The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Spurs Cutting It Fine.

The JimmyG2 Column

Your Correspondent with 11 minutes to go.

My whole life flashed before me when Fernando missed a sitter with his knee. But all was not lost as Son leveled the score with a sort of assist from the man himself.

Your correspondent with three minutes to go.

Fernando Llorente once again who wins it with a
header from a Danny Rose cross.

Mauricio says it is 'important to smile again' and Musings agrees.
One of the many reasons to like Heung-min Son.

We definitely deserved it but it was a damned close run thing. But you can do a lot in ten minutes: even rescue a reputation.

Son not exactly fresh but back from the Asia games was the key here showing a surprising energy and class to pose an intermittent threat and score the vital equaliser late in the game.

Llorente played the full match and justified Mauricio's faith in him by converting the first really accurate cross by Danny Rose into the far corner of Ben Fosters' goal with seconds, well minutes, to go.

It looked at one point as if Spurs despite a storming second half would fail to capitalise on the failures of City and Chelsea. Pundits and the media need once again revise their agendas and bottle factories amend their forward orders.

Top of the Table looks like this after 24 games ( only14 to go)

Position................Goal difference...........Points.
(1) Liverpool..................41........................61
(2) Man. City................  44........................56.
(3) The Mighty Spurs.....26........................54

(4) Chelsea.....................17........................47
(6) Man.Utd...................13.........................45.

Ten points to Wolves in 7th. the best of the rest.

On the last day of the Transfer Window Daniel Levy may have toyed with a token signing but looking at that chart you question why he would bother. The worst of the injury crisis is probably over, only Dele and Kane fully missing.

I say 'only' but why sign permanent, expensive replacements for a temporary crisis at this time of year? We play first and if  we beat Newcastle on Saturday we will be 2nd. (second) for at least 24hrs and possibly more Not too shabby all things considered.

Cathcart reprised his 'Lets all make Tottenham suffer' agenda bundling in a goal following an error of judgement by Lloris and weak defending again by Sanchez. Other than this the defence was solid, The substitution at half time of Moura for Aurier was astute.

Moura's direct running unsettled the Watford defence and he was fouled frequently. Aurier brings little to the attacking wing back role and first Sissoko filled in for him and then Trippier.

We dominated the second half with wave after wave of attacks and I was remarkably calm as it seemed likely that we would eventually score at least once. Winks was busy again especially in the second half.

I have written to the FA requesting that we be allowed to play our second halves first. I will pass on any reply that I receive. We have been behind at half-time five times recently so it would certainly be helpful.

Only Eriksen whose dead ball kicking was poor looked under par although with him it is difficult to tell as his style is so understated and his best work is done usually undercover.

 Alderweireld and Vertonghen were mainly untroubled especially as we increasingly pushed them back. Jan got a rest for Lamela but he failed to impose himself on the game. In the end it didn't matter and I mean the end.

A vital win and a show of spirit and resilience by the boys and good judgement by Mauricio.  Rose was prominent, getting forward well, drawing double cover and crossing poorly except for the one that counted.

Signings. Don't be silly.

Stadium. See Signings.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Time-wasting in extra time with Spurs 2-1 up. Not Time Waster-in -Chief, Ben Foster, obviously but our very own ball-boy who has been watching and learning. He upsets Success and tips the wink to Rose.

If he gets suspended Musings will initiate a petition to the Queen for his reinstatement. The ball-boy not Success who should have been booked.

Edin Hazard was once sent off for kicking a  Swansea ball-boy. Just saying.

Monday, 28 January 2019

No Signings to Shield Pochettino from the Heat.

Mauricio, not yesterday, but in happier times.
We're going to concentrate on the League.
Makes good sense considering.
The JimmyG2 column.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Not one of my favourite poets but his lines will act as a summary of  our our recent performances.:

And when Spurs were good, they were very, very good,
But when they were bad, they were horrid.
(With thanks to the HWL estate for permission to publish this version of his poem)

He died in 1882 funnily enough. At least he had rhythm, rhyme and reason which is a lot more than we did on Sunday against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

This diversion into the byways of 19th. Century poetry is just a way of putting off the depressing, evil moment when I have to turn to our weekend performance.

