The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Spurs Plans Taking Shape.

Right let's rake through this lot.
The JimmyG2 Column.
OK it's that *Haruspication* moment, the examination of the entrails, to reveal the past present and future. We lost the Final in somewhat bizarre fashion even for Spurs but as we got there in similar style we can't really complain.

20 seconds in and we conceded a penalty that changed the game plan for both sides. 20 seconds! It certainly hit Moussa's hand but deliberate? Probably not. I've seen 'em not given especially in the opening minute.

We could and should have equalised before they scored their second as we pressed later, or better still equalised before they scored as Danny Blanchflower once advised.

Alison was the busier keeper and Moura, Dele, Eriksen and Son might all have evened it up. But History records that we didn't.

Overall it was a poor game with misplaced passes and lack of control by both teams. They abandoned their pressing game and fast breaks for a much more defensive posture with long balls down the flanks their main weapon.

We were challenged to come out and play and though we came out we didn't successfully play. There were some nice moments especially as the second half progressed but we never quite got the ball under control and final passes were often poor.

The entrails reveal the answers to the  key questions of the day: should Harry Kane have started? Probably not or should have been subbed for Moura much sooner. Not that it was ever a topic for debate. We all knew he would  and he did his best but contributed only sporadically.

Was it a penalty? Taking everything into account it probably was and we would have been incandescent if it was the other way round and not given. Thank you entrails.

Son threatened at times but didn't deliver; Dele was largely peripheral and cut a dejected figure out on the wide left. Eriksen beavered away increasingly but failed to ruffle the Liverpool back four with much  incisivicity.

Harry Winks justified his selection and unless feeling the strain I have no idea why he was subbed. Consistently sharp, positive and as effective as any other. I made him the Spurs MOM.

Congratulations to Kopp and Liverpool and perhaps we can lose one: win one next year as Liverpool did. They almost chased City down for the title. On the day they didn't deserve to win but overall it's a fitting end to their season.

As Harry Winks said: 'Spurs could learn from Liverpool’s experiences when they bounced back so well to win the Champions League having lost last year’s final against Real Madrid in Kiev'.

On my end of 'term' Bucket List a Champions' League Final appearance, didn't even feature. We are well ahead of the curve and if Pochettino stays, which I feel sure he will,the next five years could be just as exciting as the last.

So what do the entrails reveal of the present and future? Firstly that we should  'Keep calm and carry on'. Despite all the dire predictions, the present policy of favouring youth and our own and building a cohesive squad has paid dividends.

To abandon this now would be an unnecessary knee jerk. Never change Horses, Managers, and Projects in midstream as the age old sages warn. Buy 'em young and train 'em up the Mauricio and Tottenham way.

Hugo agrees: 'we now cannot throw everything in the bin after a Champions League final defeat'

Splurging the money resulting from the famed Annual Bonfire of the Dead Wood is not a viable option.. Firstly this annual event always gets rained on. The fire barely lit splutters and dies.

Remember this lot? The result of the last splurge with the Bale money.

 Remember this lot?
The Magnificent Seven

Paulinho,  £17m (Corinthians), Christian Eriksen (Ajax £11.5m), Roberto Soldado (Valencia £26m), Nacer Chadli (FC Twente £6m), Etienne Capoue (Toulouse £8.6m), Vlad Chiriches (Steaua Bucharest £8.5m) and Erik Lamela (Roma £30m).

All but two have moved on and to be fair some have made a success elsewhere. (Paulinho and Capoue certainly).

A cool 100 million, though we did get Christian who might well be worth what we paid for the whole job lot, and after 6 years of faithful service too. Lamela almost justified his record money signing but injuries have severely restricted his career and value.

So the Magnificent One and a Half then. New players sometimes take time to settle especially if new to the Premiership. Moura and Sissoko have taken a couple of years to come good. So keeping calm is (are) my watchword(s).

My plan. Pay the money and keep Eriksen and Toby; buy all or some of the talented youngsters around: Wan Bassaka, Sessegnon, Brookes, Maddison, Tielemans, make your own list. Sell two or three peripherals (Trippier, Davies,Aurier, Dier make another list of your own) to offset the cost.

A wholesale clear-out and buy in would be detrimental to the close knit club solidarity and trust which has served us well and an insult to the achievements and advances already made.

Stadium receipts and Champions' League money will further offset the costs. Maintain our current plans and of course the Main Man. Spend thriftily not because we risk destabilizing the club financially but because wild spending will destabilize the squad.

It's all in the entrails I tell you. *Consult your witch doctor*.

At The Match.
How was it for you?
We lost, Brothers and Sisters, and I was there. Not a great game, the early penalty was decisive, neither team played well but we had more chances, shots and possession.

I had a good seat with a face value of 450 Euros which normally you would pay a 100 Euros for. What a rip-off: not that I paid. Pre-match 'entertainment' was naff in the extreme though the 'firework, light show was good.

A hell of a lot of fuss involving dozens of assistants for a ten minute pre match display. Better to have let the fans have their head, voices and enthusiasm. Many had paid through the nose to get there and deserved better.

Not overly-impressed by the Stadium, very much concrete on concrete but good visibility all round. Easy access except the police kept several thousand of us penned up in the heat awaiting ticket and security checks.

Fan behavior in and around the stadium, Madrid and the Irish Rover pretty good; only one incident confirmed of 'unprovoked' police brutality and only one eye witness report of injury to an old Liverpool guy who fell down the stairs at the Irish Rover and had to be persuaded to go to hospital for stitches.

Pleased to be there for the occasion if not for the actual game and the result. Daughter Liz (Irish Rover) send greetings and thanks to all who booked or turned up there. ' Still can't sing, but well behaved as usual'. All are welcome back.

Time wasting by Liverpool from almost the start was a poor show by the CL winners. Not what I expected from them or anyone at this level. Only about an hour actually played. Street wise possibly but the referee should have taken action.

God these grapes are sour.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Mauricio:Talented, honest, straight, calm, handsome, multilingual and supportive even in defeat. Much to admire A performance of dignity by the Manager although his face tells the story of the pain.

Key words: calm, reflect and bet clever as they say, build, we are in a different place. Please stay Mauricio you are the cornerstone of everything we have achieved and hope to achieve.

I have supported the Project whole-heartedly and spoken for many minutes on this topic without hesitation, repetition or deviation, well maybe not the middle one..

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Over the top on all fronts

 The Spurs squad waiting for the whistle.
The JimmyG2 Column.
So here we are waiting to go over the top when the whistle blows, sunk in our deep trenches of thought musing like me on our unexpected arrival at the borders of greatness. Only Liverpool between us and Glory.

But as Sir Billy Nick said. 'It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.'

So whatever happens at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday 1st June win or lose  even failure will have a hint of Glory in it. Next Saturday Europe: tomorrow the English Premiership.

And now I have to admit/ gloat  that I have got a ticket, courtesy of daughter Liz the Manager of the Irish Rover a step away from the Bernabeu. How? Is a story for another day but 'I feel the hand of history on my shoulders' and will represent all those that can't be there and report back.

It involves blackmail and tantrums; secret deals and bribery and the calling in of favours; industrial espionage and potential filicide. But you will have to wait until next week as I haven't actually got my hands on the ticket yet.

Some of the stories of fellow Spurs fans travel arrangements by car, bus, train, air and boat and the incredible costs are awe inspiring. I feel very privileged.

How did we get here?. By accident; late, very late strikes; luck; grit; technological intervention and as in the Premiership by the failure of others. No signings, injuries, rumours of departures, nothing could our spirit break.

But that was then and this is now. I think it will be close and may require some strong refereeing. I foresee multiple yellow cards and even a couple of red ones too. I think that we will give a good account of ourselves.

Can we win? 'Yeh defnitly' as Harry Kane would say. Will we win? A prediction well above my pay grade but we certainly can. Mauricio says,'Why not? and I will take this ringing endorsement into the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday

First some Good News.
Mauricio Pochettino bored with mind (less) games is motivated to stay, in the best club, with the best facilities, in the best league, in the best city, in the world. Quoted admittedly in the Daily Mail but like me they are not always wrong.

