The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Tottenham to go back to move forward.


 
 Spurs just waving not drowning
for the moment anyway
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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I spent most of yesterday following the Test on the 'wireless' and it ended conveniently enough with a sensational win to preserve our Ashes hopes in time to for the Spurs game. Thanks  Ben.

So I began to watch the game against Newcastle game in a high state of elation and optimistic anticipation. Here surely was our first home banker  to celebrate Mauricio's 500th. game and a chance to go above Arsenal into third.

I observed Newcastle's ten man defence and our ponderously slow, deliberate and painful approach work with growing apprehension. Would this one go the way of several others in recent history. In less than half an hour my deepest fears were realised.

Sanchez allowed Joelinton to run off   him and he was found by a fine ball by Atsu which he controlled well and beat Hugo for his first Newcastle goal. Danny Rose was slow to realise the danger and we were 1-0 down..

No need to panic just yet we did the same against Aston Villa and won and against City and drew.

To cut a sad story short, little changed until Eriksen injected a little positivity with half an hour to go. But even he and Lo Celso could do little to alter the tedious mindset we were in and nothing else troubled the scorers.

Eriksen played aball inside the full back for Sissoko who pulled it back to HK but he couldn't control the shot and the moment passed. Lo Celso sent Harry awy inside the box but he was obstructed by a flying Rugby tackle. Nothing was given.

Kane should have had a penalty but so should Newcastle earlier. Mike Dean was content to let VAR take the blame but as in the other game the on-field decision stands unless controvertible evidence emerges to the contrary.

Moura missed a 'sitter' late on which would secured the draw but I'm not sure if we deserved it. No I am sure, we didn't. I would gladly have accepted even the loss of the Ashes for  a Spurs victory here.
Sorry Ben.
 
The full backs both got down the flanks but without real intent and few effective crosses were forthcoming. We had 80% possession and 2 shots on target.Although we had more shots (15/5) They had 20% and 3 shots on target.

So no knee jerk from me but all is not completely well at Tottenham. Mauricio said we lacked passion and aggression. But what we actually lack is creativity, movement and the skill to break down blanket defences; more speed of passing and positivity of approach too.

That's all down to you and your game plan Mr.Manager. We haven't played well for some time but technology and the failure of others have earned us the rewards of a top four place and a Champions' League final.

His observation that the team lacked unity and desire is perhaps more worrying. Again that falls into your in-tray Mauricio and needs dealing with urgently not allowed to fester. 'Unsettled' is the current buzzword but thee are no concrete reasons offered.

Injuries and tiredness were last season's excuses but they don't apply now although KWP's injury may require some re-jigging in the absence of Aurier who may be leaving and Son though willing is not up to match form yet.

The Newcastle game highlights our failings and this early set-back may allow team and Manager/Coach  to reset the GPS. We need to keep and play Eriksen and the return of Dele Alli hopefully for the NLD should help.

The midfield of Winks and Sissoko is not progressive enough as both look to recycle the ball neatly and tidily but without the forward speedy progress necessary to apply pressure when required. Lamela buzzed but failed to sting.

Moussa may be reverting to his pre- reincarnation position and looked better at fullback. New signings Ndombele and Lo Celso are either injured of not up to speed. Dier too is still strangely absent.

Sometimes you have to go back to go forward and Dier's recall could be a stabilizing influence on a team losing it's way at the moment. The return of Vertonghen out of favour for whatever reason would add to our defensive stability.

Mauricio faces some hard choices this week on formation; team selection and playing style ahead of an obviously crucial fixture but at least he has a full clear week to respond to this wake-up call.

Injuries and complex player situations won't help and for Arsenal it could be good time to face us. Win it and of course everything changes but papering over the obvious cracks won't suffice in the long term.

To summarize the Newcastle game: no press, no imagination, no movement, no energy, no goals, no points. Few excuses.

Some of this is down to Mauricio and some to individual errors but it would be harsh to criticize individuals when team effort and organization were more at fault.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Full highlights. Sorry couldn't find anything decent and shorter. Not sure whether Mike Dean is biased or just incompetent. VAR didn't come to our aid on this one.


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Spurs Reap the Benefits.


