The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Great Tottenham Bake Off.


 Toast or stuffing?

The JimmyG2 Column.
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We are still unbeaten,  and only three points off the top having secured a hard fought draw with the Premiership Champions. What's not to like? Well not many more crumbs of comfort to be honest.

Another game we could and should have won. And the Premiership Champions this season are half baked mid-table mediocrities at best and certainly not the force they were, if they ever were. Oh and we were at home.

The introduction of youth, Winks, and speed, KG N'Koudou, with two and eight minutes to go respectively in an effort to secure all three points was once again too little, too late and reflects Mauricio's current lack of boldness.

At the minimum it's a five horse race this year and with the added pressure of the Champions' League perhaps Mauricio and the team are feeling the heat. They have collectively become cautious and risk averse and our build as a result up is painfully slow.

On paper we are doing well especially with key players missing. We are still well in touch in the League leaders. Against Liverpool in the cup we gave youth and back up players their opportunity.

But Liverpool's back ups played better than ours and they deservedly won in a disappointing performance. The fact that it's a competition we can afford to jettison is not the point.

Against Leicester we were perhaps unlucky. We hit the woodwork three times and once again the defence in general and Vertonghen and Rose especially were excellent.

Their one shot on target went in after a careless header by Wanyama and Walker falling asleep and failing to respond to the danger on the back post. He's behind you! Both played well otherwise! But moments win and lose games.

Our lack of both goals and inventiveness in our approach has been evident for some time. The view that,no Dembele: no Tottenham has been exposed as a myth. More like, no Eriksen: no Tottenham
and he's just not on form.

The Belgian waffle is under-cooked and the Danish open sandwich lacks bite.

Pochettino is the best thing since sliced bread for Tottenham but perhaps he has gone a little stale. He won't be toast any time soon like most of his predecessors but he needs to add some yeast to the mix Toast definitely not, but stuffing perhaps.

 A batch of that would come in handy for Leverkusen and especially Arsenal who are up next. As we showed against City we can work up an appetite for the Caviar and Bolly. It's the Bread and Butter stuff we  choke on.

We've lived mainly off scraps and crumbs from the high table for decades and must grab the recent more solid fare more firmly and with greater vision and guile.

Jimmy's Video Spot
Vincent Petrus Anna Sebastiaan Janssen.
Just to remind us and him of what he can do and why we bought him. Not just  blunt instrument either. To the victor the spoils.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spurs Milestone turns to Millstone.


Unbeaten: Try playing with that round your neck.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Still unbeaten in our best start for years. But that Milestone can soon become a Millstone. After all you could, at the extreme, draw every game and still get relegated. That's an observation not a prediction.

Three consecutive draws is a worryingly reassuring trend or a reassuringly worrying trend depending on your state of mind. Being a Spurs fan probably the latter.

 It could be worse. But yet another opportunity to go top, however briefly, spurned for the second week running. But we are still in there on all fronts, well, until tomorrow anyway.

The Champions' League group is wide open after our midweek draw with Bayer Leverkusen. We played quite well in the first half but the fact that all the candidates for MOM were defenders(Verts, Rose, Lloris, and Wanyama) is telling.

It was a similar story against a hardworking well coached and organised Bournmouth side on Saturday. Other Premiership contenders could easily come a cropper here. Candidates for MOM again  all defenders:Verts , Rose and Wanyama.

We are clearly missing a consistent goalscorer and although Harry Kane's backup has his strengths and merits putting the ball in the net is not so far one of them. Son, Dele and Lamela need to swarm round him to benefit from his hold up play.

Son seems more effective coming in from the space on the left and Janssen needs to be trusted to do what he does. Goals will come but in the meantime he is working hard and effectively.

Of course our recent experience with Roberto Soldado creeps into the minds of the more pessimistic Spurs fans. But then what other sort is there?

Even if he doesn't score soon he will become a fan favorite. We have a soft spot for honest and hard working strikers even if they don't often score. Think Pavlyuchenko. Spellcheck suggested 'bellyache' for my first effort at that.

Some might say three tough opponents, in different ways, away from home and to emerge with our undefeated medals round our necks is a positive scenario. Captain Hugo has admittedly made some top class saves but that's what keepers are for.

Jan has stepped up in our hour of Toby need and Wanyama continues to surprise and delight. Well me at least. In fact the back six have been consistently good, apart from some stray and suicidal passes playing out from the back. 

