The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Party? What Party?


The party's over
It's time to call it day
They've burst our pretty balloon*


All a bit over-dramatic I know but tell me it doesn't feel like that the morning after the night before. Mourinho produced a sub Pochettino performance away to Manchester United in terms of team selection and game management.

Why I thought it might be any different this time I'm not sure. We've lost more Premier league matches against them than any other team and Jose has won none of his last five games under four different Managers. (BBC)

We conceded another brace to make it 8 in four games both down to a buzzing Rashford who Jose had managed to unsettle whilst their Manager.  Sissoko's late challenge gifted them a penalty straight after half-time.

Jose had a point to prove but Rashford's point was apparently bigger and took the plaudits and the points. Dele's goal just before half time, a triumph of skill, touch and ingenuity should have set us up for the second half.

Perhaps Mourinho was trying to prove something though what it was is unclear.. Perhaps that Sissoko and Winks as a pivotal pairing doesn't work. They had ably demonstrated that by half time but the inevitable entry of Eriksen was delayed until the 64th. minute.

Sissoko is all heart and little brain and Eriksen is all brain and little heart. If Christian is not signing on again he should be nowhere near the squad; if he is he should start.

The back line creaked like a sinking ship: Aurier reverted to his former unreliable self; Sanchez deferred every time to Toby who is not the player he was; Mr Grumpy, flappy hands Vertonghen didn't seem up for it at all.

The slow motion back line ballet made it's unwelcome re-appearance and the midfield neither protected it nor inspired the players further forward.

Up front Son was erratic and selfish; Moura left hardly even a faint trace on the game; Harry without service was leaden  and only Dele shone. Gazzaniga after the early mistake at his near post performed heroics to keep the score down.

Jose stood and watched as if it was nothing to do with him and made the changes too late like his predecessor. United. could have been out of sight by half time. Things improved after half time but again the early penalty killed us.

So back to the drawing board Mr. Mourinho. You could do worse than give Oliver Skipp a run out or Sessegnon, or Tanganga. Let's rebuild the ship in what is inevitably turning out to be a mid table year not just try to refloat the old one which may be holed beneath the water-line

Balloons burst; new Manager bounce completed, now the hard work begins. The worrying thing about Wednesday night was the lack of energy and involvement on display. United weren't that good apart from Rashford but they were up for it.

Whatever the underlying causes of the demise of Mauricio are clearly still there and the magic of Mourinho is in itself not going to solve them. In the end we lost by a penalty but apart from Dele there was very little positive to hold on to.

Next Up.
Burnley at home on Saturday 7th. at 3pm.
Four out of 5 wouldn't be too bad.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Such clarity, such control. We could do with some of that. The Wedding Nuptials and the Honeymoon are over but there's the rest of life to get through now. The season goes on.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

This Can't Go On at Spurs.

Spot the Spurs Fan.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Another classic Spurs performance against Bournemouth but a most untypical Jose Mourinho one. Jose reveals his inner Ossie Ardiles with another narrow squeak win in the 'Who cares about the score as long as we score more than them''show.

Two goals per game conceded and performances that veer between the exciting and the reprehensible. But I don't think that this current attitude can last much longer before the whip is crackled and Jose normality restored.

We started badly as we did against Olympiakos and Gazza was forced into some untidy saves before the real Tottenham emerged and we took over. Tribute acts to the Exorcet firing Toby Alderweireld and the free running Dele of old took centre stage and just after half time we were two up.

A collector's item for the third, a Moussa Sissoko volleyed finish to a sparkling counter attack involving, Dele  and Son should have put the game to bed. Instead of which the team went to sleep and dozed during a tight finish, as we had done at West Ham.

Aurier seemed as delighted as his French speaking colleague even though they have a bet on who scores more. The tie stands at 1-1 currently. Dele continues to make the runs and currently is being increasingly found.

With Dier and Ndombele having an unfitness competition all of their own in midfield Sissoko did the running about a bit for both of them. The back four coped without too much trouble. Sanchez is learning to stay on his feet like his mentor Toby.

Rumours and whispers around that all the contract rebels might be persuaded to stay if required. Aurier seems to have played himself back in favour and only Danny Rose is left out on a limb.

Bournemouth had more shots than us (14/10) and more shots on target (6/5) and twice as many corners (8/4) In the end though it was quality rather than quantity that told, and Dele was pure quality.

Against better team we might not get away with such generosity but going forward we are a delight to watch once again. The smile never leaves Son's face, but now it's back on Dele's face too and certainly back on the faces of the fans.

History will recall that we won our first three games under Mourinho. Next up it's Manchester United (Away on Wednesdy at 7:30 pm) and he will want to win this one for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that Mauricio won his first four.

A nice touch was Jose's fist bump, on Dele's first goal, with  Callum  the ball boy of recent fame who had lunch with the team pre-match. A small thing but it draws the family closer together.

At the moment we are 5th. and closer to the top four than the relegation zone. So definitely something to smile about people. It's easy to spot the Spurs fans at the moment.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Those of a nervous disposition are advised to stop watching at1.49 . Dele has been making those runs quite often but not being found. Toby rediscovers the knack.


Thursday, 28 November 2019

It only takes a Moment..or Two.

A Tale of Two Moments.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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The game hinged on two moments. The early, very early, substitution of Dier for 'want away' Eriksen and Dele's gitfted goal one minute into extra time in the first half. Both events changed the momentum and balance of power of the game.



Make no mistake Olympiacos were no mugs and played some tricky football and could have been 3-0 up by half time and out of sight. Aware of this Mourinho took firm action and spent half of his after match press conference apologising to Eric Dier.

No apologies necessary Jose but it was the kind of firm action we are not used to. First tactical change on 26 minutes is not in Mauricio's play book. Olympiakos tired and lost their grip as we improved.

In fact Son spurned an easy chance to set up Eriksen to make it five. Harry was alert and focussed and scored twice to beat Alessandro del Piero's record as the player to score 20 Champions League goals in the fewest games - 24, compared to the Italian's 26 games with Juventus.

Even the ball-boys attend tactical master- classes these days. Last time one delayed play and winked This time one leapt leapt into action and allowed Aurier and Moura to set up Harry for the crucial equaliser. Mourinho was delighted with him (the ball boy obviously)

As Jose said any one could have been subbed, Rose, Winks and Toby were all involved in conceding the goals. We looked nervy from the start including Gazzaniga and who could blame him. Jose's appeals for calm were not at first heeded but we settled eventually,

Dele's goal turned the game. Aurier, Sanchez, Moura and even Eriksen responded and played well. The real Dele is back with us and could make a real difference to our season.

Reservations are entered about Winks and Rose. Son and Toby are given a pass on this one.

But again as at West Ham we were erratic. Not even Mourinho could prevent a near collapse there, nor a mini implosion that threatened to derail our qualification prospects here. The best and worst of times and Spurs.
 
This new, humble, modest, relaxed, compassionate Jose Mourinho is a revelation and long may it continue as it seems to suit our attitude in the post Pochettino period.

'Where there is discord, let there be harmony' as Mrs T once said. (Wrongly attributed to St.Francis, but that's for the pedants) Olive branch for Mr. Eriksen.