Geoffrey thinks it's all a hoax but concedes that with both Utd. and Real blocked off it might just be true. He remains as always to be convinced of anything positive but Mauricio seems to have burnt his bridges with Real with a remark about using their training ground faculties overnight.

No me neither. They are still smarting from their all round failure this season but let them stew. They are still only my 'other' team.

Players linked and transfers

Plenty of players linked but the only one to tempt me so far for me is Dani Ceballo a 22 year old midfielder from Real Madrid who has excellent stats on pass completion and ball recovery. Seen him in the flesh and on TV several times and been impressed.

Inventive and a strong tackler he might be the potential midfield beast who can both tackle and pass we have been searching for since big Dave Mackay. He is a full Spanish International and 5 years younger than Christian but not rated by Zidane.

What am I saying it's all transfer nonsense but I have liked the boy since I first saw him last season. Tieleman is on the Gossip Rumours too. Transfer rumours really? That way madness lies Jimmy as well you know.

We have finished our short lived pursuit of Wilfred Zaha. Too old, too expensive and not really a Pochettino type team player. Stop it Jimmy, get a grip for goodness sake. It's like hay fever it's that time of the year.All well over the top speculation.

Christian and Toby are still with us, well we do have a Champions' league final coming up.
Can't see Real buying both their prime target Hazard and Eriksen frankly and I think they might both still be here next season.

Kieran Trippier is allegedly a target for Atleti so he might get a run out in his new stadium. If they want him; if we can do a deal; if he wants to go: so not exactly nailed on.

Reports that all our injured players will be fit. Harry Kane will play anyway on crutches and carrying a bed pan if necessary. Harry Winks is the most doubtful but reports are surfacing that he will be available. Jan is ready and rarin' to go; Davison likewise.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Moura's second goal against Ajax is my vote for goal of the season.Not that there's anything wrong with the others.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Beginnng of the End for Mauricio.

Let's finish the end of the beginning in style.
The JimmyG2 Column.
We stumbled over the line at the last against 'in form' Everton. Not sure what 'in form' means in the context of Everton in this game. We were winning, we were losing, and in the end we drew.

Mostly 'Much Ado About Nothing' at the last. We could and should have won this at a brisk walk after Dier's very early goal. But until they went ahead we didn't seem to be bothered.

Not even to come third which was ours for the taking. Not that it makes any difference except to my prognostication record. An eight goal reversal to Arsenal was never on and our qualification was never in doubt.

Hence lethargy and complacency ruled. Although some of the tabloids and even the highbrow papers had this down as an entertaining match. Great game for the neutrals as they say.

JimmyG2 reading the Guardian so you don't have to. Your welcome.

Moura was cheered on arrival and though he did little was similarly cheered whenever he got near the ball. Dele went off at half time saving himself or being saved for something or other. Lamela showed some enterprise without unduly impressing.

Eriksen scored direct from a free kick for the 7th. time in his Spurs career though not recently to salvage our reputation. Sissoko who never plays in energy conservation mode was probably the MOM.

Oliver Skipp had a brief cameo and showed that he should have had more game time in our hours of midfield need since Xmas. He was lively, direct and positive. KWP dwells on the ball a bit but he's another (of our own) that could play more.

So despite the 'if only's' and 'but fors', we had our most successful season in most people's living memory: 4th consecutive top four finish, our best run in that the premier competition for nearly 50 years

Finalists in the Champions' League for the first time ever by some strange twists and turns, last minute recoveries, survivals against the odds and technological interventions  What's not to praise and admire.

Praise for the players for sticking it out despite injuries and the rest. Admiration for Mauricio vying with Pep and Jurgen for the highest honours with restrictions that would give them sleepless nights and eventually nightmares.

Could it have been better? Probably but we kept to the project and like Frank Sinatra did it 'our way'. We didn't buy any duds  or waste our money because we didn't buy anyone at all. We didn't upset the togetherness of the squad and reaped the reward.

Could we have played better? Certainly, but we did the best we could without Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Sonny, Lamela, Wanyama and many of the other players unavailable at times. It's been a long season and we just about made it over the line.

Others faltered too just as badly or slightly worse than we did. But we have the new stadium up and running having played nearly our fixtures away from home and a Champions' League final to look forward to.

Priority number one for me in the long run is to keep Mauricio, Christian Eriksen and Toby if possible. In the short run get Harry and Harry and Jan fit for the final which I think will be close. With any luck Liverpool will choke and bottle it.

I think Mauricio is on a wind-up press-wise talking about leaving even if he wins the CL. I am not without ambition for Spurs. We are well ahead of the curve and this is only the end of the beginning.

A story my Spurs supporting brother passes on: Stop me if you've heard it.
Breaking: Madrid police have raised concerns that Tottenham fans may take flares to the Stadium for the final on June1st.

 Because that's what they wore last time.

 Even Geoffrey smiled.

Jimmy's Video Spot.     
Now that's just plain greedy. I bet Sissoko ran him close and I can remember one incident quite recently when the smile disappeared. Well played and well deserved.

That blur for Son's goal against Chelsea was Luiz just passing through.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Mauricio Shakes It Up

You wait ages for a goal then three come along together.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well here we are the day after, the day after the night before and I am speechless which is not a good look for a blogger. Of course if you don't give an opinion you can never be wrong. 'Musings' is famously not always wrong and by implication sometimes right.

Let's fess up here: I didn't think we would beat Ajax but that we would qualify for 3rd with ease. At 2-0 down (3-0 on aggregate) at half time it looked as if the my unusual negativity was on the money.

My positivity looked misplaced as we went down 1-0 away to Bournemouth. We have done everything in our power to mess up our top four challenge but everyone around us have done their best to foil our attempts at failure with some success.

But the Ajax tie was something different. We lulled them into a false sense of security by letting them go ahead and as they sat back or were forced back by our exuberant second half the dyke was well and truly breached.

Moura, now officially a Spurs Legend, scored his second hat-trick in a month leaving the last goal until the 96th minute. Dele finding his form was instrumental and he assisted two of the goals

The mix up for his second following a corner was slapstick of the highest order. Llorente should have scored but the keeper Onana and a defender obstructed each other and Moura with lightening feet picked up the ball and dazzled it into the corner. 

Like London buses you wait ages for a goal and then three come along together. Ajax hit the post late on but Son had done the same when we pressed for a while in the first half.

Before Moura scored the decisive goal, Jan on 86 minutes had hit the bar from close in with a header and it seemed that our chance for glory had gone. But we had them on the ropes and Moura sniffing victory with Dele's help scored his third.

In the end we dominated possession (40/ 60) which is not bad away to Ajax and had  24 shots to their 16 with 7 on target to their four. Where the boys found the energy I am not sure or what on earth Mauricio said to them at half time.

Before the game and when we went three down I shrugged and thought, well there's always next year, after all we've already qualified.

As it all seemed to be slipping away I was resigned but I remonstrated with Dames Fate and Fortune pleading ' Don't do this to us and envisaged the 'Spurs Semi-Final Bottlers Again' headlines. Then the Gods blinked and we were through. 

We did even better than Liverpool, but all credit for their inspirational effort on the previous evening, but they were at home and had the whole game to overturn a three goal deficit to Barcelona. We were away and only gave ourselves half a game.

Messi cried at the end of the Liverpool game and every Spurs fan and every Spurs player led by Mauricio cried too but for a different reason. We are in the final of the Champions' League for the first time in our history. 

Spurs are only the second team in Champions' League history to lose the first leg of the semi-final at home and progress to the final - the other was appropriately enough Ajax in 1995-96 against Panathinaikos.

Moura's goal was the latest goal ever scored to decide a fixture in 90 minutes  in the Champions' League. Heroes all, every man-jack and let's leave it at that. That second half performance wipes out all the first half recriminations.

