The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

French and Argentinian Connections and Surprises Ahead

 The Greg Meyer Column.
New Years Eve 2019.   

The French Connection. The Argentinian Connection. Surprises Ahead.

This special Australian flavoured edition comes to you from the Canal Du Midi. Not too far from Carcassonne to be precise. A region providing some of our toasting fuel for our Spurs French contingent.

Raising a glass or two in remembrance of our "departed" albeit disabled French capitaine, good old Hugo Lloris. Remember him. Due back 2020 February perhaps.

More recent and now a celebration for Tanguy Ndombele we moved on to a luscious Beaujolais. The wine you can drink almost like water. And we do. Ndombele will be a Premier League star. If and it is the only if ... he stays fit.
 Manager Mourinho stated his Norwich performance as "phenomenal". Cheers Tanguy but not forgetting the athletic enigma that is Moussa Sissoko.

In recognition of Argentina's finest we have set aside a bottle of Schroeder Alpataco Pinot Noir 2019 currently rated as Argentina's top red. Reserved and wistfully so for Argentina's current number one manager, our own Spurs legend, Mauricio Pochettino.
Mauricio was born at Murphy, a very long goal kick from Rosario. Rosario, where Lionel Messi was born, went to school there and funnily enough is the current local hero.
Rosario, Angel Di Maria country, Marco Bielsa's hometown. We could go on but more importantly Giovani Lo Celso was born and raised there. Another forthcoming Spurs star. Curiously he is also of Italian heritage holding an Italian passport. Perhaps the first name does give it away.

Our Argentinian salute does not end there. Juan Foyth, still an unproven product, Erik Lamela (if he could forget the doppleganger with Darren Anderton he would be a great Mourinho fit), and of course every Spurs female fan's plus lots of fellas favourite, the incredibly good looking Paulo Gazzaniga.
Paulo despite his film star looks  has deputised for Hugo in a 7 of 10 fashion. Still young and may yet blossom to a real number one.
Continuing our random musings on the year ahead our pub clan think Ryan Sessegnon a keeper. Played like a deer in the headlights against Norwich. Stage fright? That's in the footlights. Received criticism for not taking his full back on.
However his direct opponent was either the  impressive Max Aarons or Sam Byram, both possessed of pace to match Sessegnon. Hence his reluctance and over cautious approach.
He will grow in confidence and provide us with much needed pace.

Meanwhile at a Canal Side Pub.

Surprises ahead.
No surprise that Christian Eriksen is off in January. The only possible surprise his ultimate destination. Manchester United. Real Madrid or PSG all in the frame. No surprise that the surprise landing of Gareth Bale landing at White Hart Lane will not happen.

Big surprise if we sign anyone of quality in January. A possibility if we offload the likes of Rose, Wanyama and Walker-Peters.

And so to the Channel side city of Southampton. Another tough nut a la Norwich. Given we win then our top four prospects continue to rise. Shame that Sheffield United, Manchester United, Chelsea  and Wolves are all snapping at and around our heels.

Perhaps we should raise our glasses and salute our North London neighbours Arsenal. Thank you for your season to date.

Cheers .... Happy New Year ...  Greg Meyer.*   Coys.
JimmyG2 writes,
G'Day and Happy New Year to our long-time Musings Associate from Oz. Gets to the Stadium regularly but has to set off early. Currently surviving the heatwave in Tasmania keeping one eye on the forest fires but never taking the other one off Spurs.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Will he go or will he stay?

Black Sheep Eriksen MOM. 
Feel free to 'Dab' this week.
The JimmyG2 Column.
It's been fun writing this for some years, but it's getting harder. We managed not to lose to Norwich and were certainly the equal of the team propping up the Premiership. At times we made them look quite good and defensive gaffes gave us a whole mountain range to climb.

Jose doesn't want to inhibit our attacking strengths by concentrating on clean sheets. Just as well because at the moment our chances of keeping a clean sheet are about the same as a WW1 field hospital under fire.

Jose gave the people what they wanted: Foyth, Sess, Ndombele and Lo Celso all starting and gave them what they didn't want too: No Winks or Dier or Rose. Fortunately he added black sheep Eriksen to the mix which was just as well.

The game plan to pass the ball to Eriksen as often as possible would have worked except for catastrophic defensive errors which would be funny if they were happening to someone else.

