The Blog that's not always wrong.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Critics running out of sticks to beat us with.

 
Spurs just love playing away.
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 The JimmyG2 Column.
Just as well really since home means away for us in any case. A 3-0 win on a Monday night in the North West is satisfying on so many levels: another away win; a poke in the eye for Mourinho; three more points; joint top of the league.

They have won 21 of their 26 home EPL games against us (D3,L2), winning each of the last four without conceding a goal. Record duly amended. Harry makes it 2 in August and his first up there; first Old Trafford win in the Pochettino era; Moura comes very very good.

Are you starting to believe yet? What will the pundits and experts move on to now? We are slowly but surely disarming them, seizing the sticks they like to beat us with and in the end they will run out of weapons.

This was an important win especially mentally for the boys. And for the fans too who have a lot of negative stuff from the media to cope with although Gary N. and Jamie C. seem to like us they still have years of baggage to dispose of.

You can't expect the experts to abandon their carefully rehearsed scripts overnight.  It might help many fans too to come to terms with our new philosophy: catch 'em young and train 'em up.

Now its clearly a strategy that Daniel Levy embraces with enthusiasm but we all know the reasons why. But under Mauricio it seems to be working and we are still building a State of The Art Stadium you know.

Thus a new 'Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated'' is born. Where were you when Spurs beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in August and Harry Kane scored?

We didn't buy anyone because on last night's evidence spending hundreds of millions on new players is not as effective as building a team that is comfortable with itself and its Manager.

Alderwiereld and Dembele are still with us and both played well. Rose and Winks are back with Wanyama and Lamela, injured in the warm-up, to come. Pochettino seems increasingly flexible.

This could be our year. What can possibly go wrong? Well everything obviously but its looking increasingly unlikely. Chelsea, Man.City and now Utd. don't look that competent and in the second half we did.

I shrugged philosophically when Rose's pass back set up Lukaku. But apart from a good save by Lloris from Pogba there was little else, whatever Gary Neville says, in the first half. It was ragged stuff from both sides.

So they were more than enthusiastic than he's seen them for years but that is clearly a very low bar. Moura and Harry Kane might have had penalties with a different ref. I'll give Utd the first half if it cheers them up.

In the second half we scored three and might have had more. Dele was uncharacteristically hesitant when he might have scored or set up Harry or Lucas twice or gone down for a penalty when clipped by De Gea.

Eriksen  found some space down the right to pick out Moura for the second after Harry had imperiously headed us in front from a Tripper corner. 2-0 up. At this point I always get nervous. Suppose they score and get 'momentum'.

Lucas Moura sealed it with  an incisive forward dash from a Kane pass and an emphatic finish. A new legend is born. Harry Winks made a brief appearance and Luke Amos was on the bench. My cup runneth over.

What of Mourinho? 'Frankly my dear'... I hope he stays and sows even more confusion and turmoil at every level of the club. We are settled and these days only looking up.

A famous night all round with the promise of more to come.

Jimmy's Video Spot: Souvenir Edition. 
Longest and clearest video I could find. Dele working hard; Eriksen finding space behind Shaw; Harry not at his best but still scoring; Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva uncatchable; the Belgians out in force;

Lloris started his Community Service in style with a clean sheet and our Danny tried to give Mourinho's men a helping hand. Soft lad. looks as if he's staying by the way.

For Utd.Shaw played well and Fred made some good runs. Defensively? no wonder they wanted Toby.


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

To Boldly Go

And Mauricio makes three.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 Mauricio talked of 'boldness' in pre-season and he seems to have taken a leaf from his own book with his early substitutions and in-game formation changes to thwart Fulham's revival after half time.

Our very own Star trek Commander boldly going where no Spurs team have been since before Star Trek itself began in 1966. Star Trek was always much more than a space adventure and Spurs have been more than just a football team to me

The Trek was at base an exploration of the capacities of Mankind and at Spurs we continue to have a vision of doing things the right way vigorously renewed under the current manager

I've never been a big Star Trek fan myself. I quite liked the early stuff but never became a 'Trekkie' but I am increasingly convinced that not only is Mauricio a fan but models himself on Captain Kirk.

He could easily have said many of the philosophical Star Trek musings by Kirk, Picard, Spock and others.

"One man cannot summon the future. But one man can change the present! " Alternate Mr. Spock, "Mirror, Mirror" and he certainly did that against Fulham.

Toby brought in from the cold in a back three; Trippier reinstated as first choice right wing back and a twenty minute opening burst that should have seen us at least three up and home and dry.

Eventually the flood tide subsided but Moura who had missed two good chances restored positivity with a fine goal just before half time. Harry had been denied a penalty and Eriksen mishit a good opportunity.

 Mitrovic  with an improvised kneeling header shortly after half time made it disappointingly for Spurs, game on.

"Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die." James T. Kirk, "Metamorphosis"

And Fulham taking the game to Spurs were the obstacle and we overcame it with some redeployment and personnel changes. Dembele for Sanchez a few minutes after the equaliser and Lamela for Dier with 15 minutes to go.

