The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Tottenham Fans Can Relax, It's Only Temporary.

We are suffering now.
But like life it's only temporary. 
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Some of my favourite words apply here. Take'debacle' for a start in which Lloris and Trippier have a starring role, particularly Lloris, nut-megged for the first and failing to take charge for the second.

As a 15 year old in the 50's I was taught never to pass back between the posts and 'when in doubt hoof it out'. What have we achieved in the meantime in pursuit of the God 'Progress'?

'The Vicissitudes' of life' is another applicable favourite. Injuries, including the loss of Eriksen who was clearly listening to the Real/ Barcelona Copa del Rey sem-final on discrete headphones for most of the clash with Chelsea.

The Stadium that didn't roar; the pre-season that never was; the signings that didn't arrive all add up to the tale of woe and thrice woe that Tottenham's season is in danger becoming.

The first time in 5 years that we have failed to get a shot on target if you ignore Harry Winks' effort that beat Caballero and hit the bar. Payback for Higuain's effort that hit the post in the first half.

We resisted Chelsea's opening surge and coped but without threatening for the rest of the half. And then the 'fiasco' (there's another) erupted. Alderweireld covering Davies allowed Pedro inside and he scored from close range.

Toby, and Sanchez had done OK until this point which is a bit like saying he had led a blameless life until he murdered his Mother and was executed.

Worse was to come towards the end when Trippier and Lloris conspired to turn mere defeat into shameful ignomy.( there's another).A headed flick on by Giroud caused inexplicable confusion and the rest as they say is best forgotten.

Our record against Chelsea at the Bridge is dreadful, one win in 33 games it is alleged. A third consecutive loss against Arsenal on Saturday doesn't bear contemplating. It would reduce the gap between us to 1 point down  from 10 not long ago.

A draw would suffice as a temporary holding measure and allow us to regroup and refocus for the 9 remaining games. Without something positive to grasp our season could self combust.

Although all our nearest rivals did well last night, some winning handsomely, we are still 4 points ahead of Arsenal, 5 ahead of Man.Utd and 7 up on Chelsea who have a game in hand. Normally we wouldn't be worried.

It would be unfair to deny the 'doomsters their moment in the sun and there is no avoiding the fact that a total eclipse is on the cards if we lose to Arsenal. A win and the sun bursts forth in all its glory. A spirited performance reverses the death spiral.
Now I am Internationally famous for finding nuggets of gold in the trash can of defeat but I am struggling on this one. Just before half time we got more control, pressed harder and temporarily stemmed the flow.

Several players were OK including Trippier who saw off Hazard with the help of Sissoko but several went AWOL including Son, Lloris and Eriksen. Davies was his normal average self and what is the point of Moura.

We are desperately short of creativity when Eriksen is elsewhere in his head and Dele is a big miss. Harry Kane needs managing as he seems to play when he likes, where he likes.

Winks gave his usual honest performance but it's a team game and he had little help from those ahead of him. We bolstered Sarri and Chelsea's confidence at precisely the wrong moment possibly to our own detriment.

Third is still on and progress in the Champions' league probable next week. All is not yet lost but Saturday's NLD is even more crucial than usual. Sort it Mauricio; come back Dele all is forgiven.

And as Kurt Cobain said in his suicide note: 'It is better to burn out than fade away. Let's feel the burn Tottenham starting on Saturday.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
I'm sparing you the Highlights of the Chelsea game because I'm a nice person. Here is something to make you feel better.

'Nirvana' which is the state we will achieve if we beat Arsenal, performing 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. Listen to this and shape up. Things could be much worse.

Monday, 25 February 2019

What's Our Excuse?

Come in Number One your time is up.*
What do you mean 'No'?

The JimmyG2 Column.
 The no-draw run goes on. The certificate will be have pride of place in the NWHL trophy cabinet e if nothing else is won this season. And it is certainly looking slightly bleaker on the Premiership front.