The Crystal Palace blazed and burned in 1936. nearly a hundred years after it was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Nearly a hundred years later  Tottenham burned too but not in a blaze of Glory.

OK,OK I'm getting there. We were horrid. They didn't even have to play that well to beat us.The 'Bring Back Andros, All Is Forgiven' Campaign gathers pace.

We played as if we were defending a two goal lead from the start. Unfortunately we hadn't got one. Three at the back and two defensive midfielders was total mega overkill and predictably killed the game especially ours.

The build up from the back was painful to watch with Sanchez the main offender. Without Winks and Eriksen or even Sissoko all rested or recovering there was no semblance of co-ordinated positive play.

Even so we had a score of shots but only 4 on target and a dozen corners but failed to capitalise on any of them. Palace defended stoutly and were not drawn out by our retaining the ball in defence.

Pochettino's priorities were clear and his after match comments confirmed it. In our current situation with more troops in the Field Hospital than available for the Front Line cups are not at the forefront of his mind.
Mauricio's version of the 'concentrate on the league' cliche. Not that we have much choice and his words may well come back to haunt him. He says he prefers a small squad and the Fates have handed him just that.

Qualification for the Champions League is our focus and I don't disagree. It's not so much losing it's the manner in which we lose that hurts.  With a depleted squad, fighting on four fronts was a couple of fronts too far.

To lose one cup game in four days may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness, as Oscar Wilde nearly said. We were horrid. Positives? Very few I'm afraid and I've got International Awards for digging positives out.

 Foyth at least looked like a footballer most of the time when few others managed it.. Lamela made a difference when he came on at half time. Skipp tried hard to fan the positive flames but single-handed he was fighting a losing battle.

 At least he showed for the ball and tried to make things happen, not always very successfully but very few others stood up to be counted. 

KWP playing on his wrong side gave away the silly penalty which undid much of his good work. But he cut back onto his good (only?) foot every time and didn't give Llorente a single cross to make a hash of. 

Moura and N'Koudou? Least said soonest mended. Sanchez and Vertonghen were painfully slow in the build up and Sanchez at fault for the opening goal. Gazza is proving to be as hopeless at penalties as his mentor and could have done better for the first goal.

Trippier, ah Keiran. Our first penalty miss apart from shootouts for a while. Actually he played OK, got forward consistently and even put in a couple of crosses. The penalty just before half time forever defines his contribution though.

Why did he take it? Well Dier and Moura failed on Thursday; Eriksen and Lamela who scored weren't on the pitch. Still a good question in the light of the attempt. Anyone but Trippier from now on.

There was no link up between midfield and the so called 'attack' until Lamela arrived. You see now exactly what Dele and Eriksen do. Our injuries finally crippled us and on this occasion too many back-ups failed. 

We had chances apart from the penalty which N'Koudou and Llorente shunned but in no way did we deserve other than what we got. Zilch. We don't often fail to score but we did on Sunday.

Slack defending gifted an early goal to Conor Wickham who has hardly played for over two years let alone scored and Kyle Walker Peters' handball completed the job.

So what does it all mean? Let's not go into full wrist slash mode. With Eriksen, Winks, Sissoko and Lamela and possibly Rose and Wanyama  all available to start on Wednesday against Watford our top three challenge is still on track.

Especially if Toby and Jan start at the back. Goal scoring is the problem. We can't always depend on Harry Winks can we. Son too has returned and could play a part. The fixture list is kind for the next three games all at home at least.

Of course it's possible it might all fall apart and that the much bemoaned failure to buy in some fresh blood will come back to bite us in the rear. I don't think so as long as no more injuries occur to key players and injured players make good progress.

Plenty of room in there for optimism to be thwarted and hopes to fall between the cracks but let's not go there yet.

Transfer Nonsense.
Our only two hot predictions aren't coming. Malcolm now wants to sign for Arsenal and Rabiot for Liverpool. But that's from The Sun so don't despair yet.