You have admire young Foyth the sound of whose dropped clangers resound throughout the known world. Headed off at the pass and effectively dry-gulched byVrancic.

A loan beckons so that he can get some games, learn his trade, and make his mistakes on someone else's time and money. The boy has potential no doubt.

They were disallowed a lovely goal by Pukki in another hairsbreadth VAR decision after a mistake by Aurier and a fine cross-field ball by that man Vrancic.  Aurier later commiserated by knocking the ball into his own net from an interception by Toby.

You couldn't make it up but then you don't have to. We didn't manage to score from open play but a vintage Eriksen free kick got us back on terms before Auriers's contribution.

Despite what the pundits often say about the quality of his free kicks he doesn't score them that often but they seem to stay in the memory for a long time.

Kane and Delhi had clear chances and Dele scored a neat disallowed goal. In the end Harry earned and scored a penalty to level for the  the second time. Where would we be without him?

This was Harry's 136 Premiership goal in his 200th. appearance. Only Aguerro (138) and Shearer (145) are ahead of him at this landmark. Exalted company indeed.

Eriksen, almost forgiven after the free kick, then became Public Enemy No.1 again for his failure to beat the first man from a corner as we threatened a last gasp winner in injury time. 'plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose'

Even so in his first start in the Premiership under Mourinho he had more touches and more shots than any other player. A reinvigorated, committed, new contracted Eriksen could be the key to a real challenge for Top Four. Bet wisely.

You would have been hard pressed at half time to correctly identify the team pushing for a Top Four place and the one heading for relegation. Jose talked up our recovery and our effort but we were only absolving ourselves from the sins we had committed.

Twice now we have spurned the opportunity to leapfrog Chelsea into the Top Four and now languish in 6th. Fortunately our rivals for top six played Liverpool and City so we remained there after
Sunday's games.

Jose is being coy about Eriksen's future but on today's performances he is my MOM and I would love him to stay.  Ndombele was very good in patches but Lo Celso probably needs more time to adapt to the pace and  power of the Premiership.

Sessengnon  saw plenty of the ball in the second half but tore up few trees which is environmentally sound but not what we need just now. Toby and Jan seem to be struggling.  Sanchez looks ready to step up.

We huffed and puffed in the second half once we had ditched three at the back but failed to blow them away. Mourinho was proactive: two substitutions at half time removing Foyth and Verts from the fray and bringing on Moura and Sanchez who both made a difference.

We are not used to such decisiveness and it's refreshing to see. But Mourinho has a real job on his hands defensively at Spurs and just turning up is not going to work for the Manager whatever his reputation or the team whatever their past exploits under Mauricio.

Next Up.
Away to Southampton on New Year's Day at 3pm.
Transfer Window.
Wednesday, January 1: England France, Germany and China
January 2: Italy and Spain.

Friday, January 31: England –11pm  and France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Let's make it Eriksen week in case he leaves us shortly. Mourinho could be the deciding factor either way:  Sell now for summat or let go in the Summer for now't but have his services for the rest of the season, or new contract?

Just a little bit premature 'Welcome to Madrid' but here's a recent showcase of his skills.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Glad Tidings with the Turning of the Tide.

 Brighton Beached
The JimmyG2 Column.
 It took us 12 passes from kick-off to get out of our own half against Brighton. This is never a good sign at Spurs particularly when we are at home and have the inspiration of our fine new Stadium. I mentally wrote the game off.

Happily I was only half right. and we went in 1-0 down from yet another set piece, this time from a corner on 37 minutes: heads down, spirits down, stadium support volume well down and who could blame them.

But the tempo was raised from the very start of the second and with it the enthusiasm and support of the crowd. Whatever was said, promised or threatened at half time had an immediate effect. We were simply better.

The question arises 'Why the Hell don't we start like that? Tactics? Trying to lull the opposition into a false state of security? Hoping as Danny Blanchflower warned that they die from boredom? Tiredness and lethargy after too much Xmas pudding?

If any body knows please write in. Usually when we start on the front foot we play better and sweep the opposition away. The win relied on two pieces of quality build -up and finishing. Harry Kane had been denied an equaliser for a marginal off side by our erstwhile friend VAR.

 But his next effort just before the hour mark was an example of balance, strength and quick reaction after his first effort was well saved. He recovered to finish in style. The second by Dele twenty minutes later was pure class.

