The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

I'll have a crate of whatever they're bottling.


No more Roller Coaster.
 To the Stars and beyond next season.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 So how was it for you our last 'home' game at Wembley and our 1000th. in the Premiership? A crazy way to finish the season and then some. It's football Jimmy G but not as we know it.

By the end as goal after goal went in during the 'nine goal thriller'  with Champions' League already confirmed I was helpless with head shaking incredulity verging on hysteria.

Third place and bragging rights over Liverpool and London secured. Next up Manchester.

This is not my usual reactions to watching Spurs which usually ranges from anger, bewilderment and frustration to euphoria, delight and deep satisfaction. Oh well a change is as good as a rest.

We played our final game at our adopted temporary home in a defiant stance which clearly proclaimed, 'We don't care how many you score because we will score more'. Though at 3-1 down on 46 minutes it looked like an empty promise.

3 goals in the first 20 minutes it obviously couldn't last. But it did and got even wilder. If this was a movie it would have been laughed out of the cinema. But it included another Oscar nomination for a youngster for the second time this season.

He's only played twice.

So what did we learn? That Kyle Walker Peters is ready to go and perhaps should have got the nod before we paid 23million for Aurier; that Moura will be a key asset next season, he had a hand in four of the five goals.

That Lamela  has proved he has a role to play; that Maverick Danny Rose should stay; that Harry Kane is priceless; that top keepers can concede four goals without a stain on their characters and that the midfield needs radical restructuring.

If that performance and coming in the top three again was, in pundit speak, an example of 'bottling' it then I wouldn't mind a crate or two of whatever they're drinking. 

Dier, Sissoko, Dembele and Wanyama are strong but not creative enough for a team with our aspirations and that the problem of what to do with Dier an ever present founder member of the Pochettino Revolution will loom early next season.

His Jack of all trades versatility will probably save him initially. In this context Winks has been an unfortunate loss. Toby will be a miss but not as much as first feared. Sanchez and Foyth are clearly the future.

Vertonghen and Eriksen rightly won the club accolades and Harry got his first 30 goal haul but just fell short in the quest for his third Golden Boot.

Dele demonstrated his increasing maturity in a 20 minute cameo consisting mainly of winding up the opposition with a smile on his face and running down the clock. Useful skills when deployed appropriately.

Lamela trotted forward, the proverbial Bambi on Ice, to get on the end of two measured KWP crosses. Not sure where Harry was. Probably checking on Salah's progress on Merseyside on his phone.

An uneven season beset by injuries to key players including Harry, Toby, Danny and Moussa Dembele of whom we may have seen the last.. The earlier rumours of the demise of Josh Onomah are I hope greatly exaggerated in the light of recent updates.

The focus switches now to off field matters before the US tour and the transfer window. But these  are even further above my pay grade than reporting on events on the field.

Plenty to chew on though and the pre-season regrouping will tell Pochettino a lot more. His post season remarks have been widely interpreted to suggest that unless Daniel Levy relaxes the purse string he will not stay.

I think that's mostly Pundit Poppycock and mischief making and that there will be more money and that Mauricio will stay whatever. The new stadium and a third top three finish should be enough to tempt new players, retain old players and the Manager.

Pochettino himself a cautious man tactically wants us to take more risks, presumably financial ones but I'm not sure that this is high on Levy's agenda if it appears at all.

Remember that this is the blog that is not always wrong. A modest boast I know but we got the boys over the line despite widespread doubts and fears. And yes I know we haven't won anything yet except respect.

Which is enough for me at this stage of the 'Project'. Until we actually win the Premiership, the Champions' league and probably the World Cup too preferably all in the same season it will continue to be a stick to beat us with.

So happy day and something to savor over the coming weeks before we go to the USA for the  the 'prestigious', it says here, International Champions Cup where we play Roma, Barcelona and Milan.

Let's hope with Mauricio that players leaving go early in the Spurs tradition of 'sell before we can buy' so that we can re-invest the money in some new young blood especially as back up for  Harry and some support for Eriksen in the creative department of the engine room.

After we've looked down the back of the sofa of course to check out the Academy, the injured and the loaned before we splurge millions we haven't got with the new stadium to pay for. Keep the faith. Build it don't buy it. COYS.

Perhaps we are at last leaving the funfair Roller Coaster for a more sustained journey to the Stars and beyond.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Nice atmospheric season review. All my favourites from Dele, Wanyama,  Harry, Son, Eriksen
and beyond.