Jimmy's Video spot.
The Debate. Always liked J.J. They don't call me 'The Lame Ducks Helpline' for nothing. Mauricio's 'Project' is under pressure but with Daniel's support will certainlysurvive. Mauricio's face tells all.

He's feeling the heat but staying in the kitchen.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

A Very Tricky Problem for Spurs to Resolve

Person up people. I'm with this Greek guy. 
The JimmyG2 Column.
I feel like the old Music Hall warm-up turn. Nobody has come to see me and I am just getting in the way of the sob-fest main act we are all desperate to see. Some anyway, maybe most. Get your sponsored free tissues at the door.

The latest in a growing line of semi-final defeats and the third running under Mauricio. This must prove something, must have a cause and a reason. It must be down to a fault you can put your finger on. Somebody's got to take the rap.

Lack of investment comes to mind, apart from the billion spent on stadium and training facilities. The perennial lack of killer instinct, mental strength, not to say 'bottling' (I told you not to say 'bottling' tschk, boom).

If only we'd spent 3, 4, 5 hundred million. Chelsea having just sold their last but one International striker, played the other one and had another sitting in the stands. Only a late registration prevented his appearance.

They have cornered the market on loan players and have some 60 (sixty) players out on loan. The Wonga of the Football world, Loan Sharks Anonymous.We all hate Abramovich's Chelsea why would aim to emulate them.

I say it again: I am proud to be a Spurs supporter; I am delighted with our current approach;The two Carabao Cup finalists are two of the most seriously money addicted junkies in the Premiership and I don't want to be like them.

That's not winning trophies as I understand it. It's buying them and I want no part of it. Any day now FA will introduce 'Buy one, get one free'. 'You're supporting the right team then' I hear you say.

So be it. Losing in a penalty shoot-out in a Cup semi final is no disgrace after we had fought our way back from 2-0 down and a poor first half where we were second best in every way.

And it has nothing to do with mentality. This two legged tie was lost in the first leg when even with all our attacking 'stars' available we played poorly and took too small a margin to Chelsea for the second leg.

By then the squad was even more depleted. Dier bravely tried to re-enact the Battle of the Bridge but was clearly not fully fighting fit. He went awol during the game but unfortunately turned up for the shoot-out.

If you feel the tears drying up add Davies and Sissoko to the injury list, groin and knee respectively. Actually Davies did us a favour because it led to the introduction of Rose. He and Winks were prominent in the fight -back.

If history is your thing you might recall that in past years we would have won this tie on away goals. But they changed the rules for this competition. Now that's 'Spursy' but hardly Spur's fault.

Remember how we missed out on Champions' League one year because Chelsea won it. I seem to remember Messi hit the post from a penalty.. Clear anti-Spurs agenda. They changed the rules after.

And don't even mention pasta based pre-match  luncheons.
So if you came here for a wallow in self pity, a depression masterclass; a woe is me thrice woe  cry-in then you are in the wrong place. But you know that. You've come for comfort and re-enthusing. 

Perhaps Spurs fans would prefer us to go out earlier in the cups to avoid the heartbreak and hope. You know what they say about hope. Perhaps we could go back to languishing in mid table as we did for most of my Spurs supporting life.

Then all that tension and heartbreak wouldn't even come into the equation. No ambition, no disappointment, no anguish, no pain, just tedium and lack of hope.

But even if we had gone through and beat City in the final it wouldn't have counted from fans and pundits alike. The goal-posts would be quickly moved: Micky Mouse Cup and all that: it's the FA Cup that counts, or the Champions' League or the Premiership.

The moving goal-post problem is a tricky one and very difficult for Tottenham to resolve, especially if our own fans join in and give the oxygen of publicity to a pundit and media driven agenda.

Stop me if I've told you this before: the apocryphal moving the goalposts tale of  Jermaine Jenas. I've been telling this story for so long that I can't remember if I read it, was told it, or made it up myself . I wouldn't put it past me.

Anyway JJ had had a brilliant game: scored three; headed two off the line; replaced the injured goalkeeper and saved two penalties. Old Spurs fan to his mate as they left the ground. ''Ah yes, all very well..... but can he do it every week?'' You'll see.

