The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Thanks but no thanks Mauricio.
I think you might live to regret that folks.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well this is going to be a tough gig and no mistake. Being a Spurs supporter and blogger after we lose our 8th consecutive Semi-Final but still loving Spurs and Mauricio is the ultimate rock and hard place venue.

I have followed my own advice and left it for several days because blogging when you are angry, tired disappointed, hungry or drunk  is rarely a good idea. 'Ommm' and breathe.

Of course there is sometimes truth in anger or alcohol but there is more in calm reflection. We mostly played the better football and but for the foul on Dembele by Pogba, Sanchez' nose and Lukaku's miscontrol we would have won.

'Gutted' seems to be the word not just for us, but for Pochettino himself who is clearly mightily tired by the negative press he gets in spite of all his achievements.

And achievements they are with progress on all fronts. League, Champions' League, domestic Cups with a younger team costing far less than all of our Premiership rivals. We are punching well above our weight.

Progress is always too slow for some but I am not one of the 'Now' generation. He has pushed the trophy room door ajar and quite soon we will walk through it with confidence and pride. Meanwhile enjoy the journey.

I'm with Pooh Bear:
“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” ― A.A. Milne.

Sir Alex Ferguson took five years to win his first trophy and launch the Manchester United years. I hope that Mauricio gets as long or longer. Impatience is the  enemy of progress:
''Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return''
W. H. Auden.
Short cuts often lead to nowhere as GPS disasters showed. Sack the Manager; sack the Chairman; inject some money straight into the transfer vein; sell the club to some Russian rip-off oligarch, or some Eastern Potentate dripping with oil money.

The result is obscene levels of wages and transfer fees. We are competing on this uneven playing field with some success and the team is not only playing some decent football but is much more than the sum of its parts.

Yes yes I hear you and the insufferable pundits we haven't won anything yet. But why get off the train before it reaches its destination. Look out of the window, chat to your fellow passengers; go to the buffet car; relax, chill, believe.

Would selecting Lloris over Vorm or Toby over Sanchez have made a difference and shown that the Manager was serious about winning a trophy.Who knows. Both Davison and Michel played OK in any case.

On current form Vorm was arguably the sensible choice. Most top teams play their reserve keeper in this competition. Mourinho didn't have a decision to make because Romero was injured.

Davison is the future at Spurs and Toby currently an unsettling influence. I think it would have been a betrayal of club solidarity not to play Sanchez  and Vorm who has featured throughout the Cup run.

'Build it, don't buy' it is my slogan for the current Spurs era. Is Mauricio perfect? No. Does he make mistakes? Yes. Did he make any on Saturday? Very likely. Do I ever criticise the man? Often. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The bigger picture is the most important one. We have done well playing all 38 of our Premiership games away and assuming we get to the Champions' League for the third season running can feel optimistic about the future.

But other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?
Dele and Cristian combined for a delightful early opener. Pogba's foul following the wrong turn by the World's Strongest Man in a Spurs shirt produced the equaliser.

Incidentally on anyone but Pogba the false turn might have worked. He is not only top class though disastrously handled by Jose but creative and very strong. His jaunty gait hides a serious player..

Dier's shot deflected by a defender's backside hit the post with De Gea stranded. Their bus park wall held because we insisted on trying to go through it rather then round it. Even Moura played too centrally.

The wing backs were timid. Trippier seems to have lost the confidence to cross. Kane flickered briefly and Christian Eriksen and Vertonghen were the pick of the rest. Eriksen had a good chance but didn't connect properly.

We lost our way after their equaliser on 25 minutes but had the better of the chances after our goal. We let them back in and once they got their 2nd. goal 'show cancelled' notices went up all over town.

Now to concentrate on the League and we sure better had. Third is still on offer; fourth is more likely and fifth unthinkable. Watford at Wembley next Monday is our next opportunity to secure three of the eight points we need assuming Chelsea win all their games.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Sorry. But you learn more from your mistakes.
Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return. W. H. Auden
Read more at:

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Not Quite Done and Dusted

 Ok Mauricio that's the Pier, the Aquarium and the Royal Pavilion
any other 'must do's' while we're here?
The JimmyG2 Column. 
 I love Brighton. As a kid we went on day trips frequently from London. Southend is closer but Brighton was always classier and an easy drive down in those days. I like Chris Hughton too. Who doesn't?

