The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

World's end comes at an awkward time for Spurs.

 We took to the lifeboats briefly
 but didn't completely abandon ship.
The JimmyG2 Column.

Another home Premiership win, our 10th consecutive and 13th. in all competitions. We seem to be leaving the old WHL at exactly the wrong moment but that's in the script for Spurs.

Just seconds away from winning the Champions' League, last minute of extra time and 2-0 up against Real Madrid when a flash of lightening, a whiff of sulphur and a crash of thunder heralds the end of the world.

Just a recurring dream or rather nightmare of mine which you are welcome to share. But the move to Wembley might just be more than a little disruptive. Unless rumours of a year's delay for whatever reason are more than that.

Probably wishful thinking at this stage. Meanwhile another team came  to the old WHL and were sent packing. Only just this time. We cruised out of port majestically for the first half and went in at half time 2-0 up.

In the second half we seemed to be waiting for the whistle from about the 46th. minute. An uncharacteristic error  by Toby gifted them a goal and in general our passing was increasingly all over the place.

Briefly we seemed to have abandoned ship and were bobbing about in the lifeboats. Until the arrival of Harry Winks that is who was combative and positive as always. He re-energised our approach and helped us off the back foot.

 Janssen too. Both might have come on 15 minutes earlier again. Spurs of old might have drawn this against a decent, well organised, well coached outfit with some decent players.

 Or even conceded all three points. On another day if all chances had been taken and both penalty shouts given or not given a draw would have been a fair  result but not these days.

Eriksen opened the scoring again with a controlled shot on 14 minutes from a rare assist by Dembele and set up Son with a fine ball but Forster made a good save. Dele bought and scored the penalty before half time.

The winds at half time were set fair for us to coast home.  But Southampton hadn't read our cruise brochure and after Ward Prowse scored gave us over half an hour of possible tension though in fact there was little real threat.

Had Rodriguez come on instead of Long it might have been different. The injury to Gabbiadini was a bonus as he looked lively if only briefly.

Romeu matched Wanyama and Dembele for beastliness and Tadic threw a Dele but didn't get the penalty. His dramatic fall after being touched by Davies got nil for artistic interpretation.

Redmond saw off Walker, who did not have his finest hour and Trippier arrived and was even worse. Davies though improving starts a long way behind Rose in every sense and is never going to catch him.

Son had done little  and was eventually replaced by Janssen who put himself about for 10 minutes, drawing fouls and distracting the Southampton defence like a wasp at a picnic.

He and the other Harry should start the next game. Dele ghosted in and out of the game, now you see him now you don't. He's our Wild card, Joker and Ace all in one. Gives us that unpredictability that we otherwise lack.

So good game, good win, decent opponents and now an International break. Pray for all our boys on duty. At least Harry Kane and Danny Rose are safely tucked up in the treatment room.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Ironic that just as they start to muse on Harry Kane's absence Eriksen scores. Plain sailing until we encounter some choppy water on 50 minutes but we see out the final 40 minutes fairly comfortably.
Dele 11 in last 12 games.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Erik Lamela: the Real Story.

One man and his dog: true Spurs.
The Greg Meyer Column.
 The Day After St Patrick’s Day.
Erik Lamela … The Real Story.
“ In a world full of manipulation , lies and half truths, the conspiracy theory is often a safer bet than the official story.” … Gary Hopkins UK author. “

Theories conspiratorial abound over the past, present, and future of the 24 year old Argentinian. He of the cultured left foot. He of the tenacious pressing skills. He of the inability to successfully take on and beat a player.
 Fortunately that flaw is generally overcome by the regular brilliance of that left foot. Erik last played on 24  October 2016. A seemingly innocuous training ground injury relating to his hip. A crook hip in the body of a still young man.
 Hardly an old age pensioner. Not a player in his time with Spurs that has worn out multiple pairs of boots. So what are these theories, rumours and just old fashioned gossip that are circulating.
Theory One  …  The Death of Simba.
This columnist has supported many a pet over the years. When one of them inevitably drops off their perch a period of mourning ( spelt “mourinho” in South American Spanish) ensues. But everyday life goes on. 
The unfortunate demise of Erik’s Beloved dog does not keep a young and very well paid footballer from plying his trade.
Theory Two … The Near Death of Brian Lamela.
Brother Brian survived a kidnapping in 2013 but was hospitalized in January 2017 suffering serious injury in an accident. Erik was allowed to return to Argentina before returning to Italy.
As part of his early settling in a foreign land , namely England, with very limited English skills Erik received some great support from his family.
Indeed Brian and the rest of the Lamela clan were very hands on. Instagram abounds with family pics of Team Lamela gathered at their favourite restaurant.