Enjoy the moment, leave the future to itself, we are the victims of our own success and have raised premature expectations. We are ahead of the curve and trophies will come as a result of consistently playing well.

''We are such stuff as dreams are made on''  as little known Spurs fan Will the Bard once said. Keep dreaming my fellow fans.

Musings Mystery Corner (New Feature)
Why isn't Kevin Walker Peters getting more game time? Why replace Wild Bill Walker with Crazy as a Box of Snakes Serge Aurier when we have KWP?  He's been MOM in three of his four appearance.

Answers on a  postcard.

Transfer nonsense. Nothing new to report today. (Rabiot from PSG for 20 million is old news and in The Sun anyway) But like buses three will be along in a minute.

Next up: Crystal Palace, Sunday at 4pm. with or without Zaha. Blimey so soon I'd better get this posted. Another chance to raise or dash hopes.It's OK we got this.

Heung-min Son on his way back but knackered and jet-lagged so won't play this weekend. But welcome back anyway Sonny.

Stadium: Looking increasingly like next season. Expect an announcement any year soon

Jimmy's Video Spot.
'Vamos' Fernando. The High spot of the night: the goal that led to penalties, the low spot. Pleased for the boy and delighted that Mauricio played him.

Another delightful team goal. Lamela, Eriksen, Winks, Rose, Llorente: Goal!!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Levy Takes Out The Cheque-book.

Spurs backroom staff.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Who'd be a sports-writer? Half time and 19th. placed Fulham leading contenders on 4 fronts 3rd. placed Tottenham by an own goal scored by Great White Hope and Harry Kane understudy Fernando Llorente.

Imagine a smoke filled Reporters' room; disheveled men licking stubby pencils, green eye shades;. Does 'Spursy' have an 'e' in it Geoff? Has 'bottlers' got two 't's'?  I know, I know I'm stuck in a 1940's B movie.

'Bloody Winks. I'll have to start all over again with my match report for 'The Fake News Agenda Weekly'. What we going with Sub: Tottenham struggle without Kane? Or 'More injury woe for Spurs'.

No. Lets stick with 'City, United, and Liverpool win again as Sterling, Rashford and Salah score'. Or  'Pochettino still favourite for United.Managership'.

Anyway as fine a team goal as I've seen all season. We left it a bit late for the winner and Fulham helped us  gifting the ball to Eriksen for a pin point cross and a blindside run by Dele for the equaliser.

But who cares? As Benjamin Franklin said after signing the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 'We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.' I'm up for departing in good company.

Daniel Levy had the cheque-book out at half time but gratefully put it away again as an Academy Boy came up with the goods. Winks playing well, running non stop in Sissoko mode , playing his part in the winning goal and scoring it too.
Harry Winks v Fulham....Match Rank

Passes in opp. half........72......... .1st.
Possessions won........... 11......... 1st.
Shots on target.............. 2...........1st.
Goals..............................1....... = 1st 

and 62 of the 102 passes were positive. (Courtesy cider spurs (Spurs Community) and MOTD.)

 Damned lies, Fake News and statistics clearly. Can't think now why he isn't my MOM. Sorry Danny but he is OOOOwn.

The crucial takeaway from the game however was the hamstring injury to Dele with 5 minutes to go which could put him out for at a month. Make that two under Musings' Injury Guidelines.

We are going to miss him even with Dier,  probably Moura and possibly Sissoko back for Chelsea on Thursday. N'Koudou in a very brief  but effective cameo staked a claim too. Lucas and George could have a sprint off for a starting place.

A game of two halves again, but aren't they all. We were fortunate to be only a goal behind at half time even if we did score it. Hugo's early save from Babel ( yes that Babel) was crucial.

We controlled and played better in the second half. Sanchez who was all over the place early on responded well to the challenge of Mitrovich, the proverbial 'handful', and the back three dominated after the break.