 Very Advantageous Result.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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You lucky boys. How did we not lose that? Well basically City did a Spurs: dominated possession; played very well; won all the stats but only contrived to score 2 from 30 efforts. We've been there.

We only had 3 efforts and managed to score the same number of legitimate goals as City. The VAR disallowed goal is another matter entirely. Lightening struck twice and City were well and truly frazzled again.

Spurs saved by the rules; Hugo; dogged and sometimes fortunate defending and our ability to score a couple against definitely not the best defence in the league.

I would have taken a point before the game and that's exactly what we got even though as in the Villa game we did it in our own inimitable way and could count ourselves lucky to finish on even terms, eventually.

We will fall foul of a VAR decision before long and possibly quite soon. So we can bank that one and try not to be too outraged when the positions are reversed.

City were impressive but we dug in and kept them out. We were outplayed but not outscored and had Dele and Son missing and new players not yet quite up to speed.

Hugo and the back line played pretty well considering the quality they faced. Lucas and Erik seemed to have discovered the useful knack of scoring goals when we need them.

On this showing we are not going to win the league or even challenge but if the team settles and shows continuing grit as it usually does these days we have enough quality to secure yet another top four.

And a CUP perhaps.

We haven't won a Premier League away game since January and lost our last six in a row away from home at the end of last season. Defeat at City would have equalled our worst run since 2000 and the days of George Graham. (BBC)

Last season, we lost four of our five away games against established top six opponents and had also taken just four points from our previous nine games at Manchester City's ground.

So that's progress no matter how it was achieved. We were outplayed but not outscored and will take this improvement into the games ahead. It's still a funny old game but with technological knobs on.

Poor refereeing and linesmen’s decisions often spoil the game but VAR will introduce it's own quirks, oddities and delays. It will spot transgressions which the referee does not and could not see.

But it's the same for everyone and strictly speaking it's fairer in the purest sense. We have benefited hugely twice, both against City and we will share their pain quite soon no doubt.

They tried and almost succeeded in overwhelming us 'early doors', scored a fine goal, pressed and harassed and looked runaway winners. But this is the New Spurs, not quite like the old Spurs.

Lamela equalised within minutes of Sterling's headed opener and Moura headed in from a corner within seconds of coming on to wipe out Aguero's close finish. De Bruyne was outstanding and assisted both City's goals.

So positives to take away but City are the best that foreign money can buy and there is no shame to be second best to them especially when you sneak away with a draw.

Newcastle up next currently nestling in the bottom three at NWHL on Sunday.

The New Stadium.
Aims to:
1) Excite the fans
2) Inspire the players.
3) Intimidate the opposition.

I did the Tour and took in the Tottenham Experience and I am certain it achieves all three. So impressive. Why would anyone want to leave, Christian?

My thanks to Guadalupe, Mitchell and Ross who squeezed us onto a Stadium Tour at the last moment and Vince who was our tour guide. Fantastic.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Giovanni Lo Celso, the 'Argentinian Magician' as he's known, qualifies for a video now that he's signed and made an appearance. Only five minutes but that's more than enough.

Is he at long last the midfielder that can tackle and pass? Looks like it from the videos. Tanguy Ndombele might fit the bill too. Here's hoping, especially if Christian leaves.


Monday, 12 August 2019

Spurs not giving up.



 The key (ring) to success.

Tottenham have won 37 Premier League games
 after finding themselves behind at half-time - 
more than any other side.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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I got the final score correct on the prediction website I frequent but not the scorers or the order of scoring or the time. In other words I thought we would win but not quite in the way that we did..

But I've seen that film before, except in true Hollywood style in the remake they've changed the ending to a happier one. We rode off into the sunset with the girl and the bags of gold across our saddle in front of a near capacity crowd.

Ndembele scored the vital equaliser on his Premiership debut and performed increasingly well. Harry Kane despite it being August scored two in the last 5 minutes to bring home the bacon in style.

Job done in our own inimitable way: an increasingly dominant performance apart from 30 seconds after 9 minutes when McGinn also scored a first Premiership goal from a harmless looking long ball by Mings that caught everybody out especially Sanchez and Rose.