The Champions' League is still on but that's for another week. Before then we have  some challenging games starting on Wednesday against Chelsea and Arsenal at the weekend in the Premiership.

It's all bubbling up nicely. Burnley was a bridge too far so let's hope the Bridge is not a bridge too far too. Burnley or some similar mishap was bound to happen. Since Wolves we have had four wins and a good performance and victory against Dortmund.

So we have had lots of chances to 'bottle' it and stared them all down. 'Losing' is not the same as 'bottling'. You didn't really think we were going to win every game did you. Nobody else does why should we.

But that doesn't mean we have to adopt and enhance the pundits and media agenda. They do the bottling story for money: what's Spur's fans excuse.

This was a collective failure and the blame should be fairly shared. Some were arguably worse than others but it's a team game. Aurier, Sissoko,Son, Eriksen and Foyth will bear the brunt of the brick-bats for tepid play or error strewn performances.

But apart from Harry Kane who else deserves the plaudits? With Harry back Son seemed to take the day off. Foyth and Aurier were apparently 'targeted' and didn't disappoint as they both seem to have a built in clanger or two in their basic make-up.

Again the build-up was painfully slow and though the wing backs got forward the final ball was poor. The last time Kyle Walker Peters played he made three assists so the fact that he is being ignored seems very strange.

Even Trippier might have had a point to prove against his old colleagues. and why was the more physical and robust Sanchez given the day off. So many questions and so few answers..

Both Foyth and Rose need to keep it simpler. They both overplay and ignore the obvious. Not a Cardinal Sin in the Grand Scheme it can be a positive fault but there's a time and a place for everything.

Saturday against an in form Burnley was neither the time nor the place.

Harry Kane started and played the whole game and his selection was at least justified by the goal and the brilliant save by Heaton from his shot from distance but he didn't do a lot else and seemed to throw our winning team out of joint.

But as in previous seasons we had won many games without him and we seemed to enjoy a collective away-day in every sense of the word. Sissoko reverted to his former self and was left on when Harry Winks was sacrificed.

Thereafter there was no control and little industry in midfield. Starting Foyth against the two Burnley Bruisers might have worked if Toby had been on his game. We were hesitant and failed to grab the game by the scruff of their neck.

So to put it bluntly we were poor and the subs and initial team were ill conceived. Mauricio obviously doesn't have the benefit of my 20/20 hindsight but he can be a very stubborn man.

This was at worst only a Mini-Meltdown, we dominated all the stats and both Eriksen and Lamela fluffed chances at the end and we won't be the only ones in the top six to falter before the end of the season.

With Man.Utd. and Liverpool drawing the damage is not  quite terminal. Liverpool were pretty poor and do not look obvious  Premiership winners, but we have a tough week in theory against Chelsea and Arsenal.

In fact the Oscar award for 'Best Bottlers' might yet go to Liverpool or even the England Rugby Union or cricket squads. There are signs that the press are cooling towards our success in this category as Liverpool come up increasingly short in the title race.

They were only being polite in pretending that we were in with a chance anyway and now they have much bigger fish to fry. As the man nearly said 'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and the press are blaming it on you'.

Chelsea's 120 minute saga in the Carabao Cup final might play into our hands too. An energy sapping and dispiriting loss to Man. City on penalties and a 'sensational bust up between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Sarri might give us an edge.

Neither the young keeper nor the Manager might be still in place by Wednesday which uncertainty might help to give us more focus than we showed at Burnley. A draw in both this week's games would not be disastrous in terms of the top four in any case.

Temporarily after the weekend 'alarums and excursions' the heat is directed elsewhere. Back in the cool shade under the radar again.

The word on the street is 'April'.

Trivial Pursuit Teaser. 
Apart from Arrizabalaga what other word has 5 'A's in it. Answer next week. No prizes.

* You wouldn't get away with this on Mablethorpe's Boating Lake let alone at a Caraboa Cup Final at Wembley. A high power motor boat would soon tow you in.