We deserved to win in the end and playing last again on a weekend when all but Chelsea won we once more eschewed 'bottling', two 't's', and are for the moment safe in third with Chelsea now 4 points behind and Utd. and Arsenal 7.

What can possibly go wrong? The gap between 6th. and 7th. (Utd and Watford) is now 11 points so Europa League next year is virtually nailed on. Our goal difference is better than everyone except City and Liverpool.

Eriksen and Dele were quietly effective and Harry Winks more busily so. Llorente was awful and Lamela ineffective. Danny Rose a force of nature on the left was my MOM. Trippier  was careless and disappointing again.

So there you have it. We scored all three goals and gained all three points. My favourite Uncle, another ubiquitous Harry, a back street Fulham boy, was a huge Fulham fan. He died recently but he was a very nice man and I know he will forgive us.

Transfer Rumour (You couldn't make it up category)
Andy Carroll to Spurs for a mere 2 million. I know Llorente was bad but even an injured Kane would be better than either or both frankly.

Stadium. No news is not necessarily good news.

Jimmy's Video Spot

Best I could find. Doesn't actually show the superb build up to Winks' winner where virtually every member of the team touched the ball before N'Koudou's searching cross and Winks' second Premiership goal.

Fulham had chances,   but Ranieri thought them naive not to keep the ball and settle for a point at the end. He's not wrong, Uncle Harry probably agrees but thanks anyway. A good time for Pochettino's first ever victory over Ranieri.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Spurs Choose Their Moment.

  Six pairs, assorted sizes guaranteed football shooting boots.
Invoice to THFC.
The JimmyG2 Column.
How the Heaven's name did we lose that. That's me remembering just in time that this a Family Blog. Put another way: how in Heaven's name did we not win that. Such an important game to win or not to lose.

Not because it ultimately affects the top three but it gives succor to the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer myth; the Manchester United myths and our own sorry myths about our attitude and record in the crucial games.
Unlike Chelsea where we played poorly and won, this time we played well for most of the time and lost. When their keeper is MOM it tells a pretty accurate story. 11 shots on target saved in the 2nd. half.

But it was not so much brilliant goalkeeping as poor finishing from Dele and Kane in particular, chances that they would normally bury. 3 or 4 goals would have been fair and a draw the lowest of our expectations. But we don't do draws.

More worrying than the result were the injuries to Sissoko and Kane which at the time of writing is not clear how serious they are. Looks like Winks and Skipp in midfield then, or a major rejig of the entire defence.

A win would have more or less cemented the Top Four and opened up gaps with the rest. With Arsenal and Chelsea losing the damage to our top three hopes was not so severe but Utd are now level on points with Arsenal and rampant.

The post Mourinho Joy-Fest continues and we could have been in instrumental in raining on their parade and curbing their enthusiasm. At least it puts Ole in pole position in the next Utd.  Manager stakes.

No of course we we didn't throw the game to achieve this outcome. That's far too deep into conspiracy theory for me. He's not going: end of.

An unnecessary, poor, cross-field pass by Trippier cut out by Lingard led to the only goal of the match. A fine sweeping ball by Pogba to Rashford and a great finish. Not the first error by Trippier in the current campaign.

Lloris might have done better by advancing a step or two towards Rashford to narrow the angle a little more. He got a hand to it but could not keep it out. De Gea on the other foot got something to every one of our efforts.

Let's not dwell on it. We played well for the second half with Dele, Eriksen and later Lamela setting up chances We dominated shots and possession but came away empty handed. I was angry at the end and grumpy now, but it happens.

We certainly chose our moment to mislay our shooting boots.That new kit-man will have to go.

I wouldn't go as far as Mauricio to say it was our best football in his time at Spurs but to go down a minute before half time and then come out with some spirited and creative football you can see where he is coming from.

Darren Fletcher puts it all down to Ole's 'Master Plan'. Employing a keeper with big feet presumably.

The next few  Premiership games are eminently winnable (Fulham, Watford, Newcastle, Leicester) if we can find a dozen or so fit men and/or boys to take to the field. I hope Mauricio has kept his boots well dubbined.

