up once again. Temporary back problems can be tricky though and we need him back soonest or Jan will have no-one to pass to.

Xmas Greetings to the fixture computer who gave us a couple of 'friendly' games designed to make the turkey and mince pies taste even more delicious than normal. Hull and Burnley both dispatched at the Lane.

Hull are probably the poorest team we have played  but it was nice to see the Old Boys re-union and they all got a good welcome. It gave Eriksen the chance to shine again. We can only hope he has settled back into his groove.

We are up on last year on most measures and somehow still in contention for something or other despite not playing consistently scintillating football. We need to bear in mind that other teams have improved in terms of recruitment.

Not that changing Managers or buying new players is always a positive as we have found to our cost over the years though it seems to be working for some of the top six this year.

But all this without Lamela, Kane and Toby for significant periods and Dele, Eriksen, Kane and Dier performing below their levels of last year. But a settled team under a settled Manager can be just as effective.

The feeling that we are somehow much poorer than last year is a question partly of perspective, of where we are coming from. Last year we were in contention for Champions, this year we are certainly not.

Out of the Champions' League in disappointing style and back in the Europa, it just feels a lot worse than it probably is.  Above us only Chelsea are consistently good and we may have a chance to ruin their record.

If they win their next two games but we get a point at WHL at the start of January we not only stop their winning run but prevent them achieving the longest Premiership consecutive winning run. (14 games by Arsenal 15 years ago.)

If we are to progress in the Europa and not jeopardize our  Premiership chances Mauricio needs to be a lot cleverer with his handling of the squad. Some actually believe that winning the Europa was his cunning plan all along.

Seems a bit it a long shot to me. Cup football is beset with all kinds of hazards: form, injuries, the weather, the draw, refereeing decisions and probably many more.
On the bright side the other Harry has emerged at last into a starting role and performed well up to expectations.We seem to have a lot of sledgehammers in our midfield toolbox and an additional scalpel might help to balance it out.

Next week the prestigious and coveted Musings End of Year Awards. It's free to regular subscribers so Don't Miss It.

Breaking Good News.
Lloris signs his new contract until 2022. That doesn't mean he won't leave us but, like the others it makes him much more expensive.

And in a two for one goalkeeper deal deal Michel Vorm has signed a two year extension on his.

That's seven players tied down. The Pochettino gift that keeps on giving. Come on Toby and Erik: you know you want to.

Morgan Schneiderlin.
Just popped upon E-Bay, Manchester seller and first bidder is a Midlands buyer at 13 or possibly 18 million.
Do we want him? Do we need him? Would they sell him to us? Would he block Winks and Onomah? Not good enough for Man.Utd not good enough for us as the old British Telecom adverts used to say.

Sorry must fly, presents to wrap, turkey to stuff, chimney to sweep and last minute shopping to do.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Before you forget. Here's the boy we didn't think we would miss but we certainly have. As much for his pressing and ball recovery as his skill. Bit repetitious but he's not played that much.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Pochettino to shake it all up.

Tottenham: Not Waving but Drowning.
The JimmyG2 Column.
About suffering they were never wrong the Old Spurs fans. Our pain goes largely unnoticed in a busy world. I mean it's not a matter of life and death to anybody else.

Like Icarus in Breughel's painting who falls to earth having burnt his wings flying too close to the sun. How very Tottenham after our sudden death in the Champions' League.

We disappear without trace or attention and everyone else passes by especially the two other London clubs in particular who sail calmly on with their business of winning the Premiership.

Other fans and the Tabloids may briefly gloat at our quietly slipping beneath the waves without a murmur at Old Trafford. The rest is silence. Our suffering of monumental indifference to anyone but ourselves.

Does defeat to Man.Utd mark the high water mark of our current ambitions? Quite possibly even with a run of  those notoriously 'easy' games in the run-up to Xmas. Europa here we come unless of course we win it this year.

Fat chance the way we played at Old Trafford and that on the back of a couple of decent displays. We swept Swansea aside with a lively team performance last week  and Eriksen was instrumental in midweek helping to slay the Wembley Jinx Dragon

But the players that turned up for those games collected a free pass for the next. In fact against Man.Utd the best outfield performance was by the man leading the Worst Signing poll, Moussa Sissoko.

