The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

French and Argentinian Connections and Surprises Ahead

 The Greg Meyer Column.
New Years Eve 2019.   

The French Connection. The Argentinian Connection. Surprises Ahead.

This special Australian flavoured edition comes to you from the Canal Du Midi. Not too far from Carcassonne to be precise. A region providing some of our toasting fuel for our Spurs French contingent.

Raising a glass or two in remembrance of our "departed" albeit disabled French capitaine, good old Hugo Lloris. Remember him. Due back 2020 February perhaps.

More recent and now a celebration for Tanguy Ndombele we moved on to a luscious Beaujolais. The wine you can drink almost like water. And we do. Ndombele will be a Premier League star. If and it is the only if ... he stays fit.
 Manager Mourinho stated his Norwich performance as "phenomenal". Cheers Tanguy but not forgetting the athletic enigma that is Moussa Sissoko.

In recognition of Argentina's finest we have set aside a bottle of Schroeder Alpataco Pinot Noir 2019 currently rated as Argentina's top red. Reserved and wistfully so for Argentina's current number one manager, our own Spurs legend, Mauricio Pochettino.
Mauricio was born at Murphy, a very long goal kick from Rosario. Rosario, where Lionel Messi was born, went to school there and funnily enough is the current local hero.
Rosario, Angel Di Maria country, Marco Bielsa's hometown. We could go on but more importantly Giovani Lo Celso was born and raised there. Another forthcoming Spurs star. Curiously he is also of Italian heritage holding an Italian passport. Perhaps the first name does give it away.

Our Argentinian salute does not end there. Juan Foyth, still an unproven product, Erik Lamela (if he could forget the doppleganger with Darren Anderton he would be a great Mourinho fit), and of course every Spurs female fan's plus lots of fellas favourite, the incredibly good looking Paulo Gazzaniga.
Paulo despite his film star looks  has deputised for Hugo in a 7 of 10 fashion. Still young and may yet blossom to a real number one.
Continuing our random musings on the year ahead our pub clan think Ryan Sessegnon a keeper. Played like a deer in the headlights against Norwich. Stage fright? That's in the footlights. Received criticism for not taking his full back on.
However his direct opponent was either the  impressive Max Aarons or Sam Byram, both possessed of pace to match Sessegnon. Hence his reluctance and over cautious approach.
He will grow in confidence and provide us with much needed pace.

Meanwhile at a Canal Side Pub.

Surprises ahead.
No surprise that Christian Eriksen is off in January. The only possible surprise his ultimate destination. Manchester United. Real Madrid or PSG all in the frame. No surprise that the surprise landing of Gareth Bale landing at White Hart Lane will not happen.

Big surprise if we sign anyone of quality in January. A possibility if we offload the likes of Rose, Wanyama and Walker-Peters.

And so to the Channel side city of Southampton. Another tough nut a la Norwich. Given we win then our top four prospects continue to rise. Shame that Sheffield United, Manchester United, Chelsea  and Wolves are all snapping at and around our heels.

Perhaps we should raise our glasses and salute our North London neighbours Arsenal. Thank you for your season to date.

Cheers .... Happy New Year ...  Greg Meyer.*   Coys.
JimmyG2 writes,
G'Day and Happy New Year to our long-time Musings Associate from Oz. Gets to the Stadium regularly but has to set off early. Currently surviving the heatwave in Tasmania keeping one eye on the forest fires but never taking the other one off Spurs.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Will he go or will he stay?

Black Sheep Eriksen MOM. 
Feel free to 'Dab' this week.
The JimmyG2 Column.
It's been fun writing this for some years, but it's getting harder. We managed not to lose to Norwich and were certainly the equal of the team propping up the Premiership. At times we made them look quite good and defensive gaffes gave us a whole mountain range to climb.

Jose doesn't want to inhibit our attacking strengths by concentrating on clean sheets. Just as well because at the moment our chances of keeping a clean sheet are about the same as a WW1 field hospital under fire.