With a whole week before the next game I am keeping to my blogging rule of not posting when I am  angry, tired, depressed, hungry, disappointed or drunk or any or all of the above. It's a wonder under the circumstances that I ever post at all.

I am much better today, thank you. Even the cat made a cautious re-appearance and I of course apologised to Mrs.JimmyG2 for the language. She said she hardly noticed. She's a real trouper.

Good News: It's only Fulham.

Bad News: Where to start. Son away for at least 3 games. Harry out for a minimum of a month. Sissoko not fully assessed yet but probably a couple of weeks.

Musings Rule of Thumb: Always double the original prediction.

Update on Bad News 
Harry out for two months now. I'm going to post this today before it gets any worse. We coped before but this time Son is missing. Step up chaps.

Especially you Senor Fernando.
'Can you hear the drums Fernando
I could hear the distant drums
And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar'
Drums and Bugle calls just for you.

Unless we buy or loan someone of course. Some misfit from Barcelona is in the frame (Malcolm 21) Musings Likelihood Rating 3/10

Stadium. Nothing new to see here, move on.
Transfer Window. Open. But see 'Stadium'. Unless we short term panic buy. Not advised but remember Sissoko was a last minute panic buy.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Let's change the focus. David De Gea v Spurs.  One man wall. Are you watching Donald? He's still got the same gloves he had when he first started because he doesn't bloody well use his hands very often.


Thursday, 10 January 2019

January Signing a Sop to Disgruntled Fans.

 Don't shoot the Messenger.
What did I say?
The JimmyG2 Column.
Never in the field of football conflict have so many played so poorly and won with fewer chances. Bad as we were though Chelsea  hardly laid a glove on us. This was our third successive win over them.

Let's hear it then for Harry Kane (MBE) an old fashioned warrior playing to the whistle and for VAR overruling correctly what would have been normally an offside decision. Harry's sixth goal in as many games.

Kepa Arrizabalaga had obviously not done his homework. Harry nearly always puts it to the keeper's right.  He seemed to anticipate a shot down the middle. and failed to put right the results of his wild tackle.

Chelsea won on all of the statistics: Possession 58%; shots 17/6; shots on target 5/4; corners 7/2, hit the woodwork twice and had the best player, Hazard. But we won on the only statistic that matters: goals scored.

A worrying watch with the outcome not at all certain. A game we would have lost in the not so distant past. The defense turned up especially Paolo, Danny and Toby but the attack seemed to have taken the night off.

Son (head already in Asia); Eriksen (head already in Madrid) and Dele (playing deeper) hardly threatened; the midfield were firefighting as the match went on but Toby's precise ball over the top and Harry's astute movement won the day. And VAR of course.

That's 'one season wonder' Harry's 20th for the season and he has now scored in all four competitions. Sissoko put himself about to good effect, Rose gave us another dimension on the left.

But there was little co-ordination between the midfield and the attacking players. Their high press disrupted and hurried our play but fortunately left them vulnerable on that one occasion.

Erik Lamela came on and was booked almost immediately. Amazingly he has never been sent off for us unlike his Manager who was sent off often in his career. Skipp replaced Winks and was trusted to see us out safely.

If Hazard was more of a team player rather than just individually brilliant; if Giroud had been on from the start or Harry Kane (MBE) had changed sides the result might have been different.

I think that Hazard would be of more interest to Real Madrid than Eriksen as a replacement for Isco. They like a bit of flash and show at Real. Eriksen is more Modric, unfussy and efficient but with the same vision thing.

My feeling is that Eriksen will sign a new contract and stay, as will Pochettino. If either leave the project stalls for at least a season or two, new stadium or not. I'm betting on Toby staying with us too though this could all be wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking? Who me?

Another giant step for Spurs towards a trophy which might help keep any malcontents in order. Next up liddle old Man.Utd.on Sunday. It falls to us the task of popping Solskjaer's bubble. We can do this.

Stadium update:
More apologies from DL, more rumours and reports about prototype fire alarm panels  all point to a mid March opening. Maybe. But I told you that weeks ago. Don't Shoot the Messenger. No news can be good news but some news is just plain bad news.

