The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Alien Abduction Assists Mission Impossible

 Take me to your Moussa Sissoko.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Don't blame me. It was Mauricio himself that started all this 'Mission Impossible' stuff. You know Mauricio Pochettino our manager: Tom Cruise but taller, better looking and with talents that Tom would die for.

And like the Film Series of the same name Spurs Impossible Mission Force is still active but this section of the thrilling story has an end date with a final rendezvous in Barcelona on the11th. December. Stay tuned.

Mauricio's reputation at improving players is well established but he cannot claim any credit for Spurs emerging star and last night's MOM Moussa Sissoko. That is not the Moussa Sissoko we bought.

That is an updated and improved Mark 2 replacement for the one captured by aliens about a month ago. Not even MoPo could do that. Even Newcastle fans initially delighted with the 30 million deal are claiming ''We wuz robbed''.

His surging run late in the game and astute lay-off to Dele was pure class. A phrase not usually associated with Moussa in his earlier Spurs career. He took responsibility and played well the whole game. Again.

We may not be able to overcome failures in the earlier rounds but this was another decent performance against a dogged rather than inspired defense minded Italian team hoping to catch us on the break.

We matched them tackle to tackle and foul for foul and put together some enterprising moves. Winks mostly played well and was unlucky not to score. Lamela was fortunate to escape a red with a two footed lunge.

But the match hinged on the late goal by Eriksen from a cute lay off by Dele after Sissoko's run. I am going to award Moussa an Honoury Assist for his part though Dele gets the official honours.

Aurier and Davies maintained their recent improvement; Vertonghen might never have been away;  Hugo was there when called upon; Harry Kane did more than just run 'araand' a bit; Lamela and Moura were off the pace.

The arrival of Son livened things up and then Cool Hand Eriksen proved the decisive factor in a game that seemed to be running out of time and space until The Moussa intervened.

Toby's lack of pace when left behind by Icardi forced him to make one of those nasty professionally unprofessional fouls and I am sad to see us joining them if we can't beat them. But that's a discussion for another day.

Barcelona having already qualified top of the group may not be too bothered in the final group game and we have a fighting chance as long as we actually fight.We have to match Inter's final game  result against PSV to qualify.

All eyes are now on the NLD on Sunday where anything can happen but you have to fancy our chances to go 6 points above Arsenal though strategically a draw would do. Apart from reputation, pride, momentum and bragging rights of course.

Its the same for same for Barcelona, but at least Lionel might be given the night off. But do we want to face a weakened side just to qualify for the knockout stage?. Er.... that's a yes.

Jimmy's Video Spot


Monday, 26 November 2018

Tottenham Change To Transfer Policy.


Don't buy silly.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 I said last week after Everton (edit) had drawn with Chelsea that anything the Toffeemen( edit) could do, we could do better. Prophetic words friends, prophetic words because we did exactly that.

We subjected them to a 3-1 pasting, a score which hugely flattered them. It was our best sustained performance for some time, certainly for the current season.We have shone in isolated bursts but not for whole matches.

The hard press returned and we denied them space and time especially in midfield.We had competence in defense when required and both hard work and flair in attack. Everyone contributed.

Son, Dele and Christian Eriksen started together for the first time this season and it showed in the fluid movement. It would be unfair to pick out anyone in particular as this was a whole team performance from the start.

Players under recent criticism, Aurier, Davies, Dier and the recently rehabilitated Moussa Sissoko all stepped up and played important parts tactically and individually. We dominated in everything bar possession.

Giroud got a consolation late goal which blotted our copybook but we should have been at least half a dozen ahead by then. Our 3rd victory in four Premiership games against the poor old Pensioners. Don't gloat Jimmy it's not nice.

Generally though they were pretty poor, Hazard fizzled briefly and went out, Morata was offside more than he had shots, but we stopped them playing and Sarri complained they are starting too slowly. We didn't give them much option.

We were two up in a quarter of an hour and it should have been  more. Kane and Son missed the proverbial sitters later and Son could easily have had a hat-trick. His goal for us to go 3-0 up is a candidate for 'Goal of the Season'.(see video)

Dele found him with a ball down the right hand channel, he skinned Jorghino on the outside, stepped inside to bambooze Luiz and calmly found the right hand corner of the net.

David Luiz who always  has had a stinker in his locker duly produced it. He had a part in all three of our goals and has cost Chelsea 70 million over two spells. He stamped on Harry Kane to concede the free kick for our first.

