The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

No more Roller Coaster.

 Makes a change from the Roller Coaster.
The JimmyG2 Column.
We used to describe supporting Spurs as a wild ride on a Roller Coaster: up and down and round and round and, before you know it, back where we started. Mind you most fairground rides are like that.

Now we are on the Big Swing: up to 4th and 'wheeee!' down to 7th. Hello Champions' League and then welcome back to the Europa. Currently after the loss to City we are back down in the trough.

All the good work and good fortune of other results last week wiped out this week. The top six all won and Burnley got a point to take them above us. Of the breakaway top seven we were the only team to lose.

It makes next week's pre-Xmas fixture against Sean Dyche's side the proverbial six pointer. Although even if we draw we are safe in 7th for at least a few days. If 'safe' is the appropriate term. Stuff that in your Xmas turkey.

City are currently one of the best teams in Europe and will win the Premiership at a canter and possibly the Champions League and the next World Cup too. So losing was no big shame. Oil money speaks louder than most.

But we have chosen or been forced by circumstances to take another route and I for one am happy with the path we have chosen despite the pasting we got yesterday. My dream is still a name change to Tottenham Academicals.

We made a sort of game of it for an hour having gifted them a goal early on. After De Brunye thrashed one past Lloris for the second it all went wobbly; Sterling scored a couple more; Jesus missed a penalty and Eriksen replied just before The Etihad (edit) emptied completely.

Verts was OK for the first half hour and Lamela enjoyed his 15 minutes. After them it was pretty much a patchy mess. Trippier was hopelessly exposed against Sane and the scoreline could could have been a lot worse.

At least we didn't lie down and die from the off. Taking the game to the opposition is my preferred method of losing but we were careless with the ball and hurried into errors. Most teams lie back and think of something else.

A midfield of a waning Dembele and an out of sorts and inexperienced Harry Winks didn't really hack it against the might of City. We had key players missing but so did they.

 Their reputation preceded them and clearly put the frighteners on us. Perhaps better to go three in the middle and set Serge on Sane from the start. Maybe Davies or Foyth at the back.

 I don't think it would have made a lot of difference. Even without David Silva they were a formidable force. Dele was invisible again and Eriksen quietly ineffective.

So the answer to ''If not Spurs, who?'' remains unanswered. As long as they continue to beat everybody including our rivals for top four there is no harm done especially if they slip up to one or two of the bottom half dozen.

We grabbed a decent share of the possession but couldn't exploit it. Harry Kane was isolated; Son, Hugo and Rose were good in parts, like the Curate's Egg, which is not actually a culinary recommendation.

Shout out for Sissoko who made a brave attempt to revive the Spirit of Stamford Bridge 2016. Had a fight and got booked. Not bad for a seven minute appearance.

Dier dropped a clanger which Lloris compounded for the 4th. but it was very much all over by then. So although I hoped for better I was not too surprised by the way it worked out.

Interesting that Everton with four wins and a draw in the last five games, who are having a 'disastrous' season, and who sacked their Manager are now just 6 points and two places behind us. We need a disaster like that.

Gossip spot.
 Man City are in for Zaha. Not because they need him but because they can and it stops other team getting him. Chelsea have 38 players on loan. FIFA must be able to legislate to fix this Shirley.We currently have four I think.

Merry Xmas to our reader.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Tobias Albertine Maurits Alderweireld  The nearest thing to Ledders. The lack of clean sheets most probably down to this man's hamstrings and he's not due back until February. Merry Xmas and a quick return to good health in 2018 Toby for all our sakes.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

If not now, when? If not Spurs, who?

Audere est Facere
The JimmyG2 Column. 
 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs'. Kipling's famous lines which Mauricio has insisted the whole squad learn by heart is our current mantra. Slowly does it and steady as she goes.

The inspirational qualities of Kipling's words are enshrined in the players entrance at Wimbledon

'' If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
 And treat those two impostors just the same''

and it seems to be working. Don't get carried away and concentrate on the job in hand. One game at a time.

Mauricio doesn't go overboard when we win nor get despondent when we lose and he has instilled this in the players. Perhaps the fans could do well to take this on board too.

Liverpool and Arsenal failed to win and by default we find ourselves back in 4th. after two wins this week against Stoke and Brighton who have had their PSV licences renewed. They will both probably retain their Premiership status.

This is not a flattering reflection on the current quality of the Premiership bottom half. In the end we thrashed Stoke, again, and edged out Brighton in a dour encounter which even the starting of Lamela at the expense of Dele did not greatly enliven.

The return of Lamela is a bonus for us and him after such a long lay-off and serious surgery. His 20 minutes against Stoke showed us some of the flair which have been missed.

Son played well in both games especially against Stoke who crumbled after the second goal. But Brighton were made of sterner stuff and it took a fluke goal by Aurier and a slightly fortunate one by Son late on to complete the win.

Brighton refused the invitation to come out and play even when they were losing, so our deliberately slow possession play might have been abandoned. Only Son and Lamela showed any real sparkle.

Even Harry Winks lost his positivity and was loudly groaned at when he opted to go back when in space and with open ground ahead. Brighton are vulnerable on corners: we had ten and made nothing of any of them.

We had over 70% possession in both games, unfortunately too much of it in our own half. Rose and Aurier are both a bit wild and I expect the 'steady' brothers,Davies and Trippier to rotate into view at the weekend.

But a win is a win and at the weekend we have bigger fish to fry. Harry Kane is looking a bit jaded but has Alan Shearer's 1995 36 goal record well within his sights.

He has scored more goals than Crystal Palace and W.Brom. and as many as Swansea and Burnley. Another three in the 3 remaining games in 2017 and he will catch Shearer up. A hat-trick at Man City would do for me even if we lose 4-3.

City are playing and beating everyone for fun so a loss would not materially affect our top four ambitions. A zero sum game I think they call it, though to be honest I'm not absolutely sure about that

Harry Kane has found the net 33 times in 32 league matches, part of 50 goals in 48 games in all competitions for club and country. No wonder the boy is showing signs of fatigue.

Lamela came on for Dele at Stoke and Dele for Lamela against Brighton. Who will start against City is anybody's guess and mine is Dele. Having been 'rested' he might be more than up for it.

So we are doing well without  doubt but not doing it in style. Remember Danny Blanchflower's  dictum: ''The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom''.

Nobody could accuse us of style or flourish at the moment but if we have any in store the next game is the time to release it. Wednesday's clean sheet was the first for a while so I don't think we can rely entirely on our defensive abilities.

So time to flourish and do things in style. Somebody's got to end their run, be nice if it was us. ''If not now, when? If not Spurs, who? to borrow and adapt a Jewish Rabbinical phrase.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Every player in the club has memorised this poem I'm reliably informed by a good mate down the pub and carries it with him into every game.How to succeed by really trying.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Dele on the Couch not the Bench.

 I said ''Hot wire it or just blow the bloody doors off''
The JimmyG2 Column.
 Spurs application to be allowed just to play in the Champions' League next season has been turned down on a technicality. You have to finish in the top four in the Premiership or win the Europa to progress to the CL.

Mauricio has crossed the Premiership Title off his 'to do' list and even finishing in the top four isn't going to be easy. Perhaps winning the CL is our best hope. And that's before we reach the half way stage of the Premiership season.

We took all the positives going from the Watford encounter. A goal down early again from a corner and a man down for most of the second half we saw overcoming these self inflicted wounds as a bonus.

The draw took us back to 6th on goal difference, four points off the top four and 3 points below Arsenal but without a win in four. A win on Saturday against Stoke looks almost essential for points, momentum and confidence.