A neat and tidy player for Spurs, who has created a neat and tidy team in his own image. Inevitably 'you cut your coat according to  your cloth'. and it looks likely that they will maintain their Premiership status..

For those unacquainted with the idioms of 'yor' ( A bygone age) this translates as 'to plan one's aims and activities in line with one's resources and circumstances. He has certainly done that and it is no mean achievement.

All three newly promoted teams this season, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton look likely to survive. Although, in 25 years of the Premier League there have only been two seasons in which all three promoted clubs have stayed up.

(Fulham, Bolton and Blackburn survived in 2001-02 and, a decade later, QPR, Norwich and Swansea stayed up in 2011/2012.) A clear indication of the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.

Spurs seem just as likely to join the Champions' League 'haves' once again although there are manifestations of what Sir Alec called 'squeaky bum' time over our recent performances against Stoke, Man City and Brighton.

Just as you were wondering when I would get to the point we are magically there. Away to Brighton and Hove Albion was not one our more glorious Tuesday nights. They parked the bus and once again we couldn't find the keys.

Dele gets some stick but when he's not there you don't half notice it. Where was the flair and movement? Where was the speed of thought and anticipation of things that might just happen?

The rule of thumb that when Eriksen has an off day then so do Spurs was again demonstrated. It was the worst game I have seen him play in a Spurs shirt. Even his control went to pieces. Nothing came off.

A possible positive was the re-appearance of Toby who was probable our best player but hardly the Man of the Match. Whether this was a stop gap to rest Sanchez for Saturday I know not. Possibly a good sign though.

Harry got his 26th. Premier ship goal following smart work from Son and was better when he dropped deeper. Neither was consistently good, although Son was denied just before half time by a smart stop by Ryan.

Free kicks and corners were wasted and Moura claiming his first start was uncharacteristically hesitant in possession. A midfield of Sissoko and Wanyama didn't and probably couldn't create enough to make a difference.

Lucas had a speculative shot well saved by Ryan. But neither he nor Son took their full back on effectively. It would be unfair to condemn him on his first start as few apart from Verts and Toby played well.

Aurier is usually an accident waiting to happen and it did conceding a clumsy penalty within 2 minutes of Harry's opener straight after half time. Lloris was edgy, he fumbled once but wasn't punished.

Overall a lukewarm, lackluster, limpid, lackadaisical, loose showing (That's an 'l' of an analysis Jim (editor)  at the moment when we need courage, energy and skill especially in the final third.

Brighton fulfilled their limited ambitions and carried out their game plan. We did not, and played as if we had our collective minds on other things.

With Chelsea beating Burnley tonight our lead over them is cut to five points with four games to play. It was not a given because Burnley are on a winning streak at the moment and looking to get into European football.

But we are in a strong position given the fixture list though it's not quite done and dusted. Three of our final four matches are at Wembley against Watford, Newcastle and Leicester – and the other one is a trip to West Brom. Don't panic just yet.

For the Semi Final, Manchester, not very, United will be a little less depressed after beating Bournemouth than they were after W.Brom but are extremely beatable, as we have shown. 

I hope Toby and Rose play, not sure about Harry but he almost certainly will, Vorm should play on principle as well as current form. With Wanyama not up to speed it looks like Dier and Dembele which is bit turgid.

Midfield three with Eriksen might work better. At least we've got that poor performance out of our system. Fast start, the press, early goal or three. OK Mauricio its all yours. COYS.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Four minutes of goals thrills and excitement. Two minutes would have done. Harry gets another  but he won't overtake Salah I'm afraid. We missed Dele but let's hope he runs riot against United. If he's not fouled off the park first.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Spurs hit the buffers

 That's us: Thomas the Tank Engine.
 They were more Gordon.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Losing to Man. City is no disgrace. But it is not the fact of losing but the manner in which we exposed ourselves to defeat that hurts. It wasn't Spursy, we didn't bottle it, but knee jerkers pile in here if you must

City are one of the most expensively assembled teams in England but they have at least something to show for their outlay. Both expensive and excellent they are breaking more Premiership records than an elephant in HMV.

