The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Spurs Fans Wouldn't Want It Any Other Way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**I've done the math.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Captures the mood beautifully.

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

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Lock Picking and Battering Rams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'There is nothing to fear but fear itself'.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

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

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

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

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Could Have Been Worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 19 April 2019

It's Only Tottenham: The Bottlers' Revenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jimmy's Video Spot.

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

Monday, 15 April 2019

Breakthrough Moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Doubters Gonna Doubt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Golden Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Everybody dreams'

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

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

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

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

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

Time for a few points deduction instead of fine.

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

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

Monday, 1 April 2019

They Think It's All Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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