The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

It only takes a Moment..or Two.

A Tale of Two Moments.
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The JimmyG2 Column
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The game hinged on two moments. The early, very early, substitution of Dier for 'want away' Eriksen and Dele's gitfted goal one minute into extra time in the first half. Both events changed the momentum and balance of power of the game.



Make no mistake Olympiacos were no mugs and played some tricky football and could have been 3-0 up by half time and out of sight. Aware of this Mourinho took firm action and spent half of his after match press conference apologising to Eric Dier.

No apologies necessary Jose but it was the kind of firm action we are not used to. First tactical change on 26 minutes is not in Mauricio's play book. Olympiakos tired and lost their grip as we improved.

In fact Son spurned an easy chance to set up Eriksen to make it five. Harry was alert and focussed and scored twice to beat Alessandro del Piero's record as the player to score 20 Champions League goals in the fewest games - 24, compared to the Italian's 26 games with Juventus.

Even the ball-boys attend tactical master- classes these days. Last time one delayed play and winked This time one leapt leapt into action and allowed Aurier and Moura to set up Harry for the crucial equaliser. Mourinho was delighted with him (the ball boy obviously)

As Jose said any one could have been subbed, Rose, Winks and Toby were all involved in conceding the goals. We looked nervy from the start including Gazzaniga and who could blame him. Jose's appeals for calm were not at first heeded but we settled eventually,

Dele's goal turned the game. Aurier, Sanchez, Moura and even Eriksen responded and played well. The real Dele is back with us and could make a real difference to our season.

Reservations are entered about Winks and Rose. Son and Toby are given a pass on this one.

But again as at West Ham we were erratic. Not even Mourinho could prevent a near collapse there, nor a mini implosion that threatened to derail our qualification prospects here. The best and worst of times and Spurs.
 
This new, humble, modest, relaxed, compassionate Jose Mourinho is a revelation and long may it continue as it seems to suit our attitude in the post Pochettino period.

'Where there is discord, let there be harmony' as Mrs T once said. (Wrongly attributed to St.Francis, but that's for the pedants) Olive branch for Mr. Eriksen.

In the last two winning performances he has advanced even his stellar reputation. But two games in is too soon to make sweeping judgements but the signs are all good.

So back in the top half and qualified for the next Champions' League stage after the upheaval but not too much time to catch our breath. Three games a week is tough on players and bloggers.

Next Up.
A Home game against Bournemouth on Saturday 30th. at 3.00 pm. Eminently winnable to take us further up the table. But don't start counting unhatched chickens people.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Callum The Ball Boy with a 6yr. Spurs pedigree, more assists than Jesse Lingard apparently. What a day for the boy. Shame he missed out on the after match celebrations. He had to get home to revise for a Maths exam next day.


Sunday, 24 November 2019

The King is dead.


The King is Dead. Long Live the King 
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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So after all the nonsense, hype, speculation and silliness we at last won away in Jose's first game though in the end it was a close run thing. But a win is a win and we flattered W. Ham by conceding two  late second half goals.

And the sky hasn't fallen in yet. But given the speed and suddeness of the  affair it was more a rape than even a one night stand though a dalliance has been going on between Daniel and Jose for some time.

I loved Mauricio and have never been keen on Mourinho but it was results that did for Mauricio and results will be the only yardstick by which to judge Mourinho.

Against West Hamwe strolled to a dream 3-0 lead in the first hour and nearly sleep-walked into a  3-3 nightmare in the last half-hour

Mourinho will be under no illusions about the defensive work required by the end. The game showed both  our attacking strengths and our defensive weaknesses.

At the moment I am hurting with the sacking of Pochettino and may be for some time. But points are a great healer and that's what Mourinho promises and we know what points mean. Top four is the first aim with a trophy along the way.

I doubt he will better Pochettinos record of top four finishes and Champion' League performances and whatever he does he will be building on past team building and signings at least in the short term as he himself acknowledges.