But that's the way we roll round here. We bottled it in the first half but Mauricio shook it up at half time, popped the cork and it all fizzed out nicely in the second half.  Llorente for Victor was a masterstroke. Again they couldn't handle him.

           Put another bottle on ice for the final.

What a week in football. Last night Arsenal and Chelsea went through to the final of the Europa Cup, Chelsea on penalties. So all-Premiership showdowns in both Europa and Champions' League and Spurs are in there with them.

Three London clubs and not a Manchester team in sight for the highest honours. Am I coming over as just a little boastful and cocky? Well I should bloody well think so.

All our other problems are put on hold for the time being: signings, sellings, injuries, although the world doesn't end on June 1st. We can beat Liverpool, and Everton too on Sunday: we have nothing to prove and nothing to fear.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Forget the first half. Here are Lucas Moura's moments of glory in 30 beautiful seconds. The second goal is a gem.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Out Of The Stomach Of Defeat.

 From Armageddon to Paradise in a day.

 The JimmyG2 Column.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

What more can I add to the opening lines of Charles Dickens 'Tale of Two Cities' or three this season: Liverpool, Manchester and London. It's been all those things in the Premiership this year.This month even.

You win some: you lose some and sometimes you lose the battle as we did at Bournemouth and win the Champions League qualification War for the fourth season in a row. 

We snatched Victory from the Jaws of Defeat, nay the very Stomach of Defeat. Usually we do the opposite. This season though Spurs have excelled at finding new ways to break all our hearts. Two sendings-off is unheard of even at Spurs.

The table doesn't lie is a generally accepted dictum of the sporting world in general and the Premiership in particular and I am happy to go along with that this weekend of all weekends.

Despite that truth, some will say that we've been lucky, that we are only the best of the contending worst. But we luck out in spite of our poor 2019 darkness our 'winter of despair' because  of the previous efforts of the 'season of light'. 

Of course we could still finish third if we beat Everton and Chelsea lose  or draw with Leicester: or even fifth if we lose by 4 or 5 goals  and Arsenal beat Burnley by 4or 5 goals but the first is more likely than the second

Though what happens if we are level on points and on goal difference with Arsenal next weekend I have been unable to discover.

Update: Apparently according to a telegram just received from a reliable source, Arsenal (70) would progress because Spurs (65) as it depends on goals scored which is not the answer I wanted to hear. 

But it won't come to that will it. Though this season anything is possible. Anyway we can put that right next week by outscoring Arsenal by six goals.

In the last five matches, Arsenal, Man. Utd, Chelsea and Spurs have only won six matches out of 20 between them. It's been bit like a slow bicycle race if they still exist.

I haven't spoken to Geoffrey, winner of the 'Spurs most miserable fan 2018' award and a contender for 2019 too. But he left a post-it note on my computer in the 'Musings' office which simply said ' 'We're lucky bastards'

I'm taking that as an apology. As Gary Player once said 'the harder I practice, the luckier I get' although this quote has been variously attributed to many successful golfers and sportsmen. I'm with Tina Turner, ' Whats Luck got to do with it?' 

We will now go into Wednesday's Semi Final second leg in greater heart, safe in the knowledge that we are in it to win it next year again and can run riot with whatever resources we can muster for the last games of the season.
This might be the last time our two central defensive Belgians run out together and Christian might have booked his flight on Easyjet for Madrid. But maybe not. New Stadium and Champion's League what more can they possibly want.

We've been running on fumes and hope for a while which is not a recommended  diet and our recent form in the Premiership has been dreadful: 7 losses in our last 11 games and 6 consecutive away losses for the first time since 2004 under David Pleat.

But the form of our three Premiership rivals has been just as bad or worse which has provided an ongoing glimmer of hope, a chink in the curtains of misfortune, a foothold in the sheer cliff face of exhaustion, injury, stress, pressure loss of form, incompetence mismanagement and stupidity.

On Saturday against Bournemouth we lost two of our valiant band to red cards two minutes either side of halftime having dominated and created at least four good chances. Rookie keepers often play blinders on debut.

The most inoffensive of our players, Heung Min Son lost it in front of the referee after persistent provocation by Lerma who had 12 yellow cards prior to this so his role in the Bournemouth game plan is pretty obvious but not to the referee.

Son was stupid but it's been a long and fretful season for him and the team. He and Foyth will miss next week and the first two games of next season . Foyth is young and more than a little impetuous but I forgive them both in the circumstances.

Incidentally over the past 3 seasons, teams facing Bournemouth have had the most red cards given against them (18: 5 more than any other team).Wind up merchants par excellence. 

I don't hold it against them as we qualified anyway, they were doing what they had to do 

Foyth went in studs up after losing control of the ball within two minutes of coming on. The fastest substitute red card since Steven Gerrard departure in 2015 against Manchester Utd. after 38 seconds.
Such is the way reputations are made.

We played 42 minutes with nine men. Dier toyed with the idea of making it three red cards and we picked up five yellows. We went down after a spirited rearguard action to Bournemouth's 10th. corner a minute into extra time.

At this point it was 'Armageddon'' and 'great was the gnashing of teeth'. But Utd. and Arsenal failing to win turned this into the Peace and Harmony of Paradise out of the ashes of defeat our hopes were reborn.

I couldn't watch the Arsenal game after Brighton equalised. I went for a walk in the garden. But I've always loved Chris Hughton, oh yes I have, and by extension Brighton and Hove Albion. Glenn Murray is now a true Super Hero of mine.

When I returned after watering some plants the score remained 1-1 and Champions' League beckoned  once again.You couldn't make it up and another Hollywood sporting blockbuster is rejected after a script review labelled it 'too far fetched'.

Both Son and Foyth are available for midweek and Jan and Toby. There is no need to rest anyone for the Everton game as we have already qualified. I repeat: we have already qualified, though 3rd. would be nice. 

Now that's just being greedy Jimmy.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Spurs well on top with 11 men. Under the cosh with 9 but a very creditable second half performance. A much quicker start and at least 5 chances went begging.The inevitable happened in injury time. But it didn't matter anyway.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Spurs Down But Not Out.

Prometheus escaped a dire fate, and so did we.
The jimmyG2 Column.
Prometheus and Andromeda were both chained to rocks and tortured daily in the Greek Myths. I won't go into details on a family blog. After ten minutes against Ajax on Tuesday these images flashed through my mind as they threatened us with Divine Retribution.

 Not sure for what. Daring to dream probably..

15 minutes in and they delivered the first blow as time stood still, the Universe: the Stadium and Hugo froze and Donny van de Beek feinted and then passed the ball into the corner. I fully expected the Wrath of the Gods to continue.

They had cut us to shreds with incisive passes, movement and player interchanges and we faced no actual centre forward with a 3 man back line with only flickering ghosts to mark.

We played initially like very tired people at the end of a very long shift with several crucial crew members off sick. Ajax were slick and polished, a team with  plan, a concept even and the players to carry it out.

Like Harry Kane watching from the stands Van de Beek is an Academy product. We have four ex Ajax players at the heart of our success now and in the future hopefully: Sanchez, Eriksen, Toby and Jan.

And we have a past relationship too: Van der Vart, Davids, Mido and Piennar all played for both clubs. Some of these are more memorable than others though even the Egyptian playboy Mido raises good memories for some.

But on Tuesday Fate inexplicably intervened whilst the Gods slumbered and caused a re-shape in defence and the introduction of Moussa Sissoko. 

Jan and Toby clashed with the Ajax keeper following a corner. Jan was badly gashed and looked quite out of it. He came back on but was clearly unfit and questions will be asked about his brief return.

The Referee was clearly concerned but that is for another day. From the half hour point we drew breath, closed them down better and got in the their faces.

They still dominated but by the end we had had more shots (12/10) but less on target (2/1). Lloris made a good save from the lively Van de Beek and late on Neres hit the post. Another moment when time stood still.