Jose gave the people what they wanted: Foyth, Sess, Ndombele and Lo Celso all starting and gave them what they didn't want too: No Winks or Dier or Rose. Fortunately he added black sheep Eriksen to the mix which was just as well.

The game plan to pass the ball to Eriksen as often as possible would have worked except for catastrophic defensive errors which would be funny if they were happening to someone else.

You have admire young Foyth the sound of whose dropped clangers resound throughout the known world. Headed off at the pass and effectively dry-gulched byVrancic.

A loan beckons so that he can get some games, learn his trade, and make his mistakes on someone else's time and money. The boy has potential no doubt.

They were disallowed a lovely goal by Pukki in another hairsbreadth VAR decision after a mistake by Aurier and a fine cross-field ball by that man Vrancic.  Aurier later commiserated by knocking the ball into his own net from an interception by Toby.

You couldn't make it up but then you don't have to. We didn't manage to score from open play but a vintage Eriksen free kick got us back on terms before Auriers's contribution.

Despite what the pundits often say about the quality of his free kicks he doesn't score them that often but they seem to stay in the memory for a long time.

Kane and Delhi had clear chances and Dele scored a neat disallowed goal. In the end Harry earned and scored a penalty to level for the  the second time. Where would we be without him?

This was Harry's 136 Premiership goal in his 200th. appearance. Only Aguerro (138) and Shearer (145) are ahead of him at this landmark. Exalted company indeed.

Eriksen, almost forgiven after the free kick, then became Public Enemy No.1 again for his failure to beat the first man from a corner as we threatened a last gasp winner in injury time. 'plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose'

Even so in his first start in the Premiership under Mourinho he had more touches and more shots than any other player. A reinvigorated, committed, new contracted Eriksen could be the key to a real challenge for Top Four. Bet wisely.

You would have been hard pressed at half time to correctly identify the team pushing for a Top Four place and the one heading for relegation. Jose talked up our recovery and our effort but we were only absolving ourselves from the sins we had committed.

Twice now we have spurned the opportunity to leapfrog Chelsea into the Top Four and now languish in 6th. Fortunately our rivals for top six played Liverpool and City so we remained there after
Sunday's games.

Jose is being coy about Eriksen's future but on today's performances he is my MOM and I would love him to stay.  Ndombele was very good in patches but Lo Celso probably needs more time to adapt to the pace and  power of the Premiership.

Sessengnon  saw plenty of the ball in the second half but tore up few trees which is environmentally sound but not what we need just now. Toby and Jan seem to be struggling.  Sanchez looks ready to step up.

We huffed and puffed in the second half once we had ditched three at the back but failed to blow them away. Mourinho was proactive: two substitutions at half time removing Foyth and Verts from the fray and bringing on Moura and Sanchez who both made a difference.

We are not used to such decisiveness and it's refreshing to see. But Mourinho has a real job on his hands defensively at Spurs and just turning up is not going to work for the Manager whatever his reputation or the team whatever their past exploits under Mauricio.

Next Up.
Away to Southampton on New Year's Day at 3pm.
Transfer Window.
Wednesday, January 1: England France, Germany and China
January 2: Italy and Spain.

Friday, January 31: England –11pm  and France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
Let's make it Eriksen week in case he leaves us shortly. Mourinho could be the deciding factor either way:  Sell now for summat or let go in the Summer for now't but have his services for the rest of the season, or new contract?

Just a little bit premature 'Welcome to Madrid' but here's a recent showcase of his skills.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Glad Tidings with the Turning of the Tide.

 Brighton Beached
The JimmyG2 Column.
 It took us 12 passes from kick-off to get out of our own half against Brighton. This is never a good sign at Spurs particularly when we are at home and have the inspiration of our fine new Stadium. I mentally wrote the game off.

Happily I was only half right. and we went in 1-0 down from yet another set piece, this time from a corner on 37 minutes: heads down, spirits down, stadium support volume well down and who could blame them.

But the tempo was raised from the very start of the second and with it the enthusiasm and support of the crowd. Whatever was said, promised or threatened at half time had an immediate effect. We were simply better.