None of the new signings were to be seen against W.Ham  but all the players were intent on impressing the new manager, especially Dele  who Mourinho had singled out for special attention and he responded.

The West Ham game showed the rejection of playing out from the back (3 cheers), of faffing about along the back four and a quicker build up all of which I approve. Dele given a freer attacking role found plenty of space and was instrumental in 2 of the three goals.

Dier a long time favourite of Mourinho didn't dramatically prove his worth and again his passing was careless but he was a presence.The front four played well and Harry Winks and Toby. The rest were as good as they needed to be to beat a poor West Ham.

But the away win after nearly a year cannot be ruled out as a mere coincidence.

In a tough no holds barred interview with myself I asked 'Did I want Mourinho to be a success at Spurs?'. As it was the run up to an election I ignore that question and answered a different one. A week is a long time in politics and football

'Did I want Spurs to be successful under Mourinho and I replied firmly in the affirmative. The Club and the current squad are the more important than who the manager happens to be.

We went all through this with Uncle Martin Jol who was sacked in a much more treacherous way. Then followed ten years in the football wilderness under Ramos (who actually won a cup) Redknapp, AVB  and Sherwood.

But Mauricio restored dignity, pride, and came with a vision, a plan and a project which Jose also claims to have, Now the pundits and press are happy. We've gone back to doing it their way.

Weep Frank Sinatra, weep. For the Latin scholars amongst you 'tempus narrabo'.

Our inferiority complex is exposed for all to see but it remains to be seen if Mourinho can go one better than Mauricio and win the Champions' League with Tottenham.

When asked if the defeat in last years final could explain our loss of confidence and form, he brilliantly replies that he didn't know as he had never lost a Champions' League final. Unstoppable force meets immoveable object syndrome (See Video)

In the meantime Jose is playing it cool, saying and doing all the right things. He didn't start Eriksen although Dele was really pissed at being substituted for him and he sleeps in his Tottenham pyjamas.

SPECIAL ONE(sie)


 The Uria Heep act jars a little: 'I am 'umble', but we will have to swallow it for now.

Next Up 
Two chances this week: one to seal qualification to the next phase of the Champions' league against Olympiacos at home on Tuesday  at 8 o/c, and a chance to further advance on the Premiership at home to Bournemouth on Saturday at 3 o/c.

Jimmy's Video Spot
The full 40 minutes of his first Tottenham press conference and well worth a listen. You have to admire the man, his experience, humour and yes his humanity, all shine through.

Whether he is a good fit for Spurs and brings us success, however you frame it, remains for the moment an unanswerable question but the signs are promising. So far all good.

Conducted in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Frenchmen soon outgoing.

No mention before during and after of the 13+ million per annum wages. Let's hope he's worth it.


Lets hope

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Fingers crossed.

Are we nearly there yet?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Drawing rather than losing and the odd encouraging performance are staving off what to many is the inevitable: the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino. A dangerous and possibly self harming move. Potentially 'Rock Bottom+.

Fan opinion is shifting and will continue to do so until some sort of progress is made. It's  more evenly balanced now though support for Poch was clear in the earlier part of the season even after a year of stagnation.

Even a team selection at home to Sheffield which was closer to fans hopes and expectations made little headway after a poor performance by some that had played well in Belgrade and the exclusion of arch-contract refuser Christian Eriksen.

Of course Red Star were rubbish so that victory doesn't count even with their home record. And clearly we should have thrashed newcomers Sheffield Utd even though they have the best defensive record in the Premiership.

A team clearly well coached, hard working and overall much better than the sum of its parts. Unlike Spurs many would add.

We used to ask when times were good, in a superior sort of way, 'How many of their team would get into ours?' After Saturday many would say 'All of them'. Except perhaps in place of Son and Lo Celso who showed some skill and spirit.

Ndombele started for the first time with fellow new signing Lo Celso, but went off injured for Winks at half time. Harry certainly injected at least some energy and enthusiasm like an advert for the Duracell Bunny as most of his teammates ran down.