We got it together just in time and confronted them successfully. We escaped with a single away goal deficit. They couldn't cope with Llorente but we took little advantage from it. Sissoko led the charge.

Moura was in head down mode. Eriksen improved as the game went on but Dele stayed in Snoozeville for the duration. Trippier promised much but delivered little. Rose promised the same and delivered the same.

It's in the Lap of the Gods but we are definitely still in it despite upsetting someone up there.

In 'Prometheus Unbound' Percy Bysshe Shelley writes of Prometheus' dire situation :
''No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure''

We had no hope after 15 minutes but circumstances required a  change, so we endure and live to fight another day.

With Son returning for the second leg and with what Mauricio calls Sissoko's 'good energy' we can give a better account of ourselves although 0-1 is a result in itself given the first half hour when they were most of what we hope to be.

We still have hopes for the second leg. 2 goals and a clean sheet  and we are on our way to Madrid.
We certainly have a better chance now of going through than Liverpool. Just saying.

Like Jan we are not currently comatose, just a bit shaky. Nothing we can't shake off by next week.

We were in much better spirits by the end for the trip to Bournemouth where a win would settle the nerves of fans, players and Mauricio and ensure top four before the second leg against Ajax next Wednesday.

Jan update. 
Undergoing neurological tests, remains under observation but not available for Bournemouth or possibly the second leg. Common sense says he shouldn't play but I would be amazed if he doesn't

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Doesn't show just how good Ajax were from the kick off or how bemused we were for the first half hour. But it clearly shows that we had chances too. Toby, Llorente, Moura and Dele all could have done better.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Spurs Fans Wouldn't Want It Any Other Way.

The Only Way to go Tottenham!
The JimmyG2 Column.
Oh come on! You didn't actually expect us to do it the easy way by beating W.Ham, maintaining our perfect home and clean sheets record so we could sit back and enjoy the rest of the weekend did you? Where's the fun in that?

You know what they say: if you don't score when you are on top you are likely not to win. And we did just that. Early chances went begging and as we faded in the second half it was ours to lose and we lost.

After the first half hour it was literally not our finest hour. We saw more of the ball but did little with it. They wanted it more and did more with it. Even then Lloris was mostly a spectator.

W.Ham will dine out on this for...ever I'm afraid. Even if they go bankrupt and get relegated three seasons running into the National league they will always have their very own  'Paris': first scorers and winners at NWHL to remember.

Geoffrey says we were so bad we were lucky to lose. But you know Geoffrey, he exaggerates; but he's not always wrong. We were patchy in the first half and jaded in the second.We deserved exactly what we got.

Eriksen probed and Son and Moura's flames flickered for a while. Dele was caught on the ball more times in this game than in a whole season when he was the Golden Boy of English football. There is something not quite right with him.

Rose put in his usual shift but he lacks the guile and vision for the midfield role and is more effective from full back. Gareth Bale's cautionary tale of left backism prevents too much dogmatism on this topic.

Arnautovic having sat out most of the game, only 7 touches in the first half, provided a clever cross which Antonio slammed home to win the game, evading the attentions of both Toby and Sanchez.

Pelegrini has won as many games against Spurs as Guardiola and it is not Antonio's first winner against us. At least Jack Wilshire didn't get on to make our misery complete.

We still had 20 minutes to get a goal but we had  both Llorente and forgotten man Janssen on at the end and it all looked rather desperate. In fact Janssen might have scored twice but this was not a day for fairy-tales.

 We have lost 17 games in all competitions this season, our most since 2008-09 (19) and have lost six of our past 10 league games (W3 D1), as many defeats as we suffered in their previous 28 (W22). (BBC)

That we are where we are is a credit to the bad form of all our rivals who have done as badly or slightly worse than us. Pochettino is very down and no doubt so are the team in the build up to Ajax and the final two 'must wins'.

We weren't that good in the first half and we steadily got worse until we conceded the goal on 69 minutes and then we bucked up of course. Too little too late.

But the story had a cliffhanger ending with all our rivals for top four still to play. And your prayers, friends, have been answered. Arsenal didn't just lose they got thrashed by Leicester on Sunday afternoon.

And Utd. and Chelsea drew later in what Ole GS called a 'must win' game. 'If we can keep our heads when all about us others are losing theirs'. Thanks Rudyard I think that about sums it up. The key word here is 'if'.

But 'must win' is an exercise in hyperbole. Win only one of of our two remaining games or even at a pinch draw them both and top four is safe even if our three rivals win both of their remaining games. I've done the Math.**

As of tonight we are assured of a Europa place, hey don't shoot the messenger; but third is still on. Oh and the Champions' League of course.

Keeping a clean sheet at home might be our best hope to progress. We will be missing Son but you never know Janssen might start and score a couple. It's a funny old game.

For what it's worth I don't think we will beat Ajax though it might be close, but we will secure third with ease. Pipe down Geoffrey.

**I've done the math.

If we win one (73 points) of our two 'must win remaining games
or draw both (72 points) then only Chelsea can pip us for 3rd
if they win both of their remaining games (74)

Arsenal...... (72 points) lose on goal difference (9 currently) even if they win both.
Man. Utd... (71 points) done for even if they win both.

Footnote 1)....Highly unlikely that all our rivals win both
Footnote 2)... Highly unlikely that we don't get minimum 2 points from ours.

Footnote 3)...I failed O level Maths twice.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Don't re-live the agony. Chill with Bill Evans and Miles Davies  'Blue on Green from the 1959 album 'Kind of Blue'.

The first modern Jazz record I ever bought (from Sidney Scarborough's in Hull when I was a student). Still got it but bought the CD recently. One has to move with the times. 'Alexa'

Captures the mood beautifully.

But I've got 'Stairway to Heaven' lined up for the later games and/or the CL final.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Lock Picking and Battering Rams.

Brighton's inspiration for a packed defence.
Without the Pier and Umbrellas obviously.
The JimmyG2 Column.
What a bunch of teasers that Tottenham are. A 'must win' game, even Mauricio said so, and we win it in the 88th. minute. A game, mind you, that in the bad old bottling days we might have drawn or even lost.

Take a bow Christian Eriksen the only one that consistently probed and looked for openings. Danny Rose showed spirit and energy but  Eriksen showed his class in eventually breaking down a packed defence. Rumour is he might be staying.

Moura and Son denied the delights of the open road stalled and parked on the hard shoulder. Llorente without room to turn pulled in at the first lay-by. We were stuck in the narrow back streets of the Brighton defence.

This wasn't just a bus parking exercise it was more like one of those mothballed garages where old buses go to die and spare parts are ripped out to keep other buses on the road.

It wasn't all Bank holiday return to work snarl ups though. Dele and Moura had shots kicked off the line and Toby had one that hit the post and rolled back along the line. Ryan saved well from a Danny Rose dipping curving blaster.

Just as you were thinking 'well a point won't be too bad and might be a lifesaver for our friend Chris Hughton', Eriksen produced the goods and we were home and dry. 

Four games at the New Stadium, four wins, eight goals scored and not a single goal conceded. What's not to like? Well not working out sooner how to overcome a packed defence and the referee's tolerance of time wasting.

These problems will only get worse as we become increasingly accepted into the elite and there are more teams not really able to compete properly in the Premiership for lack of resources and affordable talent.

They revert to bus parking, time wasting and keeping their fingers crossed whilst whistling a happy tune. It has worked before and nearly worked again.

In the end Eriksen who had been taking target practice all night got his sights focused and his rangefinder adjusted and scored from outside the area for the 21st. time since joining us, more than any other Premiership player.

Our build up was too slow, they were never going to be tempted out and we knew that; Trippier spurned numerous opportunities to cross so why play Llorente;  Dele worked hard but could find little space until the end game

It was a lonely night for Hugo Lloris often the only man in his own half. Wanyama not quite on his game after injury was careless at times and the appearance of Janssen the most warmly received event of the night until the goal.