The question arises 'Why the Hell don't we start like that? Tactics? Trying to lull the opposition into a false state of security? Hoping as Danny Blanchflower warned that they die from boredom? Tiredness and lethargy after too much Xmas pudding?

If any body knows please write in. Usually when we start on the front foot we play better and sweep the opposition away. The win relied on two pieces of quality build -up and finishing. Harry Kane had been denied an equaliser for a marginal off side by our erstwhile friend VAR.

 But his next effort just before the hour mark was an example of balance, strength and quick reaction after his first effort was well saved. He recovered to finish in style. The second by Dele twenty minutes later was pure class.

Eriksen on for Winks found Aurier with a controlled flighted ball. Aurier's first time lay off  to Dele was chipped into the corner of the net with style and grace. Dele had been largely peripheral until that moment though he put some effort in.

10 seconds of quality that turned the game. That kind of touch and vision will be difficult to replace if Christian departs

We climb back to 5th. just three points behind Chelsea who lost to Southampton and Mourinho can continue the charm offensive for a few more days at least. So the proverbial game of two halves and our finishing edge carried us through.

Brighton are a decent team who try to play proper passing football from the back. They dominated the first half where Mooy stood out. But the second half was a different game and we deserved the win in the end

Eriksen on for the last 20 minutes again made a difference and I still hope he stays. Sanchez was more settled and effective in the centre of defence. Moura's head down enthusiasm set up Harry's goal via a ricochet.

Lo Celso on before the hour mark showed good skill and effort and young Sess getting a home Premiership start was another positive sign.

Anyway Glad Tidings, the tide went out at Brighton leaving them high and dry

Playing ugly and winning.
A regular correspondent asks if Spurs under Mourinho have acquired the habit. My initial response was 'Yes' but on reflection we played poorly in the first half and lost 1-0. We played well in the second half and won it 2-0 and the game.

Playing ugly will win some games: you win some of the battles but ultimately lose the war. Playing poorly and winning is not an option over time.

Silly rumour of the week.
Isco from Real Madrid in a proposed swap deal for Eriksen. Musings Likelihood Rating 2/10.

Even sillier Rumour of the week.
Eriksen to Real in exchange for Bale + cash adjustment. Doesn't say which way the cash flows. Musings Likelihood Rating 1/10 purely on sentimental grounds. (Daily Star, nuff said)

Which bit of 'Real Madrid don't want Eriksen' do they not understand.

Good news.
Jack Clarke is returning from loan at Leeds. I've seen the videos and he is an exciting young prospect. More when he makes the team. (and Cameron Carter-Vickers and Kazaiah Sterling)

He's a bit of a one trick pony though, beats 3 players and then just passes or crosses. Sell.

Next up
Away to bottom of the table Norwich on Saturday 28th. December at 5:30 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot. 
The Goals in the Dele and Harry Show. Nice ball from Winks for the disallowed goal. He should do the positive thing more often. One of Aurier's more constructive moments. Whatever Moura's on I want some.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Mourinho Honeymoon Cut Short.

You have been warned.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Jose's still got bits of confetti in his hair so the Honeymoon wasn't as long as we all hoped. An abject display against Chelsea might be the end of Prince Charming. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Xmas dinner cancelled and double training on Xmas Eve.

What a difference a day makes. Given the benefit of the doubt after the Manchester United loss, mere simmering disappointment gives way to misery, Jose's going to struggle to shake this one off. We could have been 'contenders' with a win, up in 4th at Xmas but we lost.

This was the kind of team selection, management and performance that got Mauricio the sack. The same team for the 3rd. game running but this time it ran out of what little good fortune and sense of purpose it possessed.

A chance to go into the top four; a player sent off; racist abuse; objects thrown on the pitch; Eriksen sent on to save us again; a Gazzaniga horror show, and Jose schooled by his pupil. What's not to despair about?

The performance was an 'l' of a mess: listless, languid, lifeless, lackadaisical, laughable. The first half was pure torture and the second wasn't much better. Chelsea kept their first clean sheet under Frank Lampard.