Friday, 11 May 2018

Critics confounded,again.


Who writes Mauricio's stuff?
(See video 14:47)
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Jemima 'when we are good we are very, very good, but when we are bad we are horrid'. Against Newcastle we were horrid for at least the first half and only slightly less after.

We've been horrid to poor for a month or more but have still managed to qualify for the third time running for the Champions' League with a game to spare. A win on Sunday against Leicester at Wembley secures third.

Harry Kane's cool strike in the 50th. minute, his 28th.of the season in the Premiership and 4th. in 6 games wrapped it up. Not bad for a striker out of form and sorts and a team not playing at their best with injury problems in midfield.

Winks, Dier and Dembele were all out so Wanyama, himself not 100% match fit or n form and Sissoko formed the midfield. Not the most incisive or creative pairing. Sissoko starting designed to show his old team what they are missing no doubt.

Mauricio praised Sissoko's professionalism but essentially that only means that he gets paid. He wouldn't have much chance of getting good money for him in the post season sales if he described him as 'awful'.

He played OK but people are so pleased when he does anything resembling a Premiership player he tends to get overpraised. His technique and game awareness are awful. Strong boy though and purposeful to no apparent purpose.

In the end Eriksen despaired of anyone stepping up and took over the whole shebang dropping back into deep midfield, picking up the ball and the game.The real Vertonghen eventually showed up too.

The only creative incisive move of the game, involving Dele, Sonny and Harry (that well known 80's Disco trio)  produced the goal which perked up the whole team and performance a little.

Once again like Watford a game we could have lost but squeaked a vital win.We didn't quite pull of the trick three times running. But unlike Chelsea we didn't 'bottle' it. Top of the London teams for the first time in over 20 years..

In the end April 2018 will be a mere footnote in our history and performance in the light of our achievement in punching well above our weight once again. We made it despite the odds.We go into the final game on Sunday with serious targets remaining.

Mauricio is not above criticism, team selection, substitutions and formations are sometimes contentious but in a results business he has ultimately produced the goods and confounded the critics again.

I think that Harry Kane was brought back too early but he scored the qualifying winner so what do I know.  I think I'll leave it to Mauricio Pochettino who by whatever means has done us proud . 

I would still to see Kyle Walker Peters and Foyth given a run at some stage even if they don't start. Dier should be back. All mentioned as possibilities in Mauricio's press conference.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
His English is better than mine. Mauricio's impressive press conference. 19 minutes of good sense and good humour. I'm searching for the alleged non-existent dancing video for next week.

Key phrases for me: problems need solutions not excuses; future bright; real home; celebrate achievements but it is never enough; spending is one way to succeed but we have chosen another way; not about money; winning titles is not the only thing but we deserve to win a trophy for everybody.

What a lovely inspirational man.

Monday, 7 May 2018

The Easy way or the Spurs Way.

 
Sorry I don't do Predictions for Tottenham Hotspur
Especially about the future.
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The Jimmy G2 Column.
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Last week we played poorly and won and I drew positive conclusions about our fate. This week we played poorly and lost and I draw the same conclusions. 

Blame me and Bob if you must, if you desperately want a scapegoat for the defeat to W. Brom. I did say it might be choppy going but I affirmed we would do it and still believe we will.

It's the easy way or the Spurs way again. We should be used to that by now.

Blame me, blame Mauricio, blame the players, injuries, the disappointments over Champions' League and the FA Cup but don't abandon ship at this point on our voyage. Safe haven is within our grasp

Not with performances like Saturday though. If we had nothing to play for then, fine stroll about on deck, study the Holiday Brochures and plan for the World Cup. But with so much at stake it doesn't make any sense.

Credit W.Brom, once again the opposition had a plan and stuck to it and broke out late to win it in the 92nd. minute. Ex-Spur Jake Livermore twisted the knife and was the scorer after a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

W. Brom beat Man.Utd and drew with Liverpool recently but their fate now is not entirely in their own hands unlike ours. Get out there and win the final two home games and all will be forgiven and probably forgotten, eventually

The defeat of Liverpool by Chelsea actually offers us a path to third. Two wins at home and 3rd is ours. A win and a draw ensures 4th. in any normal, sane goal difference scenario.

Newcastle and Leicester our final opponents are mid table teams with little to play for although our recent history against them is full of storm warnings. Newcastle were already relegated when they thrashed us last season.

Leicester and Jamie Vardy seem to have a particularly negative attitude to our good fortune and hopes for the future. It's not as nailed on as it should be after our last month's performances.