Against Watford nobody was outstanding. Son got the goal from a precision cross by Eriksen but was offside more than Defoe in his worst nightmares. Trippier did well and we rode our luck on chances and the late decision on Dier's  handball.

But credit where it is due. We pressed better and put in the effort necessary as a team to compensate for the sending off of Sanchez. A straight red was possibly harsh but a foolish straight arm challenge into the face of Charlison.

The Champions' League is another matter. We scored the highest number of points in this phase than any other team and from the Group of Death. All the English teams did well and 5, a record, proceed to the next stage.

We did so with key injuries and lack of form in key players. We beat Apoel last night convincingly without Kane, Dier, Vertonghen, Eriksen, Lloris and with Alderweireld and Wanyama injured. 8 changes from Saturday.

Apoel were poor agreed but they didn't get a sniff. Winks was little negative but ran things and gave us a firm base. Sissoko played the Elder Statesman before and during the game and gave his best performance so far.

I'm sure he was bought for this purpose to give strength and support in the midfield and going forward. No scout could have failed to see his technical weaknesses at this level.

Dele was more `prominent and was the only 'star' apart from Son to be given the chance to play his way out of a run of poor form. I believe self doubt is his problem. I'm with Mauricio on this as dropping him might backfire.

The amateur psychologist is 'in' couch to rent, easy terms. First up Dele Alli. Next week the case of the retiring Great Dane, Christian Eriksen.

I don't think Dele's head has been turned by the high wages and bright lights elsewhere. It's his own lack of form on the pitch which has got into his head and is causing him problems at a crucial stage in his hitherto 'Golden' career.

He hasn't the age and experience to cope with this and to realise that it happens to everybody. He is playing with a frown rather than a smile. But class is permanent and form is temporary and this boy is essentially class.

I felt sorry for Sterling who waited ten minutes on the touchline for a two minute cameo. KWP performed again with confidence and should get more playing time. Foyth looks a genuine prospect at 19 especially.

But what an entry on your CV. Played in the Champions' League at Wembley. Amos could have had the same and did KWP only get on so early because of the injury to Rose?

Mauricio opted to bring on Dembele for Son on the hour: perhaps at 2-0. Perhaps ten minutes later Luke Amos could have been bloodied as we were clearly on top and had already qualified in any case. 

Vorm didn't have to make a save and Aurier though a bit wild got into some good positions. There was confusion at times at the back but this is to be expected when playing youth and new partnerships.

George-Kevin N'Koudou joined Fernando in scoring his first goal and it was all wrapped up bar some tedious 'game management' by the last 15 minutes. Rose is our best left back but was Mr. Angry last night and needs to calm down.

 Another good CL performance at Wembley which doesn't help to explain our poor performances against average teams in the PL. It can't just be 'Bus Parkers of the World Unite' to beat Spurs surely.

The better teams in the Premiership and in the CL take the game to us more and leave spaces for us to attack and exploit. Is it that simple? Anyway Stoke on Saturday gives us another chance to hone our hot wiring skills.

We have been going through a rough patch and despite that are not far off. It could all be a lot worse.COYS

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Llorente's goal and lay off for Son. George Kevin scores at his 4th attempt. The ball from Winks to Aurier for the opening goal was superb.( Not seen on the video) Looks like one way traffic. Yep that sums it up.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Spurs come to a standstill.

No not 'Going Down!'
Just going down.

And so now we're 7th., below Burnley and the usual suspects who are all finding form, momentum and not a little panache while we stand still.

In the last five games we have lost three times, all away. The 6 teams above us have only lost three times between them in that time.

 Last year we were 5th three points off top four and 7 behind leaders and eventual Champions Chelsea.

Table after 14 games 2016/7

 ............. ..P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts 

1. Chelsea   14 11  1  2  32-11  21   34 
2. Arsenal   14  9  4  1  33-14  19   31
3. Liverpool 14  9  3  2  35-18  17   30 
4. Man City  14  9  3  2  30-15  15   30 
5. Spurs     14  7  6  1  24-10  14   27
6. Man Utd   14  5  6  3  19-16   3   21
We started slowly last year and had a similar dodgy spell about this time too and recovered to finish second. But this year the heat in the kitchen is hotter, the air conditioning has broken down and more teams are involved.

Premier League Table - 2017-18

                    P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts
1. Man City  14 13  1  0  44-9   35   40
2. Man Utd  14 10  2  2  32-8   24   32
3. Chelsea   14  9  2  3  25-11  14   29
4. Arsenal   14  9  1  4  28-16  12   28
5. Liverpool 14  7  5  2  28-18  10   26
6. Burnley   14  7  4  3  14-11   3   25
7. Spurs     .14  7  3  4  22-12  10 .24
8. Watford   14  6  3  5  24-25  -1   21

This year we are 7th. four points off the top four but 16 points behind runaway leaders Man.City for whom Sterling has scored two last minute winners in the last two games. I think the Champion's spot is spoken for.

The good news is that unless we lose to Watford at the weekend by five more we are safe in 7th. for at least another week. Such are the straws I clutch at currently.

After only just over a third of the season panic is not called for. Our Champions' League form is outstanding but our Premiership form is not. We've been here before and moved on.

And so it went at Leicester. Plenty of possession, shots and corners but little inspiration until the re-appearance of Erik Lamela,  double hipster and new dad. A heartening 15 minute cameo that should put others to shame.

Many doubted his return; asserted that he hadn't been missed; muttered dark rumours of drug addiction  and worse. Well he's back with an assist and more dancing invention than Diaghilev: on a football pitch anyway.

His return should spark up the team and make the competition for starting places more lively.

We made three clear cut chances, all missed and went down to two top class finishes by Mahrez and Vardy. Lloris was a spectator except for retrieving the ball from the net, twice.

Eriksen and, would you believe, Llorente missed the proverbial sitters late on and would you believe Sissoko missed one in the first half before they scored. Believe, believe

We created chances but didn't take them until Lamela came on the scene and within three minutes had set up Harry Kane. 79 minutes and game on. But apart from Erik getting the inevitable yellow and the missed chances that was it.

We need Hercule Poirot to investigate what  Kane does to his striker rivals beverages in the canteen before games. Soldado, Janssen and now Llorente all falling to the Curse of Harry's Back-up.

Mauricio Pochettino lambasted the players for slow starts, lack of effort and poor attitude but surely most of that is his responsibility. We went through a similar dip last year but our marvelous home form is not likely to be repeated.

The Project seems to have temporarily stalled with Mauricio's magic not quite working. Injuries and loss of form are disrupting our stride and we need to get back it quickly or a relatively benign set of fixtures will be wasted.

Perhaps the defection of Walker and the thoughts of Danny Rose have unsettled the squad. The dropping of Son and continuing selection of Sissoko is puzzling too. We need to thrash someone.

Meanwhile the Manchesters stride ahead and even top four is looking a stretch. At this point I'd settle for the Europa and you can all laugh at me at the end of the season if it turns out better.

The Happy Clapper in me says it's all under control: the long-time Spurs fan that never likes to waste a good chance to panic is getting a little worried. The competition is fiercer this year and we still have Wembley and the CL to cope with.

Jimmy's Video Spòt:
 Kyle Walker Peters (20) PL debut. The forgotten man's impressive start to his senior career. looks good to me but Mauricio must know better as 'Bad Boy' Serge and Kieran seems to have the right back sown up.
Could have saved ourselves 23 million if you ask me.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Spurs cannot be serious .

Focus on the plan.
Now you see it: now you don't.
The JIMMYG2 Column 
If there were any animals involved in Spurs Premiership matches other than human ones our games would have been banned years ago. The cruelty involved in supporting Spurs is just too much.