Harry Kane fluffed his only chance and we got only one shot on target though I don't recall it. We could be a club too far for Mourinho whose magic is only fitful. ' It's not me, it's you lot' he's probably thinking this morning.

Idiots on the pitch; Son Aurier and Gazzaniga; idiots on the terraces  probably trying to deflect attention from our woeful performance. I wish. But the story this morning is the abuse of Rudiger and the actions which Spurs will take.

Aurier confirmed his growing reputation for unreliability with a misjudged header and then left Willian unattended from a short corner. Willian who was once on the point of signing for us until hijacked by Chelsea scored a beauty.

Gazzaniga shredded his growing reputation with a moment of madness and a flying kick just before half time conceding a penalty from what should have been a routine catch. Willian scored his second from the spot.

Son will struggle to live down his third red card in a year. Some players go through their whole careers without one. One red card may be regarded as misfortune;  two red cards smacks of carelessness; three red cards is petulant unforgiveableness.

I note that Son's first red card against Andre Gomes at Everton was rescinded but the petulance point remains. Such a nice guy too. This one's been appealed but I don't hold out much hope.

There were 7 yellow cards and Son's red in what is traditionally a feisty game but what effort there was by us was mainly misdirected. A performance to forget but to learn from.

2/0 down and now a man down gave us little seasonal cheer or hope. Dier was replaced by Eriksen at half time for the second time in Mourinho's brief reign. He gave us a little more control because unlike some of the others and despite his faults he is an actual quality thinking footballer.

Rose and Ndombele came on for Vertonghen who looked spent and Moura who had a breathless but pointless afternoon. Dele played too deep and Dier and Sissoko doesn't work against against most midfields but especially against quality like Kante and Kovacic.

Ndombele looks good but if he can only make the 15 minute mark he's no use to us whatsoever. Son will be missing now over Xmas and New Year and our hopes of Champions' League look increasingly remote.

Credit to Lampard and Chelsea, they were excellent especially Willian shrewdly matched up against Aurier. Sanchez made the effort but without much success. Whatever could go wrong did go wrong in a bleak midwinter performance.

We remain in seventh 6 points off Top Four and well clear of relegation for the moment. You can get odds of 1000/1 on most betting sites against Spurs getting relegated, may as well enjoy our misery if it happens.

Next Up.
Brighton at NWHL on Boxing Day at 12: 30 pm.
Then Norwich (away) on the 28th. at 17:30. On New Years Day we are away to Southampton at 3 pm before we face Liverpool in the League.

Normally I would describe these as eminently 'winnable' games but now I'm not so sure. The fairy dust seems to have blown away with this Chelsea performance.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all our reader(s).

Jimmy's Video Spot.
One bad result doth not a tragedy make. But I make that two. Here's something seasonal to cheer you all up. 'In the Bleak Midwinter, Not so long ago'.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Mourinho's Party Trick Revealed.

Can't argue with that at the moment.
The JimmyG2 Column.

Textbook stuff from Mourinho: praising teamwork and team spirit; grabbing a goal; defending like a lioness protecting her cubs and grabbing a late, late winner to justify everything. An away win against an in form rival, an early Xmas present indeed.

The match had no narrative or shape for me because due to a clash with an annual family pre Xmas gathering I watched the second half before the first and then watched the recorded first half later.

I cant reveal how this technological miracle was achieved for a match that was officially 'not on live TV' because if I did I would have to kill you. Suffice to say the 'Musings' Internet Support Staff Team (Mrs JimmyG2) were heavily involved.

I knew from text alerts that Moura had scored an early brilliant goal and that we had successfully defended it until half time. I was given a  special 'Spurs' dispensation by my 3 teenage grandchildren to 'play' with my phone at the lunch table.

Wolves dominated possession, shots and corners, but we defended with some dedication which Jose applauded and though not the better team we ran out winners. We were careless with the ball, often resorting to hoofing it out, sorry, playing it long.

But it worked. Traore and Moutinho were the stand out best players but Spurs defended well against 11 corners, often our weak spot. Traore eventually scored a scorcher but that was it until SuperJan headed an Eriksen corner into the corner of the net.