Eriksen on for Winks found Aurier with a controlled flighted ball. Aurier's first time lay off  to Dele was chipped into the corner of the net with style and grace. Dele had been largely peripheral until that moment though he put some effort in.

10 seconds of quality that turned the game. That kind of touch and vision will be difficult to replace if Christian departs

We climb back to 5th. just three points behind Chelsea who lost to Southampton and Mourinho can continue the charm offensive for a few more days at least. So the proverbial game of two halves and our finishing edge carried us through.

Brighton are a decent team who try to play proper passing football from the back. They dominated the first half where Mooy stood out. But the second half was a different game and we deserved the win in the end

Eriksen on for the last 20 minutes again made a difference and I still hope he stays. Sanchez was more settled and effective in the centre of defence. Moura's head down enthusiasm set up Harry's goal via a ricochet.

Lo Celso on before the hour mark showed good skill and effort and young Sess getting a home Premiership start was another positive sign.

Anyway Glad Tidings, the tide went out at Brighton leaving them high and dry

Playing ugly and winning.
A regular correspondent asks if Spurs under Mourinho have acquired the habit. My initial response was 'Yes' but on reflection we played poorly in the first half and lost 1-0. We played well in the second half and won it 2-0 and the game.

Playing ugly will win some games: you win some of the battles but ultimately lose the war. Playing poorly and winning is not an option over time.

Silly rumour of the week.
Isco from Real Madrid in a proposed swap deal for Eriksen. Musings Likelihood Rating 2/10.

Even sillier Rumour of the week.
Eriksen to Real in exchange for Bale + cash adjustment. Doesn't say which way the cash flows. Musings Likelihood Rating 1/10 purely on sentimental grounds. (Daily Star, nuff said)

Which bit of 'Real Madrid don't want Eriksen' do they not understand.

Good news.
Jack Clarke is returning from loan at Leeds. I've seen the videos and he is an exciting young prospect. More when he makes the team. (and Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kazaiah Sterling)

He's a bit of a one trick pony though, beats 3 players and then just passes or crosses. Sell.

Next up
Away to bottom of the table Norwich on Saturday 28th. December at 5:30 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
The Goals in the Dele and Harry Show. Nice ball from Winks for the disallowed goal. He should do the positive thing more often. One of Aurier's more constructive moments. Whatever Moura's on I want some.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Mourinho Honeymoon Cut Short.

You have been warned.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Jose's still got bits of confetti in his hair so the Honeymoon wasn't as long as we all hoped. An abject display against Chelsea might be the end of Prince Charming. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Xmas dinner cancelled and double training on Xmas Eve.

What a difference a day makes. Given the benefit of the doubt after the Manchester United loss, mere simmering disappointment gives way to misery, Jose's going to struggle to shake this one off. We could have been 'contenders' with a win, up in 4th at Xmas but we lost.

This was the kind of team selection, management and performance that got Mauricio the sack. The same team for the 3rd. game running but this time it ran out of what little good fortune and sense of purpose it possessed.

A chance to go into the top four; a player sent off; racist abuse; objects thrown on the pitch; Eriksen sent on to save us again; a Gazzaniga horror show, and Jose schooled by his pupil. What's not to despair about?

The performance was an 'l' of a mess: listless, languid, lifeless, lackadaisical, laughable. The first half was pure torture and the second wasn't much better. Chelsea kept their first clean sheet under Frank Lampard.

Harry Kane fluffed his only chance and we got only one shot on target though I don't recall it. We could be a club too far for Mourinho whose magic is only fitful. ' It's not me, it's you lot' he's probably thinking this morning.

Idiots on the pitch; Son Aurier and Gazzaniga; idiots on the terraces  probably trying to deflect attention from our woeful performance. I wish. But the story this morning is the abuse of Rudiger and the actions which Spurs will take.

Aurier confirmed his growing reputation for unreliability with a misjudged header and then left Willian unattended from a short corner. Willian who was once on the point of signing for us until hijacked by Chelsea scored a beauty.

Gazzaniga shredded his growing reputation with a moment of madness and a flying kick just before half time conceding a penalty from what should have been a routine catch. Willian scored his second from the spot.

Son will struggle to live down his third red card in a year. Some players go through their whole careers without one. One red card may be regarded as misfortune;  two red cards smacks of carelessness; three red cards is petulant unforgiveableness.

I note that Son's first red card against Andre Gomes at Everton was rescinded but the petulance point remains. Such a nice guy too. This one's been appealed but I don't hold out much hope.