The recent success in the Champions' League only makes things worse. How is it possible to draw with Real Madrid away, beat them at home, beat Borussia Dortmund twice to top our group with a game to go and fail to beat West Brom?

How is it possible among all these brilliant performances to capitulate to West Ham in the Caraboa Cup, and lose to Arsenal and Manchester United. The mind game Hunt Saboteurs are having a field day.

How can Christian Eriksen play like a genius for Denmark as recently as last week and turn in such a dire performance as he did against West Brom. And don't get me started on the highs and lows of Dele Alli.

How is a fan and blogger supposed to pick a path through the minefield that is Spurs form, results and performance levels. From despair, to elation and bemusement all in a single week. Roller Coaster comes to mind

How can Davison Sanchez be tipped for heroic stardom in one breath and then be cast as the villain in the next. From the best thing since sliced bread to toast in the twinkle of Mauricio's eye.

How is it that Lloris has made the same mistake three times in week to gift opponents goals by poor positioning or failure to advance from his line. The latter an uncharacteristic error; the former not so much.

From our hero and captain that for some years we worried that we might lose to the Big Boys to an error ridden figure that we might not care if we did and ironically one that nobody might want.

I was praying that the ball might stop before it entered the net but it was not our lucky day

I am Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered for those of you who remember the Ella Fitzgerald's classic from the late 40's.(Although I'm told that Lady Gaga has made a recent cover).

I suspect that Tony Alderweireld would have made a well timed intervention to dispossess Rondon on Saturday and therein might lie the root of many of our defensive problems One clean sheet in nine games recently.

But it doesn't explain the lifeless performance against Arsenal, the fighting display against Dortmund and the mind numbingly clueless one against West Brom. Almost everyone that played well in midweek disappeared on Saturday

Apart from Eriksen who went missing to an extent in both; Son who was lively all week and Harry Kane who did what it says on the tin, the others are a real conundrum. Dembele made a difference, Llorente did not.

Winks  and Jan went off presumably with knocks, the rotated full backs weren't as good as the pair from midweek  so was it just tiredness generally or has the Champions' League turned our heads?

Or have we even prioritised the CL?  If we have it's a pretty big long shot. Mauricio seems to have written off the title race so perhaps the focus really is on the big prize. As  John McEnroe once said 'You cannot be serious'.

Or is the simpler explanation that we don't play as well against Bus-Parkers  and Time-Wasters. Do they sap the energy, and ours with it, from the game. Do they confuse the game plan

We should be able to, we're getting enough practise but we lacked the ingenuity, pace and speed of thought and movement to make 70% possession pay. Especially when Dele and Eriksen are not on their game.

Ironically against W:Brom it was ex Spur Jake Livermore who put the screws on Dele for their opener after just 4 minutes. A slack error compounded by Sanchez and Lloris.

Once again though it was his assist that set up Harry as he did in midweek. One of two against Dortmund for the perplexing young man.

With a very late penalty win for Arsenal against Burnley, they go ahead of us into the top four; an own goal victory for Manchester Utd against Brighton, and a late winner for City, the weekend results weren't kind.

Only Liverpool's draw with Chelsea prevented a complete results disaster this weekend. Mind you we left it late ourselves.Next up Leicester on Tuesday and I am making no predictions for this one.Do you blame me?

We are suffering injuries and knocks to key players especially Toby and Victor Wanyama. Danny Rose wasn't even on the bench on Saturday, Lamela is well below the radar, Dembele is being handled with extreme care.

Thanks I feel much better now.  After 13 games we have the same points as last year and Arsenal are 1 point above us. They were 4 points ahead last year and Liverpool were 6.

Sanchez career won't end with one mistake; Lloris is still a top class keeper; Eriksen and Dele will thrill us all again soon; form is temporary class is permanent.COYS.

Breaking News. Barcelona target Eriksen not Coutinho.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Sorry couldn't find a shorter one so 6 minutes of frustration it is. Looks as if after Rondon's goal there was only one team in it. Well there was but chances went cap in hand.

They seem to have edited out Dele's mugging by Livermore that led to the goal. Must be a contract thing. Unfortunately a really clear picture.


Monday, 20 November 2017

How many blips make a trend?

That's not a trend. It's a series of blips.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Well that was disappointing . Actually it was awful, verging on the disgraceful. It was clear in the first few minutes who wanted this more and it wasn't us. Surprisingly only new boy Davison Sanchez stepped up.

With four players coming back from injury and Harry Kane still heavily strapped, Eriksen still on cloud nine after his hat-trick for Denmark and some marginal decision by ex Spurs fan Dean there are excuses if you want them.

My upset radar was alerted  when I saw the midfield pairing of the two Moussas. Dembele has lost his mojo through persistent injuries and Sissoko never had one in the first place.

He was by no means the worst player on Saturday. But he plays like a driver-less snow-plough on a steep incline. But at least he put in some effort against Arsenal.

Perhaps injury was why Harry Winks didn't start but we missed his quickness of thought and range of passing from the start. Where we weren't poor we were ordinary and again Mauricio was slow to plug the holes in the sinking ship.

Arsene must be wondering why he hasn't started his potentially potent strike force more often: Sanchez (A) Lacazette and Ozil all turned up, tuned in and turned on. Harry Kane, Dele and Eriksen did not.

The Arsenal trio might not see out the season with Alexis Sanchez rumoured to be off to City and Ozil still not appreciated by the fans which might cause further disruption.

We were certainly contenders in my mind at the start of the season, Wembley notwithstanding. But after a few games it was clear that City the first of the big spenders were going to be hard to catch.

Now increasingly the second and third of the big spenders are looking more firmly entrenched. Fourth is shaping up to be a three way scrap. Not only did we lose the NLD but all our top six rivals won in style.

One point covers four clubs in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th place and we are closer to Burnley in 7th. than we are to Chelsea the club immediately above us in 3rd after almost a third of the season

Man City..GD.. 33....Points..34....Unbeaten so far.
Man.Utd..GD... 21....Points..26....Patchy but with Pogba and Ibrahimovic back from injury.
Chelsea....GD...13....Points. 25....Won last four.
Spurs........GD.. 11....Points. 23....Wembley factor. 2 losses in last 5.
Liverpool.GD.. 11....Points. 22....Won last 3.
Arsenal....GD.... 6.....Points. 22....Patchy but they beat us.
Burnley....GD....3.....Points. 22.....Won last 3.

Then a four point gap to Watford.

The West Ham capitulation was a shock; the away losses to rivals Man.Utd and Arsenal a worrying trend. One bad day at the office can be written off but three and it's time to at least look up the auditors' number.

Now I have been described as a happy clapper, complacent, a loser, not able to see the wood for the trees, an ostrich, but the financial pressure to spend, to increase wages and to win trophies are forces many fans find it hard to ignore.

Not for me personally. I'm still clapping although not quite so happy as I was before.

With Danny Rose again on the naughty chair it makes me begin to idly speculate who will be next out of the door after him if we fail to make the Champions' League this season.

Will the promise of the new stadium  and its increased income be enough to keep the likes of Dele and Eriksen and Pochettino on board as new offers begin to pile up. If the project stalls will they keep the faith.

At the moment we are building not just a stadium but a team under a top class manager committed to youth and our own. We must not let impatience and the pursuit of the False Trophy Gods interrupt our progress.

How many blips make a trend? At what point on a trend do we press the panic bottom? Clearly we are not there yet and tomorrow against Dortmund in the CL we can  clear our heads, if we can be bothered having already qualified.

