The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Party's Over

Make your minds up.
Is it starting or is it over?
TheJimmyG2 Column.
Stand by for the Tsunami of psychological bullshit about killer instinct, mental strength, the Tottenham  bottling factory, body language and whatever after our latest narrow defeat to Man.City.

Pundits  like Jamie Carragher declare we have missed our Moment of Glory under Mauricio; the Golden Age has ended, the team so parsimoniously assembled will break up and we will revert to Mid-table Mediocrity and serves us right.

I must have missed all that, obviously lost in a sunlit haze of positivity or denial after our best Premiership start. We have 'lost' only Walker and on last night's performance he vied with Mendy for the worst player on the pitch accolade. I can only say 'don't phone us'.

 Gary Neville disagrees with his fellow pundit and has a less Gung Ho modern take on the matter. Read the conversation here:

All this is of course predicated on our failure to buy anyone in the last transfer window, the NWHL debacle which is still ongoing; the failure of some players to extend their contracts and the imminent departure of Mauricio himself to Madrid.

Some player churn is necessary and it was probably a  provocative red rag to a bull that we spent zilch. Maddison or Grealish would have done just to keep the more zealous anti-Enic anti-Levy fans at bay.

There is a current vacancy over in Madrid after the 'el classico' disaster but no sign that Mauricio is looking at flight times. Most players have re-signed or are on contracts with over two years to go including Dele Alli.( Six more years, yea)

The club are well ahead of the curve and punching above their weight. Other teams that are spending hundreds of millions of pound annually may be concerned that we have found a way to do things differently.

We lost 1-0 to a goal we gifted them. Man.City firm favourites for the Premiership have spent 758 million pounds (net 518) since Mauricio arrived. We are in the process of building a state of the art stadium and maintaining our position in the top four.

KWP and or Aurier will hopefully soon replace Trippier whose gross errors against Sterling gifted Man City an early goal and Danny Rose will return to put us out of the ongoing misery that is Ben Davies.

The bright spot again was Harry Winks to replace Dembele who wandered around like an ageing bull in the final stages of the 'corrida'. He should have left last season with his reputation more or less intact.

Winks was sharp, incisive and inventive for his brief spell and must become a regular starter soon now that he appears to have overcome his ankle problems. No doubt Mauricio will handle him carefully.

Lamela played well but missed his moment at the end to score from a measured Dele pass to level things up. Fine margins as they say. Harry Kane's heavy touch allowed another scoring moment to pass.

Sissoko hesitated and was lost for another opportunity and he did did well within his limitations  for most of the game. He certainly wasn't the worst of the turgid midfield three that started.

Perhaps we were saving out creativity, artistry and skill for the Caraboa Cup against W.Ham on Wednesday but apart from Lamela there was little on display until Winks, Dele and Eriksen appeared late on.

Man.City were certainly not at their best and we could easily have pinched a draw on the night.

Jimmy's Video Spot
Remember what Danny Blanchflower said about Glenn Hoddle when asked if he was a problem. Glenn Hoddle a problem? No it's the bad players that are a problem'. Hopes for a full recovery after your narrow escape.

And you thought the Wembley pitch was bad last night.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Old Spurs story. New twist.

The Tracks of My Tears
It's enough to make a Clown cry.
The JimmyG2 Column.
'Dear me' as James Bolam used to say as Terry in the Likely Lads. Before your time I expect but a catchphrase for all occasions especially last night against PSV.

Overall a decent performance but this was a 'must win' game and we didn't win it, mainly due to crass individual errors and poor game management.

Yes that's you Christian, Toby and Hugo. Pagliacci is alive and well and plays for Spurs if the latest transfer tips are correct.

Not sure why Sanchez passed back to Toby and put him under pressure from Lozano. He miscontrolled the ball and in a desperate effort to retrieve the situation deflected Lozano's shot over Lloris.

Moura's equaliser similarly deflected over the PSV keeper and we were level just before half time. Eriksen found his mojo after his layoff and set up Harry for the lead.