It would be tempting to insist that we had enjoyed complete domination with 70% possession but in fact Villa acquitted themselves well for the first half as we struggled to find an effective formation and until they ran out of belief and energy.

We managed only 1 shot on target in the first half but had wracked up 31 shots in total and 7 on target and 3 goals by the end. 3 goals in the final 17 minutes pays tribute to Mauricio insistence on fitness and application.

We waited until the 73rd. minute to catch up soon after arrival of Christian Eriksen whose career path is still unclear. This was the key change and I hope he stays but the European window runs for another three weeks.

Whatever his attitude may be, his composure and skill is a vital component to our smooth running. He enables others to do their job and concentrate on what they do best while he keeps the pistons greased and the tank topped up and the play progressing...

It was clear by the end that we had them by the throat and in the last few minutes Kane exploited their tiredness and negativity with two well taken goals; one from Sissoko's driving run and the other from a typical Lamela intervention.

He lost the ball but recovered to pinch Grealish's pocket as he dwelt on the ball on the edge of the area and Harry profited from the resulting pinball episode in the Villa defence.

So a crucial 3 points after emphatic wins for Liverpool and City In general we had more shots than either of them but less on target and fewer goals. Sometimes we shoot when we should pass and pass when we should shoot.

Sissoko fails on both count because sometimes you can't tell which he's attempting. He may be the biggest loser  when both Lo Celso and Ndombele are up and running especially if Eriksen stays. He has the heart and spirit and strength but not the technical ability at this level.

He came back from the down and outs last season and played a key role in our success in our hour of need but there are more skillful midfielders available now who might be just as strong on the ball.

Eriksen was only on for 30 minutes and Kevin Walker-Peters played the full 90 and was outstanding throughout so he gets the nod for MOM. Not for the first time.

Transfer window.
We did pretty well on our likelihood assessments. Bagged 3 as forecast. Bruno Fernandes  though disappeared from the face of the earth blocked by the owner of Sporting Lisbon out of spite allegedly. Dybala a non starter, image rights, whatever.

What we said:
Incoming
Dybala  (65million and 300.000 a week (1/10 as he's Argentinian)
Sessegnon. Scott Parker says 'No' but talks stuttering on, maybe a loan or two the other way (6/10)
Coutinho. Offered to all and sundry. Wages and Fee? (0/10) We are the favourites apparently.
Lo Celso.  But clocks a'ticking..(7/10)
Bruno Fernandes. See above...(6/10)''


Aurier is still possibly on his way out and Christian and Toby are still with us, so far, as forecast. Apparently Juventus have already enquired about acquiring Eriksen on a free next Summer.


Next up.
Away to City in the late Saturday KO. They have started where they finished last season with a 5-0 thumping of West Ham and a Sterling hat-trick. I'd take a draw now. I didn't get where I am today with false heroics.


Jan Vertonghen.
Mauricio says he was dropped from the squad for 'tactical reasons'. To the bench perhaps, maybe, possibly but not from the squad. At the moment we don't know any better but eventually the truth will out. If he's not in the squad for City that will tell us more.

Tactical fouls.
Are ruining the game. Action should be taken. 15 minute sin bin sentences with no substitutions allowed during the period would stop it . Red cards would stop it more quickly. It's anti-football and becoming more prevalent.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Welcome indeed.  Fine start for Monsieur Ndombele once he settled and Christian came on to help. Here's his you tube video which was obviously key to his signing. You get the general idea: strong direct and tricky

I can see him picking up injuries though with such a committed running and tackling style.


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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

'I Don't Believe It'



 I'm with Mr. Meldrew.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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A pretty useful pre-season done and dusted and nothing now between us and the Premiership title. Well, not that much anyway. Plenty to be pleased with of and some promising performances to 'muse' upon.

We lost our final friendly on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Inter Milan but gave a good account of ourselves especially in the first half where we knocked them completely off their game. Lamela and Kyle Walker Peters caught the eye.

We defended and covered as a team and attacked at speed with some clever quick passing. Their equaliser was slickly done and we were lucky when a shot hit the inside of the post and bounced across the goal and out.

On the whole the fringe players and youngsters have shown up well. Tanganga in particular. Kevin-George Nkoudou has impressed in his brief appearances. New boy Ndombele will be useful when he is fit and settled.

