The Blog that's not always wrong.

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!