Next up in the Premiership on Saturday are West Brom. at home who have had so many bad days at the office lately that they have sacked Tony Pulis and hover just above the drop zone.

Ideal opponents to put us back on winning ways again you would have thought. But it's a funny old game as we know and we need to set about it in a more determined fashion than we did on Saturday.

But beware cornered rats and new manager bounces. I'm looking forward to looking back and laughing at this little November wobble.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Just to take your mind off things here's us beating Dortmund a little earlier. We lived a little dangerously but definitely played. Good luck tomorrow and lets see some youth on the bench if not on the pitch.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Spurs clean up.

Pomp and Glory against the  Champions' League Champions
 After the Lord Mayor's Show
The JimmyG2 Column.
One of the great features in the 'Old Days' after some equestrian spectacular like the Lord Mayor's show: the ancient Gilded Coach pulled by Six Shire horses; mounted police and Horse Guards escort was the sight and smell of the clear up.

It gave rise to the popular expression 'After the Lord Mayor's show' meaning the let down or the anti climax after a great event.The brooms and shovels which removed all traces of the event were an inevitable part of the occasion.

You can see where I'm going with this I hope. After the wonderful win against Real Madrid, two goals from Dele and a fine performance all round comes a humdrum showing against bottom of the League Crystal Palace.

Palace have 4 points and 4 goals, none away from home, after 11 games. Real Madrid have won two consecutive  Champions' League titles and we took 4 points in our two games against them.

Now having said all that it's my firm belief that even Palace could have beaten Real on the basis of our games against the two clubs. They defended and broke well and could have won barring heroics by our 3rd choice keeper Gazzaniga.

But in terms of expectations Real was a challenge and Palace a foregone conclusion. How could we lose? The truth is that Spurs like to keep us guessing even now. In the event we won and three points is exactly three points.

It's obviously a London thing because their single draw was against W.Ham and their only win, against Chelsea. We managed to avoid their Capital Scalp Cabinet by snatching a win with a fine Son goal.

It was a beautiful curler on the hour and he became Asia's leading Premiership scorer on 20 goals. Not that he played well but goals cure all ills. He was in good company with only Dier and Verts leading the clean -up party

Our 2nd. reserve keeper Argentinian Gazzaniga was MOM which always tells a story. Even then he seriously misjudged a wild dash from goal and Zaha missed an open goal.

We had 2 shots on goal and scored. Palace had three and lost 1-0. We were lethargic after the exertions of Wednesday night and, without the lively mind and movement of Dele, uninspired.

Winks and Harry went off with knocks and join Dele on the sidelines for the upcoming friendlies for England. They should be safe there until the NLD the following weekend.

Danny Rose made an appearance but the excitement generated by his return was not justified by his impact on the game. Aurier in for Trippier was poor and made two bad errors that might have cost at least a couple of points

Eriksen, without Dele, with Harry Kane labouring and Son buzzing but not stinging until his goal looked lost. Llorente's cameo placed him firmly in the Soldado, Janssen tradition of our recent striker signings.

Sissoko started and Dembele came on for Winks at half time but neither made much impact. We played poorly and won which they say is the mark of a good team.

We failed to win in our first three home games at Wembley in the Premiership but have won our last three.The clearing up operation was completed with 30 minutes to go and all hosed down in good time.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Let's hear it for Mauricio Pochettino scoring for Espanyol. The man that makes the team more than the sum of its parts.

Not the foul on Michael Owen in the World Cup but a moment of glory for The Man. circa 1998/99.
He's come a long way and had a haircut since then.

Friday, 3 November 2017

An echo of glory

Dele and Christian as you've never seen them before!
The JimmyG2 Column.
So we are not just in it, but in it to win it according to Mauricio. Not specifically the Champions' League but just everything in general.The next level is winning things. Beating Real Madrid is just a start

As Bill Nicholson said:  “If you don’t win anything, you have had a bad season.” and a lot of fans view our current progress with a mixture of impatience at its slowness and envy at the achievements of others.

But for the moment I am euphoric with the view from the other side of the moon and Real Madrid are as sick as parrots. Last season we were out of the Champions league with two games to go as Mr. Pochettino observed.

This season we are through with two games to spare. Progress by any measure from the so-called 'Group of Death' but not enough for him or for that matter Bill Nicholson.

It’s magnificent to be in Europe, and this club – a club like Tottenham Hotspur – if we’re not in Europe…. we’re nothing. We’re nothing.” Another box double ticked and underlined.

We outplayed an admittedly off form and possibly over the hill Madrid side, taking our chances in style and denying them more than a couple of sights of goal.

We even coped with an early injury to Toby which necessitated a reshuffle and the appearance of Moussa SissokoEric Dier went into the back three and we barely missed a heartbeat.Actually I missed several.

There is so much to praise in attitude and performance. But for Real Madrid it was truly 'Death in the (very late) Afternoon' at  our 'lucky' arena before 83,782 aficionados, mainly ours.

Our whole brave band of toreros performed well and there were several candidates for Matador de Toros (Killer of Bulls or 'Man of the Match' in English. Trippier, Verts,Winks and especially Dele, among the leading contenders.

We also ticked another Bill Nicholson box: we didn't just win: “It’s no use just winning, we’ve got to win well.” The only pity was that it wasn't the Final. But it well might be. See you all in Kiev in May.

We proceed to the knockout stages with the players carried shoulder high and Dele and Christian sharing the ears and the tail. (Sorry got carried away there after our moment of truth)

And Mauricio in stressing winning things and not just competing picks up another theme of Bill “Spurs have got to be the best in the land, not the second best.” We're getting there, we're getting there.

Dele struck half way through the first half sliding in a Trippier volleyed cross after a fine ball out to the right by Winks. His second after an hour was a fine solo run from a Dier pass. His shot diverted b  Sergio Ramos.

The 'coup de grace' was administered by Cristian just after the hour following a fine counter attack involving Dele and Harry Kane. Ronaldo scored a consolation goal with ten minutes to go but we saw out the game.

The cries of 'ole' were pushing it just a little but justified in the circumstances. In fact Dele missed an easy header and should have had a hat-trick. Winks was impressive in the company of Kroos and Modric.

Trippier now has 13 assists in 2017, 6 more than any other defender. Dele is back with us in style and Harry Kane didn't draw undue attention to himself by scoring. What's not to like?

Only worry for me was the hot-headed behaviour of Dembele especially in the light of the 'eye gouge' on Costa last year. Gives a whack gets some back and then loses it completely.

He and Ramos both lucky not to be sent off.

Real Madrid have gone 5yrs (30games) undefeated in the Champions' League and this was their worst defeat since losing 2-0 to Juventus ten years ago. We are unbeaten so far in the competition.(WWDW).

I expect big changes at Real next season. Zidane will probably survive but they have a new wave of youngsters and Marcelo, Ronaldo, Ramos, Benzema, Pepe, Nacho and others could all on the chop list.

Kroos and Modric after recent displays are not immune. Of the ever injured Bale I will say nothing.

I hope we settle in NWHL as well as we have at Wembley. All those stories about spending two years at Wembley. 'A consummation devoutly to be wished for' as Bill from Stratford once said in his pome about Toby.

My favourite quote from our manager and inspiration, the one that didn't get knighted is:

''It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory''.

Runners up in the CL in May it is then.

 Jimmy's Video Spot.
Just for posterity all the goals and highlights. Some lovely running off the ball by Eriksen, Harry Kane and Dele.

Tripps all on his own out on the wing. Marcelo gone walkabout.What a European night to remember. 

I think he means Zidane not Casemiro at the start and Marcelo not Mascherano who plays for Barcelona. Nice work if you can get it.