In the last two winning performances he has advanced even his stellar reputation. But two games in is too soon to make sweeping judgements but the signs are all good.

So back in the top half and qualified for the next Champions' League stage after the upheaval but not too much time to catch our breath. Three games a week is tough on players and bloggers.

Next Up.
A Home game against Bournemouth on Saturday 30th. at 3.00 pm. Eminently winnable to take us further up the table. But don't start counting unhatched chickens people.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Callum The Ball Boy with a 6yr. Spurs pedigree, more assists than Jesse Lingard apparently. What a day for the boy. Shame he missed out on the after match celebrations. He had to get home to revise for a Maths exam next day.


Sunday, 24 November 2019

The King is dead.


The King is Dead. Long Live the King 
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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So after all the nonsense, hype, speculation and silliness we at last won away in Jose's first game though in the end it was a close run thing. But a win is a win and we flattered W. Ham by conceding two  late second half goals.

And the sky hasn't fallen in yet. But given the speed and suddeness of the  affair it was more a rape than even a one night stand though a dalliance has been going on between Daniel and Jose for some time.

I loved Mauricio and have never been keen on Mourinho but it was results that did for Mauricio and results will be the only yardstick by which to judge Mourinho.

Against West Hamwe strolled to a dream 3-0 lead in the first hour and nearly sleep-walked into a  3-3 nightmare in the last half-hour

Mourinho will be under no illusions about the defensive work required by the end. The game showed both  our attacking strengths and our defensive weaknesses.

At the moment I am hurting with the sacking of Pochettino and may be for some time. But points are a great healer and that's what Mourinho promises and we know what points mean. Top four is the first aim with a trophy along the way.

I doubt he will better Pochettinos record of top four finishes and Champion' League performances and whatever he does he will be building on past team building and signings at least in the short term as he himself acknowledges.

None of the new signings were to be seen against W.Ham  but all the players were intent on impressing the new manager, especially Dele  who Mourinho had singled out for special attention and he responded.

The West Ham game showed the rejection of playing out from the back (3 cheers), of faffing about along the back four and a quicker build up all of which I approve. Dele given a freer attacking role found plenty of space and was instrumental in 2 of the three goals.

Dier a long time favourite of Mourinho didn't dramatically prove his worth and again his passing was careless but he was a presence.The front four played well and Harry Winks and Toby. The rest were as good as they needed to be to beat a poor West Ham.

But the away win after nearly a year cannot be ruled out as a mere coincidence.

In a tough no holds barred interview with myself I asked 'Did I want Mourinho to be a success at Spurs?'. As it was the run up to an election I ignore that question and answered a different one. A week is a long time in politics and football

'Did I want Spurs to be successful under Mourinho and I replied firmly in the affirmative. The Club and the current squad are the more important than who the manager happens to be.

We went all through this with Uncle Martin Jol who was sacked in a much more treacherous way. Then followed ten years in the football wilderness under Ramos (who actually won a cup) Redknapp, AVB  and Sherwood.

But Mauricio restored dignity, pride, and came with a vision, a plan and a project which Jose also claims to have, Now the pundits and press are happy. We've gone back to doing it their way.

Weep Frank Sinatra, weep. For the Latin scholars amongst you 'tempus narrabo'.

Our inferiority complex is exposed for all to see but it remains to be seen if Mourinho can go one better than Mauricio and win the Champions' League with Tottenham.

When asked if the defeat in last years final could explain our loss of confidence and form, he brilliantly replies that he didn't know as he had never lost a Champions' League final. Unstoppable force meets immoveable object syndrome (See Video)

In the meantime Jose is playing it cool, saying and doing all the right things. He didn't start Eriksen although Dele was really pissed at being substituted for him and he sleeps in his Tottenham pyjamas.

SPECIAL ONE(sie)


 The Uria Heep act jars a little: 'I am 'umble', but we will have to swallow it for now.

Next Up 
Two chances this week: one to seal qualification to the next phase of the Champions' league against Olympiacos at home on Tuesday  at 8 o/c, and a chance to further advance on the Premiership at home to Bournemouth on Saturday at 3 o/c.

Jimmy's Video Spot
The full 40 minutes of his first Tottenham press conference and well worth a listen. You have to admire the man, his experience, humour and yes his humanity, all shine through.

Whether he is a good fit for Spurs and brings us success, however you frame it, remains for the moment an unanswerable question but the signs are promising. So far all good.

Conducted in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Frenchmen soon outgoing.

No mention before during and after of the 13+ million per annum wages. Let's hope he's worth it.


Lets hope

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Fingers crossed.

Are we nearly there yet?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Drawing rather than losing and the odd encouraging performance are staving off what to many is the inevitable: the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino. A dangerous and possibly self harming move. Potentially 'Rock Bottom+.

Fan opinion is shifting and will continue to do so until some sort of progress is made. It's  more evenly balanced now though support for Poch was clear in the earlier part of the season even after a year of stagnation.

Even a team selection at home to Sheffield which was closer to fans hopes and expectations made little headway after a poor performance by some that had played well in Belgrade and the exclusion of arch-contract refuser Christian Eriksen.

Of course Red Star were rubbish so that victory doesn't count even with their home record. And clearly we should have thrashed newcomers Sheffield Utd even though they have the best defensive record in the Premiership.

A team clearly well coached, hard working and overall much better than the sum of its parts. Unlike Spurs many would add.

We used to ask when times were good, in a superior sort of way, 'How many of their team would get into ours?' After Saturday many would say 'All of them'. Except perhaps in place of Son and Lo Celso who showed some skill and spirit.

Ndombele started for the first time with fellow new signing Lo Celso, but went off injured for Winks at half time. Harry certainly injected at least some energy and enthusiasm like an advert for the Duracell Bunny as most of his teammates ran down.

How will we know when we have reached 'Rock Bottom'? Well some say we took up residence some time ago. Our tally of 14 points after 12 games is our worst start for a decade. 

We have lost more points from winning positions than any other Premiership team this season. Our chances of making the top six diminish by the game and winning the Champions' League seems the ultimate delusion.

Mauricio is worried that he won't be given time to effect the transition we require but until we actually descend into the bottom four I don't think he will be sacked if then. He has earned the chance to put things right and would be expensive to sack.

If we lose to West Ham after the International break then both might well happen in a rush. But that's the Nuclear Option and the cure might be worse than the disease especially if it's Mourinho shaped which I doubt.

But I am beginning to hate the players I have loved best: Eriksen, Dele and Harry Kane. How much of this is directly down to Mauricio I'm not sure. It may well get worse before it gets better though I admit there's not a lot of headroom for that to happen.

We were chased off the park against Sheffield and though VAR came to our aid to wipe out Sheffield's first equaliser we had no such luck with second. Even Son's opener  was gift from a defensive error.

Sanchez and Dier who played well against Red Star were unimpressive here; Dier's passing was consistently dreadful; Sanchez always looked on the verge of a mistake.

Sissoko's main problem is that unlike Winks he doesn't want the ball; Dele was at his ineffectual worst and Harry Kane seemed as if he hadn't quite recovered from the previous weekend 's virus.

And so we stumble on neither quite failing or succeeding. I write and publish these blogs with my fingers crossed, which is quite difficult, in case between writing and posting something dramatic happens to undermine my belief and position.

