The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry.

2017 and Harry Just get Better and Better.
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 The JimmyG2 Column.
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 The Harry Kane Tribute Edition.
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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.



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Sunday, 24 September 2017

The fighting spirit of....Carabao!


From milk sops to empowerment. Let's give it a go.
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The JimmyG2 Column 
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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.

 
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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Grounds for Optimism

Hoodoo Dragon only half dead I'm afraid.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 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 this...........space. 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.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Limited selection choices at Tottenham

Someone's taken out all the soft centres.
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The Jimmy G2 Column.
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But anyway I'm keeping faith with the Danish pastry: the thinking man's confectionery.

So the Top of the Bill event fizzled out in embarrassment as the home town contenders failed to turn up. Spurs won without breaking sweat for their second away victory and another clean sheet.

Perhaps we could play all our home games away. Oh I forgot we already do. Apart from the first 20 minutes which were scrappy we dominated once again and could and should have won by more.

Dele missed the proverbial sitter, Sissoko should have scored and Harry scored a couple, one lucky, one superb and missed a couple too. 7 points out of 12, only one less than last year and sitting in fifth again.

Rumours of our demise have been much exaggerated. Ben Davies reborn after a decent run of games in Danny Rose's absence vied with Eriksen for MOM. This formation suits him and encourages him to go forward.

What exactly is the formation? 3331/3511/ 3421 or whatever. Answers on a foolscap sheet. But essentially it's fluid and suits our current squad.

New boy Sanchez looked mean and sensibly played it safe alongside Verts and Toby at the back although they and Hugo were barely troubled. One shot on target by Everton tells the story.

Sissoko starting in his more natural position in central midfield surprised everyone by being not at all bad apart from straying offside when it mattered and  displaying his poor touch and inability to score when well placed.

But he cleared a path through the undergrowth for Eriksen  who used the time and space  positively once again. Harry did his September thing, Dier played better too and only Dele was a little sloppy.

Rooney got frustrated chasing shadows and took it out on Dele but was ignored: not even a defiant gesture from New England to the ghost of Old England.

Dembele was presumably rested for The Champions' League fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and was hardly noticed when he eventually came on. But by then Everton were mentally back in the dressing room.

So Mauricio. called it right and the Transfer Window wasn't quite so bad after all. Aurier might make an appearance on Wednesday and even Llorente either alongside or ahead of Harry with Dele still suspended.

We have options all over the place and Spurs once famed soft centre is looking pretty hard and crunchy these days and that's without Wanyama.

Seen and Heard:
Spurs last 4 away: beat Leicester 6-1, Hull 7-1, Newcastle 2-0, Everton 3-0. +16 is top flight's best goal diff over 4 away games since the century before last. Not even I remember that. 


Jimmy's Video Spot.
Welcome to Tottenham Fernando Llorente. Welcome indeedy.You wanted experience this boys got it. World Cup winner with Spain.

At 30 doesn't quite fit our normal profile. But scored 15 in 33 appearances for Swansea last year. Needs early game time and could perhaps play alongside.

In case you were wondering Vincent Janssen has gone to Fenerbache on loan having turned down a permanent move to Brighton. He's still ours and we wish him all the best.