Ironic of course but he might have been a better starting option than big Fernando or a replacement at half time when it was clear that the original plan wasn't working. You can't pick a lock with a battering ram.

29 shots on goal but only 5 on target tells a story and row Z patrons were in severe danger at times. Even one of Danny Rose's crosses caused them some consternation.

With Arsenal beaten again and Utd losing the Manchester derby we stand clear in 3rd. and our superior goal difference over all our rivals gives us an edge if we do slip up.Three more games, two at home. Ours to lose.
The focus is now on W. Ham who will be a more open proposition which may well suit Spurs approach better  though one eye will be kept on Ajax next week and team selection given the injuries might be problematical.

But this season Mauricio is used to strolling into the dressing room and shouting, 'First eleven fit men  to stand up and get their kit on, play. And so far it seems to be working.

All those theoretical problems about finishing 4th and Arsenal or Chelsea winning the Europa and stealing our CL place no longer apply. There are 5 places available in that event.

'There is nothing to fear but fear itself'.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The crucial moment is 10 minutes in. The rest is mainly speculative and disappointing.

Cue elation and despair once again. My two favourite players combine for a crucial strike by Christian Eriksen. Hits it well places it nicely and Roberta's your Auntie.

Eriksen and Dele in space as Brighton retreat too deep.
Well it worked for 88 minutes.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Could Have Been Worse.

We're still hanging on to third.
 The weekend could have been much worse.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Any game would be dull after Wednesday's epic but this was an anti-climax in a class of its own. Our third game in 12 days against City and familiarity seems to have bred contempt.

Neither side shone but they got a well worked goal just five minutes in which altered the game plan  and we created and spurned more chances than them.. We deserved at least a draw but Eriksen, Moura and Son, at least twice,were stalled by MOM Ederson.

Many Spurs fans feared a reaction from City for us spoiling their perfect foursome resulting in a severe beating but this never looked like happening despite the early goal flashing up the warning signs.

It was ironic that the scorer of the only goal of the game was one of their own Phil Foden rather than one of the half billion+ squad.

We defended resolutely after that but it seemed that though the spirit was willing the flesh was weakened by too much football for an injury devastated squad: Sissoko, Wanyama,and Winks were all missing from the starting eleven.

Foyth was press-ganged into full back and acquitted himself well against Sterling. Dier returned for this key fixture but was short of match practice and energy. Gazaniga filled in for the injured Lloris without too much stress for us or him.

They dominated possession (60%) but we had the same amount of shots on target (4) and the clearer cut chances. Only a lack of mental and physical edge denied us at least a draw, and Ederson.

Harry Kane watched on as unusually Son and Moura lacked the sharpness to finish some penetrating long balls which seemed to be our game plan. Eriksen was also denied by Ederson. It would have worked on another day.

The Manchester Derby could work in our favour if City can damage United's hopes. A Chelsea/ United draw would help too. We remain in pole position for third and our superior goal difference might just tilt things in our favour.

I'm not too bothered who comes top as long as they both do maximum damage to our challengers where they can. On balance Liverpool have done more with less in terms of .bought in superstars and Sugar Daddy backing.

We now have four winnable games left: Brighton, W.Ham and Everton at home and Bournemouth away. Oh and a couple of Champions' League fixtures against Ajax, our feeder club, thrown in for added spice.

Our game against Bournemouth has been moved forward to give us some breathing space before the second leg of the Ajax game.( Bournemouth 12:30 on Saturday 4th.May. Ajax is on Wednesday 8th at 21:00)

Of course it could all go horribly wrong but we shown have tenacity and spirit and there is no reason why it should desert us now.With Arsenal losing at home and Man.Utd thrashed by Everton we stay in 3rd after the round of 34. It could all have been much worse.

Chelsea are at home to Burnley tomorrow; we are at home to Brighton on Tuesday; It's the Manchester derby on Wednesday and Arsenal are away to Wolves. Perhaps the crystal ball will be clearer after all that. It's in our own hands.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Early chances for Son and Eriksen. Good penalty shout against Walker. Maybe one or two against us.

Friday, 19 April 2019

It's Only Tottenham: The Bottlers' Revenge.

It was Football Jim : but not as we know it.
The JimmyG2 Column.
If Wednesday night's game was the script for a Hollywood Blockbuster about the Champions' League and European football it would have been rejected out of hand at the first script conference. ''Keep it real Man, no-one will buy it''

And the truth is that the deciding factor apart from VAR was a dull encounter by comparison at NWHL last week where we pressed and they failed to score and gave De Bruyne a rest for some reason. Arrogance I'm guessing. After all 'It's only Tottenham'.

VAR played a big part in that game too, ruling that the ball had not gone out of play before Son, that man again, scored the only goal of the game. But that was a normal game of football not like Wednesday night.

Nothing like Wednesday night whatsoever. One almost felt sorry for City, I said 'almost', because they are at the top of the list of all that is currently wrong with football apart from Sky and its pundits: money and its abuse and misuse. And possibly the World.

So this was a moral victory as much as a technical footballing one and shows that losing can be the new winning with the help of two leg ties and VAR. Commitment, courage and team spirit counted for more than bucket-loads of cash.

The City attack played well with Aguero finding space between the lines and Bernardo Silva and Sterling testing our full backs almost but not quite to destruction. De Bruyne fully fit was outstanding with three assists but they never quite shook us off.

Defensively they were weak, Laporte being at fault in both Son's goals and for Llorente's and there is no way I would swap Lloris for Ederson although both keepers might have done better at times.

Sterling put City on level terms by the 4th minute before Son (ITMA) scored twice. City now needed another 3 goals and we should have gone more into containment mode. But they scored twice more and the game was only 20 minutes in. Crazy stuff. Crazy football.

There followed a goal drought for a full 40 mins while we all recovered until Aguero lashed one in on the hour and City were ahead for the first time. Within 15 minutes Pochettinos''s decision to put Llorente rather than young Skipp on and re-jig the midfield was justified.

From Trippier's corner Fernando nudged the ball with his thigh over the line and appeals for an arm involvement were rejected by the Referee and VAR. Nerves were shredded by now on both sides  but more drama was to come.

In injury time Sterling set up by Aguero scored his hat trick and the decisive City goal. Cue elation and despair among players, managers and fans. But VAR adjudged rightly that Aguero was narrowly offside in the build up and the goal was disallowed.

Where there was despair was now elation: where elation there was now despair. Spurs were going through to face Ajax in the semi-final courtesy of Son's lone goal in the first leg and the away goals rule.

Losing is the new winning. Our first ever trip to the Semi Finals of the Champions' League with the first leg at NWHL on the 30th April. It was Son what won it.

'Sport's Health and Bodybuilder illustrated' are reporting that VAR is now the biggest cause of early death among Spurs fans with 'Hope' slipping down into second place.

We may never see its like again at this level; so open, so careless, error strewn and cavalier, though I remember many such encounters over Hackney Marshes in the old days which possibly still continue.

If that doesn't persuade Christian and Toby to stay with us nothing will. Sissoko's groin injury will probably rule him out for tomorrow but Eric Dier  and Harry Winks might be fit

We dug deep, very deep, to reach heights we have never reached before. I'd settle for a draw on Saturday though you never know the way things are going at the moment.There's a lot of Sonshine in this report!.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

I'm still breathless but here's the after match on pitch video that sums it all up, for both sides.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Breakthrough Moment.

Who's the Daddy?
A born dribbler just like his Dad.
The JimmyG2Column.
My Musings Soccer Sat-Nav is warning of heavy traffic ahead and possible hold ups and delays. An early 'Storm Pep' message keeps flashing up on the screen. Traffic might have to diverted and journeys curtailed.

To have to face City once seems like a misfortune: to have to face them twice is carelessness: three times in less than a fortnight having beaten them once is an opportunity not to be spurned.We could ruin their season.