But on the day we needed everyone keyed up and on their game we were half an hour late to the party. We saved the worst 30 minutes of our season for the opening phase of the game  against the Premiership winners elect.

Actually thanks to United's humdrum performance against bottom of the league and relegation elect West Brom they actually became Premiership winners  with over a month to spare.

But what were we doing and what was Mauricio thinking, or not thinking as the case may be. He is doubly culpable for his tactics and for his failure to get the team up for this prestige fixture.

Ceding the midfield and playing a high line against some of the sharpest midfield and forward  tools in the Premiership knife box doesn't really add up to a plan.

 We were undone by a simple punt upfield by Kompany in the 21st. minute. Jesus was quicker than Sanchez, collected and beat Lloris with ease. Four minutes later Lloris conceded a penalty and City were two up and coasting.

On replay the foul on Sterling was outside the penalty area but Lloris was a little lucky to only be awarded a yellow card. His run of poor form continues.

Soon after that we turned up and Eriksen collected Kane's through ball and with a little good fortune put us back in the game theoretically with his fourth goal in four games. After half time we put in more a show.

But as Mauricio admits they were the better team and deserved the win. And so they should you might say with the resources at their disposal.No sour grapes here, I don't like the business model and don't want to follow it.

Our 14 unbeaten run ends You have to go back 50 years for a better one in the top flight. We look forward and not back and go again as City themselves did after the setbacks of last week.

In the Penthouse: Jan Vertonghen sits in isolated splendour. He moved in eventually.

In the doghouse:. Everybody else, except,

In the shithouse:, Kane and Hugo.

Moura gave a sparkling cameo, such speed skill and control. I'd start him against Brighton but that's not Mauricio's style.

Bringing on Sissoko with 7 minutes to go when 3-1 down seems odd to me. Taking off  Lamela rather than Kane, Golden Boot or not, is difficult to fathom too in terms of how they were contributing at the time.

Perhaps that's the disappointment talking but the real problem was that City started like an Express train, Sane hitting the post in the first few minutes, and we started like a Goods Train stuck in the marshaling yards.

Vertonghen is said to be doubtful for Brighton on Tuesday having limped off so some re-jigging is inevitable. Dier into the back and Wanyama in the midfield is the simplest solution. Although Toby has been mentioned for this one..

We need to win this one but have to bear in mind the semi final against Man. Utd. on Saturday. One game at a time boys. We have a day extra recovery time as they play on Wednesday

Jimmy's Video Spot.
New kid on the block well fairly new. Lucas Moura. Plenty of skill and an eye for a pass. What's not to like? Hints too from the Manager that he might be in line for more game time, maybe even a start
tomorrow night. 'Give pace a chance' as the Beatles almost sang.

Monday, 9 April 2018

A Real Pantomime at Stoke. Oh yes It Was!

Chief Winder Upper: I can do that!
The JimmyG2 Column. 
Football seems to be only of incidental interest to Stoke City fans. The Football 365 Stadium is not a venue to go to for the purist. They committed 19 fouls on Sunday which was more than Spurs and Chelsea managed combined last week at The Bridge.

But we won anyway. The smart ruse of introducing Danny Rose to take the heat off Dele Alli worked a treat. Danny was the Pantomime Villain from the start. 'Oh yes he was'. And Dele was at his Prince Charming best.

Hopefuls for the Three Ugly Sisters stretched right round the block before the game but perm any three from eleven and you won't be far out. Chief High Executioner Charlie Adams was injured or he would have been a shoo-in.

In the event I nominate Ryan Shawcross who is big enough, old enough and good enough to know better, but has for some years after leaving Man.Utd. been the leader of the pack around the Potteries.