He studiously evaded Harry Kane's shot from outside the area, deceiving himself and the keeper for the second and completely missed his tackle on Son for our third.

Jorginho another 50 million pound player was well schooled by Dele (5 million) who confronted him at every turn and still found space himself to flick an Eriksen  free kick into the net after 6 minutes for our first.

A headed goal from a set piece. That makes a pleasant change anyway. Foyth escaped another penalty against him for a doubtful tackle on Hazard. But Eden's reputation preceded him and the ref. wasn't buying.

I mention fees because of the current clamour among some Spurs fans for big money signings to prove that we are a 'big' club and to show our intent to win prizes. No need, I say, we are getting there without.

We are ahead of Chelsea and Man.Utd whose transfer spending over recent years nudges a Billion pounds. City are awash with dirty money. Build it, don't buy it and take a pride in the achievement.

And who cleans up the mess when Sugar Daddies dissolve? Abramovich is 'persona non grata' in the UK as the sources of his fortune are unclear. He is now an Israeli citizen and his ego trip with Chelsea could be ending.

I am more involved and content with the current Spurs squad and manager than I have been for over 50 years. Going 'cold turkey' on transfers in the Summer Transfer Window though was a shock too far for the system for some.

Me and Daniel love it but for different reasons. My transfer guide says. nobody older than 22 or for more than 20 million pounds. Promote our own where possible. Don't buy silly, buy savvy but only if you absolutely have to.

Like advertising 50% of the money spent on transfers is wasted but you don't know in advance which 50%. See Manchester United and Pogba and others. Though that's as much Mourinho's fault as the players who he hangs out to dry as usual.

So Chelsea unbeaten this season bite the dust. Next week just Inter Milan in the CL and the 'auld enemy' in the NLD. We are in fine fettle and good heart  for these after the weekend.

 Despite injuries Mauricio has plenty of ammunition available and shout to him for getting the team up and choosing the right tactics and personnel to humble the mighty and bring it all together.

Why we can't start like we did on  Saturday every game, press and blow the opposition away I don't know. I hope we start like this on Wednesday anyway.

Team selection midweek will highlight his priorities but I expect to see Winks, Lamela and Moura starting. Now up to third place and with exciting times ahead. It's a good time to be a Spurs fan but I've been saying that for some years.

Glenn Hoddle out of hospital and recuperating at home. GWS Glenn.

Stadium Opening date. Don't be silly

Edit: Sorry about that. Got me Cherries mixed up with me Caramellos.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Aurier breaks up the attack with an innovative tackle, Dele immediately sends Son away, and the rest is History. Less than a minute but top quality in every area of the pitch.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Spurs New Strategy: Sounds Like a Plan.

How many packets of these would it take to Mothball NWHL?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
That's the 5th. consecutive 1-0  victory for Spurs over Crystal Palace. So why on earth would we be worried in the 90th. minute when Sorloth was foiled by Lloris. An out of form striker weighed down by the sheer weight of History and Statistics.

An in form player side-foots that late chance into the corner. But when your touch and confidence is low you blast it in hope and the keeper saves. In fact they had more shots on target than us (4-2) Thanks Hugo.

I get that sinking feeling when the commentator declares that 'so and so' hasn't scored since the end of the First World War. You just know he's going to score the Goal of The Season and the winner to boot.

Pochettino's gamble, putting Foyth straight back in the squad paid off handsomely when he scored the only goal of the game and his career, regained his confidence and his reputation. He may not of had too much choice in the light of injuries

 It could have all gone so wrong in the first ten minutes when the boy gave away a corner attempting a pass back back to Lloris. He shrugged it off and scored the winner. He's 'Juan of our own' as Jan Vertonghen tweeted. Nice.

Not sure what Mauricio said him in training during the week or to Sissoko either. Moussa played very well once again and seemed to thrive in atrocious conditions. I am delighted for him and for Spurs obviously.

These two contested MOM in the media and anyone who is not delighted for Sissoko is no true fan.
(See Video Spot.)

The top of the Premiership table looks like this with significant gaps starting to appear below the Top Four. Nobody apart from City looks convincing or consistent, including us at the moment.