I repeat my usual 'take a draw now' mantra. In the Champions' league this would ensure our progress and in the Premiership would not seriously dent our chances. Nobody in the top six challenge is going to win them all.

Anyway as I gently pointed out to Geoffrey we beat them last week. He was also of the opinion that we were very fortunate to draw Huddersfield for our third game at NWHL. Now there he has a point.

It led to our third victory without conceding a goal and in the run-in three of the five games are at home. Neither of the City games are at our magnificent new stadium so not even the quadruple aspirants can ruin our current record.

With seven changes the team put out could be described as our reserves but it doesn't quite work like that at Tottenham these days. Everyone is wound up and ready to go. Mauricio always emphasizes the 'collective' and he picked his squad for this fixture shrewdly.

No Son, neither of the Harry's, Toby, Dier or Dele of the usual suspects. Oliver Skipp even got a 20 minute run out, just in case things go awry this week.  But Moura and Llorente stepped up in style.

Wanyama scored the opener with a classy goal and a more focused Lucas got his first European hat.trick. The celebration with his 1yr. old son on the pitch at full time stole the show. Only at Tottenham.

Huddersfiel, already relegated  were poor. They too tried out some fringe players and were clearly thinking about next season rather than this match and it showed.They ventured out at 2-0 down but conceded two more goals for their trouble.

Kyle Walker Peters made a confident starting appearance and Foyth who always wants to play football but doesn't always succeed avoided a major error. He was sound alongside Sanchez but they Jan and Lloris were put under little pressure.

Sissoko alongside a fit Wanyama is a formidable midfield proposition and Sissoko even treated us to an unexpected roulette which shows his growing confidence. On another day without Moura's hat trick he might well have been MOM. again.

We dominated from the start with 88% possession in the first 15 minutes which is what I like to see. In the end we had 70% of the play with 22 shots, only five on target but four goals. which is a testament to Moura's accuracy and power. 

For the Eriksen 'doubters' he registered his 60th. assist since his Premiership debut in September 2013, 8 more than any other `player. He is the first player in all five of Europe's top leagues to register 20 assists this season in all competitions.

Llorente was unlucky not to score and both he and Eriksen hit the woodwork and played well though not all of Christian's creative attempts paid off but he is always trying to do something positive.

I sometimes wish that all the other players were as out of form as he has allegedly been. Geoffrey wouldn't sell him though: he'd give him away tomorrow.

Son had a 10 minute cameo and had time to set up Lucas for his third with an incisive through ball. We could have been Spursy by losing after beating City in the week but Spurs just ain't that Spursy any more and we won with ease as expected.

The other ongoing debate is whether Spurs are a 'better' team without Harry Kane. We have won all five of the Premiership games we have played without him this season. We might have won them more easily with him playing but that's all very hypothetical. We are not a one man team.

Usually it's Sonny that steps up but with him on the bench it was Lucas Moura. Huddersfield was the calm before this week's storm  and we remain in third after Liverpool beat Chelsea to go top.

Expect an interesting week. The team on Thursday will depend on injuries and fitness. Llorente to start? Or Moura with Son? Will Dele or Winks be fit? Can Victor play another full game so soon?
Answers on a postcard.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Love the cheers every time he kicks the ball: not Lucas, Miguel. His breakthrough moment to treasure in the new history of NWHL.

Miguel Moura, he's one of our own with his own Spurs hat to prove it. Feel the love. His dad did quite well too.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Doubters Gonna Doubt.

 Doubting Thomas: an early Spurs celebrity fan.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Doubting is the Spurs fans default position. But are you a secret Believer posing as a Doubter to avoid the grief that Liverpool, Arsenal, and Man.Utd fans get for their unjustified sense of entitlement.

I ask because even I the archetypal naive Happy Clapper seeing only angels and silver linings on the ghost train of life when devils, skeletons, and black clouds abound, even I would have settled for a draw before this one.

Mind you if we drew every game we would probably avoid relegation, most years anyway. I would certainly always take a draw against our nearest Premiership rivals but that doesn't really work for Cup games.

But that's a strategic choice and not a true example of doubting. Last night in the Champions' League Quarter Final first leg against City at the New Lane, Son and the stadium and the near capacity fans earned a late victory.

We deserved it for an energetic industrious team performance with the welcome return of the team press and despite losing Harry Kane on the hour to a probably season ending ankle injury.

Now some Spurs followers, I hesitate to say supporters or fans, theorize that we play better without Harry, and Sonny certainly scored the winner soon after he went off. But that's a theory in search of any clear statistical back up.

Harry is our Talisman; our Generator of Hope; our inspiration; our leading goalscorer; the four season phenomenon; the free gift that keeps on giving. But Spurs, without doubt, despite opinions to the contrary not least from Pep himself are not a one man team.

The team press was crucial in denying City the space in midfield to plot our downfall. Sane and De Bruyne were missing until the 88th. minute but that was less a product of arrogance than the pressure of balancing competing ambitions. I think.

Hugo saved an early Aguero penalty awarded by VAR for a doubtful Rose handball and had little to do for an hour. Trippier kept Raheem Sterling mainly at bay and Rose gave  Mahrez little scope.

The Belgians in the centre of defence made defending against the quadruple aspirants look easy and Harry Winks made a welcome return and was busy and effective. Sissoko these days is a  positive beast.

Dele went off with a wrist injury after another enterprising run out in the attacking third where I prefer him. His movement was excellent but the ball didn't quite run for him and he looked spent before he went off.

The goal resulted from a clever assist by Eriksen increasingly inspiring as the game progressed and the persistence and flair of Son who didn't give up a lost cause and while City's defence hesitated he rounded Delph and fired home under Ederson.

VAR confirmed that the ball hadn't gone out of play and the goal stood. We comfortably survived the last 12 minutes and six minutes of extra time, apart from Lloris holding on to a De Bryne cross under pressure he had little to do.

They dominated possession, passes and shots but Spurs roared on by their fans were rarely under real pressure. Two near capacity crowds, two wins and 2 clean sheets herald the new era and confront the doubters, for now anyway.

My friend Geoffrey is a doubter; hes actually an Extreme Doubter with awards to prove it. He doubts that Harry Kane will play again this season, or that we will make top four. Like this blog he's not always wrong. Just usually.

I don't usually give politicians the oxygen of publicity certainly none of the current batch but I can identify with the words of Tony Blair in this context.

“A day like today is not a day for soundbites, but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulder with respect to this,”

He was talking about the Good Friday Agreement  topically enough but it no doubt applies to Spurs progress in the Champions' League and the move to NWHL

''When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt'' (Honore de Balzac)
 What he said. Believe.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Full Highlights and all the goal .Usually foreign videos don't get taken down but the last one from the same source did, so here's hoping.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Golden Age

Who's a pretty boy then?
Feathers ruffled a bit when Gazza come on for the Legends .
The JimmyG2 Column.
So that all went according to plan, more or less. It was a bit nervy off and on the pitch until the second half and the first half took second place to the fireworks. But 'All's Well That Ends Wel'l as Bill the Bard opined.

The setting, the facilities and the send off had everyone in awe. The game and the result took time to match it. But we won and the three points took us above Arsenal and back to 3rd. Hugo made two good saves at the end and kept a clean sheet.

Son scored the first Premiership goal 10 minutes after half time, assisted by Christian Eriksen who scored himself with ten minutes to go after everyone stopped when Harry tumbled in the area. Relax and time to breath.

Crystal Palace didn't really come to play and were ideal opponents for a rare, genuinely 'must win' game. We stopped the rot; set the tone for the future; christened the stadium, and silenced the naysayers.

Except for my mate Geoffrey who met the Queen once at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and complained afterwards that Her Majesty wasn't very tall. Heads have rolled for less. 'Not too bad' was the breadth of his enthusiasm.

Unlike Mauricio who is heading up the campaign to lift everybody's spirits and nudge Daniel Levy into spending his/our money more liberally in pursuit of the football and players needed to match the stadium.