An unusually early substitution by Mauricio and the boy certainly responded. There was no actual end product but he certainly gave the Manchester defence something to think about with his directness and strength.

Winks on for the injured Dembele just after the hour did nothing to suggest he couldn't have been a decent partner for Wanyama who crucially missed a sitter for the second game running. This time it mattered.

But there was no spark at any stage. Harry's error and our high line led to our downfall against the speed of Mkhitaryan. who finished decisively. Once again we shaded possession but created little and could have lost by more.

Eriksen had three shots well saved by De Gea and the rest of out attack mustered nothing between them. How Dele rather than Christian stayed on for the whole game is a mystery

So one step forward in the Premiership and one step back. Man.Utd are again within striking distance instead of being well and truly dumped. A chance to go fourth ignored.

Dembele who was lethargic is now sidelined with a foot injury. . Perhaps Winks and Dier will get the chance to patrol the midfield.Wanyama and Dembele has never really worked. Too many beasts not enough gazelles. 

Actually what about Carroll, Winks and Onomah for the next couple of games? No perhaps not but the trust in youth paid off last time and if you don't try it you'll never know. Shake 'em up Mauricio. Dele definitely needs a jolt.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Onside and Ibra offside but not interfering with play or unsighting the keeper. 10 seconds between a misplaced pass; an interception; a penetrating through ball and a crashing drive into the roof of the net.

Mkhitaryan cost less than Sissoko but at a reported 200,000 a week is way out of our wage structure.
We'll wait to see who has the last laugh. 

Musee Des 

Musee Des Beaux Arts (1940 W.H. Auden.) 

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just
walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy
life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

(Editor's note. Spurs are in the bottom right hand corner of the Breughel painting)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Justice Done But Nobody Saw It.

 I didn't see it.

 The JimmyG2 Column
I've always liked Swansea. A footballing side but with not enough footballers to make it work. We transferred their best player, Gylfi Sigurdsson because he wasn't good enough. That's the gap and on Saturday it showed.

I liked Gylfi, a taller Icelandic version of Eriksen in many ways and would like to have kept him but sentiment has no place today in such a competitive world.

It took us until nearly half time and a  penalty cunningly earned by Dele to make the breakthrough. But after that we overran them and the statistics tell the story.

We had 28 shots, 15 of them on target: they had only one shot and it didn't trouble Hugo. 5-0 is a fair reflection of the game. Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen got pairs, Son scored a cracker and Wanyama missed a sitter.

Mauricio didn't see the penalty incident and Bob Bradley said the referee was unsighted, such is the modern game. Apparently Mourinho didn't see the penalty incident either in the Everton game.

Oh Mr. Wenger what have you done? Diplomatic blindness runs rife in all sports these days. 'I didn't see it' the football manager's mantra.

We were 4-0 up on 69 minutes and Winks and Onomah could have been straight on. Sissoko could have waited a little longer or been kept fresh for Wednesday. At least he supplied the assist for Eriksen's second.

We consolidated our top five position with United and Everton drawing and Liverpool surprisingly surrendering a two goal lead to lose to Bournemouth and improved our goal difference at the same time.

We also gave ourselves a lift ahead of another important week. If we avoid defeat against CSKA Moscow we go into the Europa which would give the wider squad more opportunities. A balance of youth and experience always works best.

Carter-Vickers, Onomah, Winks, N'koudou, Janssen and perhaps Carroll might all start along with Toby getting in some minutes before the weekend. A strong bench would help in an emergency.

On Sunday we can make a hefty dent in United's season and give ourselves a little more lily-white water between ourselves and the chasing pack, now six points behind.

A draw at Old Trafford wouldn't be a disaster but we might find ourselves nine points off the pace if Chelsea go charging on as they are at the moment. In the end draws are not good enough at this stage.
'No more drawers' as the actress said...

So nobody saw it but it a was fair enough result in the end.It could have been more but let's not be greedy.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Most videos taken down by FA for 'copy-write reasons'

Well they missed this one. The Press returns, bags of effort and some nice football too. Harry back on form, Eriksen and Dele buzzing. Not much to see of Swansea but then they didn't do much. No clear view of 'the incident' in any of the videos I've seen.