He pulled the strings briefly but understandably flagged later. His mistake was the beginning of the end for our CL tilt this year barring miracles if the football Gods relent.

The moral of this story is: when you are  the driver's seat, don't take your foot of the pedal or everyone else will catch up or even overtake you. Though not in this case but a draw was not enough.

Anyone thinking we have more than a statistical chance of progressing to the knockout stages would win a Gold medal if 'Straw Clutching' were an Olympic event. I'm with Mauricio. 'It's nearly over', without the 'nearly'.
Spurs explored once again the varied possibilities of how to screw things up without really trying at which they might well be in the running for World Champions at the top level.

Twice in three matches a lead has been thrown away.This was a new twist on an old story.

We have one point from three games and need three wins from the return fixtures. Even then other results in the group could still frustrate our ambitions.The permutations are complex but the task seems beyond us.

Do we now want to drop to the Europa and qualify for next years Champions' League by winning it or drop out altogether and concentrate, as they say, on the League and the domestic Cups.

We controlled the game and Harry Kane might have had a hat-trick. He and Lamela, on far too late, both hit the bar. Harry Winks should have been on earlier for Dembele on a yellow. Son should been replaced not Moura.

Sanchez scored a legitimate goal which was ruled out for offside against Kane. Their equaliser was allowed although they had two players in offside positions. Either both should have been allowed or both ruled out.

But the game was lost after we boldly went ahead and deployed a casual and negative game management instead of pressing and seeking a third goal. We were the better team and apart from Lanzano they threatened little.

However a blind pass by Eriksen set them up and as Lozano bore down on goal, Lloris had a rush of blood again bringing him down just outside the are despite the close attentions of two defenders..and received a red card.

Ironically it was the two players who have been most tipped to leave due to the state of their contract negotiations that were involved. Hugo has been leaving us for years and some might not care any more.

Man City on Monday. I'd take a draw now.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The football episode from 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads'. Dated and somewhat offensive in those pre political correctness days of the 70's. I bet Terry voted for 'Brexit'
Brian Glover as Flint who was the P.T teacher  in Kes. Another classic.Perhaps it's just me

"Who are you today, sir? Liverpool?
Don't you know your club colours? - Manchester United, this.(indicates shirt)
Are you playing Denis Law, striker?
No. Charlton today, lad. All over the field. Too cold for striker.
Charlton's not as quick ont' turn as Law, is he?
You tryin' to tell me about football?
No. l...
You trying to tell me? Anyway, Denis Law's in the wash this week.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Spurs still Searching.

The Beast Hunt Continues but that's the wrong T.Rex.
The JimmyG2 Column.
The record seems to have got stuck; playing 'Not that well but winning'. Our best ever Premiership start without two of our key creatives Dele and Eriksen yesterday or Verts, Wanyama, and Rose. 

Not only stuck in the groove with the needle clogged up with dust, fluff and feathers but sometimes seemingly playing our cherished vinyl 78's at LP speed. (Ask your dad)

But it's a squad game and more turned up yesterday to keep a clean sheet and win away to West Ham which in Tottenham's collective memory is marked down as a tricky fixture. Recent memories still weigh more heavily.

One key talking point was the performance of Sissoko who provided an excellent assist for Lamela's crucial winning goal. He got more right than wrong yesterday although he made all the same mistakes as usual.

He was not the only one. Trippier and Davies were pretty poor and Harry laboured in the deeper role. But Winks and Lamela were excellent and Moura frightened with his pace though there was not a lot of end product.

Lloris made a couple of crucial saves and the rest of the team were decent. It was still mainly the result of individual efforts rather than coherent teamwork but we are well in touch, only 2 points off top place.

The return to form and fitness of Harry Winks for both Spurs and England is for me the brightest light and his lively direct running is an example to others. It's brains not brawn we are short of.