It's tough at the top they say but it's worse at the bottom says I.

Next up
Spurs travel to London rivals West Ham after the international break on Saturday, 23 November (12:30 GMT). After that Bournemouth at home. Two 'winnable' games that could turn our season round. Or not, obviously.

In between we have our first chance to qualify for the next round of the Champions' League against Olympiacos at home.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The Man of the Moment speaks. Reasons? Excuses? I think he's struggling just a little. But what doesn't kill you... 
Fan support will continue to leak away the longer it goes on but the rumours of his demise are greatly exaggerated, for today, anyway.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Every Cloud, Spurs Fans

Relax boys it's only the Champions' League.
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The Jimmy G2 Column .
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I did say that this might be a free hit and a day off from the travails of the Premiership especially against a team we had already soundly beaten. As you know I'm not always wrong and so it proved.

We rode our early luck with an instinctive save by Gazzaniga who is growing in everybody's estimation. We continued to dominate as they sat back and tried to hit us on the break. 

Giovanni Lo Celso celebrated his first start with the opening goal after an exciting pin-ball session when Kane hit the post, Son hit the bar and eventually, eventually Lo Celso popped it in. But he is being carefully nursed in the Mauricio way.

Son straight back on the horse after his tribulations on Sunday scored two well taken goals and Pochettino's confidence in putting him straight back in the saddle paid off. He has been well handled.

Dier's re-appeared from whichever cave he's been banished to and played well against Pavkov their very tall leading scorer alongside Sanchez.

The Argentinians were out in force with Lo Celso, Gazzaniga and Foyth at right back. They all stood tall for their Manager. Just a pity that Lamela couldn't join the Tango.

Quite a night in many ways: Sessegnon's first proper run out and an assist for Eriksen's deflected goal. Yes that Eriksen; Oliver Skipp too for a 5 minute cameo and so keen to make his literal mark that he might well have been sent off.

Son fully rehabilitated; new combinations tried out successfully in defence and midfield; four goals without Harry Kane or Dele on the score sheet. Definitely a glint of a silver lining  among the dark gathering clouds.

Rose was back bringing his angry dedication to left back and playing well. In fact a good all round team performance by a starting eleven that clearly want to play for Spurs. New signings  youngsters and all.

We were warned that Red Star would be a different proposition at home in the 'Cauldron' of  the Rajko Mitic Stadium following their 2-0 defeat of Liverpool at this stage last year and off the pitch the enthusiasm was deafening but not so evident on.

So our first away win of the season and possibly Champions' League advancement for the 4th. year running. It doesn't quite make sense. But I still trust Mauricio to put it right. This was a more balanced starting line up.

The appearance of all three or our Summer signings gives us new hope and perhaps the phasing out or even transfer of the 'malcontents' will make us a tighter and more focused unit but Pochettino will still rotate to the fury of many.

Winks, Davies, Aurier and Toby and even Eriksen, some or all of the above could start against Sheffield though I wouldn't play at least three of them. Eriksen, Davies and Aurier as you ask.

Next Up.
Sheffield United at home on Saturday at 3pm. They are 3 points and 6 places above us currently. Anything but a win will stir it all up again. I mean the Champions' league is a doddle compared to the Premiership.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Very poorly edited but a bit longer this week. I think we could stand a few more minutes for our first away win since since January . Another Monkey off our back.

Some nice assists and fast build up play. 9-0 over two legs, perhaps they're not as good as they're cracked up to be, or perhaps we're better as they beat Liverpool and have won all but two of their 20 odd CL.games at Home. Sorry, three.


Monday, 4 November 2019

Managers Survive after Mayhem.

Apart from that,
 how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Unfortunately the actual match will be long forgotten before the season ending injury to Andre Gomes. Son's 'professional' foul had unforeseen results including a red card for the offender, his second this year.

I have long railed against the so called 'professional' foul but they don't usually have such dire effects on the player and the game. However reduced to ten men we could not hold on for the win after a fine goal by Dele.

The foul by Son was reckless. His red card was for the result of the tackle and not the tackle itself which was originally going to be a yellow until the referee saw the injury but that is not the usual criterion by which to judge a punishment.

Spurs will appeal the red card but I am not confident it will be overruled although it should be for the sake of Son's state of mind. Dele reported that he was distraught in the dressing room.

The awful scenes as Gomes was stretchered off resulting in a ten minute delay seemed to sap the interest and energy out of an already lukewarm game and a draw was probably fair. Neither side deserved to lose or to win for that matter.

This was a dour scrap for two teams in the bottom half of the table both looking down rather than up and after the draw we are 5 points from the relegation zone and Everton are three. We are 10 points behind Chelsea in 4th.

So the season is going to be a slog even if things change of which there are no signs currently. Team selection. Eriksen, Aurier, is still wilful and in-game management woeful, no changes until the 73rd. minute.

With Harry Kane ill with a virus and Rose suspended changes were inevitable. Harry Winks was rested and Davies made captain though I can't imagine why. Moura up front made little impact on the game.

Ndombele started brightly but faded soon after half time; Eriksen could have been replaced at half time and again did nothing to justify his selection. Sissoko was quiet but Sanchez after a dithery start
played well against Drama Queen  Richarlison.

But there was no spark and little enthusiasm shown in general. We only managed 2 shots on target the whole game and looked pedestrian. There was little midfield interchange or creativity once Ndombele faded.

Dele was relieved not to concede a penalty, the ball hitting his arm during a headed challenge in the box  but VAR was with us on this occasion but not for a foul on Son. Probably fair all round.

The only bright spot was Dele who is beginning to contribute more and set up by Son scored what should have been the only and winning goal. Cue Son's tackle, Gomes injury, VAR, referee indecision, Red Card and the attendant mayhem.

The draw and the distraction of the serious injury to Gomes probably took the attention and the heat off both Managers for the time being.

Next Up.
Red Star  (Crvena zvezda) in Belgrade  on Wednesday at 8pm.
The distraction of the Champions' league may prove a bonus free hit. May.

Then a tough home game against Sheffield United on Saturday 9th. at 3pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Dele and Gazzaniga feature, not the crucial incident thankfully does not. Two minutes highlights, more than enough to cover the events.


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Don't try this at Home


Is it safe to come out yet?
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The Jimmy G2 Column.
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I wanted a performance and wasn't expecting a result. We threatened for a time to get both. We were under siege by design and all but pinched it. We parked the bus again and made a fair fist of defending with our backs to the wall.

We were helped in our defensive game plan by a very early headed goal for Kane responding alertly to a Son shot that deflected off Lovren's head onto the woodwork and back into Kane's sphere of influence

Sanchez and Toby coped well under pressure. Gazzaniga kept us in it after we went ahead after 48 seconds and went down eventually to a Salah penalty in the 75th. minute. Between times we defended and defended but gave the ball away sloppily out of defence.

We had 30% of the possession and by the end 4 shots on target. There was a growing inevitability about the loss despite Rose fluffing a good late chance and Son hitting the crossbar having rounded the keeper. Kane and Dele were both close to converting crosses.