There were 7 yellow cards and Son's red in what is traditionally a feisty game but what effort there was by us was mainly misdirected. A performance to forget but to learn from.

2/0 down and now a man down gave us little seasonal cheer or hope. Dier was replaced by Eriksen at half time for the second time in Mourinho's brief reign. He gave us a little more control because unlike some of the others and despite his faults he is an actual quality thinking footballer.

Rose and Ndombele came on for Vertonghen who looked spent and Moura who had a breathless but pointless afternoon. Dele played too deep and Dier and Sissoko doesn't work against against most midfields but especially against quality like Kante and Kovacic.

Ndombele looks good but if he can only make the 15 minute mark he's no use to us whatsoever. Son will be missing now over Xmas and New Year and our hopes of Champions' League look increasingly remote.

Credit to Lampard and Chelsea, they were excellent especially Willian shrewdly matched up against Aurier. Sanchez made the effort but without much success. Whatever could go wrong did go wrong in a bleak midwinter performance.

We remain in seventh 6 points off Top Four and well clear of relegation for the moment. You can get odds of 1000/1 on most betting sites against Spurs getting relegated, may as well enjoy our misery if it happens.

Next Up.
Brighton at NWHL on Boxing Day at 12: 30 pm.
Then Norwich (away) on the 28th. at 17:30. On New Years Day we are away to Southampton at 3 pm before we face Liverpool in the League.

Normally I would describe these as eminently 'winnable' games but now I'm not so sure. The fairy dust seems to have blown away with this Chelsea performance.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all our reader(s).

Jimmy's Video Spot.
One bad result doth not a tragedy make. But I make that two. Here's something seasonal to cheer you all up. 'In the Bleak Midwinter, Not so long ago'.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Mourinho's Party Trick Revealed.

Can't argue with that at the moment.
The JimmyG2 Column.

Textbook stuff from Mourinho: praising teamwork and team spirit; grabbing a goal; defending like a lioness protecting her cubs and grabbing a late, late winner to justify everything. An away win against an in form rival, an early Xmas present indeed.

The match had no narrative or shape for me because due to a clash with an annual family pre Xmas gathering I watched the second half before the first and then watched the recorded first half later.

I cant reveal how this technological miracle was achieved for a match that was officially 'not on live TV' because if I did I would have to kill you. Suffice to say the 'Musings' Internet Support Staff Team (Mrs JimmyG2) were heavily involved.

I knew from text alerts that Moura had scored an early brilliant goal and that we had successfully defended it until half time. I was given a  special 'Spurs' dispensation by my 3 teenage grandchildren to 'play' with my phone at the lunch table.

Wolves dominated possession, shots and corners, but we defended with some dedication which Jose applauded and though not the better team we ran out winners. We were careless with the ball, often resorting to hoofing it out, sorry, playing it long.

But it worked. Traore and Moutinho were the stand out best players but Spurs defended well against 11 corners, often our weak spot. Traore eventually scored a scorcher but that was it until SuperJan headed an Eriksen corner into the corner of the net.

Eriksen, yes that Eriksen, who was only on for a couple of minutes but got his second Premiership assist and Vertonghen his first goal. Not a bad moment to find their winning touch. Come back Christian all is forgiven.Almost.

Vertonghen was mightily roasted by Traore on a number of occasions but pulled his chestnuts out of the fire and stuffed them down Wolves' trousers for a fine finale. Commited team performance and three points to narrow the gap to Chelsea.

With Chelsea and Arsenal losing and Utd. and Leicester drawing, our chances of fulfilling Jose's prediction that we would finish in the top four took a big step forward.

With Chelsea up next at NWHL we could be in 4th. before Xmas if we win. Just saying.

The gap was 11 points a few weeks ago  but since then Jose has arrived and has overseen 4 wins out of five including two on the road and Chelsea have lost 4/5. We don't often profit from misfortunes of others but under Mourinho this tradition might be ditched.

Dier got his second assist in two games and hit the post from a clever Dele scooped pass. A much improved performance by him and justified Mourinho's trust in the midfield pairing with Sissoko.

But as Jermaine Jenas says this combination leads to lack of control because neither are good enough on the ball. No disagreement from me there. Long balls to the Fearsome Foursome up front  pays off because at least one of them is usually on form.