How will we know when we have reached 'Rock Bottom'? Well some say we took up residence some time ago. Our tally of 14 points after 12 games is our worst start for a decade. 

We have lost more points from winning positions than any other Premiership team this season. Our chances of making the top six diminish by the game and winning the Champions' League seems the ultimate delusion.

Mauricio is worried that he won't be given time to effect the transition we require but until we actually descend into the bottom four I don't think he will be sacked if then. He has earned the chance to put things right and would be expensive to sack.

If we lose to West Ham after the International break then both might well happen in a rush. But that's the Nuclear Option and the cure might be worse than the disease especially if it's Mourinho shaped which I doubt.

But I am beginning to hate the players I have loved best: Eriksen, Dele and Harry Kane. How much of this is directly down to Mauricio I'm not sure. It may well get worse before it gets better though I admit there's not a lot of headroom for that to happen.

We were chased off the park against Sheffield and though VAR came to our aid to wipe out Sheffield's first equaliser we had no such luck with second. Even Son's opener  was gift from a defensive error.

Sanchez and Dier who played well against Red Star were unimpressive here; Dier's passing was consistently dreadful; Sanchez always looked on the verge of a mistake.

Sissoko's main problem is that unlike Winks he doesn't want the ball; Dele was at his ineffectual worst and Harry Kane seemed as if he hadn't quite recovered from the previous weekend 's virus.

And so we stumble on neither quite failing or succeeding. I write and publish these blogs with my fingers crossed, which is quite difficult, in case between writing and posting something dramatic happens to undermine my belief and position.

It's tough at the top they say but it's worse at the bottom says I.

Next up
Spurs travel to London rivals West Ham after the international break on Saturday, 23 November (12:30 GMT). After that Bournemouth at home. Two 'winnable' games that could turn our season round. Or not, obviously.

In between we have our first chance to qualify for the next round of the Champions' League against Olympiacos at home.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The Man of the Moment speaks. Reasons? Excuses? I think he's struggling just a little. But what doesn't kill you... 
Fan support will continue to leak away the longer it goes on but the rumours of his demise are greatly exaggerated, for today, anyway.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Every Cloud, Spurs Fans

Relax boys it's only the Champions' League.
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The Jimmy G2 Column .
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I did say that this might be a free hit and a day off from the travails of the Premiership especially against a team we had already soundly beaten. As you know I'm not always wrong and so it proved.

We rode our early luck with an instinctive save by Gazzaniga who is growing in everybody's estimation. We continued to dominate as they sat back and tried to hit us on the break. 

Giovanni Lo Celso celebrated his first start with the opening goal after an exciting pin-ball session when Kane hit the post, Son hit the bar and eventually, eventually Lo Celso popped it in. But he is being carefully nursed in the Mauricio way.

Son straight back on the horse after his tribulations on Sunday scored two well taken goals and Pochettino's confidence in putting him straight back in the saddle paid off. He has been well handled.

Dier's re-appeared from whichever cave he's been banished to and played well against Pavkov their very tall leading scorer alongside Sanchez.

The Argentinians were out in force with Lo Celso, Gazzaniga and Foyth at right back. They all stood tall for their Manager. Just a pity that Lamela couldn't join the Tango.

Quite a night in many ways: Sessegnon's first proper run out and an assist for Eriksen's deflected goal. Yes that Eriksen; Oliver Skipp too for a 5 minute cameo and so keen to make his literal mark that he might well have been sent off.

Son fully rehabilitated; new combinations tried out successfully in defence and midfield; four goals without Harry Kane or Dele on the score sheet. Definitely a glint of a silver lining  among the dark gathering clouds.

Rose was back bringing his angry dedication to left back and playing well. In fact a good all round team performance by a starting eleven that clearly want to play for Spurs. New signings  youngsters and all.