It's been a long voyage but we cannot drift onto the rocks now. Neither of our opponents have a good recent record and we know exactly the bearing required to reach landfall.

Against W: Brom it was the first time in 24 games that we have failed to score and only Forster's head stood between us and a Harry  Kane goal following a neat ball down the side in the area by Trippier.

Harry and Lamela both had clear cut chances and a shot by Wanyama brought out the best of Forster. They defended very well and we lacked cutting edge urgency and the necessary desire from the start.

Mauricio's changes in formation were greeted with tentative approval by fans but some puzzlement as to why we would adopt such an approach against a team that have been bottom of the league for most of the season.

Lamela's start was warmly welcomed by his dogged supporters but he failed to inspire. Rose was again a welcomed sight but he too did little to justify such optimism. His petulance and poor crossing were disturbing.

Wanyama is not up to speed, nor is Harry. Trippier gave us width but opted not to cross when he had several opportunities. The appearance of Llorente is always a storm warning sign of desperation and so it proved.

Jan on his 250th. performance was solid again along with Toby but Dele and Eriksen struggled to influence the game. Jan's ankle injury is not thought to be too serious. Let's hope not.

We played as if expectation and a sense of entitlement would produce the required result without too much effort from ourselves. This attitude must be purged. 'Slops overboard'. 

Will the Good Ship Hotspur sail majestically into port with the Captain on the bridge and the proud crew lined up on deck? Or will it founder on the reef just outside the harbour?

Well at least we don't have long to wait to find out. I'm booking my place on the quayside. I can always cancel it on Thursday if we hit the harbour wall.and sink with all fans.

Of course Huddersfield could hole Chelsea below the waterline on Wednesday and save us all a heap of trouble. No, nor do I.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
And it was all going so well. What could possibly go wrong? See you all after Wednesday.

 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Yes we can.




With Bob on our side...
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Played poorly and won. 'Nuff' said. Five point gap between us and Chelski restored; one game less to play; good chance of third; what can possibly go wrong? Spurs fans will wobble even if the team does not.

I'll admit that a little relieved to see Dele's early goal go in but that was because it shortened the tension of waiting rather than any doubts that we would win.

Fortunately unlike ice dancing, high diving or floor gymnastics there are no points for artistic interpretation, or anything fancy: three points are awarded for scoring more goals than the opposition however you play.

Which as just as well against Watford who on clear cut chances could have won at a canter. We controlled but did not dominate. Dier, Dembele, Davies, and Son did not impress but the rest were good enough, often enough. 

Fortunately Lloris found some form and kept a clean sheet without too many alarms.The Watford attack tried to drill the ball through him rather than round him with predictable results. Nil point as they say.

Trippier had a hand in both goals, providing the cross that Karnezis dropped, which Eriksen squared  to Dele who drove it home. For the second Harry fell over for Son's cross but got up in time to divert Trippier's return ball.

That was two minutes after half time. From then on we played for time; brought on as many defensive players as we were allowed and saw a less than inspiring game and performance out safely.
Job done.

As they say in elections vote early, vote often: in football terms score early, score often. Twice was enough

Verts was solid again and everyone had their moments; too few and rarely at the same time as anyone else unfortunately. We might have to go through the same procedure in the remaining three games.

As Skiffle King Lonnie Donegan once sang 'Putting on the agony, putting on the style'. More agony than style to come I'm afraid.

How does the eight consecutive losing semi's work though as evidence of Spurs bottling it? Incidentally we have also won eight FA Cups but that doesn't seem to count. The losses cover  a period of 25 years and involve several different managers.

These have been different squads against different opponents (Arsenal and Chelsea twice) and different venues. Can a football club over this period have a faulty DNA? Or is it something in the water supply?

Our non fans are happy to use any mythical nonsense against us but don't for goodness sake join in. It's a statistic and interesting as such but it proves absolutely nothing. We won't lay it to bed this season but sometime soon.

With Dembele injured he may have played his last game for Spurs.. Josh Onomah has been playing well for Villa recently and will return for pre-season and could help fill the void. 

So one down and three to go. Will we secure 3rd. or 4th early and put it to bed before the last game. Probably not. But can we do it? Oh yes we can.

Jimmy's Video Spot. Christian Eriksen
To PSG for 100 million is the rumour de jour.
Worth every penny and more but worth much more to keep.
His first fifty goals for Spurs and here's to his second fifty..