Monday, 30 October 2017

No Big Deal

It's a six horse race. 

The JimmyG2 Column.
Ten games in, just 28 to go, and the first checkpoint for our progress. We finished 2nd last year and at this point we were 5th. with a goal difference of 9 and a tally of 20 points.

This year with the added burden of playing our 'home' games at Wembley we are 3rd. with a goal difference of 12 and the same points tally and the Wembley 'hoodoo' vanquished at every level. So why the long face?

Well we are further behind the leaders than we were last year but unless we go out and spend 2/300 million pounds like Man.City, and match their wages we are always likely to be.

They are 8 points ahead of us after 10 games and have a goal difference of 29. Certainly a whirlwind start but the top six will undoubtedly all take points off each other. We need to play our part in this.

We have improved the squad in the recent window within our means and the return of Lamela, Rose, Dembele, Sanchez and Wanyama should give us further impetus, though rumours are rife that Victor is out long term.

Losing to W.Ham and Manchester United in the same week doesn't help to keep a positive outlook. Surrendering a two goal lead to fall out of the Carabao Cup at home to West Ham adds insult to injury.

Playing well enough to hold Man.Utd for 80 mins at Old Trafford and then losing 1-0 once again to a general defensive lapse having had the chance just prior to go ahead merely prolongs the agony.

If Dele capitalises on his own astute movement and converts Eriksen's most, and perhaps only, incisive pass of the game we probably defend a narrow lead for the last 15 minutes and win or at worst draw.

 But he goes with the wrong foot and puts it wide. Earlier Sissoko had alerted the Manchester Airport Traffic Controllers with a shot that registered on their radar screens rather than put the ball in the net  when well placed.

Jose had bigged us up before the game. 'Best team in the League' and all that: a win win for him. If they lost it was only to be expected and if he won it made his team even better by beating the best team in the Premiership.

We played quite well without anyone being outstanding. Eriksen was slow to get up to speed and his first four passes went astray. Winks had a good first half and then ran out of steam.

The defence played well until collectively conceding the goal. Which is bit like saying 'It's a great car except for the engine'. A simple header by Lukaku and a scuffed finish by substitute Martial whowas allowed to run free.

We were the only team in the top six not to win this weekend  but maintained our position though the pack is closing in. Next weekend  we play Crystal Palace which might give us some hope as four of the top six play each other.

Before that on Wednesday we have the CL game against Real Madrid who lost yesterday to newly promoted Catalonia team  Girona in La Liga. There was a frenzied atmosphere given the political situation in a tiny stadium.

Girona pressed even after they went ahead and Real were without Bale and Kaylor Navas. Isco was their standout best player and Ronaldo is off form. They are vulnerable this season and even a draw might ensure our progress.

So win both this week which is by no means impossible and the long face disappears. Poch. will have some serious match planning to do and it partly depends on the availability of Harry Kane and the fitness of several other players.

The statistic that was stressed  after the Man.Utd game was quite startling: only one win in 17 away games against teams in the top six. I feel a frown coming on. Neigh lad it's just not good enough. Sorry.

But as President of the 'Take a Draw Now' Society against rivals we have to turn the losses into draws at least to improve our record. (Played 17: W1. D5: L11) There are 13 other teams where the win is  essential.

I always like to stress the positive and look on the bright side and there are plenty of stats to cheer us up: Sissoko is improving; injured players are returning; Llorente is due a goal; Aurier didn't get booked or sent off in his last game.

Son is getting quicker; Harry is getting better; Winks is the find of the Millenium; Poch is the best manager in the world; Lamela will make a difference; the Stadium grows by the day.

And even with these recent blips and a couple of bad days at the office we are still third.

So cheer up everybody: it's no big deal

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Their goal a catalogue of errors and failure to mark and track.  Dele's miss: he made it by his movement and missed it for some reason. Fine ball by Eriksen. Lloris iffy on at least 3 occasions

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

What Sort of Forecast is that!

There is no Harry Kane! and Eriksen, Dele and Winks
 to start in midfield against Liverpool.

Well 1 out of 2 ain't bad.
The JimmyG2 Column.
It's getting harder to find new ways of saying nice things about Tottenham but the win against Liverpool on Sunday raised new aspects about our game and Mauricio's management.

Firstly let's admit that they were inept and contributed hugely to their own downfall and not just Lovren. Coutinho is the only players who would challenge for a place at Spurs.

We changed our approach for this one and instead of slugging it out toe to toe we lay in wait for them and ambushed them on the break. Son playing off Harry was ideal for this role. As Llorente was against Real Madrid under different circumstances.

Who would have forecast a midfield of Dele, Winks and Eriksen even two weeks ago. The injuries to Wanyama and Dembele obviously forced changes to our thinking but the extra mobility was key here.

Aurier playing on the left to counteract Salah's pace was a potentially dangerous ploy but in the event  he did the job and didn't even get booked. Well done that man.

Dele had his best game for us in ages and illustrated the flexibility of the players and the increasing tactical flexibility of Mauricio. We had the full range from Boy Wonder: a goal, the skills, the cheek, work rate, tackles and responsibility.

Dier's flexibility is already established and Vertonghen's. Now Davies, Son, Dele, Aurier and others have demonstrated theirs and Mauricio's increasing willingness to exploit the fluidity and movement of the squad.

Two up in 12 minutes was an unexpected bonus and 3-1 up on 56 minutes enabled us to close the game down, as we did at Huddersfield, and coast to the win. I would have taken Kane off on the hour.

Lloris made a world class save from Coutinho but was suspect for their goal by not sweeper keepering as he did with his head later. But his throw out to Kane for Son's goal was excellent.

Kane suckered Lovren in, ducked under the ball and then sped away to find Son's run. I'm not sure that Salah would beat Son in a straight race over half a pitch as quick as he is.  

Son made up several yards Henderson and swept Harry's inch perfect pass into the net without breaking stride.  He seems to be getting quicker if that is possible.

Harry Winks showed that his Bernabeu performance was no one-off though a lower key performance here, but he could do with a rest before Man.Utd after an exhilarating fortnight.

So victory at last over Liverpool who have had the hex on us for several years. Harry's first goal at Wembley in the Prem and its leading goalscorer once more. He has scored half our total goals which is a little worrying.

Yet another couple of milestones. Next up W.Ham in the Carabao Cup tomorrow and Man.Utd away on Sunday. Both very winnable in our current mood and with Bilic unsacked we won't have to face the 'new manager bounce'

West Ham will not be fazed by the size of the venue but the crowd support might just unsettle them. Another chance for Mauricio to show his tactical nous and the depth of his squad.

Some, all or none of the following might surface if fit: Dembele, Rose, Kyle Walker-Peters, Lamela, Davies, Vorm, Llorente, Foyth, N'Koudou, Georgiou as well as one or two of the usual suspects.

A mixture of kids and experience is always better than just throwing the kids in and hoping that they don't drown and I expect Mauricio to keep it balanced. Big guns on the bench in case starters fire blanks.

United will almost certainly sit and we need to hit them hard and fast. A genuine six pointer and although I would usually take a draw against close rivals not on this occasion. We can do this and deal them a critical blow.

So the best time as a Spurs fan since the Double days. We have had great players from time to time but rarely great teams. The slow build of this one, with minimal outlay, youth and some of our own has been well worth the wait.