TeamPGDPts
1
Man City12...31...32
2
Liverpool12...18...30
3
Chelsea12...19...28
4
Tottenham12...10...27

5
Arsenal12...11...24

6
Bournemouth12...5.....20
7
Watford12...3.....20
8
Man Utd12..-1...20


With our away record (7 wins out of 8 so far) Perhaps we should become the Tottenham Vagabonds  and play all our games away from home and mothball the Stadium in readiness for the next Olympics or World Cup..

Might take a lot of mothballs but it sounds like a plan. The Stadium might not be ready until then in any case. I'm joking, I'm joking. Lighten up people.

They were without Zaha without whom they haven't won in 12 games; puzzling why they turned up at all really. We lost Trippier early on with a groin strain, our 9th World Cup player to succumb to injury.

He won't get injured playing next week as he has withdrawn for the squad to play USA. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

In the absence of Dier, and Erikson, both in recovery mode, Dele played deeper and made a decent fist of it. I prefer him further forward but need must. Winks, still being handled carefully didn't start and Aurier subbed reasonably well for Trippier.

Lamela who didn't play that well, went off with what the papers described as a 'horrific' head injury but he was on the team bus stitched up despite being ignored by Referee Moss until the blood flowed.
freely.

A bit of  slog under atrocious conditions. We didn't make many chances but Juan Foyth reacted quickly just after the hour mark when a Harry Kane header from a corner looped up and he headed it into the top of the net.

Seasoned Spurs supporters would file this one under another game we wouldn't have won not so long ago. It would seem that the leopard has indeed changed its spots and the zebra its stripes.

It's comforting going into an International and friendly break with a run of wins though I don't understand the concept of the UEFA Nations' League. It's a nonsense. Or of Wayne's inclusion in an unnecessary friendly against the USA mid-season.

All well above my pay-grade obviously. Next up Chelsea. Anything Everton can do, we can do better.

Stadium Opening.  Opinion hardening among some ITK'S that it will be next season. Not sure whether there is any basis in facts. Don't shoot the messenger.

Hot News:
'Mourinhos job hangs in the balance whilst Man.Utd consider Pochettino'  Don't panic it's only the Interweb thingy.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Glad to be able to post a tribute to Moussa Sissoko who as Mauricio says has turned his Spurs career around in the past few games.

Not all fans are convinced but then these are Spurs fans we are talking about. Some say he's better but that doesn't make him good. But he's doing a job at a critical time. Credit where it's due.

Greater awareness and better touch has been added to strength and pace. He has been recalled to the French squad this week. Congratulations.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Rethink Causes New Delay.

Spurs fan getting into good habits early.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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The most recent delay in the completion and opening of NWHL is an alteration to the seating arrangements. Single seats are being replaced with 2 and 3 bench seats with space to crouch behind  to view the match in safety.

The latest Champions' league outing against PSV was another nerve jangler. But was it a cunning game plan by Mauricio? Dele and Toby were certainly in on it and eventually it worked. Eventually

Concede very, very early and prey on their defensive fallabilities as PSV eased off and tried to see the game out. This was why Sissoko didn't feature and why we played without a defensive midfielder from the start.

I don't usually do tactical analysis and the preceding paragraph probably shows why. In the end it was a Tale of Two Harrys. The 'One of our Owns' duo: Winks who controlled and enlivened the midfield and Kane who scored the goals.

You could say that this game encompassed the Best of Times and the Worst of Times. The first minute was the worst; the last ten the Best.“It was a far, far better thing that we did, than we have done so far in this years CL.

We left it late but that was mainly down to the corpulent solidity of keeper Zoet and the failure of a succession of Spurs players to connect cleanly and/or not to shoot straight at the keeper. Dele might have had a hat-trick.

We had 21 shots, 9 of them on target; 70% possession and 16 corners. Unlike our defence they repelled all 16. I have lost count of the set piece headers we have conceded this season. Actually I'm trying to forget.

We just need to beat Inter Milan and Barcelona now and we make the next round. Well nobody said it would be easy especially the way we go about it. But given the injuries and frequency of matches we're not doing badly at all.

Four games in 8/9 days, three wins and the only loss to Premiership favourites Man. City by the odd goal in one. This with half a dozen key players out, Dele and Eriksen returning from injury and a couple running on empty.

Next months calendar is pretty hectic too with 9 games in the month. I doubt we will see Dembele back ( confirmed) but Wanyama, Dier, Vertonghen Rose and others may return for some or all of these. Skipp could even feature.

Whether by default or design Tuesday's team was positive in the extreme: Son, Dele, Moura, Eriksen and Harry K. starting,  Lamela coming on and Llorente getting the vital assist in his brief cameo.