Latest news
Mauricio charged by FA for confonting Dean after the Burnley game. He's already apologised so the only question is how big is the fine. Unless he pleads first offense or takes the 5th..

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Let's turn form the everyday inconsequential temporary trivialities of football and concentrate on the essentials of life and death. I know, I know football is much more important.

A longish and heartwarming post recovery interview with Glenn Hoddle. Feel the love.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

This One Could Run and Run

I don't think so. This one could run and run.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well would you 'Adam and Eve it?'. We nicely clear the decks for a determined assault on the Premiership title and then virtually seal our passage into the last 8 of the Champions' League.

Borussia Dortmund need to win by four clear goals in the second leg, after a scintillating second half display at Wembley. 'Scintillating' Now there's a word I've  not used very often this season.

Banana skins? We eat them.

But the Tottenham Palace of Varieties presented an All Star Show and Party: ringmaster Mauricio Pochettino; featuring Christian E the Magician with  Moussa Sissoko as the Strong Man, Fire Eater and Sword Swallower ably assisted by The Boy Wonder, Harry Winks.

Things got off to a slow start and our German visitors consumed more than their fair share of the warm beer and stale canapes on offer. Events were to liven up considerably later with the closing fireworks.

Lucas Moura  arrived early but his party piece misfired and dampened his enthusiasm and he sat out the festivities for the most part. Party Poppers became party poopers at the start.

Lloris performed the scene from Macaulay's  'Horatio on the Bridge' ( 'They shall not pass') for the benefit of an enthusiastic audience just before the intermission and the scene was set for a Gala performance

Llorente popped in just before the curtain fell and revealed that his reputation for being one step a head of the crowd was not misplaced. 'For One Night Only' stage managed increasingly by Christian Eriksen deserves an extended run.

Star turn was SuperJan the Left Foot Wizard who not only helped himself to the plaudits but helped Heung-Min Son achieve his death defying 11 from 12 stunt. 

The Management are hoping that this show will run and run and a second performance has already been booked for a fortnight's time in Germany. Locations for repeat performances are uncertain after that. Watch this space.

We lived on my fingernails in the first half with nervy displays in the back chorus line; Foyth, Sanchez, Aurier and even Toby. Young. Wonderkid Sancho was living up to his reputation in the wings for Dortmund, temporarily anyway.

But enough of this nonsense:

We were hesitant before half time with a slow build up, misplaced passes and players caught on the ball but Mauricio sorted it all out at half time, and we dominated the midfield at last and freed SuperJan to reprise his Left Flank Tribute Act.

Son scored within three minutes of the restart to settle the nerves and our usual late blitz blew them away. We pressed harder and more quickly and they seemed bemused and disorientated.

 Borussia Dortmund seemed content to take a 1-0 loss back to their intense 80.000fans and the 'yellow wall'. They put the cart before the horse in that case.

Llorente in a cameo performance cleared from a corner at one end and then scored with a glancing header from an Eriksen corner to add insult to injury to Borussia's Champions' League hopes.

They had a clear edge in a disorganised first half performance by Spurs but were outplayed and outscored in a rampant second half. By the end the clear 5 point leaders of the Bundesliga were reduced to flickering shadows.

The archetypal 'Game of Two Halves' without a doubt but we discovered something about ourselves in the second half, something more than just fitness and organisation, something more intangible which involved team spirit and dedication.

In the replay both teams will have key players back but the quarter finals beckon if Spurs remain calm and resolute.Who would have thought it? Well me obviously. Nothing like a win going into the long break before Burnley.

In Son's last 12 appearances he has scored 11 goals and made five assists. Will Harry Kane become the understudy on his return to fitness? No me neither.

Yet another opportunity to bottle it which we er......bottled.

Toby Alderweireld New Contract.
Insiders claim he has twice refused a contract which does treble his wages to 150.000 per week. Spurs will not deal on the grounds that his agent moved the goalposts after agreeing.