Back four reformed with the old Belgian firm and more attacking options. But it was Trippier who had seen plenty of the ball earlier and wasted most of it who reprised his England dead ball routine with a fine goal.

Lamela with a mazy run up the middle of the park  set up Harry for a Kane classic and in August too. Step inside and place in the corner of the net. Game over after five minutes of mayhem.

And in the closing minutes the other Harry, the Next Generation if you will, appeared to mark his return. As Jean Luc Picard  said, Mauricio 'make it so'. And he did.

This was also a victory for a settled team under an established and improving manager. Fulham who briefly played well after half time but mainly like strangers because they were.

We won both our opening games for the first time in four years and for the first time under Mauricio without spending a penny. Damn good value for money I say. I know 'early days'. We all pray the our manager will 'live long and prosper'.

As Captain Kirk once said in the spirit of the old Spurs:''Please let me know if there's some other way we can screw up tonight''.

How Mauricio Pochettino has changed all that: "A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away." Dr. Boyce, "The Menagerie," ("The Cage") is more his style. 

Transfers.
Next up Manchester United next Monday who like us had no new signings this summer. But with a staggered finish in each foreign league we could still lose players into Europe

So far, so good as keeping players is as important as signing them. Not losing players we want to keep is a crucial part of our success under Pochettino's reign. The re-appearance of Toby was a good omen.

Christian Eriksen:
Admittedly he can go AWOL at times, he has not been outstanding in the first two games, but he is our most creative player and our heartbeat.

Concern is that he has not yet signed a new contract. Someone needs to threaten him with money as I would hate to see him becoming world class but at Real Madrid as Modric did.

Joni Mitchell had it sussed in Big Yellow Taxi when she suggested ''you don't know what you've got til it's gone''. 

Stadium:
Guesses and whispers. Smart money is now on first home game in the New Year which is the return fixture with Man.Utd. Don't shoot the messenger folks.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Sorted. We proudly present this week's video having overcome the complex technical problems faced last week. You guessed it: I got Mrs JimmyG2 to check it out.

Moura the star despite missing two. Dele involved and HK back to some sort of form. As the old Sicilian proverb says: ''August rain brings oil, honey and a goal by Harry Kane''.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Fans? Who needs 'em?


 Tottenham Hotspur
Oh yes it was.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Sorry I'm late for the pre-season and first game party. Thankfully the balloons haven't gone down yet and there's still some leftovers to nibble.

I've seen all the games but since I retired just can't seem to find the time to observe, ponder, reflect and pontificate. Excuses, excuses Jimmy admit it you've been away.

Well anyway let's get started: we won a cup and not just any old cup, an 'International Champions' Cup ' and that will keep the pundits off our back for several minutes.

We took eleven youngsters to fill the void left by our World Cup heroes, one of whom captained the winning team and another who took the Golden Boot.

We won our first Premiership game away from home to Newcastle and another of our own, Luke Amos (21), made an appearance. Both key facts for me.

We kept all our players including even some that wanted to leave and our Manager. We didn't sign a single player, in itself a remarkable achievement though not welcomed by some.

One or two might still leave to foreign climes as the transfer windows are now different but we can't sign anyone. I think.

I don't count myself among them: no foreign 'aces' to integrate and acclimatise; minimal disruption; more opportunities for 'our own' and a close knit developing squad.

Not even, for a welcome change, a last minute sop to those who want signings at any price and some do come at a cost that returns to haunt us down the years.

With Wanyama, Lamela, Winks and Onomah still injured a midfield 'crisis' loomed but we had wisely retained Moussa Dembele who came on later to help Sissoko and Dier over the line.

Newcastle were lively and a little unlucky but headed goals from two of our World Cup stalwarts Jan and Dele carried the day. Their goal, nicely constructed, was a header too.

It's August so Harry didn't score or to be accurate didn't ever look like scoring. Aurier's cross for Dele's blind-side run was a gem but he is still a rough diamond for me.

The Stadium.
Let's hear it for all those that said the Stadium wouldn't be ready on time. This is your moment. Mind you many said it wouldn't be built at all and that is looking unlikely.

As revealed by the Sun 'secret' payments have been made to secure access to Wembley for a further couple of games. I think they mean 'undisclosed' but it's a fine point.

The first match might now be the one against Man.City in October though all bets are off really. It might well be the New Year.

We did well at Wembley last season so it's more embarrassment than anything else for all concerned. Talks are ongoing with EUFA about using Wembley for CL gamestemporarily until NWHL is ready.

So you win some,you lose some. We won some games and a trophy; kept our players and Manager, lost the stadium for a while and the outcome?

There are other complications but enough for now already.

Your guess is as good as mine. Possibly better.

But as reported today we could have made a profit along with another ten Premiership clubs with an empty stadium due to TV income.

 So if it's a matter of safety then there's an idea. Fans? Who needs 'em?

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Due to unforeseen technical problems there is no video this week. Sorry.