Eriksen, yes that Eriksen, who was only on for a couple of minutes but got his second Premiership assist and Vertonghen his first goal. Not a bad moment to find their winning touch. Come back Christian all is forgiven.Almost.

Vertonghen was mightily roasted by Traore on a number of occasions but pulled his chestnuts out of the fire and stuffed them down Wolves' trousers for a fine finale. Commited team performance and three points to narrow the gap to Chelsea.

With Chelsea and Arsenal losing and Utd. and Leicester drawing, our chances of fulfilling Jose's prediction that we would finish in the top four took a big step forward.

With Chelsea up next at NWHL we could be in 4th. before Xmas if we win. Just saying.

The gap was 11 points a few weeks ago  but since then Jose has arrived and has overseen 4 wins out of five including two on the road and Chelsea have lost 4/5. We don't often profit from misfortunes of others but under Mourinho this tradition might be ditched.

Dier got his second assist in two games and hit the post from a clever Dele scooped pass. A much improved performance by him and justified Mourinho's trust in the midfield pairing with Sissoko.

But as Jermaine Jenas says this combination leads to lack of control because neither are good enough on the ball. No disagreement from me there. Long balls to the Fearsome Foursome up front  pays off because at least one of them is usually on form.

But with Ndombele unfit /injured; Wanyama done; Winks injured; Lo Celso not trusted and Skipp deemed not quite ready for first team starts there is not a lot of choice. Sissoko is indestructible and always available and Dier, Jose's chosen son.

This was the first time in two years that we had fielded the same starting eleven in consecutive matches and demonstrates Jose's preference for a settled team. No substitutions were made until the last couple of minutes.

Jose's party trick has been to make the whole more than the sum of its parts. If that concept is good enough for Aristotle it's good enough for Jose and me..

Champions' League Draw
Borussia Dortmund v Paris St.Germain

Real Madrid v Man. City
Atalanta v Valencia
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
Lyon v Juventus
Tottenham v RB Leipzig (First leg at home on Wednesday Feb. 19th.)
Napoli v Barcelona
No easy teams but some are tougher than others. Nearly as good a draw as we could hope for but Leibzig looked good in the group stage and topped their group.

The Champions' League website thumb-nail sketch:
Leipzig campaign in ten words: Bundesliga upstarts reach last 16 for first time; respect due.
Spurs ten word summary: Leaky defence, killer attack; can Mourinho fix 2019's losing finalists?
Not totally unfair really. 

Next up. Chelsea at NWHL on Sunday 22nd. at 4:30 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Two screamers and an exciting match. Wolves go to sleep at the end  leaving Jan unmarked, thinking 'Well it's only an Eriksen corner' and Spurs collect all three points.

Early errors by Sissoko and Sanchez went unpunished. Vertonghen not only survived but prospered.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Jose Hedges His Bets.

Which is more than Jeremy Corbyn can say
The JimmyG2 Column.
We got out alive from the final group game against Bayern by the skin of our teeth. Jose hedged his bets by including a few kids with some stalwarts to avoid a Pochettino scale defeat but it was a 'damn close run thing'.

They hit the post twice and the bar, missed a couple of sitters  and Gazzaniga did the rest. The goal by Sessegnon was a bonus and generally speaking the youngsters, Foyth, Sess and later Skipp, did better than the old hands, Dier, Sissoko and Eriksen.

Sessengnon became Spurs youngest Champions' League scorer at 17 years and 207 days. This could be the start of something good.

Dier was statuesque but not in a good way; Sissoko was a virtual passenger; neither full back, Rose nor KWP challenged for a starting place; Lo Celso was better than Eriksen but not by much; Toby stood up well under pressure alongside Foyth.

Bayern were slicker and quicker and their movement bamboozled us. But we more or less survived and Jose's reputation was preserved. Mission accomplished despite Coutinho's best efforts. But it was touch and go at times.

They outplayed us overall but in the end coasted to victory without bothering to disturb Lewandowski. Son and Sissoko had chances but Bayern probably had a gear or two in reserve.