So we have the best stadium and training facilities in the world and need a football team to match. I hope that doesn't involve completely jettisoning the emphasis on youth and our own They didn't do that bad as Geoffrey would say.

Some re-building will be necessary as players leave us or retire but replacements are in place for the loss of Toby, Jan and Hugo. I am still hopeful that we can keep Christian but if not we might just have to spend some money.

Tielemans, would have been a good start, Maddison, Brookes and other talented youngsters would fit into the current scheme. We don't have the money to try to emulate the  bloated rich clubs but I would take Pogba at a pinch.

In a few years time under Captain Harry Kane, the club owned by its members, Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp running the midfield and in the Champions' League for the 10th. year running we will look back on these days as the 'oranges' of the Golden Age. (With apologies to The Donald)

'Everybody dreams'

Crucial to this was the win on Wednesday against Palace, which marks the end of the beginning for Pochettino and the club. Hugo The two Harry's, Dele, Christian, Heung-Min  Son and the two Belgians in defence are our bedrock.

Eriksen took over the game eventually; Dele played deeper again and did a lot of the fetching and carrying; the defence and Hugo had little pressure to deal with and Palace only emerged blinking into the light after the second goal.

Now here's to the next five years under Mauricio. Long may they last.

In other news.
Danny Rose has joined Raheem Stirling and now Wilfred Zaya in calling out the racists. What is it about our left backs that makes them so outspoken. Danny is right though. His only mistake was being born black in an institutionally racist country.

I don't think Brexit has brought out the best in us.The football authorities have been pusillanimous in the face of racism in the game. And the Govt. with its hostile environment have actively supported it.

Time for a few points deduction instead of fine.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
We should do this for every home game, it definitely puts the opposition off. Surprised Palace didn't go home before the kick off.

Watch and cry, I know, I know I'm an old softy but it 's been touch and go whether they built and opened it before....well you know.

Monday, 1 April 2019

They Think It's All Over

 Just clearing her throat. Relax.
The JimmyG2 Column. 
It's not always easy in a long season to identify the moment where it all went wrong; when the earth stood still; when your heart stopped; when destiny blinked and the crowd fell silent in anticipation and fear. 

But such a moment occurred late in the game against Liverpool when Son and Sissoko released by Harry Kane bore down on Van Dyke standing alone. Son laid it off first time to Moussa and the moment  loomed.

Van Dyke confused and hesitant stuck with Son his nearest man and though clearly unwilling to take on the task Moussa ran on, his body language screaming 'Help me'. But help was blocked off and so he ran and faced the moment of truth.

I doubt that Van Dyke worked all that out and stayed with Son deliberately leaving Sissoko to take on the shot but the pundits all say so. It must be true.

If he scores we probably win the game, eradicate once and for all the painful memories of his couple of seasons of misery; send us to the new stadium with 3rd. all but confirmed on a wave of pride, confidence and momentum.

He blasted it over from 10 yards and collapsed in ignominy and shame. A pity because he has played well recently and had another good game leading up to the miss. With Winks, Dier  and Wanyama all injured he stepped up but fell short at the moment of truth.

We fought back well after going behind early on and matched the team now top of the league and could and should have won. Rose and Dele had chances and an Eriksen shot on goal was blocked by a lunge from Robinson.

Moura's equiliser from a brilliant, opportunist quick free kick by Kane to Trippier who bobbled the ball to Eriksen who scuffed a pass to Moura, who scored. Lucas was another that had a more controlled and effective game.

Eriksen is only the second player in the Premiership to make 10 assists in four consecutive seasons. David Beckham was the first.

So destiny beckoned but was rudely ignored. Worse was to come. Having failed to win the game we then contrived to lose it. Our foot was liberally peppered with gun shot by the end of the game.

Lloris whose poor distributions set up the first, palmed a soft header from Salah onto Alderweireld and Liverpool won with a goalkeeping error leading to an own goal in the final minute of normal time.

If he wasn't captain and it wasn't the first game at NWHL on Wednesday he would be dropped.

Again Toby and Jan had good games though Sanchez went AWOL at times especially for the first goal from a peach of a cross from Robinson which Firmino buried with a downward header.

Danny Rose was enterprising and entertaining but Son was on too late and the substitution of Moura by Davies backfired. Llorente hardly had time to run on before the whistle.

Not so much a game of two halves then as one of several alternating phases. They dominated for the middle 30 minutes of the first and we were on top for most of the second half until we scored on 70 minutes.

So all you 'bottlers' and 'mental strength' detractors ''I told you so' away. The Fat Lady has buckled on her breastplate; donned her helmet; grasped her axe; gargled and cleared her throat but she hasn't sung yet.

I am hopeful and prepared to be killed by the hope. What with Brexit, Trump and now Spurs gaining only 1 point in 15 my crests have fallen considerably. But this was a good performance and the new stadium will inspire us won't it?

Arsenal going third as we speak beating Newcastle at the Emirates. Win on Wednesday desperately needed. They think it's all over. It might be soon .But while there's life..........

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Oy Oy Oy Oy. Chances at both ends. Neither keeper fully in control. Doesn't show the build up to the goal and the 'miss'. Harry Kane was instrumental in both. Dele unlucky with the chip but deployed too deep.  

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Essential Updates.


The Jimmy G2 Column.

A heavily Spursocentric view of events. Well it is called 'Spurs Musing's after all. What do you expect?

Glenn Hoddle:
Back at work. Take it steady Glenn.

It's not quite April and its not quite open.  Local boy J'Neil Bennett  scores the first goal in an Under 18 win over Southampton at the test event in front of of a restricted not quite 30.000. awe struck fans.

Mauricio sneaked his son onto the pitch in the 79th. minute for the family album shots. Main talking point is the 5 second bottom filling  pints machines.

Next Test event.
The Veterans
Saturday 30th. against Inter Veterans. Jurgen Klinsmann will play for both clubs though not at the same time obviously. He's good but.......
Crowd restricted to 45.000.

First match:
Wednesday week (3rd. April) against Crystal Palace in the Premiership and then following Tuesday  (9th April) for the first leg in the Champions. league against City. Before then just Liverpool at Anfield.

97 weeks and counting. Mauricio says cried as we left the old WHL and nearly cried again at the first event at the new stadium. It's been a long wait but he pronounced it 'a dream come true' and the general opinion was mostly that it was worth the wait.

Now the football has to match up to the raised expectations which will be no easy task. At least it sounds as if he will be here to enjoy it with us next season.

It remains to be seen if the delayed stadium opening is a valid excuse for current poor form and whether it will inspire Christian and Toby to stay on. It could just be the inspirational factor to refocus and inspire the run in.

Or not.

England v Czech Republic
Harry Kane led the  England team to a crushing 5-0 victory in the 2020 qualifier. Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick and Harry contributed in general play and scored a penalty.

Eric Dier was injured after 18 minutes and missed the Montenegro game; Dele played well; Trippier and Rose were unused subs. Youth was on display with Rice (20), Sancho (19) and Hudson-Odoi (18) all playing a part.

The future at Spurs and England looks bright.

England v Montenegro.
Spurs starters: Kane, Rose and Dele. Easy 5-1 victory after an early upset when Montenegro went ahead. Harry scored, Hudson-Odoi and Barkley were outstanding.

Only Danny completed the match but no more injuries. Racist chants rear their very ugly head again.

Let's not go there. Theresa May or possibly Theresa won't.

World Peace.
Or there. Daniel much too pre-occupied with the New Stadium and quite rightly so.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Bet you didn't know I wrote Mauricio's speeches for him. Sounds like a man who is planning to stay.
Upbeat and positive, just like me but on much more money.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Stadium No Compensation

The Future is dazzlingly bright
But hasn't quite arrived yet.
The JimmyG2 Column.
I have a sign over my computer which reads: 'Do not blog when you are angry, tired, hungry, sad or drunk' and it has stood me in good stead over the years  and enhanced my well established reputation for balance and fairness.