Charlie has cruelly fouled some of the biggest names in football including our very own Gareth Bale. It is rumoured that Spurs legend Peter Crouch only joined Stoke to avoid being injured by him but he forgot about the training sessions.

This was a very 'untidy'game' which was my Mum's basic description of my bedroom. Not a complete shambolic mess; that was my brother's room. Just not consistent with the accepted standards which currently prevail.

We scored an elegantly worked goal through Dele's hold up play from a Dembele break out pass while he waited patiently for someone, anyone, to arrive in the box and he calmly played him in. Eriksen it was that showed first.

Then we conceded an untidy goal and scored another to win it. All the goals came in a 10 minute spell on the hour. Shaqiri's fine through ball finding Diouf and Lloris in a confrontation on the edge of the area which Lloris lost.

Cue much discussion whether Hugo is past it given that he is second in the league of fatal keeping errors which lead to goals with 5 such mistakes. Two in the last two games though neither has affected the result.

Last week he more than made up for his flap but this week hardly had much opportunity to demonstrate his value which is still in positive territory overall. But the future like the past is another country.

Xherdan Shaquiri  has some quality and combativeness but his journey from Bayern Munich via Milan to Stoke shows the general direction of his career. But he is one of the few Stoke players likely to be playing in the Premiership next year. 

But we survived the foul-fest intact; Danny was certainly worth his place as a distraction; Verts kept everything battened down at the back; Wanyama is clearly not up to speed and Dier's cameo in his place was worryingly unfocused or 'untidy' as my Mum would have it.

Harry too is not quite there yet and his claim for the second goal speculative at best. It was given to Eriksen anyway direct from the free- kick. Harry certainly helped by distracting Butland and is still hoping to be awarded the goal.

Son was erratic and missed a more than decent chance. Lamela was Lamela but didn't get a yellow card even though he was on for half an hour. Probably knows better than to poke a hornet's nest with a stick .

True to the occasion Danny Rose managed finally to achieve a booking in the 97th minute. We let them off lightly having beaten them recently by 4 goal margins including the last two away.

But Shaqiri hit the post with a free kick and Diouf had a couple of chances early on so perhaps not an unfair score-line overall. You still only get three points for winning whatever the score.

City up next and after this week and tomorrow night they will either be a dispirited mess or keen to re-establish their credentials. They could win the title by beating us at the weekend, incentive  if we actually needed one.

There is still that nagging scenario where if Arsenal win the EUFA Cup and Liverpool win the Champions League and both finish outside the top four and we finish 4th we would miss out on the CL next season because only five teams from the Premiership can qualify.

Ridiculous I know but I said that when Chelsea won the CL, beating Barcelona on the way with Messi missing a penalty and we failed to qualify. Only Spurs fans would worry about it. But then I'm a Spurs fan. I worry.

 And Chelsea are no longer ' Behind you' they are 11 points back ('Oh yes they are') with a game in hand and we are level on points with Liverpool with a game in hand. Not bad for a team playing all its games away from home.

It's not Pantomime Season in the rest of Britain but I suspect it's always a bit like Pantomime Season at Stoke. I just can't visualise Charlie Adams trying on the glass slipper though can you; skinning Dick Whittington's cat alive, certainly.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
While we're on the subject just in case he does go to Man.Utd as rumoured over many months here's a fitting tribute to one of our longest serving players and one of my favourites. 

Strong, swift and impetuous and as good as most of our full backs present and departed at crossing the ball.
Please give it up for Danny Lee Rose.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Spurs play part in the Fall of Roman's Empire.

Brave Horatius at The Bridge.
One of the few they haven't signed
 but even he wouldn't have stopped the Mighty Spurs.
 I´ve waited a long time to write this particular blog. Since before I even started writing one if you can see what I mean. 28 long years but you all know the stats so let´s not get distracted.

The wait was not quite as long as the Roman Empire; it just seemed like it.  However we may have made a major contribution to the fall of Roman's Empire as we used know it.