The front five have been good at times but never consistently good together. They take it in turns to shine and then the light flickers and fades. Calls for Lamela or Ericksen or Dele to be rested are mounting.

But rest any or all of this trio and where is the creative spark to come from. Dembele back from injury is still in recuperation mode; Son has sparkled, fizzled and gone out and Janssen's blue touch paper is yet to be lit.

You should have saved this for firework night Jim (Editor)

Fortunately City after a lively start have never quite recovered their panache after losing to us and Arsenal faltered after six consecutive wins to preserve our position one point off the top. But there are four teams ahead of us now.

One point and a two goal difference covers five teams. So where exactly are we? There or thereabouts as they say but this is not Premiership winning form, and certainly not Champions' League although I expect us to go through.

 Pochettino continues to puzzle with his substitutions and his persistence with Sissoko who could well get a three match ban for throwing a touchline elbow against Bournmouth. (Charged today:
Monday: accepted by Spurs)

No bad thing at the moment but it would be just our luck for him to escape. He will take time to settle and will be given some space as was Lamela. He was cheaper than Eric but only just.

The team against Liverpool on Tuesday should feature Vorm, CCV, Wimmer, Davies, Trippier, Winks, N'Koudou and Onomah (Edwards is injured). Dembele could captain as he needs more pitch time and Dier has had time off.

It looks like a five horse race for the Premiership at the moment but Liverpool Arsenal and Chelsea are all on the rise. We are currently treading water. We managed to throw a two horse race last year and it might help if there were less pressure.

Liverpool away is no Gillingham at the Lane. However good luck to those that play and I hope that the back up squad excel and shock Liverpool who will be keen to progress.

Of course Mauricio may have different ideas and put out a more experienced team but I doubt it.

And remember this is the blog that's not always wrong.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Not much to see but mainly Spurs. Lloris to the rescue early and a few chances not taken. Not a lot of scintillating team play and passing but some individual moments against a compact defence. Lamela came closest


Monday, 17 October 2016

Hugo: City Link


 
Masters of Distribution! I should forget that one Hugo.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
Eight games in and still unbeaten. First goal conceded in open play. I'm starting on a positive note because that's the kind of guy I am despite being trapped in this Spurs nightmare for more years than I can remember.

Sometimes you get to feel like a hamster on a treadmill frantically peddling and getting exactly nowhere against the packed defences and negative ambitions of our opponents.

(Watch the imagery Jimmy: hamsters on a treadmill against packed defences with negative ambitions doesn't really work for me! (Editor) Sorry Ed. good point)

Total domination of all the relevant stats, over 70 possession overall and 78% in the first half and yet in grave danger of losing to West.Brom. for the last ten minutes.

 Foster was their clear MOM and Time-Waster in Chief and we were saved by last minute genius from Dele and almost getting what we truly deserved from an Eriksen free kick on the whistle.

So what's new? We've seen this movie so many times. It's like Xmas repeats on the BBC. We deserved to win but almost lost. In days gone by though we might have come away empty handed. But this is the New Spurs.

It's a bit bit like the Old Spurs admittedly, same DNA after all, but with added bite and energy. We were good in the first half but needed to step it up in the second once we realised that Foster was having one of them days.

Instead we seemed to go into sleep mode and forgot where the 'wake up' button was located until they scored. By 'they' I mean Chadli. The curse of the returning player strikes again.

That shock and the arrival of Son, who should have been on earlier, was the alarm call we seemed to have been waiting for. Dele's equaliser was cheeky and classy at the same time and Eriksen nearly snatched it at the death.

One point off top and one point behind Arsenal. Was ever thus. We missed the chance to go top but the last three games between us have been 1-1 draws. Proves again that we need learn to jump start parked charabancs not search fruitlessly for the keys.

Did I mention that we are without Toby Alderweireld for anything from three weeks to a year. Awaiting updates after scans  as they say.. Latest news is that the likelihood is towards the former.

Dier slotted in reasonably seamlessly. Sissoko was again a bit of a letdown and Lamela somewhat randomly ineffective.  One or two of our own were spotted slouching about on the bench but none got any minutes. Again.

Wanyama was consistently strong and arguably our MOM. Lloris is to be replaced by City Link until he learns to lump it up to Janssen who will hold it up until the rest of the boys arrive. Where's Paul Robinson when you need him

Ahhh,the old days. They weren't that bad were they? Well yes most of the time. At least Hugo won't be going to City any time soon. Everyone else was good intermittently except the two mentioned.