Certainly the impact of  his brother’s misfortune on Erik cannot be downplayed. Mauricio Pochettino rubber stamped his urgent return to Argentina. But with Brian in recovery mode why not have Erik follow suit.
The  Roma Theory.
Erik’s second biggest move was from River Plate to Roma in 2011. It was a successful move on multiple fronts. He developed his game and was deemed a star performer for the club. On the domestic front as well he was happy.
So profound was his impact that it led to his 30 million pound move to North London leaving behind his comfort zone at Roma. No surprise then when in January as part of his “rehabilitation” a move back to Roma occurred.
 However it was just an extended visit. He has returned to Hotspur Way to continue his treatment. There goes the return to Roma theory.

The Official Version.

Mauricio Pochettino among many quotes.
 January 6 2017   
                                                                    “ We hope that in a few weeks he will be available to be involved in the training sessions with the rest of the group.  We are not hiding anything.”    The Sun.

 St Patrick’s day
“ Continuing individual field work and integrating with some aspects of team training.” No he is not picking potatoes.    The Official Site.
Hardly anything coming from the club upon which you could risk the family home in the local betting shop.
The Elephant in the Room Theory.
As noted above Spurs like most clubs are not always overly informative nor frank regards the content of their injury bulletins. Understandably the recuperative powers varies with the individual.

Surely the West Bromich Albion  method is not practiced at White Hart Lane. You will recall them keeping mum regards the Berahino ban for drug use. Out with an injury was the official club version.
Outrageous speculation that Erik’s issues relate to drug usage are surely that. Outrageous!!
Summing Up.
Conspiracy theories, rumours and gossip aside Erik is sorely missed. His pressing, his precision, his corner taking and his goals are valuable. Yes not quite 30 million’s worth yet.
Still an integral cog in the Pochettino Plan. I’ll leave the last word to a man who was surely a secret Spurs admirer.
 “ People love conspiracy theories.”   Neil Armstrong.
Cheers .. Get Well Sooner Erik .. Greg Meyer.    coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot. 

If anyone thinks that we haven't missed him then they need another think. Quality player and he's all ours, for the moment.You can't have too many good players. it's the bad ones that are the problem.
(Glen Hoddle I think)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Turning Point?

 Millwall binned.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Plenty of encouraging statistics from the weekend, 75% possession and six goals from 15 shots on target. Millwall failed to manage one and so Michel Vorm clocks up another clean sheet.

Son got the regulation hat-trick in the enforced absence of Harry Kane and Janssen's first goal in open play since joining us  both auger well however long he is out.

(From 2 weeks until the end of the season according to the fan-site doctors).We await official news
No scan yet, the ankle is too swollen. Doesn't sound too good but Pochettino might reveal all on Friday.

Free Sweep-stake entry for correct guess on how long he's out. Usual free subscription to the Musings prizes. I'm going for 5 weeks but your guess is as good as mine.

Dele's third goal in as many matches at Fortress White Hart Lane, Eriksen's continuing form, a goal and two assists and Wanyama's and Davies steady development are all super positives.

But there are positives beyond all these. The midfield pairing of Victor and Harry Winks is the future at Spurs. Harry's 98% passing accuracy three quarters of them positive tells a story, but it is the style and confidence of the boy at 20 that is telling.

He does not always choose the easy option, he can mix it when necessary and both he and Victor turn quickly and usually pass forward.Winks and Eriksen together on the pitch is a joy.