This was a timely revolt against Roman's stronghold but unlike Horatius they failed to hold The Bridge succumbing to an Eriksen strike just before the half time whistle and a double whammy from Dele Alli around the hour.

´Venimus,Vidimus, Vicimus' We came we saw we conquered. Hail Caesar, Mighty Head Praefecti Christian  throwing the lions to the spectators and Premiership Centurion Delius Allius  and the others of the Maurician Guard.

 Enough already with the Roman Empire stuff Jimmy. Just get on with it.( Editor).

 Oh OK. But some people come on here for the educational literary, historical stuff as well as the football and some instead of the football. But you're the boss. (JimmyG2)

This was the second game in a row that we have gone behind and recovered to win the game and we haven't lost since Man. City. in December. We are King of the London Derbies and top of the London teams.

Unfortunately there are no trophies for this but another landmark win is clocked up and our critics have only the trophyless whinge left and we have a good chance of putting that right by winning the FA Cup this season.

The strike by Eriksen his 16th. from outside the area which makes him the leader in this Premiership field, was a thing of power and beauty but most importantly it changed the game and not just the scoreline at a crucial moment.

Second half and game on. It was clear that they had been psychologically damaged by the strike so close to half time and had the break to muse on things. They came out deflated; we came out recharged and rejigged in attack.

They are soon to be in Manager turmoil again, they have had ten since Abramovich arrived with his looted rubles in 2003, and are a team without  heart. We are not and it showed. They have some talented players but like Hazard they were going through the motions.

We were too narrow in the first half and neither Davies nor Trippier could make the impact we needed. I expected to see Moura for the second half but Mauricio used the break to move Son out wide to pin Alonso.

Eriksen played deeper and Dele was given licence to move forward and across the line. Lamela who was lucky not to get at least one red continued his rampaging performance and clocked up some important strikes in his personal vendetta with Fabregas.

Unlike two years ago we let our football do the talking although we out-fouled them 3 to1. A measure of our commitment you might say and their half-heartedness. In fact apart from the goals it was not an overly dramatic encounter.

Possession and shots were pretty even but we were clinical when it mattered. Lloris made several top class saves and more than atoned for his flap that distracted Sanchez and gifted Morata his 7th. headed goal.

Dele made the perfect reply to his recent critics at every level with two moments of genuine class: calm in a crowded area keeping his head when all about him others were losing theirs mainly the Chelsea defence and Son.

 And movement and control and touch and everything good about football for his first, including effort and work-rate which when wedded to brilliance makes a world class package 

'A Thing of Beauty is a Joy for Ever'. Keats said that before football was invented and he'd never even seen Dele and Christian. Whatever did they do at the weekends when they weren't roaming the Lake District and writing poetry.

Let's pretend for a moment that Gareth was on a wind-up when he said that Dele was not a shoo-in for England. Well it worked, genuine or not, because he certainly is now. Dier's pass was worthy of a place too.

Good to see Eriksen taking responsibility too not just for the delightful pass that set up Son for the third but berating Son for his lack of awareness of the possibilities after his first shot was saved.

We can argue forever which goal was the best, but Dele's first gets my vote even if Christian made my MOM, for his timely goal, overall contribution and for taking ownership of the team rather than playing like an invited guest.

 Harry got on for a token run though I'm not sure why. Wanyama could have come on earlier but the defence was sound, the midfield strong if careless at times and the forwards floated like butterflies and stung like bees.

If you had said at the start of the season that this victory would be achieved without Kane, Rose Elderweireld or Wanyama in the starting line-up eyebrows would have been raised.

With 4th more or less assured we must continue to focus on finishing even higher. Champions' League at the New White Hart Lane is a dream come true. All this achieved playing all our games away from home.

Once again it was a team performance and we were more than the sum of our parts: Chelsea were not. I will always remember where I was when Spurs undid 28 years of frustration to beat Chelsea at the Bridge.

 Jimmy's Video Spot.

History in the making and a ten minute special to record the occasion.  We defended stoutly apart from the Morata goal when we were exposed by a wing back Moses with too much space after a surging run by Rudiger straight through the middle.