But with Ndombele unfit /injured; Wanyama done; Winks injured; Lo Celso not trusted and Skipp deemed not quite ready for first team starts there is not a lot of choice. Sissoko is indestructible and always available and Dier, Jose's chosen son.

This was the first time in two years that we had fielded the same starting eleven in consecutive matches and demonstrates Jose's preference for a settled team. No substitutions were made until the last couple of minutes.

Jose's party trick has been to make the whole more than the sum of its parts. If that concept is good enough for Aristotle it's good enough for Jose and me..

Champions' League Draw
Borussia Dortmund v Paris St.Germain

Real Madrid v Man. City
Atalanta v Valencia
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
Lyon v Juventus
Tottenham v RB Leipzig (First leg at home on Wednesday Feb. 19th.)
Napoli v Barcelona
No easy teams but some are tougher than others. Nearly as good a draw as we could hope for but Leibzig looked good in the group stage and topped their group.

The Champions' League website thumb-nail sketch:
Leipzig campaign in ten words: Bundesliga upstarts reach last 16 for first time; respect due.
Spurs ten word summary: Leaky defence, killer attack; can Mourinho fix 2019's losing finalists?
Not totally unfair really. 

Next up. Chelsea at NWHL on Sunday 22nd. at 4:30 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Two screamers and an exciting match. Wolves go to sleep at the end  leaving Jan unmarked, thinking 'Well it's only an Eriksen corner' and Spurs collect all three points.

Early errors by Sissoko and Sanchez went unpunished. Vertonghen not only survived but prospered.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Jose Hedges His Bets.

Which is more than Jeremy Corbyn can say
The JimmyG2 Column.
We got out alive from the final group game against Bayern by the skin of our teeth. Jose hedged his bets by including a few kids with some stalwarts to avoid a Pochettino scale defeat but it was a 'damn close run thing'.

They hit the post twice and the bar, missed a couple of sitters  and Gazzaniga did the rest. The goal by Sessegnon was a bonus and generally speaking the youngsters, Foyth, Sess and later Skipp, did better than the old hands, Dier, Sissoko and Eriksen.

Sessengnon became Spurs youngest Champions' League scorer at 17 years and 207 days. This could be the start of something good.

Dier was statuesque but not in a good way; Sissoko was a virtual passenger; neither full back, Rose nor KWP challenged for a starting place; Lo Celso was better than Eriksen but not by much; Toby stood up well under pressure alongside Foyth.

Bayern were slicker and quicker and their movement bamboozled us. But we more or less survived and Jose's reputation was preserved. Mission accomplished despite Coutinho's best efforts. But it was touch and go at times.

They outplayed us overall but in the end coasted to victory without bothering to disturb Lewandowski. Son and Sissoko had chances but Bayern probably had a gear or two in reserve.

Jose could have been bolder, it was a dead rubber after all, but he didn't get where he is today by risking all on a whim. He said of his approach.“Today was a play and prepare game when you put more emphasis on the players who rest than the players who play,”

If you say so Jose, if you say so. I suppose you have to balance all the pressures that weigh upon you, but this might have been an opportunity missed which might not come again this season.

We came second in a two horse race but it wasn't a complete walk-over. Key players for Wolves were rested, Sessengnon and Foyth signalled their readiness for a start and Dier and one or two others confirmed that they have not much to offer.

If we finish in the Top Six and have a Cup run he will have passed his qualification test but nothing is certain especially if the 'no transfers in January' or the 'sell to buy' policy declaration holds.

Rumour.  (8/10)
One signing Mourinho wants to make is that of the Lille sporting director Luis Campos. He has already taken to two members of the Lille technical staff,  the assistant coach João Sacramento and the goalkeeper coach Nuno Santes.

Rumour.  0/10)  Mauricio emerging as favourite for Arsenal job. (Mirror and others.)

Next Up
Away to Wolves on Sunday at 2pm. After that it's Chelsea in a classic pre-Xmas 'six pointer'.

Champions' League draw.
Monday 16th. at 11am. on BTSport1
We could get any of the following: PSG, Juventus, Leipzig, Valencia or Barcelona. Take your pick.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Featuring Ryan Sessegnon to celebrate his first start and first goal for Tottenham against Bayern. Musings 'Welcome to Tottenham' . This one's 'oven ready' as they say. Defense and attack. The new Gareth Bale we hope.

Monday, 9 December 2019

New Directions at Spurs.