Mauricio made 4 changes from the midweek mauling of Red Star. Winks returned with Eriksen; Toby replaced Vertonghen; Rose replaced Davies; Lamela injured in training was sadly not in the match day squad

Neither Rose nor Eriksen justified their selection and it is always telling when the goalkeeper is your MOM. This was a very unfamiliar game plan which at half time looked as if it might pay off until Henderson's scrappy equaliser in the 52nd. minute.

Eriksen and Dele spent the afternoon chasing red shadows which is not really their game but contributed little to composed break out play. Winks and Dele were caught on the ball and only Son and Kane showed effective endeavour.

Both goals were down to full back errors, Rose again misjudged a cross-field ball to Henderson and Aurier's mind seemed to be elsewhere when he hacked into the back of Mane's legs having initially seen off the danger.

After Henderson's equaliser a Liverpool win looked increasingly likely as they repeatedly pressed. We hung on and an unlikely point loomed but the very fact that we defended deep and completely jettisoned the press was evidence that we knew that this was one we couldn't win.

We didn't get thrashed which was a widespread fear before the game and emerged with some credit, but we lost. The performance will probably protect Mauricio again from his increasingly vocal critics but we are closer to the relegation zone than the top four.

Ndombele and Lo Celso showed some spirit and skill when they came on for Winks and Eriksen but once again they came on too late to really influence matters and of course they they hadn't spent most of the afternoon chasing their own tails.

It's not quite 'Where's Harry Redknapp when you need him' time but increasingly people are weighing up the replacement options. I wouldn't get too depressed losing to Liverpool, unbeaten League leaders and European Champions at Anfield.

Next up.
Back to Mersyside for the Everton game for the late kick-off on Sunday 3rd.
A whole week for rumours and other distractions to fester but having cunningly dropped out of the Carabao we have time to re-group and refocus.

Aurier, Rose and Eriksen should be relegated from the starting line-up. If fit, Lamela and Ndombele should start. A win will prolong the agony once again. Lose and who knows.

According to reports in France Jose Mourinho has been 'contacted' with a view to replacing Mauricio if he leaves by consent, spontaneously combusts, or in the unlikely event that he is sacked.

So that's a nailed on draw then and we are marooned in No Man's Land for another week.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Nearly a defensive and goalkeeping masterclass. Nearly. Son overhits his shot and it should have been 2/0 with a Gazza assist. Sissoko's tenacity leads to the early goal.

Both goals were full back errors: Rose misjudged the crossfield pass, Henderson shins a  finish and a careless Aurier tackle, but we know he has that in his locker, and we're done for.

But it's safe to come out again  in the light of an unorthodox Spurs performance. Spurs fans will not welcome this approach on a regular basis so 'Don't try this at home'.


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Any port in a storm.

Get back here
It's a sandbank not an iceberg.

 The JimmyG2 Column.
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Red Star or Crvena Zvezda as they like to be called, offered us a temporary safe harbour and a chance to take on provisions and catch our breaths on Tuesday in the Champions' League. 'Any port in a storm' as they say.

We took the chance to take on provisions of confidence, form and momentum as well while we were about it ahead of a probably more testing leg of our current journey at Anfield. Understatement is my middle name.

They weren't very good and probably would be no higher than the Championship in England. But as we lost to Colchester from effectively Division 4, let's us not take anything for granted or sell any achievement short.

An early goal and a clean sheet; some good movement; fine passing by Aurier, Kane and Ndombele; five well taken goals by Son and Kane and Lamela; effort and concentration all round. Even Dier impressed when he replaced Dele.

Dele did more than his fair share of defensive work but was caught on the ball at least twice. Lamela and Son again proved a handful. Kane apart from two well taken goals was instrumental in the build up.

The defence wasn't tested and looked a little shaky at times but Sanchez pace is a real asset. Davies was much more progressive and the ball was moved  forward much more quickly. Ndombele was a key factor in this.

We needed a performance as well as a result and this one puts our Champions' League fate back in our own hands, We play them again in Belgrade in 2 weeks and a win could ensure our progress again.

"One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.'' (Aristotle 4th Century BC) But I don't have to tell most of you that.

But like a drowning man I will clutch at this flimsy life-belt until a more substantial rescue craft full of my fellow fans hoves into sight in the shape of at least a draw on Sunday, or a narrow loss and another promising performance.

Unless this team selection and formation is followed up on then we may well be back at the current square one. But the signs from Pochettino are hopeful. His mood if not the script certainly changed in after match interviews. (See Video)

There were no signs of Toby Danny or Christian but I am not assuming that their writ has finally run.

Storm cones will be hoisted again at Anfield if Mauricio doesn't follow the succesful formula of playing those who want to play in a formation that enhances their talents. Round pegs in round holes.

Shipping Forecast N.W. England. (for Sunday)

The weather can't be avoided but its effects can be mitigated. I am not expecting the boys to turn out in  Sou' westers and thigh high waders but to concentrate. press and show some pride and for Mauricio to select those that show loyalty and desire.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Hugs all round! Now there's a more relaxed and happier man. Jokes included. 'I gave the players tomorrow off'.  Let's hope it lasts. The future begins on Sunday. Again.


Sunday, 20 October 2019

The End of the Affair.

It's not me, it's them.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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During the match a popular TV series which ran through the 60's 'No Hiding Place' came to mind as I pondered Spurs predicament. There certainly isn't one at the moment. Realities have to be faced even by me.

After today's dismal and somewhat fortunate draw with bottom of the table Watford where we conceded early for the second game running the realisation grows that this Tottenham is no longer supplying the fulfilment of my needs let alone dreams.

When Aurier is the pick of the back four you know you are in trouble. But he was head and shoulders above the rest with a couple of decent crosses and a late saving tackle to prevent the ignominy of going two down to relegation favourites Watford.

Toby and Jan seemed to have aged 10 years this season and Danny 'Mr. Angry' Rose has lost his  focus entirely. It was not until Son and Lamela came on that some sort of threat was evident. The first half was wasted.

Winks is now the 'ritual scapegoat for the sins of others' especially when Eriksen and Lamela are not starting or playing. Winks seemingly cannot escape the blame because he does more and works harder than most of the others.

You can run but you can't hide so they say. Ironic really as he is one of the few that puts in the effort and doesn't attempt to hide. But with so little movement ahead of him safe lateral passing is his only outlet.

Playing in a midfield pivot of two clearly doesn't suit him especially in yoke with Sissoko but he gets the blame for that too. Ndobele isn't up to a full game yet and Dier is not the player he was.

With each passing game this season the belief of the team and my belief in them has drained away. Each game in my mind has been the opportunity to  rediscover some magic  Actually just a little interest and effort would do.

VAR supplied some drama for the occasion as usual. Dele controlled the ball arguably with his upper arm after seizing on a mix-up between Foster and his defence and contrived somehow to score high into the corner from an acute angle.

VAR apparently awarded the goal in the referees ear piece but the on screen decision was 'No Goal'. Cue despair and confusion but eventually the goal stood and on 86 minutes we denied Watford their first win of the season.

Each game has been an opportunity missed. A draw against Red Star on Tuesday and a narrow defeat against Liverpool are the limits of my ambition at the moment.