Which makes the transfer rumours about Wilma Barrios a Columbian playing for Boca Jnrs in Brazil a little worrying. Can he pass I wonder as well as laying waste to his opponents

Some Spurs fans have their minds set on another 'beast' an ongoing search with some. They  still say the other Harry won't make it at Spurs. 'Too lightweight', but they said that about Modric.

And many said that about  Harry Kane and I expect some still do. But with Wanyama increasingly side-lined and Barrios now in the frame the mythical descendants of Super-beast Dave Mackay still lurk in the Spurs sub-conscious.

But I understand the focus on Sissoko whose strength determination and pure blunt force imposed itself on a very ordinary, incohesive W.Ham side

The low key nature of the game can be judged by the fact that there were only three yellow cards issued, all to West.Ham players, in a game usually predicted to be 'lively'.

Some people adjudge honest criticism of a players poor play whether directed at Davies or Sissoko or whoever to 'hate'. But why would a proper Spurs fan have such a self defeating agenda.

All are Spurs players playing for Spurs and the better they play the better for Spurs.Sissoko had a good game: Davies did not and has been  lacking in confidence for some time.

I prefer Danny Rose overall but hope that Ben can exert a challenge for the place to the benefit of the team which is my hope for all our players.

We haven't turned the speakers up to maximum warp so far this season but this was a better performance with more players turning up. 

We have some difficult and important  games ahead and need as full a crew as possible turned on, tuned in and ready to run until they drop.

Lamela moves ahead of Kane at the top of the  goals and assists chart with five goals and three assists from eight appearances against Harry's six goals and one assist.from nine Premiership appearances.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Let's hear it for Moussa. Credit where it's due. There's a player in there somewhere but it struggles to get out at times. Anyway here's to more good performances.Could save us 20million or so.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Danny Rejects Spurs Formula for Success.

 Why go all that way?
Tottenham have one of their own.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Three points. the magic quack doctors cure-all medication: new Stadium not complete? But we won: 3 points. No summer investment?  But we won: 3 points. 

Our joint best Premiership start: 18 from 8; six wins in eight games.Keep on taking the medicine. The worse it tastes the better it is for you. However that was the worst 3 point performance I have witnessed for many years. 

Papering over the cracks; the best cover up since the Kennedy assassination investigations or the recent FBI Brett Kavanaugh probe. Who cares? Well I do for a start.

And Danny Blanchflower for another:
"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom." 

Sorry Danny wherever you are. The Cardiff game was exactly what he had in mind. I know, I know: ''The past is another country they do things differently there.'' But the truth is that this is an enduring thought and applies equally now as then.

Cardiff have 2 points from eight. ( Where's  Redknapp when you need him). They played 30 minutes without Ralls sent off for a crude, deliberate, cynical hack on Moura when he ran free. Harry Kane was booked for confronting him.

All such 'professional' fouls should see red. Well done Mr. Dean. Makes 'divers' look like vicars at the proverbial tea party. 

We are playing poorly but are challenging for the Top Four. It took us 18 passes and at least five back passes from Sanchez to Lloris to get out of our own half at the start of the game.

It might have been more but boredom set in.. We smothered them with passes but mainly in the Tottenham Triangle of Toby, Davison and Hugo .The Bermuda Triangle may be a myth, ours is a stone cold depressing fact.

The high line disappears into it; quick build up and attack is swallowed; excitement and tension disappear from the radar. I understand the tactical reasons but it is all just too ponderous and fools nobody.

But for a fine Lloris save at the end and a timely Alderweireld intervention in the first half it might have been a whole lot worse. 'In the beginning the word was'' slow and dull.

But Dier's close range finish 'early doors' following a corner mix up was the winner so 'All's Well that Ends Well'. Chew on that Mr. Blanchflower.

Early goal, poor opposition who were down to 10 men on the hour; 76% possession, 19 shots but only 7 on target tells a story in itself. Cardiff had 6 on target their best total this season. 