Eriksen missed a second penalty in a week and looks out of sorts. He is clearly trying to get all the Spurs fans to hate him so that he can leave without regrets on either side. He's already half way there with many fans.

Son and Lucas showed some good skill and pace. In the physical absence of Dele and the mental absence of Eriksen, our two creative players, we might struggle against the better teams.

Son and Foyth are suspended, Dele (hamstring again!) and Foyth (ankle) are out for 'weeks', and the current treatment room gang are still probably out for the opener against newly promoted Aston Villa on Saturday at home.( KO BST 5:30)

Dier and Aurier are back in training once again but without a pre-season they will have to wait their turn. We are getting to the stage when any signing will do for the fans; bad or indifferent but a new face.

I think Lo Celso and Fernandes will come in on Thursday which would make this a decent window but neither will start if Mauricio runs to true form. He likes to look every player in the eye on the training ground before selection.

Both are linked to Utd but that is probably the usual agents' shenanigans. Troy Parrott is being talked up as back-up/understudy to Harry Kane so it looks as if Llorente will not be re-signing.

We will have a clearer picture when we see the squad on Saturday but I will be surprised if Troy is not named among them especially with Dele and Son missing. He might even get a few minutes along with Skipp.

Even Ndombele might have to wait until the second half at the earliest but I'm guessing at: Lloris, KWP,  Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose, Winks, Sissoko, Ndombele  Moura, Lamela, Kane, which the eagle-eyed will spot is the team that started against Inter-Milan.

The next date in your diary is the end of the Transfer Window on Thursday at 5 p.m. when it will be Hel Lo Celso to the tune of Hello Dolly. There is a mere 15 million between the clubs' valuations so a deal easily brokered by Mr. Levy you would have thought.

No well perhaps not. They want 65 million and we've offered 50. No problem financially with the extra couple of thousand seats now permitted at the NWHL.

The La Liga window doesn't end until the 2nd. September so still time for Real to change their minds on Christian but I can't see it myself.

'Yids'
The perennial 'Yids' word controversy returns via a questionnaire from the club. I don't sing it or chant it or stand up if I hate Arsenal because that's not why I go. But I defend the right of Spurs fans to use the word 'Yids' if they so desire.

I don't believe it encourages others to use it in an Anti-Semitic way, in fact just the opposite. In popular parlance it's called getting your retaliation in first, or a as Danny Blanchflower once said
''Equalising before the other team score''

Yids calling themselves 'Yids' or non yids chanting in sympathy with Yids and our historical base and history is anti anti-semitic. I'm from a Jewish background and I wouldn't chant it for aesthetic reasons but I defend the right of Spurs fans so to do.

It's a pre-emptive strike against anti-semitism and a call to collective virtual arms. I have no idea why the topic has come round again. It seems like an itch the club has to scratch from time to time. No doubt you will have your own opinion.

COYY

Stop Press
Transfer window closing and things are getting hectic and a bit silly. Latest links with the JmmyG2 likelihood rating in brackets.

Incoming
Dybala  (65million and 300.000 a week (1/10 as he's Argentinian)
Sessegnon. Scott Parker says 'No' but talks stuttering on, maybe a loan or two the other way (6/10)
Coutinho. Offered to all and sundry. Wages and Fee? (0/10) We are the favourites apparently.
Lo Celso.  But clocks a'ticking..(7/10)
Bruno Fernandes. See above...(6/10)

Outgoing 
Aurier. Back to France. To lose one right back may be regarded as misfortune.  To lose 2 smacks of carelessness.(5/10).
Eriksen not going to Utd. He prefers the weather and life-style in Spain. This one I believe (9/10) I told you he wouldn't be going anywhere several blogs ago. Or Toby either. Fingers crossed.

And many more rumours too numerous to mention. But the Fat Lady is currently having a lie down in her undies so plenty of time in Levy world.

Overall: 'I don't believe it.' Well not much of it. Better get the presses rolling before 'Events dear boy ' overtake us. It's that time of year.

A home fixture against a newly promoted club to start our assault on the Premiership. What could possibly go wrong.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Some footage from pre-season where Japhet Tanganga emerges as a real prospect in a position we may need cover for.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Players and Cups Incoming.