With no prospect of incomers in January how do we get through the rest of the season? Deploy those that want to be here; trust in the youngsters: Tanganga, KWP, Skipp; go to 433/4321; hope that Lo Celso and Sessegnon can be fit well before Xmas.

Reinstate the press and a higher pace and a quicker start. Play the ball forward more quickly. Against Watford we had 70% possession and 11 corners and 2 shots on target, the same as Watford. With crisper shooting they could have been 2 or 3 up before we scored.

Pochettino isn't leaving any time soon unless results become even more dire and perhaps not even then. Start with Lamela and Son whenever possible and regard the Europa League as a realistic aspiration in our current state.

It's our turn as fans to step up now, the club is awash with negativity at every level and that is a one way road to Nowheresville. Pochettino needs to start doing things differently on tactics and team selection.

If it ain't working fix it. If Mauricio can't recapture the spirit of the last 5 years ago he needs to move on and the affair ends without regrets.

''Thanks for the memory.
And how are all the little dreams that never did come true?
And thank you so much''.

Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ella Fitzgerald among many others. (written 1938).

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Renewed signs of life from Dele, and some directness and purpose from Son and Lamela.Highlights make it look like a good game but not how it felt at the time. Misjudgment by Rose for the first and no-one tracking Doucoure or with the pace to cover.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Can we fix it?

I'm with Bob
 Fix it don't scrap it.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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'Crisis? What crisis?' This crisis I'm afraid. It looks like stick or twist time after Brighton. The International break gives us a little breathing space and may delay any precipitate action by Levy or Mauricio.

I don't think he will either resign or be sacked. Who is available at short notice: Allegri, Mourinho, Chris Hughton, Allardyce, David Pleat again or Sherwood? But it doesn't solve the contract dilemma for key players or the fitness or out of form problems either.

Personally I don't want him to go immediately if at all. I want him to  stay and analyse and put things right with the team, the squad, the club and the fans. He is better placed to do so than any panic incomer and has credit in the bank

I would bench any that don't want to be with us and indicate so by their attitude on and off field and play by contrast those that clearly are still in love with the club including some youngsters.

And I include his own role in the current situation, if he can. But the weasel word ' immediately' indicates that at the end of the season unless fortunes and attitudes pick up then it might be best for all concerned for him to go.

There has always been a vociferous Anti-Enic minority and  a similar 'Levy-out' group. Now there is a loud 'Pochettino out' minority too but the fans and supporters don't get to decide these things.

The season is only 7 games in and we are 4 points off top four, radical change is uncalled for. Nobody is pretending that our form is good but there are many factors.

This latest defeat to Brighton means Tottenham, who were in the Champions' League final just four months ago, have taken 11 points from 24 so far this season and have failed to win in their last 10 away games in the Premier League.

This stretches back to a 2-1 victory at Fulham on 20 January. In total the club have lost 17 matches on the road in all competitions in 2019 - more than any other top-flight side. So a crisis of sorts without doubt.

Acknowledging the situation may be the first step to solving it but we are a long way off doing so. Despite a spirited rearguard action against Southampton and a lively half an hour against Bayern the last few games have been dreadful by any standard.

The results against Bayern, Colchester, and Brighton are a roll call of shame. Hugo's second crucial mistake this week on just two minutes in was a prelude to another  desperate display.

My father in law was an engineer and did all his own car maintenance.  His advice was always to fix one thing at a time to see if it cures the problem. If you try several things at once and don't check the results each time you will never know what the problem was.

Changing the Manager is drastic and sometimes it even works, like putting in a new engine. But it might be the clutch or the gearbox, or the electrical system or a faulty filter in the fuel system.

That was when you could get at the engine instead of just plugging it into a computer, and repairing things rather than replacing them. There were Car Maintenance Classes for Women then at the Local Tech. Probably illegal now.

Mrs Jimmy G2 went  for a term, obviously inherited her father's genes. Change the oil Mauricio and check the tyres.

Check out each of the players for their commitment and fitness; the ownership for its investment; the financial impact of the new Stadium; change the formation and the training regime and the tactics. Repair rather than replace the Manager and/or the players.

But not all at once. We need focused intelligent analysis. Knee jerk and you'll tip the oil can all over yourself.

There are many factors and changing managers may be throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Simply it is not a wise first step as it is irreversible and then we are probably back to the old days when Spurs Managers' average stay was 18 months.

We had 14 managers while Wenger was at Arsenal. So let's proceed with caution. I would bench anyone whose contracts are up or that have expressed an inclination to leave: play those that show commitment on the pitch and on the training ground.

Liverpool's powering start, City's loss and Utd,'s continuing woes have taken the tabloid and pundit  heat off us temporarily and we should use the lull to get down to an enquiry into our fall from grace.

It helps that Mauricio is no longer flavour of the month, though if this decline was a scheme to make him persona non grata at Utd. and Real it is case of cutting of our noses to spite our face and not a recommended game plan.

I note that there is no wild talk of Pep coming to Spurs after their indifferent start.  Remember he once said that the players stop listening to any manager after 3 years. He only overstayed his welcome only once, at Barcelona by a year.

My other team, Real Madrid, were in meltdown only a fortnight ago. Zidane was toast. Now they are clear league leaders and firing on nearly all cylinders in La Liga.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.Eventually.

Hugo Lloris.
Dislocated his elbow a particularly painful injury as we saw. GWS Hugo. But I don't expect to see him back much before Easter just in time to save us from relegation. I'm joking, I'm joking. I hope.

Next Up
Two weeks breathing space then Watford at home on Saturday 19th. at 3pm. I was thinking that playing away at Brighton would take some pressure of the boys as the natives are certainly getting restless, but apparently not.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Brighton TV view of the game. Bit one-sided but so was the game. Lloris caght in at least three minds. Brighton played well, we did not.

Mercifully short highlights but I can't protect you forever with  speeches and restful music. Sorry.



Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Pochettino on borrowed time until Brighton

Mauricio down but not out. Yet.
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The Jimmy G2 Column
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Dig the positives out of that performance Jimmy. Might give Geoffrey his head here, he's always saying he could do it. The Geoffrey Shufflebotham Column. Catchy or what. Nope, stand tall Jim.

Mauricio says we gave up. We certainly got thrashed in the end by a sharp, strong and competent team. Although for half an hour we matched them, pressed them and went ahead on 15 minutes through a goal by Son.

Not his first opportunity by any means. We looked good and felt good. By half time the game had unravelled and eventually produced our worst home defeat ever. Perhaps the project too. The beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

The equaliser, the first of many fine shots came soon after but the killer goal was Lewandowski's just on half time. We failed to clear the ball in our penalty area again, failed to manage the game again, and his turn and shot changed the half time mentality.

We had played well to that point but that is clearly not enough. Within 10 minutes of  the break we were 4-1 down. Two more fine strikes by Gnabry. They had 10 shots on target and scored 7; we had 8 and scored two. One a penalty.

Two more goals by Gnabry and another by Lewandowski in the last ten minutes were record breaking killers . The fact that Gnabry is an ex Arsenal reject only adds salt to the wound. And wound it is even if not fatal.

Mauricio asserted at the week-end that 'Nothing is broken' but after Bayern  Newcastle and Colchester it's looking pretty battered. If 'it's broke then fix it' though what that entails precisely is difficult to assess.