Musings say 'pay the man'. We are a better team visibly and statistically with him on board and if he is only being paid 50.000 currently this is a disgrace. He plays fair on the pitch and agents' shenanigans are irrelevant.

Nose: face. in our view.

Stadium. What Stadium?

Signings Who needs them?.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
I love this clip. Calm build up for the first and a super strike. Incisive play for the second. And a reminder that Dele is on his way back. Nice play from Sissoko too.

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Good; the Bad and the Ugly.

 Clint Eriksen/ Christian Eastwood.
Well have you ever seen them together?
The JimmyG2 column.
Ugly win: beautiful three points.We took our chances and rode our luck. Fortune smiled upon us even if Michael Oliver did not. Apparently Leicester, a more than 'robust' team, didn't commit a foul until the 52nd. minute.

We won a game we perhaps could easily have lost but as we have found to our cost in the past if you create chances and don't take them you are doomed to fail. Doomed I tell you.Thank the Gods of Football, and Hugo Lloris and move on.

Leicester had more shots and more on target than us, more corners and more clear cut chances and the game centred on two penalty decisions: one given and saved and one not.

Son was booked for simulation following clear contact by Maguire. It's the perennial catch 22. Don't go down and you simply won't get the penalty. Go down and you might get a yellow. The over reaction to Son by Maguire was a clear diversionary tactic.

The other penalty saga after at worst a clumsy challenge by Jan on Maddison summed up Leicester's afternoon and led to a rare penalty save by Hugo. Maddison was primed to take it but he has already missed two this season.

Vardy ready to come on and pumped up with adrenaline and a sense of injustice after being left out of the starting line-up took over and put it well within Hugo's grasp who guessed right. Justice all round.

Two minutes later Eriksen who had already assisted Davison Sanchez' first goal for Spurs on half an hour scored a beauty from outside the area again following a lay-off by Llorente.  Game over on the hour.

Er.. well not quite Leicester were playing some good approach play and at last Vardy converted a chance. Pressing for the equaliser was their undoing. Sissoko swept a ball up the line to set the 'Simulation One' free and he sprinted away to score confidently.

Hugo was outstanding; Winks and Sissoko battled man and boyfully in midfield but Skipp was a little overwhelmed although his interception led to our second and vital goal. Leicester's new signing 21 yr.old Tielemans was a key player.

Game over; game on, game over. Three points to Spurs and we remain contenders at least in our own estimation. Another 'bottling' opportunity spurned. Is ''resilience' the new 'mental strength'?

Who needs our two key players Kane and Dele? Well we do for the run in and the Champions' League. But with Son buzzing and Christian Eriksen with 11 assists better than most even when he's not on song we are more than holding our own.

Spurs goals and assists this season.

Total (Combined - Name - Goals - Assists) All competitions.
26 - Harry Kane - 20 - 6
23 - Heung-Min Son - 15 - 8
18 - Christian Eriksen - 7 - 11
12 - Dele Alli - 7 - 5

10 - Erik Lamela - 6 - 4
10 - Fernando Llorente - 6 - 4
9 - Lucas Moura - 8 - 1
5 - Kieran Trippier - 1 - 4
4 - Serge Aurier - 2 - 2
3 - Kyle Walker-Peters - 0 - 3
3 - Danny Rose - 0 - 3
2 - Eric Dier - 2 - 0
2 - Oliver Skipp - 0 - 2
2 - Davinson Sanchez - 1 - 1
2 - Moussa Sissoko - 0 - 2
and 6 more with a single goal or assist.
Llorente charging up the chart, Son making hay in Harry Kane's absence and Eriksen assisting for free.

(Courtesy of Carpediem991 and Spurs Community)

Sonny now has ten goals in 11 games. Eriksen in his five years with us leads the Premiership in goals from outside the area and we are joint leaders with Arsenal for the bookings for simulation trophy.(4)

We switch to the CL on Wednesday after a less than generous rest at 'home' in the first leg to Borussia Dortmund. I wouldn't be surprised if we won it, they are struggling with injuries and not in top form. There that's jinxed it.