I wouldn't be surprised to see at least one in January as a sop to 'compensate' fans for the Stadium 'disappointment' and to convince Eriksen and Alderweireld to stay Rabiot is back on the radar.

Jimmy's Video spot:
Here's my compensation. Makes your collies wobble. Lovely 3 minute gem from TommyW on Spurs Community. Thanks. It will open you know. Trust me. All this will be forgiven if not forgotten.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Spurs Pass Another Milestone.

The Tranmere squad leave the ground
 after FA 3rd. Round Cup-tie against Spurs.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well we made a game of it, for them, with the early misses by Moura and Son but sympathy ran out at half time and we employed The Crusher for the second half.

It was the kind of result you always expect in these unequal contests but rarely achieve. Our biggest away win in the Whole Glorious History of Tottenham Hotspur.

The Crusher was probably a bit of overkill  but it was the second team 'Wot won it'. Milestones fly by every half mile at the moment: best start; most Academy on pitch simultaneously; fewest draws; most away wins; least spent; most away goals........

Harry Kane MBE came on for a guest appearance, smiled, waved to the crowd, showed his medal, scored and generally stole the show. On that pitch with some of the Tranmere 'heavies' it could have been a risk too far.

Mauricio explained that it was to give the opposition and their fans the opportunity to witness a football 'icon' and was simply the right thing to do. Don't you just love that man.

Dele (22) captain for the night, showing the utmost respect for the pitch which was even worse than Wembley, played at a studied half pace and under Eriksen's strict gaze from the support bench ran the show from start to finish.

Definitely the proverbial game of two halves with everyone except Moura shaping up for the second half, but his kind of skitterng speed-skating style was probably the biggest casualty of the conditions.

Skipp, without his mentor Winks who as a senior now was given the night off, eventually showed a much broader range of passing including an incisive through ball to set up Llorente for his second goal.

Aurier was a little wild as usual but doubled his Tottenham goal tally with a couple. The first which sent us in at half time ahead was a super-strike the second more mundane but he was well placed in a very attacking position to score.

At the end we had several of our own on display, too numerous to count. If some of them make it as well as Skipp that's another 100 million saved. And both central defenders 22 or under. Love it. Youth and our own.

Tranmere's old pro's tried to rough us up occasionally but their promise talked up by pundits and media failed to materialise. Too old, too slow too fat and too respectful a lot of the time to make much impression on the night.

In among Llorente's second hat trick in the cup, Aurier got a second and Son always a lively threat scored a nicely taken goal. Two assists and his 7th. goal in six games. Spurs have scored 33 goals in the last 34 days.

Once again our ratio of shots on target was better. (17 shots/12 on target) and allowed us to make better use of our possession advantage (72%) Credit to Tranmere they didn't park the bus but were penned in anyway.

Neithe of the two new, newcomers (Eyoma and Marsh) looked phased in the short cameos. Taking their cue from WKP and Skipp no doubt and their inspiration from Winks and 'icon' Harry Kane they all have high hopes.

I forget sometimes that these Academy graduates have had 10 years or more of intensive coaching at the club, have played 100's of competitive games and sometimes made dozens of foreign trips and appearances in International matches.

Good luck to them and all who sail with them. If we can produce one successful graduate every couple of years for ourselves or any other professional club the Academy runs for free.  

Our next match is the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea on Tuesday night. Get some rest boys and then go again. Lovin' it all.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
All the goals and both the misses. A goal fest: enjoy.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Spurs Disruption Over.

Normal service resumed at Cardiff.
The JimmyG2 Column. 
3 points, clean sheet, Boxing Day woes banished, fine start to 2019 and a terrible game after the first 26 minutes in which Cardiff played their full part. 3-0 game over but the regulations prevented us from leaving the pitch.

So we stayed and 'managed' the game. This consists of a slow motion motion loop: Hugo to Kierran; Kierran to Davison; Davison to Toby; Toby to Davison; Davison to probably Hugo or back to Toby; pass forward only if you have to.