Now for some silverware starting tomorrow and another challenge for the Premiership continuing on Saturday. COYS.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
I give you the new smiling Dele Alli. Calm, responsible, several tackles, a couple of visionary through balls, the back-heel and a delightful nutmeg or two on Can. Oh and a goal. Lovely stuff.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

It's All in the Balance at Tottenham

 Watch out Luka. He's right behind you.
The JIMMYG2 Column. 
On a unexpectedly cool and rainy night in Madrid Spurs stepped up the plate, picked it up and virtually smashed it. So the answer to the perennial question : 'Can they do it on a cold wet Tuesday night in Madrid? is 'Yes we can!

Now Spurs have never won the Champions' League and perhaps never will. But on Tuesday night in Madrid we got a fleeting glimpse of what it might feel like. One game at a time Jimmy.

At the Bernabeu, home of the current Champions, we laid down our marker, and made a huge step forward to qualify for the next stage. Our very first goal against the Champions.

We led for 15 minutes and I dared to hope that the unlikely was about to happen. The home crowd were stunned and the visitors elated.

Spurs and Harry Winks came of age. With Aurier, Sissoko and Llorente starting Mauricio was clearly thinking how to balance Champions' League and Premiership. And thinking clearly in the event.

We were without Dembele, Wanyama, Davies, Dele and with Rose only briefly. But we didn't just hold them to a 1/1 draw but on the night Harry Kane could have snatched it at the death.

 At Spurs what can go wrong usually does but that was then and this is now. Real are currently a little under par and were soundly whistled at for much of the game. But not in a good way.

A draw was my best hope before the game as it would maintain our parity on seven points with Madrid at the top. In the event it was a damn close run thing and truthfully could have gone either way.

Lloris was generally voted our MOM for several fine saves, The one from Benzema at point blank range which had 'retrieve from back of the net  and replace on centre spot' written all over it was the best.

With Dele banned and Eriksen not quite on his game Llorente was Kane's main support and though a bit cumbersome for long periods in the end it was he that set up a couple of chances.

A sensible selection and it distracted Ramos from his usual dominance. It also gave Lloris the excuse to kick long and his occasional dodgy distribution was not exposed.

The defence all round was focused and solid except for Aurier's Kyle Walker moment for the penalty. In hindsight he had little option than to try to stop Kroos scoring.

 Whether Toby would have got the block in is a moot point.We were denied a good shout for a penalty ourselves when Llorente's legs were taken from him in the area, but such is life away from home.

But they could not score in open play which is entirely  down to the organization and effort of all concerned. Which brings me to one Harry Winks (21) and one of our own who like Spurs emerged with great credit

This boy was terrific and I am bursting with praise and pride for the boy. Against Modric and Kroos two of the world's best he held his own. He showed for the ball, found space and took responsibility.

Mauricio trusted him in the cauldron of the Bernabeu at the highest level and as for  England last week he was not found wanting. Well done coach and player. I make no apology for making him our current poster boy.

Is Winks as good as Modric? Nah! But after the eleven years that Luka owes him he might well be. They might have pencilled in Winks as a Modric replacement in a couple of years time. I'm joking, I'm joking.

With Dembele and Wanyama out it was vital that others stepped up. In the end almost everyone did: Dier, Sissoko, the other Harry;  Lloris and the back line.

Sissoko linked positively with his old team-mate and current chum  from Toulouse, Serge Aurier down the right and the always dangerous Marcelo was largely contained. and this was his best performance so far.

It was Aurier's ball across the six yard box that ended with Harry challenging Varane and the ball went in off the defender. Winks was at the heart of that move too. Thrills and spills at both ends and I was delighted with the draw.

The atmosphere in the Bernabeu was formidable but you could still hear the Spurs fans despite being outnumbered 10 to1. It had been been at least 25 and rainless for two months. Spurs however brought their weather with them.

Light rain throughout the evening failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the visitors in the ground or out and about in the city. Liz from the Irish Rover sends her regards and thanks all those that dropped in.

We take them back to Wembley in two weeks and I wouldn't bet against a home win, although a draw would do in terms of qualifying for the next stage.

Before then it's just Liverpool and Man.Utd. in the Prem and W.Ham in the Carabao Power drinks Cup. This exactly what we all signed up for after all and the slow build has all been worthwhile.

Sugar daddies? Who needs 'em? But that's a topic for another day.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
It's the Harry Winks Show folks.
Starting with a Scotty Parker 360 degree turn and haircut and then the full range of space invading, passing, tackling covering and linking with Christian. You name it, he did it.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Wheel of Fortune favours Spurs

Turn wheel turn. Our number is coming up.
The Jimmy G2 column.
I remember a song from the early 50's by Kay Starr. This was before sex was invented in the 60's and The Beatles put paid to all that sentimental ballad stuff and before Spurs did the Double.

 Oh, wheel of fortune
I'm hoping somehow
If you ever smile on me
Please let it be now.

Amen to that, and the Wheel is taking us closer to the top where we hope it will suffer a breakdown and stick there for several years like several others lately.

Meanwhile as it spins Spurs maintain their progress on all fronts. A great week for club and country and for our International players most of whom will be going to Russia.

Eriksen scored for Denmark again; Harry captained England and like Eriksen on Saturday scored  the winner; Jan was MOM against Bournemouth and became the most capped player for Belgium (97).

Chelsea and Arsenal beaten; Man Utd. and Liverpool drawing; clear in third and Real Madrid and Liverpool to come next week. Happy Days indeed and everything in our own hands. Spin, wheel spin.

We thumped Huddersfield despite only playing for half an hour. We shut up shop at 3-0 and still managed another. Sissoko's first goal; a couple for HK and Davies added another in his bid for the Spurs Golden Boot.

All this with nearly half the team injured or banned and Harry finally running out of steam on Saturday. But this a squad effort. Harry Winks starting for England and Spurs and acquitting himself well if a little cautiously.

New signing Sanchez is more than a little raw but even younger than Winks and only two months older than Dele. Vertonghen is benefiting from the left back golden glow and Dele is steadily improving.

Kevin N'Koudou got a hospital pass late on from Sissoko in a four on one break and drawing the short straw was last seen on his way to    er... the hospital.

At least Dele won't be under the spotlight in Madrid as he's banned for this one. Real are not on top form at the moment but have enough firepower to cause us problems. A draw would do, away from home.

They struggled to beat lowly Getafe on Saturday and only a very late Ronaldo goal saw them through. They have played 8 won 5 drawn 2 and lost 1 so far and are in third place 5 points behind Barcelona.

I fear Isco who is on top form for club and country and is hard to pick up and stop. But they have plenty of firepower and I'd take a draw (4/1 with the bookmakers) right now.

Although as Kay nearly says to the wheel:
If you ever smile on me: 
Please let it be now.
 Let the arrow point at me
 on Tuesday at the Bernabeu.

Nobody could accuse us of playing scintillating or extravagant football yet. It's all a bit ponderous but it's getting the job done in the face of Wembley hoodoos at every level. And Real Madrid should know that our away form is pretty damn good

 A gap is opening between us and the pack. Arsenal,  Liverpool and Chelsea are currently struggling in our wake and we are only one point below our tally from last year. Above us only the Moneybags Manchesters: Turn wheel turn.

With Liverpool and Man.Utd in the Premiership slotted between the away and home fixtures against Real by the beginning of next month we should have a clearer view of where we are heading. Point arrow point.

Best wishes to the boys and all those fans traveling to Madrid. Stay safe.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The last time we played Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the Champions' League.

Lest we forget. Some of theirs are still there; some of ours have become theirs; None of ours are still with us.