Of course it was only Millwall but like Chelsea and Everton they came on good form (17 Games unbeaten) but like the Zen concept of one hand clapping the sound of our cage being rattled was a deafening silence.

There were noises offstage though, mainly racist chanting at Son who gave the perfect reply. Unfortunately we are not above a little racist chanting ourselves and so cannot claim the moral high ground.

I'm told we did the same to our own Lee Young-pyo a decade ago. 'DVD: three for a fiver'. People seem to think that football gives them a free pass on racism despite the high level campaigns.

The anonymity of a large crowd is I suppose like the facelessness of the internet. Anyway it's not funny except to those limited few and certainly not clever.

A composed team performance, we picked up the banana skin and dropped it in the recycling bin. Trippier's ball for Son's second was beautiful to behold.

His first goal was pure Sonism, miscontrol and then recovery and a beautiful strike. His second was poetry and his third a complete gift from the Millwall keeper King.

The shadow of Kane's injury clearly casts a shadow over everything but let's not panic just yet.

So on to the semi-final against Chelsea, a fixture that they will relish less than us. We've lost our last six semi's the last one to Chelsea ( 5-1, Bale got the goal). This one is ours and then City in the final.

And that one's ours too.

As Frankie Laine once sang. (Ask your grandfather.)
I believe for everyone that goes astray (Kane)
Someone will come to show the way (Janssen)
I believe
I believe.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Everybody's happy. Vincent looks round, holds his position, Son finds him and a neat finish. Nice team response. As Mauricio says it could be the turning point in the Spurs family season. Pleased for the boy.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sunday, Sunday.

Tottenham up next at White hart Lane.
And that's just the opposition tea lady.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Don't go near White Hart Lane if you've got a winning or even a not losing run to maintain. Everton like Chelsea before them found this out on Sunday.

They came, we saw, we conquered. They neither closed us down nor parked the bus and were caught like rabbits in our headlights. We controlled both the tempo and shape of the game.

On 20 minutes Harry showed his strength and belted a dipper into the corner of the net from 30 yds. Williams looked on with admiration.

Just after half time we implement the full press and Wiliams and Schneiderlin  join the Dispossessed, a brutal daylight robbery by Dembele, taken up by Dele who sets up Harry Kane for his second.

The final scoreline might therefor puzzle neutrals but it was a familiar story to the faithful. 2-0 up and coasting with ten minutes to go. It's in the script, we've seen this movie before.and against Everton too.

Lukaku scores following a slip by Vertonghen when no real danger threatened. But this is the remake. We score again delightfully. A real gem of a goal. Dele makes a run for a free kick taken by Winks.

The other Harry finds him in space  and Dele makes a difficult finish look easy and the two goal lead is re-established. Cue sighs of relief all round.

But wait, just as the curtain falls Valencia steals a second while literally nobody but the fans are  watching. The final 8 minutes plus 4 minutes extra time is played out uneventfully. No problem in this updated version of the old story.

On reflection I wouldn't take any of the Everton players. Lukaku is stong and effective but not  up to Harry's level. Ross Barkley is often linked to Spurs but neither would want to play back up to what we already have and  neither is better.

Baines and Coleman are decent too but at 32 and 28 respectively a little too old for Mauricio to work his magic on and once again our own and their back-up are arguably better.

This is to be honest a half-hearted piece because I missed the first half due to family commitments. Well, family preceded my love of Tottenham by several years. I managed to slip away after an hour and catch up.

It was not a problem in the (good?) old days. You went to your local game and listened to Sports Report at teatime for the rest.  All games were at 3pm on a Saturday.

Sunday lunchtime! What's that all about? That's when you read the Sunday papers to catch up on the stories behind the headlines.

Match of the Day didn't start until 1964 and has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running football TV programme in. I was in my early 20's by then. How the world changes.

Now you can watch every game,  up to half a dozen at the weekend and another on Mondays. Not to mention European competitions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Anyway all's well that ends well and this certainly ended well with a composed team performance. Vertonghen has renewed his membership of the attacking defenders club and we are all the better for it. Ben Davies looks more comfortable by the game.