Moura being subbed rather than Son was not well received and understandably as he was our most threatening player at the time but Mauricio has many things to consider, the next game against Crystal Palace on Saturday for a start.

And, as he says, ''We won''. Apart from the first minute lapse we were able to play pretty well although except for one cross by Davies which Harry converted for the winner, via two deflections, the crossing was very wasteful.

Glenn Hoddle. 
Nothing new in the last week since he came out of intensive care. Advice and warnings from David Ginola about not returning to work too soon.

Stadium Opening:
 Probably in the New Year. February rumored but next season still possible. The current atmosphere, attendance and state of the pitch at Wembley means it can't come too soon.The Wembley 'magic' has definitely worn off.

Transfer Rumours:
Don't be silly we don't do transfer rumours. Since Pochettino arrived it is estimated that over two hundred players have been linked.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The Man himself. Class. Nothing to add

Monday, 5 November 2018

Injuries disrupt Tottenham game plans.

Keep aknocking but ya can't come in.
Twice was more than enough
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 Having bigged up our Argentinian contingent last time, they suffered mixed fortunes in the narrow 2-3 win against Wolves on Saturday evening. It wasn't that narrow in reality but seemed like it at the time.

Erik Lamela led the pack, oh sorry that's them, scored the first goal and generally put himself about in true Lamela style. Juan Foyth in his first Premiership game played well until he gave away two penalties late on. Paulo Gazzanigo only made the bench.

That's like saying Juan Foyth lived a long and happy life until he died at 21 from a broken heart. But you know where I'm coming from.

 Hugo Lloris was in inspirational form when the Wolves howled at the door after half time.Three saves in quick succession kept our 3 goal lead intact  until, you know who, did you know what.

As Oscar Wilde meant to say : ''to give away one penalty  may be regarded as a misfortune; to give away two looks like carelessness''. Mauricio admitted he'd done exactly the same himself playing for Espanyol so the boy's career is probably still on track.

Moura 's headed goal from Trippier's accurate.cross took us into half time at 2-0. That was the high spot for Kieron as it was his silliness that led to Foyth's first penalty error on 70 minutes. Dele already has the Nutmeg Concession.

Harry Kane added a third on the hour and Spurs looked home and dry but after that it was mostly Wolves and the Tottenham of old might have drawn or even lost this one. In the end we kept the wolves from the door.

I'm ignoring the groans. You don't get originality for the money you're paying.

The injury to Dembele within the first 5 minutes upset the game plan and I doubt we will see him again in the starting line up much before the New Year, if then. Son replaced him and Lamela  operated centrally.

So an early injury; Son, the sub, subbed himself later for Eriksen; two goals for Spurs within 3 minutes after half an hour; another for Harry Kane on the hour and cruise control engaged;  then two penalties and some generally slack defending by Spurs under pressure.

All this made for an exiting game in a late kick off in Birmingham on Saturday night. Much too late for a young Spurs team who should have been tucked up in bed by half time. No wonder Juan (20) had a nightmare.

The high praise from Pochettino makes me suspicious that he will have to serve at least a brief suspended sentence for a while as we have cover at centre half even while Vertonghen is out.

Those pushing for Foyth to play in midfield may see a breakthrough here with Dembele, Wanyama and currently Dier all out with injury. Winks, Skipp and Foyth might get a start together soon.
( Dream on Jimmy- editor)

Our strongest team at the moment includes the much more effective, indestructible Sissoko. He had a good first half but like Winks faded under pressure in the second. Moura's goal should increase his ambition to get into dangerous positions.

Son's substitution was a shock to him by his reaction. But Dembele's early injury made game planning awkward and Mauricio seemed loath to put Eriksen on so early after injury or even promote Skipp.

We played some good football to take a 3-0 lead though Wolves are a decent attacking team and we really put the pressure on ourselves in the second half. Harry Kane scored a proper striker's goal and continues his progress.

We move above Arsenal and back into 4th. but now 5 points off the leaders City. On Tuesday we play PSV in the Champions' League at home and 'must win' if we wish to progress.

Team a matter of conjecture and depends on Mauricio's priorities and recoveries if any from injury. Dembele, Rose, Vertonghen, Wanyama and Dier definitely out. Lloris is suspended.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
'Kes': The football match

As promised and for my my older  subscribers this will ring a few bells. As an expose of Secondary Education in the 70's the whole film is a classic. But this football section, Spurs v Man.Utd will suffice for now.