Crouchy only made two tackles in his whole career and was sent off before half-time. Not Gomes finest hour. Both still going strong though

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Danny Lee Rose: The Real Story

 Eh Ma, isn't that our our Danny, Superleftback?
The Greg Meyer Column.
October 12 2017 … Spurs Legend Birthday.
 Daniel Lee Rose  … The Real Story.
“ A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  

                                                                                      W. Shakespeare  Romeo and Juliet  circa 1596.
Bill Shakespeare , reputedly a keen football fan , died 401 years ago. His memory lives on and indeed grows ever larger.
However another synonymous with the aforementioned flower, one Daniel Lee Rose, is in danger of fading from the average football fans memory. Danny Rose last featured for Spurs on January 31 in a drawn game with Sunderland.
Thereafter a short term knee injury has blossomed into a diagnosis of Mr. Invisible. Conspiracy theories as to his whereabouts, indeed his very existence have circulated with regularity as follows.
The Abduction by Aliens Theory.
No concrete proof of this theory has yet to be advanced. But given the nature of the matter highly unlikely your extraterrestrials  are going to leave a calling card, let alone a goodbye note.
Tottenham Hotspur FC have hardly been an encyclopedia of information as to any news on Danny.
Mauricio Pochettino’s standard line has been  “He is some weeks away.’ Away but where. Hmm.
The Lord Lucan Theory.
Lord Richard John Bingham, Seventh Earl of Lucan, killed the family nanny on November 7 1974 fleeing at real Rose style pace. He has never been seen since.
A multitude of theories as to his fate include departing for deepest and darkest Africa, accidentally drowning himself and migrating to sunny Australia.
As to Danny Rose, no nanny at Chez Rose and by all reports an excellent swimmer. As well Barbados is his chosen holiday destination.
Whilst Danny’s excellent attempt thus far of invisibility has been impressive the Lord Lucan theory much like the suggested drowning does not hold up well.
The “It’s All About the Money “ Theory.
True there is that famous, perhaps infamous, interview regards Spurs pay structure needing drastic overhaul. The allied moving to Manchester United mutterings did not go down with one Senor Pochettino. Has Danny burnt his bridges such that reality has stepped in a la Kyle Walker style.
Fearing his plunge from Mauricio’s favoured “son” to want away mercenary would dampen anyone’s recovery. Let alone a wish to appear in public.
 Rumours still abound as to his departure in January.
The Kent Pub Theory.

A knee injury failing to recover the gentle way required surgical intervention. Plenty of time to brood and look on as your teammates play for glory and get second.
A jet heeled player with the ability to take on and beat the opposition. Not in plentiful supply at Spurs. A former winger who through astute coaching found out how to defend. On his day the premier left full back in the Premier.
Rumours filtering through with the occasional pic indicate he is running about Hotspur Way.
A fit and flying Danny Rose takes Spurs a step closer to the Title.
Cheers … and happy 37th birthday to Ledley Brenton King … Greg Meyer.    coys.
Editors note. The 'Real' Story is an unfortunate linguistic coincidence.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Just in case you've forgotten. The Joke that Davies is no Danny Rose has worn a bit thin but still has a little more tread to burn.

Spurs Friendly Pub 5 minutes Walk from the Bernabeu.

Spurs friendly Pub within 5 minutes walk of the Bernabeu.

An excellent bar to assemble in before the game and to meet up in later.

My daughter Liz the Manager of the Irish Rover which some of you will already know
extends her usual warm welcome to Spurs fans next week.

Special Football deals:
Excellent Burgers,chips and a pint 10 Euros (Heineken): 10.50 (Guinness)

Bucket of 5 Amstels on ice for 12 Euros.

Heineken is 5euros a pint and Guinness is 5.50 which is not bad for Madrid and this area.

Kitchen will be open until 1am on Match day and the bar until 3or usual.

There will be some English speaking staff on duty.

Opposite the Stadium across the Castellana. (six lanes: wait for the green lights)
Down the side of the Ministry of Defence.
Over the first traffic lights and the Irish Rover is in the corner of the square on the left,
5 minutes walk max.

Spanish food available.
Menu del Dia from 12pm for 9.50 Euros before 1.30 and 10.50 Euros after.

Plenty of screens and an atrium entry bar for smokers and screens and a terrace upstairs.

Stay safe. I wouldn't mention Catalonia or display any support for them in Madrid. Tensions are running high in Spain and the police are not noted for their good humour and tolerarance especially towards football fans. 

Remember Seville!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry.

2017 and Harry Just get Better and Better.
 The JimmyG2 Column.
 The Harry Kane Tribute Edition.
Sorry that headline should have read 'Harry, Harry, Harry' as our boy clocked up his first Champions' League hat-trick. Messi and Ronaldo have each scored seven but at 24 he's got plenty of time.

Gareth Bale scored our only other one seven years ago against Internazionale in 2010. He was only 21 at the time but hasn't managed another one since. I'm pretty sure Harry will.

As Elizabeth Barrett Browning once asked: How do I love you? Let me count the ways. Harry's stats are simply amazing? World Class? No question. And Tuesday night was another master-class.

He has now scored six trebles in 2017 and 11 goals in seven games this month. His nearest rivals are Aguerro and Lukaku 10 goals adrift in this calendar year. Where would we be without him? Don't answer that.

Although others stepped up when he was out for a couple of months last year but he still won the Golden Boot for the second year running. And that included the usual August famine.

We had four shots on goal and Harry scored three times. If he had been on the other side they certainly would have won but unlike HK they couldn't finish. Their keeper didn't got a hand on any of them.

Elderweireld's through ball supplied Harry's first, taken on his left foot and slipped past the keeper as he advanced. Sissoko's pull back onto his right foot was the second and Trippier supplied the cross for Harry's headed third.

The perfect hat-trick scored in style but without fuss. Game over although it could have been different. Camargo's fierce angled shot struck the crossbar with Hugo beaten at 0-0

He was forced to make two smart saves after the break at 1-0 and nearly scored an own goal with a wild clearance off  Sanchez, the ball rebounding just wide.

Details, details. I am brimful of positivity: Sissoko shaping up; young Winks looking for all the world like Dembele's replacement,seven players out, yet another away win; Aurier not even carded and staying on his feet.

Onomah and Winks my midfield Academy dream is still on as Josh is doing well at Villa so the reports say. He scored again at the weekend.

Llorente doing a job; Pochettino showing some in-game flexibility though Trippier starting on the left was again a waste as his cross from the right for Harry's third showed. He always cuts back on the other side.

Son and N'Koudou were lively but loose and it wasn't generally a scintillating performance except from you know who who even supplied the pass for Trippier's run.

Anyway top of the group, level on points and goals with some Spanish team and still everything to play for. Wanyama close they say, Verts available again.

Rose unfortunately has clearly been captured by aliens and is being held for ransom in a spaceship hovering over the earth probably over Manchester. 100 million they say.

But we didn't do too badly with the 'bare bones' this week and if Mauricio sticks to square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes we should continue to progress.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Three guesses. Got it in one. Only one shot of Toby's ball for the first but I could watch re-runs of Harry's goals all day. In fact I nearly have in the blog edit. Happy Days.


Sunday, 24 September 2017

The fighting spirit of....Carabao!

From milk sops to empowerment. Let's give it a go.
The JimmyG2 Column 
Another week another blog. Disappointing start against Swansea, a ground out progress against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup* in midweek and a very pleasing if slightly nail nibbling finish at The Taxpayers Stadium yesterday.

We continue to dominate all the statistics in these games but despite Harry's efforts seem to struggle just a little achieving one of the main objects of the game: nestling the ball in the Onion Bag.

Frustrating start at the weekend; just enough in mid-week to avoid the looming banana skin and a satisfying revenge for last season at West Ham. Back to 4th same as this stage last year.