Dele is sneaking into the top scorers table which of course three season wonder Harry leads. His stats at his age are amazing and in  a few more seasons, injuries permitting, he will top all the charts: Spurs, England and possibly European.

Here's a couple to be going on with: (Courtesy Football 365)

Premier League goals since start of 2014/15:

Sergio Aguero 62
Diego Costa 49
Alexis Sanchez 46
Romelu Lukaku 46

Premier League goals for Englishmen since start of 2014/15:
Jamie Vardy 34
Jermain Defoe 33
Charlie Austin 24
Dele Alli 23

And there's plenty more where they came from. Musings have loved followed and backed him from the start. Oh yes we have.

Millwall in the cup on Sunday lunchtime. OK I've cleared the decks for this one. Expecting a strong team, performance and result. No surprises please Spurs. It's a day of rest after all

Sunday Sunday: A walk in the park (Blur's lyrics: certainly not mine. I've been a Spurs fan for too long to make that mistake.)

Jimmy's Video Spot.
12 seconds of magic. Harry Wink's first assist. Timing, movement skill and team work. Two young men getting it together. I give you the New Spurs. Admiration even from the Arsenal's Alan Smith.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

New challenge tipped for Spur's enforcers.

Stardom calls for Moussa and Victor
 in the remake of the Kray twins life story.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Only at Spurs. Win 4-0 including a Harry Kane hat-trick and lovely assist for Dele and still be disappointed we didn't win by more or at least ring some changes. Expect more as they say.

It was the same score at half time. What what were they playing at for the last 45 minutes: trying not to get injured? Verts and Toby went off anyway with hopefully minor knocks.

We not only took our foot of the gas but parked the car and threw the keys out of the window. I hope we can locate them in time for Everton, unbeaten in nine, next Sunday.

So a satisfying performance all round really, even Ben Davies had a better game. Eriksen buzzed, Walker ran about a lot and Wanyama and Dembele  did their 1950's Kray twins impersonation.

Stoke were aggressively awful  and we were phlegmatically good.

Wimmer finally got a chance but Janssen did not. He must have done something truly evil off the pitch to be so studiously ignored even when on the bench. Winks gave his usual competent 20 minute cameo.

Son was the preferred Harry sub but why keep Kane on for an unnecessary 45 minutes at 4-0 and a hat-rick up? Obviously all this is way beyond my pay-grade.

So all good in terms of performance, attitude and result; European blues firmly shaken off; Stoke's spoiling tactics largely ignored even by Dele though Wanyama picked up a silly yellow in the final minutes.

More twists up ahead I have no doubt but good housekeeping now in terms of resting players and getting squad players up to speed might just make the difference in the final dozen games.

Failure to rest Harry and accumulated yellows may come back to haunt us as the last phase of the season looms. Liverpool coming unstuck against a rejuvenated Leicester was an unexpected help.

We are second to Chelsea on points and goal difference though City could overtake us again if they win their fixture in hand. We can't possibly implode like last year, can we? So second is definitely on.

Good News.
Dan Levy shares The Musings Academy dream  and to do things differently. Not for the same reasons though.

The Academy has paid for itself a hundred fold with the players produced and sold and the current value of Harry Kane. Shrewd investment all round. But Musings loves our own even if they don't quite make it.

They give their all for the club and while they are in the squad bring that commitment, spirit,  loyalty. and the extra effort that mitigates their possible lack of quality.

Bad News.
Danny Rose is still a month away and it doesn't look as if Lamela will make another appearance until pre-season if he's still with us by then. One rumour is as good as another where Erik is concerned.

This weeks puzzler. 
 When did Spurs last have a goal difference of over 30 and top the least conceded league. (19 in 26 games).

Jimmy's Video spot.
Ronald and Reggie. Couple of softies compared to our terrible twins. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. West Ham's major offensive seems to have petered out. Only joking lads. Rule London today tomorrow.........