We were warned that Red Star would be a different proposition at home in the 'Cauldron' of  the Rajko Mitic Stadium following their 2-0 defeat of Liverpool at this stage last year and off the pitch the enthusiasm was deafening but not so evident on.

So our first away win of the season and possibly Champions' League advancement for the 4th. year running. It doesn't quite make sense. But I still trust Mauricio to put it right. This was a more balanced starting line up.

The appearance of all three or our Summer signings gives us new hope and perhaps the phasing out or even transfer of the 'malcontents' will make us a tighter and more focused unit but Pochettino will still rotate to the fury of many.

Winks, Davies, Aurier and Toby and even Eriksen, some or all of the above could start against Sheffield though I wouldn't play at least three of them. Eriksen, Davies and Aurier as you ask.

Next Up.
Sheffield United at home on Saturday at 3pm. They are 3 points and 6 places above us currently. Anything but a win will stir it all up again. I mean the Champions' league is a doddle compared to the Premiership.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Very poorly edited but a bit longer this week. I think we could stand a few more minutes for our first away win since since January . Another Monkey off our back.

Some nice assists and fast build up play. 9-0 over two legs, perhaps they're not as good as they're cracked up to be, or perhaps we're better as they beat Liverpool and have won all but two of their 20 odd CL.games at Home. Sorry, three.


Monday, 4 November 2019

Managers Survive after Mayhem.

Apart from that,
 how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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Unfortunately the actual match will be long forgotten before the season ending injury to Andre Gomes. Son's 'professional' foul had unforeseen results including a red card for the offender, his second this year.

I have long railed against the so called 'professional' foul but they don't usually have such dire effects on the player and the game. However reduced to ten men we could not hold on for the win after a fine goal by Dele.

The foul by Son was reckless. His red card was for the result of the tackle and not the tackle itself which was originally going to be a yellow until the referee saw the injury but that is not the usual criterion by which to judge a punishment.

Spurs will appeal the red card but I am not confident it will be overruled although it should be for the sake of Son's state of mind. Dele reported that he was distraught in the dressing room.

The awful scenes as Gomes was stretchered off resulting in a ten minute delay seemed to sap the interest and energy out of an already lukewarm game and a draw was probably fair. Neither side deserved to lose or to win for that matter.

This was a dour scrap for two teams in the bottom half of the table both looking down rather than up and after the draw we are 5 points from the relegation zone and Everton are three. We are 10 points behind Chelsea in 4th.

So the season is going to be a slog even if things change of which there are no signs currently. Team selection. Eriksen, Aurier, is still wilful and in-game management woeful, no changes until the 73rd. minute.

With Harry Kane ill with a virus and Rose suspended changes were inevitable. Harry Winks was rested and Davies made captain though I can't imagine why. Moura up front made little impact on the game.

Ndombele started brightly but faded soon after half time; Eriksen could have been replaced at half time and again did nothing to justify his selection. Sissoko was quiet but Sanchez after a dithery start
played well against Drama Queen  Richarlison.

But there was no spark and little enthusiasm shown in general. We only managed 2 shots on target the whole game and looked pedestrian. There was little midfield interchange or creativity once Ndombele faded.

Dele was relieved not to concede a penalty, the ball hitting his arm during a headed challenge in the box  but VAR was with us on this occasion but not for a foul on Son. Probably fair all round.

The only bright spot was Dele who is beginning to contribute more and set up by Son scored what should have been the only and winning goal. Cue Son's tackle, Gomes injury, VAR, referee indecision, Red Card and the attendant mayhem.

The draw and the distraction of the serious injury to Gomes probably took the attention and the heat off both Managers for the time being.

Next Up.
Red Star  (Crvena zvezda) in Belgrade  on Wednesday at 8pm.
The distraction of the Champions' league may prove a bonus free hit. May.

Then a tough home game against Sheffield United on Saturday 9th. at 3pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Dele and Gazzaniga feature, not the crucial incident thankfully does not. Two minutes highlights, more than enough to cover the events.