New Manager; an unsettled or inadequate player clear out, or a return to first principles of the project. Promote those that want to be here; re-instate the team press; sharpen up tactics and substitutions; be more pro-active in-game.

Speaking of new managers, it's anyone but Mourinho for me. He has been a winner in the past but with him the cure is worse than the disease. Nice guys are not always losers and winners don't have to be nasty or make teams in their own image.

We need a re-boot if you'll forgive the expression preferably for me under Pochettino. After Southampton it looked as if this was under way. Bayern are a class team on form that played well but we only stuck at it for 35 minutes.

In the end we were swamped and the effect on Pochettino's pride and reputation may cause him to resign before he is sacked by an itchy trigger fingered CEO that has form even though he must share some of the blame.

I think that the established relationship between the two will prevent that but I am nervous whenever I look at the headlines in case he has gone even as I write this, so I've stopped looking for the moment.

This is known as the Ostrich Strategy for avoiding bad news.You don't need to know what Geoffrey thinks as it probably echoes what many if not most of you think too. But this is known as creative journalistic tension.

Short term measures: banish Aurier; reinstate Dier, give Sanchez more playing time or he will never make the grade; don't play Dele, my favourite player, until he is fully fit. Give Lamela his head and play Moura on the wing as a sub.

I am a big Eriksen fan but if he's sulking then bench him and anyone else that thinks they are more important than the club.  The much vaunted 'Bonfire of the Deadwood' is coming and it might not be pleasant.

Winks had at nightmare or least a bad dream  especially when he was targeted by Bayern after playing well for the first half hour. But his role needs to be sorted out. Every one of the back four last night night were under some sort of transfer or contract cloud.

It's a mess that has been fomenting since at least the loss to Liverpool in the Champions' League final and some of you will assert well before that. The lead Lawyer for the Defense is pleading for a recess to enable the dust to settle and for the future to become clearer.

But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is a lot of good that could be preserved and built upon. The youth policy and breeding some of our own. Not one of the players in 'dispute' with the club or manager is home grown.
 
I am what is sometimes called a Happy Clapper', my team and manager right or wrong almost, but today I am only clapping with one hand and I'm not too happy either. Bayern were good but not that good. 3 goals in the last ten minutes flattered them a bit.

But if Mauricio has reached the end of his cycle and 5years+ is a long stint at Tottenham so be it. Sir Alex won 38 trophies in 26 years, but it was 4 years before he won a trophy and 7 years before he won the league.

Changing managers when the season has barely started smacks of panic and is not a good look for a Champions League finalist. Keep calm and think it through.

We owe a manager that has bought success and respect to the club at least that.

Next up: Brighton & Hove Albion away at 12:30 on Saturday.
All Hell will break loose if we lose this one. Again. The word on the street is that Pochettino will be gone but I'm not so sure. Anyway we will win so it won't be tested.

Jimmy's Video Spot.


Sunday, 29 September 2019

Spurs Ride Out the Storm


 Bus Parkers Beware: Anything you can do....
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The JimmyG2 Column
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Yes it's a funny old game and a funny old world come to think of it. I avoid the epithet 'Spursy' for many reasons: it's a stick to beat us with; it's meaningless and ridiculous.; I abhor and reject it and never ever use it.

But this week has definitely been 'Spursy'. We go out of the Carabao Cup to a 4th. Division side with barely a whimper and then give a Premiership team a goal and a man advantage for an hour and come back with a bang and the three points.

If Mauricio had lost the dressing room lately I think he rediscovered  it again on Saturday. This was not the performance of an unsettled squad; it was a heart-warming demonstration of pride and togetherness.

I watched with growing disbelief as we not only held out, but won it. All that practice against teams that park the bus has paid off and we are just as good at it as anybody else when we have to be.

Everybody dug in and stepped up. Winks relished the challenge; Sissoko proved himself in multiple positions; Harry Kane marshalled the troops and scored the winner in admirable style. Not exactly our finest hour but close. 'We never surrendered. All did their duty'

We fought them in the penalty area and under duress offered 'blood, toil, tears and sweat' and no little skill in the breakaways. I was prepared after half an hour for 'hard and heavy tidings'. And we made our way 'through disaster and through grief to the ultimate defeat of our enemies'
  
(From the speech in 'our darkest hour in 1940 by Winston Churchill, another secret Spurs fan. It was played in the Home dressing room at half-time so I hear.)

I would like to think that this is a turning point in what has been a worrying season though not as bad as some have painted it.. Even Eriksen turned up and once again ran further than anyone else on the pitch cutting off the supply lines.

Lamela fit and on form again was another that thrived in this situation and Danny Rose too because they both love a fight whether in 'fields or on streets'.  Playing with ten men seems to work. A bit nerve shredding though for all concerned and not recommended viewing every week.

Hugo redeemed himself for his error with several good saves and Mauricio took the blame saying that playing out from the back was at his insistence. If so we need a new keeper because Hugo is not very good at it. Old dogs and new tricks.

Toby and Jan filled the holes and plugged the gaps and kept surprisingly cool, Ndombele is getting there and scored another goal. Dier was solid and unspectacular which was just what we needed. Son was involved in both goals.

Auriers 'taking one for the team' got him sent off because his short term memory is poor. He forgot he'd been booked less than five minutes before. I'm afraid his recent performance and goal raised false hopes.

'Professional fouls' are cynical anti-football and unprofessional and he was rightly sent off for a second yellow. His downside is a lot bigger than his upside. Sissoko deputised with aplomb. So an hour to play and a man missing in action.

 "Never was so much owed by so many  (fans) to so few (players)"

Mauricios reaction.

 ''I feel proud, I am happy, so happy because of the players, because of the fans and the staff, because they deserve to be in a different situation to the one we've been living in during the past few weeks."

Amen to that. have a week off and relax. Oh sorry it's Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Champions' League. 'Idle hands are the devil's workshop'. Keep busy and safe  Mauricio.

Jimmy's Video Spot
Many people claim to have heard this live from the House of Commons but no live recording was actually made. This is a reconstruction several years later.

'False memory' syndrome. Millions will claim to have been at the Lane for this famous victory. Our Kennedy assassination moment. 'All did their duty'

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The last straw reports.


Relax. It's just a couple of punctures on the Project bus.
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The Jimmy G2 Column.
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Having been Cheerleader and Happy Clapper Commander in Chief, twice mentioned in dispatches, Stadium Tour and  bar, Champions' League Final Defeat Apologist par excellence, I find myself confronting the Colchester debacle.

'Debacle' and I choose my words carefully, defined as an event or attempt that is a complete failure from the French 'breakup' or 'overthrow' of which more later. Also a wonderful novel on the folly of war by Emile Zola. 

Shhh I'm getting there. Colchester, just clearing my throat and my head. This is a very tough gig for a long, long term Spurs supporter anticipating even better things under Mauricio Pochettino after 5 years of progress.

Oh yes we have. But we haven't won anything yet. I hear you. I am usually of the  'In a month's time we will look back and laugh' persuasion but it's getting harder. Ah! Colchester in the Barbacao Cup. One of possible targets for Trophy Glory.