I taught in a Secondary Modern, certainly secondary but not very modern, and was in charge of sports. Well it was only a very small all-boys school.

No that's not me. I was young and idealistic at the time. ''Denis Law's in the wash this week''

And we won!


Friday, 2 November 2018

Spurs; The Facts Become Clearer.

Please don't shoot the Messenger. 

The JimmyG2 Column.

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I don't usually do 'gloating' but some teams and their supporters ask for it. Anyway, apparently, the fact is that we have won more games at the 'London' Taxpayers' Stadium than the resident hosts.

' Just the fact's Mam just the facts' as Detective Joe Friday used to say at the start of  his interviews on 'Dragnet' which started in 1949 and was revived in the 60's. Actually it's a misquote from a Stan Freberg's parody.

Ironic really. But what's a misquote among friends. Don't shoot the Messenger love. W.Ham are not the team they used to be and probably never were. Fact. Well verifiable opinion anyway.

I only use statistics when they support my case. ''Facts are stubborn things but statistics are pliable“ (Mark Twain) I'm with Aldous Huxley on this: 'Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.'

We have a good team; we have strength in depth and some talented youngsters in the pipeline; we have made our best ever start in the Premiership and lost narrowly to the odds on Premiership favourites.

We have a talented young Manager; the best facilities at our training ground; the soon to be opened state of the art stadium and will not be deflected by temporary setbacks; we are ahead of the curve.

I think the Club have handled the delay poorly in terms of keeping fans in the loop.Just my opinion of course. Feel free to agree.

 But what is not in dispute is that we won convincingly at West ham with two tidy goals by HM Son both assisted by Dele Alli. And the double cherry on the icing, a first goal of the season by Fernando Llorente from an Eriksen corner.

 For five minutes at 2-1 doubts crept in but Llorente sealed the victory and it's very rare for me to be able write that. We had 10 changes from Monday and a starting eleven with 5 players 22 or under. Fact.

Juan Foyth and Kyle Walker-Peters were making their first appearances this season and certainly merit some more game time before the next round of the Carabao Cup. That's just an opinion.

We have only 2 outfield players in the squad over 30 (Dembele and Vertonghen) and the night was crowned for me by the 10 minute cameo by Oliver Skipp (17) How does it go? 'The Future's bright.......'.

Some are saying that they wish the Future was here right now and suggest that tomorrow never comes. But as Robert Louis Stephenson once said 'it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive'. Holiday brochures can be misleading. Enjoy the journey.

The win earns us another NLD at the Emirates just before Xmas. Away again but aren't we always wherever we play. The stand out performance was by 20 year old Juan Foyth who has skill and composure beyond his tender years.

Not faultless by any means but convincing overall. He will get caught on the ball occasionally as he makes his keynote move, accelerating into midfield with the ball to open up the game. Sanchez (22) and Foyth played very well together.

The return of Dele, Eriksen and Son proved too lively for a physical but somewhat negative W.Ham until they put their all-stars on but we were in control of the game by then. Winks impressed again.

Kyle Walker- Peters was bullied somewhat but made some positive runs later in the game. Aurier switched to the left to accommodate him but the jury is still out. With a dozen regulars missing this was a clear demonstration of some strength in depth.

Pellegrini agreed: "Maybe they made 10 changes but if you see the names they played - they are names and have qualities for their starting team."  I think he was agreeing anyway.

N'Koudou made a rare appearance at the end but like Moura is more motion than notion. Wanyama was a shadow of his former self, but Gazzaniga our 3rd choice keeper is clearly on his way to be 'numero uno'.

As Mauricio says ,'You can't have too many Argentinians in your team'. If he doesn't then he should. Shades of Ricci Villa and Ozzy Ardiles. Foyth,  Gazzaniga and Lamela make up the Argentinian contingent currently.

Some of the Monday blues were painted over and a win against Wolves on Saturday night will leave a pristine palette for the heavy fixture load in the weeks to come as the Champions' League re-surfaces.

I leave you Gentle Reader to sort the facts from the opinion in this piece. But like Mr. Trump I always like to tell the truth, when I can. Apart from football pundits and opposition fans, who doesn't.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Longest highlights I could find as many will have missed this one which was not easily available. You could barely see it even if you attended the game live at the Taxpayers' Stadium.