Now that's what I call a trophy.
Nobody else will but who cares.
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The Jimmy G2 Column..
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Apologies in advance if this is just a tiny bit triumphalist but we did win something and won a penalty shoot-out with a decent sprinkling of youth and fringe players who all got game time in a proper pre-season work out.

We won a cup. No less than the 'prestigious' Audi Cup beating Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on penalties at their own ground. Not a bad start in the build up to the new season. Of course it doesn't count in the wider world. Nothing that's exclusively on ITV4 ever would.

But whatever the rest of the world thinks  I'm counting it if only as a morale booster and tribute to the team especially for the youngsters who stepped up throughout the tournament and in the penalty shoot-out.

We are going to shout it from the roof-tops but very quietly so as not to set the neighbours and the Media off again. It will keep the 'Bottler Brigade' quiet for a while. Probably not long though.
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It should improve the temper of a somewhat grumpy pre-season Mauricio. I''m not sure whether he's peeved at Levy for lack of signings or generally disgruntled with the whole  post match Press Conference obligation or just life itself.

They are traps for the unwary and are used for trouble-making, click-bait  headlines. The questions are often repetitive and agenda based and Mauricio is more astute than the average Sports journalist even in his second language.

Anyway signings possibly 2 are on the way. I can feel it in me water even though I am not in favour of signing anyone that could unnecessarily block our youngsters who have done us proud or disrupt the harmony of the team.

Harry Kane got the only goal against an underwhelming Real Madrid side from an error by Marcelo. Erik Lamela and Christian scored against Bayern who finished strongly to force a draw and a penalty shoot-out.

It's very difficult to judge team performances with so many changes and substitutions but winning as Mauricio says is always better than losing and individuals stood out at times Skipp, Tanganga, Rose,and Lamela, all had their moments.

Generally though these were solid team performances and it was good to see the team press for the opening 30 minutes of the Madrid game.

Take a bow then  Harvey White*, Oliver Skipp*, George Marsh, Jack Roles, Japhet Tanganga and Troy Parrott* and honourable mention to Alfie Whiteman who kept the keeping gloves warm but did not play.

*All Post Millennials which makes the future positively blinding.

Other fringe and older players  Anthony Georgio (22), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (24) also played Remember also that Juan Foyth  is only 21. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. No update news at the moment and he's suspended for the opening 2 games along with Son anyway.

Davison Sanchez, Dele and Harry Winks are only 23 and Kyle (edit) Walker Peters who may get more game time in Foyth's absence is 22. The gnarled old veterans Dier. Kane , Eriksen and Ben Davies are all only just in their prime.

Danny, Toby, Jan, Moussa and Hugo are the true veterans that give the squad gravitas and experience but the current blend and the camaraderie of the squad seems to be working well as all the youngsters attest.

Of the usual suspects only Dier, Davies, Aurier, Carter Vickers and Wanyama were missing due to injury or illness or rehabilitation.

I'm having some of my old tattoos removed: 'Enic out' and 'Not a brick' are the first to go. I'm having 'Don't block the Academy Boys' scrawled across my forehead. You have to move with the times.

I have no restraints on going full bore optimistic as Geoffrey's on holiday. He's on a week long coach tour of the  Industrial Wastelands of the North of England before the season starts. I've had a card:

 Wish you were here Jim.

That should put him the right frame of mind for the new season start against Aston Villa on Saturday week.

Next up: Sunday against Inter Milan at the NWHL Stadium. KO 3 pm BST as the International Champions' Cup resumes. Don't worry, shout it quietly this one won't count either.

Rumour of the week.
Phillipe Coutinho to replace Christian Eriksen if he leaves. Should break even on that deal. What am I saying! Not good enough for Barcelona; not good enough for Spurs.

The Penalty shoot-out.
My moment of the Tournament  was  Nkoudous (edit) trickery to beat the fullback and then the driven cross for Lamela's finish, but the penalty shoot-out was harrowingly brilliant.

Nerves of steel these youngsters. Which old fuddy-duddy said 'Youth is wasted on the young'? Eriksen didn't beat the first man again.
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