Put that one in the 'out' tray friends. Colchester. I was going to pretend I didn't see it, Urgent brain surgery or something but Geoffrey would have spilt the beans. 'Our worst performance this century' in his opinion.

Actually Geoff. that's not that long but let it go. Unfortunately I did see it in all its tedious entirety. A brainless and heartless performance. All the more disappointing because we had some Academicians playing and they didn't really step up. 

Tanganga was OK but untested; Skipp was busy but careless; KWP was better in the second half; Parrott was disappointing though we were not set up to provide him with many real opportunities 

Of the Seniors only Dier stood out until Lamela and Son came on. Dele has lost his magic and Moura was in head down mode. Davies is just plain dull and Sanchez more than a little haphazard. Wanyama is a shadow of his former self.  Gazzaniga was barely tested.

So is this game a one off blip, a series of blips, a lengthening trend. I am finding it hard to deny as the evidence collects that something is amiss, and not just on the field though one may clearly affect the other.

Mauricio clearly isn't happy but we don't know why, though many are prepared to guess: players attitude very possibly, lost the dressing room and all that but again we don't really know why or if it's even remotely true.

But clearly all is not well generally. Unsettled players or players that have been made unsettled by contract problems, Eriksen is not the  only one. Mauricio has always been a bit wayward on team selection, tactical formations, in game management and substitutions.

When you're winning it can be papered over. But recently his composure has slipped and his weaknesses more exposed. A lot of this is media drivel and I don't do Twitter or the Newsnow clickbait nonsense.

Although as a blogger I know the pressure to generate 'hits'. Talking to yourself or shouting in the wilderness is a soul destroying exercise. But I try to avoid 'clickbait' headings, most of the time.

So rumours of Boardroom and Dressing room splits are of little interest. The thing that counts is the on-field attitude and quality and Colchester was a true shock to the system. It was horrifying to watch.

We were so out of it that we seemed to be watching ourselves in our own nightmare. Spurs Zombie eleven facing their demons. Colchester had one or two good players and the rest played above their usual level as is to be expected in these fixtures.

What should have been a chance not only for Harry to have a rest but for the team to recapture the Spirit of Crystal Palace, make progress in a winnable cup and recreate some harmony and enthusiasm, crashed and burned.

The very opposite occurred and generated some horrifying stories; the imminent departure of Mauricio and the arrival at Xmas of Jose, several players exiting before the New Year and turmoil behind the scenes.

Colchester the last strawfor all concerned.

The ITK 'insiders' follow the tabloids and the tabloid chase the ITK's round and round in ever decreasing circles until they disappear up their own fundaments. There's smoke but who lit the fire?

For what it's worth, thank you Geoffrey, Mauricio won't leave or be sacked until we are on an more even keel and will stay until the end of the season, Eriksen? Does anybody care? Toby drowning in the current tsunami of bad news.

We've had a multiple tyre burst  and are parked on the hard shoulder at the moment with no jack. Keep calm the wheels haven't actually completely fallen off. The Project needs a service and this crisis might turn out to be a good thing.

If Pochettino goes before Xmas and we are fighting relegation I will apologise profusely and might tender my resignation and follow Mauricio down to the Labour Exchange.

And take Geoffrey with me.

Next Up. 
Home to Southampton on Saturday 28th. at 15:00. This will tell us something but I'm not sure what. COYS

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Give yourselves a break. here is a couple of hours of chill-out ambient music and beautiful nature scenes to get you in the mood for Southampton. It's worked before. The alternative was the highlights of the Colchester game.

You're welcome.



Monday, 23 September 2019

Reports of Spurs demise greatly exaggerated.

'Friends Supporters and Spurs-fans
Spare me your tears
I come not to bury Tottenham
 but to praise and try to mount a reasoned defence 
difficult though it may seem in the circumstances'

The JimmyG2 Column.
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Another day, another lead, another failure to clinch victory The bare statistics show that it's over ten years since we failed to win 3 consecutive games when leading at half time and that it is even longer since we had such a winless away run

We haven't won an away game since January 20th. when we beat Fulham. Records are being broken as we speak. But these glaring facts do not describe the game against Leicester, a tough team this season at a tough venue.

On the hour let the record show that VAR once again our friend early in the game turned traitor in the end and ruled out our second goal by Aurier with a extremely marginal decision for offside against Son in the build-up.

We played well in a hard fought game but Son pulled two good chances wide and Kane hit two shots straight at Schmeichel when well placed, apart from the goal that was ruled out. A game we could and should have won.

Son incidently has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances versus Leicester (4 goals, 3 assists). But today was an off day in his lively start to the season.

Had we won all this doomsday crisis stuff would disappear. So as far as that goes after 6 games it is not deep-rooted or something that can't be turned round. The home defeat to Newcastle is a more worrying piece of evidence for Mauricio's front and backstabbers.

'Et tu Brute?' That's addressed to Spurs fans not the pundits and commentators of whom you don't expect anything better.

Our away form too is now more a trend  than a blip. But we did actually did well in our last three tricky away games, losing the last unluckily and drawing the previous two unfortunately. In all three we went ahead which is a positive.

On the Leicester game itself  Lamela was impressive especially in the first half. The absence of Hugo on new father duty did not materially affect the result. Gazzaniga was reprieved for his early spill by VAR and he made several good saves and catches.

In midfield Winks and Sissoko stood firm though Ndombele is not up to speed and the introduction of a labouring Wanyama rather than Skipp on 79 minutes was baffling. If you want dedicated effort then Winks and young Ollie should start the next game.

The introduction of substitutes Eriksen and Moura came too late once again. If Dier is not fit enough to contribute even as a sub. he should not be on the bench. Eriksen seems to have totally lost his focus.

Harry Kane scored a bizarre goal that pays tribute to his determination.  After being pushed in the back by Soyuncu on the edge of the area he scored virtually lying on the ground. But he and Son missed several chances between them.

As you might have predicted Maddison scored the winner with 5 minutes to go after Pereira had equalised soon after our 2nd. goal was ruled out.

Maddison is obnoxious but talented and finally scored with his 32nd. shot of the season. You know exactly what is going to happen when the commentators go on about his lack of goal scoring success.

We played with spirit and energy away to Arsenal and thrashed Palace. We came from behind to beat Villa. and got an away point at Olympiacos

Let's not do the pundits and rival fans dirty work for them by predicting the demise of Mauricio or the false tales of 'Trouble at Tottenham Mill'.

I have acknowledged the worrying trends but this early in the season nothing is decided or set in concrete, neither performances nor attitudes. As Mark Twain said after his obituary was printed while he was still alive in a newspaper:

 ''Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated'.

We are currently down to 7th. but it would have been lower if we had not scored 4 against Palace. I usually caution against making dire or premature predictions until the 10th. game is reached. Or even expansive ones.

As Harper Lee said in 'To Kill a Mockingbird 'Things are never as bad as they seem'. Geoffrey says, 'Sometimes they are worse'.

My other team is Real Madrid and everyone agrees that Zidane was on the point of being sacked in favour of Mourinho. Except that they are currently joint top of the table after beating Seville 1-0 last night. Just saying.

