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.