So the Good was the result; the Ugly was the manner in which we achieved it and the Bad? Can't think of anything except referee Michael Oliver but three points is always the Path to Forgiveness.. 

Stadium. Mauricio hints that we might not play our first game at NWHL until next season. Cheesed off at the news?

Well apparently the famed 'Cheese Room Experience' was only a PR guff anyway. It's gonna get worse before it gets better. But you know that.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Mauricio playing his cards cannily ahead of Borussia Dortmund. Dier, Moura, Foyth and Lamela probably all available and rested. Scrappy stuff from Spurs but 3 goals is a good return from this performance. Fourth win in a row.


Monday, 4 February 2019

Spurs Looking Up

Haway Lads! Zero Hours and Minimum Wage. Best I can do.
Don't be giving Daniel ideas Man.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Getting nose-bleeds now aren't we as Spurs continue to defy gravity, the pundits, even some of our supporters and soar into the dizzy heights of second place no matter how temporary it proved to be.

The recent fixtures have been kind, agreed, and things will get tougher later this month no doubt but in the spirit of  young Winks: 'Bring it on'. At last I understand what 'Audere es facere' actually means.

Although it's times like these that bring to mind the Doctor's advice I once received that in view of my age and state of health Spurs were not the ideal team for me to support: much too much excitement, hope and disappointment.

He suggested a well run team that these days don't threaten to promise great things like Derby or Nottingham Forest. Derby did get promotion to the Premiership but went straight down again. I'll bear it in mind Doc.

Our third late victory in a row  over a limited, well organised  resolute Newcastle side. It took a goal-keeping error by Duprovka from Son but  Lamela and Eriksen come close three times before that and Moura and Llorente both missed  good headed chances.

We have already scored more headed goals than any other team but unfortunately we were unable to add to our tally. Son however made it nine goals in his last ten appearances as he once again stepped up to minimize the impact of Harry Kane's absence.

Another occasion when we needed to win to maintain our challenge to the top two and once again we did the business without flinching. Rondon hit the post with a header but was well marshaled overall by Sanchez.

Curiously we put plenty of crosses in when Moura was leading the line and not so many when Llorente was on. But they both missed anyway. Moura is better on the wing where he has space to run into.

The other Harry once again made his mark in another energetic and effective display. But this was a determined team performance with everyone except Lucas Moura playing well. Llorente assisted again by laying off to Son for the goal.

Mike Ashley was there  taking time off from buying up what remains of the High Street to judge the lack of progress of one of his previous purchases. It is not true that the Newcastle players are on minimum wages and zero hours contracts.

Jan was a revelation as a  virtual  left winger and despite his lack of pace beat his fullback and put in several crosses that on another day might have led to goals.

Sissoko playing to orders filled in the gaps, Toby led the charges out from the back, Eriksen was increasingly influential as the game went on twice denied by goal-line saves by out-field players.

Mauricio is not ruling out a continuing challenge for the title, so why would I? Neither Liverpool or City are nailed on in my view. We are 5 points off the top; 2 points off second and seven clear of Chelsea. And, not that it matters, 10 points ahead of Arsenal.

If Guardiola thinks that there is plenty of time for City to overhaul Liverpool then that must put us in with considerably more than half a chance. The same amount of chance that City give or take a couple of points.

''And now they can feel the hot breath of the challengers on their necks''. Commentator after the failure of Liverpool to get 3 points against W.Ham on Monday night. That's us folks.

In fact Liverpool bore no resemblance to a team worthy of winning the Premiership and on clear cut chances W.Ham should have won it.

Signings. That ship hit the iceberg days ago.

Stadium. Rumors now homing in on the Brighton game on 6th April.

Harry Kane/ Dele Alli Return.
Both sooner than expected which is good news for the London Derbies and possibly BVB.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
No. Why? Never: Mauricio telling it like it is.