Next Up
Colchester in the Carabao Cup 3rd Round on Tuesday 24th September at 19:45.
Banana skins we love 'em.

Premiership against Southampton on Saturday 28th. at 15:00.
Yet another chance to prove me right. Or not as the case may be.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

All the goals and the er..non goals.Son looked offside originally but the VAR decision was very marginal and raises all sorts of problems about the technology and judgements thereon: precisely when the frame shown was taken; which point of the body is being used.

 But you win some, you lose some.


Thursday, 19 September 2019

It's back: but it never really went away.

It's back scarier than ever.
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The JimmG2 Column.

For the second time in three games we gave up a two goal lead away from home but made a draw. We improved in the second half here and just about held our own and got out alive.

We didn't win any of our group games last year and still made the final but this was a sloppy dispiriting performance especially after last Saturday's positivity fest. Only Harry Winks and Toby played to anything like their usual level.

Mauricio was not best pleased by our attitude and psychological approach. Conceding goals when ahead just before half time is obviously not part of the game plan.

We were warned that in the Olympiacus Athens' cauldron this would be a hard gig against an on-form side. We were surprised by their early pace and skill and might have gone down to a goal or two before we scored.

But courtesy of a Kane penalty and a fine Lucas Moura strike we went ahead against the run of play but conceded a goal just before half time again. Soon after the restart they in turn were awarded a penalty after a clumsy foul by Vertonghen.

We gained some control in the second half and it fizzled out as a 2-2 draw which is better than the away leg in 1972/3 when we lost 1-0.  Dele scored but was just offside and Lamela and Dele might both have set Harry up but chose to shoot.

We beat them in 72/73 4-0 at home so let History be our guide here.

I hate to resurrect the old  'Roller Coaster' cliche but there is no doubt that poor old Mauricio is clinging on for dear life up front: elated and excited after Palace and foaming at the mouth after last night.

But whose fault is it that? Sanchez failed his second audition for right back? (Don't phone us Davison) That an unfit Ndombele struggled from the start in midfield (thank God for Harry Winks).

That Lucas Moura goal apart did little to justify his start; that Ben Davies and Vertonghen look even slower than they actually are against quick opponents; that Davies interception apart made little contribution and went AWOL frequently.

Eriksen was awful and should have been subbed at half time; Dier might have made a contribution. If I was KWP I would be more than a little miffed if Aurier wasn't to be trusted twice running.

Dele in his first appearance should have been subbed for Son earlier and Lamela who certainly made a difference likewise for Moura. The Manager has a tendency to let things drift and all this affects the mentality of the team.

But this is of course the view from the outside. We didn't lose either of these tricky away games; some team changes were inevitable and we cannot fully know the reasons for the decisions made. We can only appraise what happened on the pitch.

We had the same number of shots on target as Olympiacos (5) but once again out-fouled our opponents. They have a good record at home against English clubs winning 5 out of 6 including 3 wins against Arsenal.

So let us not despair just yet. We drew when we could easily have lost or just as easily won which is what's irking the Manager:

“It’s disappointing because we are not talking about quality, we are talking about intensity, will and aggression''. ''Not respecting the plan' (Pochettino; ' Not learning from our mistakes?' (Kane)

Some, all or none  of the above; complacency; arrogance, bad day at the office; blip; too many changes (5) . Pick your own favourite. Anything but 'Spursy' which is banned as nonsensical on Musings.

Up Next.
Away to Leicester who currently lie 5th level with us on points in Saturday's early kick-off. Why so soon after a Wednesday Champion's League game you may well ask. 'He who pays the Piper' as they say.

Could be another tricky one. Though ain't they all but some are trickier than others.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Straight from the Horse's mouth. Not a Happy Bunny but he must share some of the blame. Some of these faults are within his bailiwick.


Sunday, 15 September 2019

Tottenham Get Street-wise.

4-0 up at half time.
That's the Way to do it
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 The JimmyG2 Column.
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Don't you just hate it when Spurs go four nil up by half time? You know that the second half is going to be one big disappointment. But I'm with the Poch and Toby Show, it's definitely 'the way to do it'. Some disappointments are easier to take than others.

Out of the blocks like startled greyhounds, the ball played forward within 10 seconds and our first shot by Harry Winks, well wide but that's not the point, in the first minute. Exactly what Spurs fans have been demanding for months.

We were one up in ten minutes and three up  before the midway point of the first half. Two from an electric Son and an og. after an enterprising run by Aurier who kept most of his many critics quiet at least until his next game.

The intent was clear and whatever was said at these crisis meetings between Manager and Players this week  paid immediate dividends. A crossroads; moment of truth whatever, we won't know just yet but a corner seems to have been turned.

'Crisis what Crisis?' A week is a long time in football and a fortnight twice as long.

By the time that Lamela converted Harry Kane's first time cross just before half time Roy Hodgson's head was permanently stuck in his hands. And this game was talked up beforehand as a possible banana skin.

This was mainly due to Palace's away record against the top six not from their performances against us. We had won our last 8 Premier League (PL) games against Crystal Palace, conceding just 1 goal in that run.

We grabbed our destiny with both feet: quicker and longer passes; more movement especially Son; none of the interplay between Lloris and defenders inside the area at which frankly we are not very good at. Positivity flowed.

'And not before time' you say and I agree. Players who fancied a move or have been linked with a move have been told to shape up or sit on the sidelines. They all played on Saturday (Toby, Serge, Danny, Jan and Christian) and  played a full part especially Toby.

His direct raking passes to the wing where Aurier and Rose lurked caused panic and 'alarums' in the Palace defence. Just such a pass brilliantly controlled by Son opened the scoring. The press returned led enthusiastically as usual by Lamela. Harry Kane roamed with intent.

Winks and Sissoko dominated the midfield largely untroubled and all the defenders were busy except Hugo who made a couple of routine saves and was otherwise given the afternoon off.

We start Sunday in third place but are likely to be lower by Sunday night unless everyone draws. Did I mention that Norwich beat City. So anything, even everything, is possible. Last week's word was 'unsettled': this week's seems to be 'sorted'

Palace started the game in third place but I think they well have problems finishing in the top half. Sakho doesn't inspire confidence and Zaha is their only player of any class.

Professional fouls:
We committed nearly 20 fouls, twice as many as Palace and several on danger man Zaha which the commentators lovingly refer to as 'professional fouls' and positively encourage. They are not, they are profoundly unprofessional and are spoiling the game.

Some of them were close to the half way line and danger was remote. It earned Winks and Eriksen yellow cards. which are clearly not enough as teams rotate the fouls amongst themselves. Two yellows might cure it or 15 minutes sin bin and a yellow.

Some will argue that this is Spurs getting more street-wise and joining the 'big boys'. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. We are already a big boy and we don't need it and nor does the game.

Next up.
Spurs travel to Olympiakos in their Champions League Group B opener on Wednesday 18 September (kick-off 17:55 BST)

Then it's Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, 21 September (12:30 BST).

Jimmy's Video Spot..
Let's not gloat, just a couple of minutes of our goals. Son and Aurier rampant early, Alderweireld magnificent, Lamela lively. Mauricio happy, me delighted, Geoffrey thinks we wasted the second half.

And all without Dele, I expect him to start on Wednesday.