We made hard work of it until Winks perked up later on. Cardiff didn't exactly die of boredom but many Tottenham fans did. Sissoko got a few plaudits which shows how poor the rest were. He passes under a very low bar that boy.

 People are unduly impressed if he remains standing up for 30 minutes at a time

.As Dr. Johnson said of women preaching and dogs walking on their hind legs.
Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

So I'm a bit 'miserable-ist' this week. Apart from Winks and Toby and possibly Kane who failed to score to complete the set of teams scored against nobody deserves much of a positive mention.

Sanchez was particularly negative for most of the game and continually turned back even with wide open spaces ahead of him. Lloris on at least one occasion stayed when he should have come unlike in midweek.

But we won. We are hovering there or thereabouts. 'There' being the Top Four which given the injury situation especially in our creative heart is remarkable in itself.

But with both Chelsea and Arsenal winning convincingly we drop to fifth level on points with a resurgent Arsenal.

The draw between Liverpool and Man. City means we are still in touch, only 2 points behind the three way split for top place. A decent base for when we start to play better though the fixtures get tougher now.
This will hopefully be balanced by more home games and the return of injured players. But 'Don't hatch your chickens before they count' as they say. 

I'm not convinced by Harry dropping deeper and letting Moura 'run about a bit' ahead of him. They seem to want to occupy the same space and Moura's finishing has become wayward. 

I trust that all those external, off pitch  considerations don't worry the players as much as the fans. For now playing poorly and winning is the formula for success.

Christian Eriksen
May have an abdominal strain which if not treated properly may become chronic which simply means lasting for an extended period and may not imply a serious injury which would prevent him playing.

Lucas Moura is recalled to the Brazil squad.

Looking on the bright side here.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Fascinating insight into the dressing room at Spurs through the eyes of Harry Winks. Lovely lad, one of our own and back in the England Squad.

I love this sort of stuff. Highlights when he gets more game time. My hope for the future.

Remember many if not most fans said Harry Kane wouldn't make it.

Some probably still do.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Storm Clouds Over Spurs

Extreme damage inflicted on Spurs Champions' League hopes
The JimmyG2 Column.
Hurricane Messi a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale which swept through Wembley last night and blew Spurs away has cleared the UK and the damage is being assessed.

Thankfully the only fatalities were to reputations. Captain Hugo Lloris suffered a major setback following a first minute catastrophic error from which Spurs struggled to recover before the full force of the storm struck.

A lightening strike by Rakitic inflicted further damage and as the storm increased Spurs struggled for survival until the emergency services could be deployed.

The storm gathered strength but further casualties were narrowly avoided in the early stages. Four key staff were on sick leave and this seriously affected our ability to respond effectively and quickly. 

However we clung on and survived the opening impact and complete catastrophe was narrowly avoided. After the Emergency Services reconvened for the second stage of the night we were waving not drowning.

 A life-raft launched by Harry Kane gave us hope until Hurricane Messi again increased in strength but another launched by Erik Lamela gave us further hope of a safe landing.

Young Winks and Lamela were given commendation for their actions later, but another misjudgement by Hugo sealed our fate.We were left clinging to the wreckage, fighting to survive.

The debate will rage as to whether Spurs should have stocked up on supplies over the Summer for just such a contingency but it is doubtful in the event that it would have made a decisive difference.

We were caught in what the experts term a 'perfect storm' and lacked the resources to fully cope. Initial planning errors contributed too.

We have been blown well off course from last night's destination and should perhaps set sail once the ship is righted for a new landfall as our current objective looks a voyage too far. 

This then was not as complete a disaster as it might have been and some positives can be rescued from the wreckage. One or two reputations were enhanced especially that of Harry Kane and Erik Lamela.

Jimmy's Video Spot 
Highlights and lowlights. Masterclass from Storm force 5. Classic Harry Kane goal. We frightened them briefly but they were too good and almost always in control.

Let's win the Europa if that's how it pans out and take the positives where we can. 