Medical attention was required by several spectators from both clubs struck down by clinical boredom and several others remembered they had to be urgently elsewhere at half time.

But I hear you cry 'three points is three points' and this is undoubtedly true. Moreover nowhere on the tickets does it say or even imply that there is any obligation to entertain for a specific period.

So no injuries, very little energy expended; a fine performance from Christian Eriksen; three goals from three of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; another assist from Harry Kane and Mauricio's team selection vindicated.

As it says in the Gospel according to Saint Poch: 'Them as letteth us down shall be charged with getting us back up again'' and they did. Rose for Davies was the only change from the last team of last year.

The only real disappointment for me was Dele who played again as if he had other things on his mind and seemed angry with himself when subbed late on. He was a crucial half a second late at everything.

Fittingly they contributed our first goal, off Harry's knee after a goalmouth mix-up within two minutes of the start. They had no time to park the bus and the visitors, team, management and fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

2019 started well and threatens to be a very good year. Ten minutes later Erikson scored delightfully from the edge of the area and within half an hour. Son, with his 8th goal in 9 games put matters beyond doubt.

The last hour was tedium personified, Toby and Davison controlled the pace; Skipp got another 15 minutes; Llorente got a farewell, allegedly, 5 minutes and Sissoko, showing all his recent strengths and weaknesses, had another good game.

Opinions vary on Winks who I thought played well, always showing for the ball and busying himself in the engine room, polishing the copper fittings, swabbing the floor and oiling the moving parts. But I'm biased as he is one OOOO.

I believe though that being schooled at our Academy gives our own an extra dimension in terms of loyalty and application, they kiss the badge with genuine pride. He's not as good as Modric or Carrick but nor were they at 22.

Rose was a marked improvement on Davies and made a couple of saving headers at the back post ahead of Paterson. He often ignores the 'keep it tight' message and sets off downfield regardless. God bless you Tiny Dan.

Trippier didn't overly impress going forward or back. KWP, Foyth, Gazzaniga and Skipp might get the nod against Tranmere on Friday. Lamela might return from wherever he is currently; Dele might find his form and Harry Kane might hit the net thrice to go ahead in the Golden Boot stakes.

None of the players currently injured are available for Friday though Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela are all back in training.Victor Wanyama is still recovering.

We continued the trend of having fewer shots but more on target though Sissoko obviously missed the intensive shooting practice sessions. The low card (1 Bamba) and foul count (12: 6 each) indicates the lack of intensity on this occasion.

But a stroll down the docks and an easy win was just what Spurs needed and as you all say, 'A win, is a win' and is worth 3 points whether it was an exciting game or not. It wasn't.

Top of the Table
After yesterday's games the table looks like this

..... team........... P.....GD....Points
1) Liverpool.....20....40......54
2) Tottenham....21....25......48
3) Man.City......20....38......47
5) Arsenal........21.....15.....41 
6) Man.Utd.... .21.....11.....38

Liverpool and City play tonight: 

A) If Liverpool win they are out of sight but we stay second.
B) If City win we go third but keep in touch with both.
C) If  they draw we go third but keep in touch with both.
Hmm. Anything but a Liverpool win obviously, I think.

Glenn is recovering after leaving hospital. HNY and GWS.

 Clickbait Watch.....Spurs to make move for Hazard.(Various sites)

Neil Warnock is obviously not familiar with the Brer Rabbit stories or our record at Wembley.. When captured by Mr Fox Brer Rabbit says  that he can punish him in any way he likes except throwing him in the terrible Briar Patch.

So of ourse Mr Fox decides to do just that and throws him in the Briar Patch....where Brer Rabbit was born.
'Oh no anywhere but Wembley Brother Warnock'.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
It's in foreign because the spoilsports at the FA or Sky or wherever don't take them down after 24hrs.
Harry Kane does brilliantly  in the build-up for the first though the actual 'strike' is a bit fortunate.

He has 6 assists for the season so far. He's never got more than 7 in a full season.

All over 25 minutes in. I'm old school and like us to play positively for the full 90 minutes + extra time. Bring the subs on early if we need to rest  someone.