Partly thanks to our old colleague Chris Hughton at Brighton who pricked Newcastle's winning run balloon with a composed performance on the South coast. We wish him well.

'Can you see what it is yet?' as the disgraced Rolf Harris used to say. After 6 games the shape of the season is still only a blurred outline. We are still in contact with the leaders but there's only 32 games to go. Don't panic!

But after 3 consecutive away wins we are obviously hoping that our away form will compensate for Wembley. That's a big ask and our home form must improve if we are to make top four.

Dele was given the opportunity and challenge against Barnsley to contribute more and rose to the occasion with a  composed finish following good movement from a cross by Kieran Trippier.

I am not a fan of Trippiers and his famed crossing is hit and miss at best. When Aurier gets his head together he will almost certainly be first choice. Meanwhile KWP waits in the wings for his chance.

Harry's first goal against W.Ham encapsulates everything that is good about Spurs at the moment. Dele's movement; Eriksen's vision; and Harry's improvised finish from a cross by the Boy Wonder is the current attacking essence of Spurs.

Dele is under scrutiny at the moment with rumours again of interest at Real Madrid. This is, to put it politely, nonsense and when linked with the return of Bale becomes total rubbish.

Some say that Dele is not even good enough for Spurs which gives you some idea of how little his unpredictable talent can be quantified. He's gifted but young and is an essential part of our attacking triumvirate.

Coupled with a sound defence in which Toby is playing a more equal part with the rise of Jan; the improvement of Davies and the arrival of Sanchez we are good to go.

It was good to see Harry Winks showing more of his usual appetite and the cameo by Llorente was most enjoyable. It didn't take him long to get into the London derby spirit.

I am still not convinced by Sissoko though he is improving and with the absence of Wanyama and the worrying situation with Dembele he has to step up. Onomah might have been a good option but too late now.

If West Brom. had beaten  Arsenal tonight by six goals then we would have dropped to fifth but I wasn't really that worried. Come on the Baggies. Always liked 'em. Do us a favour Mr.Pulis.

*Carabao Cup

You may remember the Carabao Cup in its original form if you are old enough as simply the League Cup until it's transformation in the 80's to the Milk Cup (remember the Milk Marketing board?))

 Then consumerism took over with the Littlewood's Cup and then the Rumbelow's in the early 90's. But the poisoned chalice did for them unlike Coca Cola which went from strength to strength on its back.

Significantly alcohol replaced soft drinks at the end of the Millenium when Worthington and Carling spurred on by this added product  lustre took us through the Millenium and beyond..

Unimpressed by the sight of these marketing success it was sponsorless for a few years until Carabao energy drinks struck a three year deal in 2017.  Pretty much a sign of the times and there is a social history to be written here.

But from Milk, to Shopping, to  Beer and Soft drinks to specifically an alleged 'health' product  is an interesting and possibly telling progression around the history of the past 50 years.

In the meantime I quote from their website:
“Carabao” is an energy drink that was inspired by the fighting spirit of an individual. It is more than a global energy drink, it is the empowerment to accomplish personal goals.

'Carabao symbolizes the spirit of individuals who fight for the cause they believe in. Not by force, but with determination, hence the slogan: The Fighting Spirit of Carabao”

Whatever. However as we're in it I want us to want to win it. Not a top priority unless you value silverware above everything else  but a harmless detour on the way to greater things.

Next up just the Champions' League away to Apoel but after Barnsley who cares? We all do obviously. Let's inject some of the Carabao fighting spirit on Tuesday.(edit)

Mauricio says the fact that we have seven seniors players out including Eriksen, Vertonghen and Dele banned is not an excuse. We'll see. An opportunity for someone or two.

Serge Aurier.
Booked for several fouls for the first yellow and then another for a crude and unnecessary tackle on Carroll who bought the foul miles from goal. Needs to calm down just a little and stay on his feet. 

 Jimmy's Video spot:
All the goals and build up here. Aurier brain fart. 3-0 up and coasting but 'All's Well that Ends Well' as the man said. Eriksen's overhead flick to Verts for the second is lovely too and Dele's run once again.

The three Musketeers strike again and again and again.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Grounds for Optimism

Hoodoo Dragon only half dead I'm afraid.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 I had this pretty piece all ready in my head after the Borussia Dortmund win at Wembley  in the week in the Champions' league. A nagging doubt and second thoughts stopped me from posting it born of a long devotion to Tottenham.

You know the stuff: brilliant tactical Managership; fine performance; Dragons slain; myths put to bed; onwards and upwards; Harry world class; didn't miss Dele; defining week; blah blah blah.

Definite grounds for optimism, Wembley included at this point. but like politics a week is a long time and anything can happen. Actually 4 days in this case

Now of course all this is true and yet and yet. I am now puzzled over team selection and tactics against Swansea who we beat 5-0 last year at the Lane and 3-1 away and a little angry over the way we played.

But poor decisions and the crossbar and some excellent keeping by Fabiansky were the difference between a win and a draw. But in the minds of the Press the Wembley Hoodoo lives on at least in the Premiership.

We used the first half as a warm up for the real thing and Swansea had time to hone and perfect their game plan. I'm not sure that their bus won't require towing away: more broken down than parked.

Against Borussia Dortmund we looked prepared and as if we knew what we were doing, pressing higher in the second half . Against Swansea we didn't look at at all sure about anything. 

Sissoko starting is never a good sign though he played as well as some. Trippier at left back is a stretch; bringing on Llorente and then ignoring him was just silly.

Six defenders at times against a team that didn't come to play is a waste. Resting players that could have been given next week off and not making full use of substitutes only Mauricio can explain.

So did we underestimate Swansea and not play at full pace and at full strength after a fine performance in midweek? Were we complacent? Did Mauricio overthink things? Were we just unlucky?

Some or all of the above? It was certainly an opportunity missed in so many ways and the slumbering Wembley Hoodoo Dragon lives on to breath fire for another day.

In the final analysis Trippier and Sissoko are not good enough, though Keiran is more effective on the right and Sissoko through the middle. Dele is not quite with us currently though not as bad as some are making out.

Aurier was good against Dortmund and lively in his limited appearance yesterday. Sanchez was excellent midweek but a bit ragged marking shadows on Saturday. Kane was inspired in the CL and unlucky against Swansea.

Son was lively in both games. He scored from a narrow angle against Dortmund but his attempt to do the same against Swansea was well saved. Eriksen shoulders the full burden of creativity when Dele is not quite fully on his game.

We are certainly better against teams that come to play. But our build up is too slow and we still lack movement and invention in the final third. Harry's hard work can't do everything.

Swansea's defence was packed and effective but Dortmund's was not in the same class as its attack. An unfortunate blip certainly but whether it is more than this or signs of a worrying trend remains to be seen.

We started slowly last year too and it won't be until at least ten games before we can make any assessment but we are already points and goal difference down, 1 point above Arsenal but one below below Newcastle.

With Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all drawing the damage is not quite as bad as it could have been. But the 'Manchesters' are striding away in some style.

It's been the Tottenham way for decades: two steps forward: one step back, and it certainly feels like it this week after a fine start at away to Everton and then a home win against Dortmund.

Is it just the fact that is not White Hart Lane and that a move to any new venue would have unsettled us. Has it come just at the wrong moment after our wonderful record last year.

Watch On the bright side we didn't lose, kept a clean sheet and we're still fifth.

Jimmy's Video spot:
 Serge Aurier: Welcome to Spurs.

Victor and Serge will compete for the 'Tough Guy Challenge' and probably for the 'Yellow and Red Card Stakes' too. But the boy has made an impressive start.