Original video of Messi v Spurs taken down by you tube (Infringement of copy write)
So here's another.
 The scarlet Pimpernel: they seek him here, they seek him there. If only he was two footed, he'd be really good.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Another Monkey Off Our Backs.

The bigger they come: the harder they fall.

The JimmyG2 Column.
So, where were we? Ah yes tip-toeing away from the Land of Woe and Doom. Cancel the cut-throats, wait on the wrist slitting, demur on the overdose: Spurs are back on track.

Up to 4th; more than 2 points a game; into the next round of the Caraboa Cup; 3 games 3 wins, Not exactly in style I agree but a win is a win is a win. and there are no extra points for artistic interpretation.

If there were we would not be getting many at the moment I'm afraid. Bag the points while we can and pluck the fluff from our navels later when we lose, not when we win. Winning ugly is not my preferred route, but winning is.

The old question about which you prefer: to win or to play well is a non-starter, they are not mutually exclusive.If you play well, over time, you will win more games than you lose.

Some weeks it seems like a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back scenario. This week though is a 3 steps forward , but only 2 steps back. 'Snakes  and Ladders' syndrome as it's known on the High Road.

A week of general improvement though we have been lucky with our opponents.This  continues next weekend with a chance to play the bottom of the league for the second week running.

After that  we have Man. City in the Premiership, West Ham in the Caraboa and  PSV. in the CL.  Barcelona provide a bit of light relief this Wednesday in the Champions' League and the sight of Messi and Co. will hopefully inspire rather than depress.

They are not the team they were, losing to Leganes, the bottom team in La Liga last week and relying on a late equaliser at the weekend. But let's not underestimate them.

Our last seven games have been in seven different cities in seven different stadiums. We have played five of them away from home and won 4 out of the seven. This experience should stand us in good stead.

Ladders include the performances of 3rd. choice keeper Paulo Gazzeniga; the return  of the Old Harry if you'll pardon the expression who goes back to the top of the goals and assists charts ahead of Erik Lamela.

The return of Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama is another step up for the immediate future  and our ability to clock up wins without playing well is the longest ladder on the board. 'Sign of a good team' remember. No nor me.

Snakes involve the collapse in form of Eric Dier and Ben Davies and the sick bay slowly filling up: Aurier, Vertonghen, Dele, Lloris, Vorm, Eriksen, and possibly Dembele according to the last doctor's round report.

We showed some grit and determination against Watford on Dele's Big Night Out in midweek and held firm with Paulo's help in the shoot-out. We don't usually turn up for those. Another one of the tribe of monkeys removed from our backs.

Captain for the night Dele returned to his boyhood stamping ground at Milton Keynes scored a penalty during the game and put his shoot-out shot safely away. Shrewd man-management by Mauricio.

On the down side he aggravated the hamstring injury collected on England duty and is out for possibly a month. Lamela and Eriksen will share the creative duties in his absence. Time to step up Mr. Winks.

Against Huddersfield we ran out easy winners in the end with Harry's two goals despite an opening blitz by the home side and the constant threat of long throws by Billing We dealt withevery one without trouble. Another monkey dumped.

Moura created the opener by his persistence but he is still a bit of a headless chicken. Diers midfield form has collapsed though in the reshuffle after Vertonghen's injury he was better at the back

Sanchez was calmer and more focused too after his midweek uncertainty. Trippier's cross for Harry's opening header was his second assist for the season.

See Naples and die they say. See off Barcelona and live I say.

I'll never forget the bookies face when I put 1000 Shekels on David in the big fight all those years ago. ''Double your stake and I'll double the odds'' he beamed. He who laughs last.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Just a reminder of the force of nature that was Victor Wanyama. Kenya believe it!
Not back to his best yet after injury.. Another in the line of 'strong man' hopefuls trying to fill the boots of Dave Mackay

Go Victor. He has added more measured passing and at least one spectacular goal to his repertoire since joining just over 2 years ago.