The Dembele substitution puzzled me; he could have benefited from a few more days off and Wanyama didn't need him either. He even had time to gett himself another yellow card for simulation.

Perhaps Mauricio was checking whether he could start on Tuesday. Never mind Winks and/or Onomah your time will come.

Still our best start in decades but  worrying 'Spursy' signs if you look closely. Best not to. Enjoy the ride and don't worry too much about the destination at this stage. Tottenham's Perpetual Magical Mystery Tour.

I am the egg man, I am the Walrus and we are all (in this) together. Get well soon Toby.

Jimmy's Video Spot..
Any excuse to feature our rock. Strong brave, stays on his feet, scores goals and only cost 11:5 million. Eriksen (11million) apart Spurs Best Buy for years. Tall and not bad looking either. Another to add to the five famous Belgians. Poirot, Dembele, Verts and er.. Chadli.


Monday, 3 October 2016

Pochettino more 'DamBusters' than 'California Dreaming'

Pochettino to all crew members.
 Man City at 2:15. Tally Ho boys
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 I spoke last time of 'Hints of Glory'. Well Sunday was more of a Declaration of War; a Statement of Intent; a Manifesto and a Five Year Plan all in one rather than just hints. Full press re-instated, discipline and effort to the fore.

Several contenders for MOM: all of the back line; Wanyama, Son; Deli; Eriksen in his understated but vital way. Which speaks to me of an all round team performance. Breathtaking stuff and Pochettino bested his rival in no uncertain terms.

We had time and space to miss a penalty after a silly spat between Lamela and Son. Another clean sheet and still 'key' players missing or on restricted manouevres. We didn't even start Janssen our 'essential' back-up striker.

Wanyama on an early yellow again was tremendous but consequently more of a controlled explosion than Blitzkrieg. I was wrong about this boy and he is very effective when he keeps it simple.

We are still flying under the radar and if they ever re-make that Second World War 1950's classic 'The Dam Busters' Mauricio is a shoo-in for the Richard Todd  role as Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Spurs as Squadron 617.

Code-named appropriately 'Operation Chastise' we did just that to City. The low flying tactic surprised the Germans in 1943 and continues to surprise the pundits who long for high-flying superstars. You would have thought they had learned their lesson with Leicester.

Our bouncing bomb currently is Son and the backroom boffin Cristian Eriksen. That's our third consecutive victory over them. 'Can we play you every week?' I hear you cry.

Jermaine Jenas actually tipped us for a win. Come back Jermaine, all is forgiven. We were fluid in attack and composed in defence. Hugo was hardly bothered but livened all our lives up with some ill-conceived distribution.

Son and Deli combined neatly for the second on the half hour after an excellent cross from Danny Rose induced an own goal by Kolarov before the ten minute mark. All sorted early, just how we all  like it.

Sissoko started and will almost certainly be an asset when we can work out what he does best apart from run through people. Bit head down but Mauricio will sort that out.

Kevin-George gave a spirited cameo for a whippet in a Greyhound race and the Spurs fans are going to love him.

This was a  high octane performance from Spurs from start to finish and from front to back. Son led the charge which was why he started and Bravo despite a good save from Lamela's penalty never convinced with the ball at his feet under pressure.

Guardiola was dignified in defeat and acknowledged that the better team had won. Our best performance for a long time against decent opponents who were strangled at birth.

Now for another break. Well I need it even if the super-fit lads don't.

The Lamela/ Son incident.
Wrestling for the ball for the penalty was unseemly and in the end the miss didn't matter but it might have. I don't believe for a moment that there was no appointed penalty taker.

It doesn't sound like Pochettino to me who is closer to a control freak than a laid back, 'laissez-faire' let it all hang out, California Dreaming, kind of guy.

'Whoever wants it' is a certain recipe for disaster. I remember three players getting banned 'sine die' over a fracas over who was to take the penalty in my playing days. British Rail North( Hull Division) since you ask.

We have an excellent and vitally important team spirit and I'm sure this spat has been quickly put behind us. Recently Eriksen who takes them for Denmark offered the ball to Janssen to break his duck. That's much more like it.

Jimmy's Video Spot:

Some team talk Mauricio. Flying under the radar with a tightly knit team against formidable opponents. He even looks a bit like Eriksen that Barnes Wallis. It's the hair.

Fly in whatever formation you like! Man like I don't think so. You dig!