Up next, the Hidden Dragon
 with the Sword of Destiny to follow.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
I'm not sure whether the imminent UK election is taking my mind off Tottenham's varying fortunes or that the revival of Spurs fortunes is taking my mind of the election and its possible dire consequence.

Now firmly established, well fairly firmly established, after the slip up by Chelsea, closer to the Top Four than the relegation three after winning four games from five. Hope has returned.

Yeah yeah, I know. It's the hope.....

Against Burnley we scored some cracking goals; Sissoko scored and hit the post; we kept a clean sheet, started fast; scored early, twice and had less of the ball than usual but did a lot more with it and more quickly.

Most interesting to me was that Parrott (17) and two 19 year olds, Sessengnon and Skipp, made  appearances. Mourinho  allegedly doesn't do 'youth' or exciting attacking football. File  them both under 'He does now'

Our best team performance for a while although Son will get the headlines for his Goal of the Season and Kane for his passing and two impressive strikes from distance.

This week we seem to be are out of the woods and checking the map for the directions to the sunlit uplands.

The contrast between our performance in midweek against United and Saturday's show against Burnley couldn't be starker. Now Burnley at NWHL  are not United at Old Trafford and United's win against City at the Etihad puts our loss into perspective.

United are a team on the up and Burnley are not but our attitude in both games is revealing. We seemed to feel the weighty Hand of History on our shoulders in midweek and didn't at any stage look up for the fight.

Vertonghen, for example, who was moody and disinterested in midweek seemed much more involved and Harry Kane too and the change in the attitude of the whole team was evident. Jose didn't even have to bring Eriksen on to salvage things.

Against Burnley everything changed in what Mourinho channelling his inner Trump termed a 'perfect telephone call, sorry performance'. Not quite because Burnley had a couple of chances in the first half but we know what he means.

Burnley only played as well as we allowed them to play.They are not a bad side but were not given the time and space to play. Even so we might have conceded in the first half but continued to press and play to our strengths and speed up front.

We smothered them at the back, gave them little space in midfield, outpaced, baffled and confronted  them up front. A complete team performance if not a pèrfect one. The difficult we do today, the impossible takes a little longer.

Son Heung-min has been directly involved in 15 goals in his 15 appearances at NWHL in all competitions, more than any other player (nine goals, six assists). and unlike at Old Trafford he was focussed and switched on.

Dele had a quieter game but he has been directly involved in seven goals in five games under Jose Mourinho in all competitions (four goals, three assists). Moura too was more effective and scored from a Dele assist.

Watching videos of the bench reaction to the game and especially Mourinho they seem much more involved and pro-active. Even at 5-0 up Jose hardly ever sat down and prowled his area like the Crouching Tiger.

The Hidden Dragon has yet to appear but hopefully when he does he wields the Sword of Destiny. Probably too late for this season but who knows what lies in store for next.

I hesitate to talk of breakthroughs or major steps forward and turning corners but that's what it felt like as I watched the  match. The almost forgotten Spurs spirit surged through me as Son ran through and more was to follow.

Watching Jose give the match ball to Troy Parrott suggested to me that something significant had happened. All fans like to see their own make it through the ranks but at Spurs we made a thing of it and Jose has picked up on it.

Young Troy  and Skipp could start against Bayern Munich. He wouldn't go that far would he. I don't put it past him. New Manager new directions.

Rumour of the week. 
Jose targets Fellaini to sign in January. Might undo a lot of the good will generated so far. On the positive side he is Belgian.

Next up
Tottenham round off their Champions' League group-stage campaign away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, with nothing at stake as both sides have already qualified for the knockout phase. Expect some changes.

In the Premier League action we are away  to Wolves next Sunday (14:00 GMT).

Jimmy's Video Spot .
Focus on Mourinho this week. I'm coming round but this is the new caring Jose, still crouching and prowling at 5-0. What's not to like?

I was going to put Son's goal on but you've probably all seen it, many times. Could feature later as 'Goal of the Season'

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.
The JimmyG2 Column.
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.
The JimmyG2 Column
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 
The JimmyG2 Column.
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.


 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?
The JimmyG2 Column.
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.
The Jimmy G2 Column .
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 at Home. Sorry, three.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Managers Survive after Mayhem.

Apart from that,
 how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?
The JimmyG2 Column.
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?
The Jimmy G2 Column.
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.
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.
The JimmyG2 Column.

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.
The JimmyG2 Column.
'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.