Occasionally though for health and safety reasons it pays to explode in the white heat of  frustration, to get it out there early. Perspective can do funny things to the reality of now.

The question is when does a blip become an ongoing disaster?  When does a 'bad day at the office' become an application for bankruptcy? When does an occasional arrhythmic heartbeat turn a medical emergency, paramedics, ambulances, defibrillators and all?

You get the drift: if it looks like a crisis; sounds like a crisis; walks like a crisis it probably isn't a duck. The question is where are Spurs on this panorama at this moment after the loss to Southampton.

One point from twelve and Liverpool away up next is not a good place to be for a team that only  a month ago was being talked up, at last, as genuine contenders for everything except the Champions League.

Oh the irony: now that's all we have left after progressing to the quarter finals. Perversity thy name is Tottenham Hotspur. Simples: win it and our travails in the Premiership are sidestepped. However the cure is worse than the disease.

What do want me to say about the loss to Southampton? We were good in the first half especially with the return of Dele Alli. Harry scored one and missed three and it should have been wrapped up by half time.

Southampton were very poor but credit to them and their Manager in the second half they changed personnel, tactics and attitude. We  on the other hand were complacent bordering on arrogant and deserved what we got. Nothing.

Dele looked a class above but was totally spent before the hour mark but wasn't subbed until the 82nd.minute. Mauricio clearly testing him to destruction We held out until the 70 minute mark but then conceded an untidy goal which eventually bobbled its way into the net

Four defenders looked on as the ball found its way across  goal. Rose in a world of his own opted not to deal with it and Valery just about scored. coming in behind him. So the proverbial game of two halves.

The second was a scorching free kick by Ward-Prowse after a so called 'professional' foul by Kyle Walker Peters just outside the area. I so wanted KWP to take his chance and nail down his place but he couldn't find a hammer.

He was in good company though and this was a dispiriting loss after I have tried so hard to talk up our chances to keep everybody's spirits up on here and in the world generally. The three week gap does us, the fans, no favours before the Liverpool game.

The squad are all going for some intensive and yet relaxing warmish weather training in Spain. It may allow wounds to heal and minds to refocus wherever their minds are currently. We are now in a dog fight for 4th. and we have only ourselves to blame.

 Moura started but apart from pace gives us little. He seems to have little awareness of the players around him. Eriksen showed some nice touches in the first half but went AWOL later.

Sanchez was nervy and Vertonghen seemed unworried whether we won or lost. Without Winks the midfield was ponderous and Sissoko is in danger of lapsing into his former pantomime villain's role.
'Oh yes he is'

Mauricio banished to the stands for two matches looked down in dismay but his substitutions were too late to affect the game and afterwards he seemed more put out than me.

With Chelsea forcing a draw in extra time  and Arsenal halting Man. Utd progress things are not as bad as they might have been. Beat Liverpool in three weeks and the world would look much brighter. But it's not looking likely at the moment.

It's all getting a little claustrophobic below City and Liverpool with four points covering the next four places between us and Chelsea with Arsenal now just a point behind us in 4th after puncturing Ole Gunnar Solskjær's balloon.

At least the three week gap gives us a little breathing space and only Harry Kane should turn out for England with Dier, Dele, Trippier and Winks all recovering or recently returned from injury. Some hopes.

I am downgrading my 3rd. place forecast from probable to possible. But if the fact that it is now Arsenal in 4th having cut our lead from 10 points to 1 doesn't focus our minds and inspire us then I don't know what will.

Our brand new state of the art stadium and the Europa on Thursdays would be a disappointing combination but it's not too late to do something about it. We are still the top London team with 8 to go.

Good football without a state of the art stadium is acceptable but without good football a spanking new stadium is no compensation.

Some Good News.
Zidane has returned to Real Madrid and Ole is a shoo in at Man.Utd so Mauricio is safe with us for another season.

New Stadium:
From the Official Site:

If the two scheduled test events are successful then the following applies.

If Brighton win their FA Cup quarter-final match on Sunday 17th March we shall play Crystal Palace on Wednesday 3rd April and Brighton on 23rd/24th April.

If Brighton lose their FA Cup quarter-final match on Sunday 17th March we shall play Brighton on 6th/7th April (subject to Champions League scheduling) and Crystal Palace on 23rd/24th April.

Told you, it's April, fingers crossed.Sill a few 'ifs', 'subject to's' and 'buts' in there but looking good. Another inspirational factor? How many do we need? Champion's league; new stadium, finishing above Arsenal Chelsea and Man.Utd

Jimmy's Video Spot.
'Lest we forget'. Stadiums, Schmadiums. Takes your mind off the football anyway. Come on you Spurs, please.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Spurs Build 'Beautiful' Wall.

We built a beautiful wall
and Mexico are going to pay for it.
 The JimmyG2 Column. 
Straight out of the Donald Trump playbook on Tuesday night. We built a wall, a beautiful wall and Mexico are going to pay for it. Well not the last part obviously but we built one, and it was beautiful and Borussia couldn't find a way through it, over it or round it.

Who knew we had such artisanal skills. With Mauricio the Architect and Jan and Hugo the Master Builders we withstood the Dortmund siege and repelled whatever they threw at us.

And they threw some stuff  in the first half it must be admitted. But the wall stood firm and every brick played its part. Even Serge's section didn't crumble. I fully expect us to receive the 'Wall of the Year Award' ahead of The Donald.

We came out from behind the ramparts only occasionally especially in the first half when Dortmund pressed and we defended deep. Son had one sortie but it came to nothing after a push from behind by Wolfe.

However Kane set up by an incisive through ball by Sissoko had his one chance and took it in style just after half time. The foreign hordes crumbled and even Sancho a star in the first leg was rarely seen.

Sometimes our defensive walls are more like sandcastles struggling against the incoming tide. But not on Tuesday night. This one and Spurs are built of sterner stuff. The writing on the wall said ' Do your damnedest'.

And the moving finger having writ moves on to the next round. The draw will be made on March 15 after the last 16 games are completed. The wall, or 'barrier' may be needed again but has been put into storage for now.

Anything Pink Floyd can do we can do better and we can build it again if necessary now the prototype has proved so successful. An unexpected night of pride after the first 3 games of the early stages when we had one point from the first 3 games.

A lot of fuss was made of the Dortmund yellow wall terrace which we are adopting for the new stadium but it was blown away by the Lillywhite version. As they discovered scaling walls is very tiring.

Harry Kane's goal made him Tottenham's leading European goalscorer (24) .I'm not sure now why I was so worried, we were 3-0 up at effectively half time and that's our 4th. consecutive win over Dortmund.

Can we play you every week? (Editor. Don't push it Jimmy.)

Kane is only the second Englishman to score at least five goals in multiple Champions' League campaigns after Steven Gerrard, who did so in 2007-08 and 2008-09. (BBC)

But I was worried and so were you: admit it. An early goal for which they strove would have seen me behind the sofa again. On the half hour mark and again on the hour they pressed hard.

But once again we didn't 'bottle' it  and we go through to the last 8. Last time we went out to Real Madrid but they lost to Ajax so history won't repeat itself.

We have nothing to prove to ourselves or to others so I really don't mind who we draw. There's no easy teams at this stage including us. Bring it on whoever you are.

Walls generally have had a very bad press, bridges fare much better but as the Chinese found they can be useful in certain situations and last night was one of them.

Robert Frost wrote: 'Something there is that doesn't love a wall,' and you can add Borussia Dortmand fans to that whatever they might say. 

Two Match Ban for Mauricio for improper conduct. Lost it, apologised and behaved with dignity afterwards. Daniel is going to pay the 10.000 pound fine. I'm joking, I'm joking.

Dier back and looking well. No information about Winks but didn't seem too bad. Just need Dele back now.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Harry Kane. Well why not? The Golden Age continues. left foot; right foot, headers; ricochets; tap-ins; shots from distance and a newly found skill assists at every level.

Will we ever see his like again?