Jose could have been bolder, it was a dead rubber after all, but he didn't get where he is today by risking all on a whim. He said of his approach.“Today was a play and prepare game when you put more emphasis on the players who rest than the players who play,”

If you say so Jose, if you say so. I suppose you have to balance all the pressures that weigh upon you, but this might have been an opportunity missed which might not come again this season.

We came second in a two horse race but it wasn't a complete walk-over. Key players for Wolves were rested, Sessengnon and Foyth signalled their readiness for a start and Dier and one or two others confirmed that they have not much to offer.

If we finish in the Top Six and have a Cup run he will have passed his qualification test but nothing is certain especially if the 'no transfers in January' or the 'sell to buy' policy declaration holds.

Rumour.  (8/10)
One signing Mourinho wants to make is that of the Lille sporting director Luis Campos. He has already taken to two members of the Lille technical staff,  the assistant coach João Sacramento and the goalkeeper coach Nuno Santes.

Rumour.  0/10)  Mauricio emerging as favourite for Arsenal job. (Mirror and others.)

Next Up
Away to Wolves on Sunday at 2pm. After that it's Chelsea in a classic pre-Xmas 'six pointer'.

Champions' League draw.
Monday 16th. at 11am. on BTSport1
We could get any of the following: PSG, Juventus, Leipzig, Valencia or Barcelona. Take your pick.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Featuring Ryan Sessegnon to celebrate his first start and first goal for Tottenham against Bayern. Musings 'Welcome to Tottenham' . This one's 'oven ready' as they say. Defense and attack. The new Gareth Bale we hope.

Monday, 9 December 2019

New Directions at Spurs.

Up next, the Hidden Dragon
 with the Sword of Destiny to follow.
The Jimmy G2 Column.
I'm not sure whether the imminent UK election is taking my mind off Tottenham's varying fortunes or that the revival of Spurs fortunes is taking my mind of the election and its possible dire consequence.

Now firmly established, well fairly firmly established, after the slip up by Chelsea, closer to the Top Four than the relegation three after winning four games from five. Hope has returned.

Yeah yeah, I know. It's the hope.....

Against Burnley we scored some cracking goals; Sissoko scored and hit the post; we kept a clean sheet, started fast; scored early, twice and had less of the ball than usual but did a lot more with it and more quickly.

Most interesting to me was that Parrott (17) and two 19 year olds, Sessengnon and Skipp, made  appearances. Mourinho  allegedly doesn't do 'youth' or exciting attacking football. File  them both under 'He does now'

Our best team performance for a while although Son will get the headlines for his Goal of the Season and Kane for his passing and two impressive strikes from distance.

This week we seem to be are out of the woods and checking the map for the directions to the sunlit uplands.

The contrast between our performance in midweek against United and Saturday's show against Burnley couldn't be starker. Now Burnley at NWHL  are not United at Old Trafford and United's win against City at the Etihad puts our loss into perspective.

United are a team on the up and Burnley are not but our attitude in both games is revealing. We seemed to feel the weighty Hand of History on our shoulders in midweek and didn't at any stage look up for the fight.

Vertonghen, for example, who was moody and disinterested in midweek seemed much more involved and Harry Kane too and the change in the attitude of the whole team was evident. Jose didn't even have to bring Eriksen on to salvage things.

Against Burnley everything changed in what Mourinho channelling his inner Trump termed a 'perfect telephone call, sorry performance'. Not quite because Burnley had a couple of chances in the first half but we know what he means.

Burnley only played as well as we allowed them to play.They are not a bad side but were not given the time and space to play. Even so we might have conceded in the first half but continued to press and play to our strengths and speed up front.

We smothered them at the back, gave them little space in midfield, outpaced, baffled and confronted  them up front. A complete team performance if not a pèrfect one. The difficult we do today, the impossible takes a little longer.

Son Heung-min has been directly involved in 15 goals in his 15 appearances at NWHL in all competitions, more than any other player (nine goals, six assists). and unlike at Old Trafford he was focussed and switched on.

Dele had a quieter game but he has been directly involved in seven goals in five games under Jose Mourinho in all competitions (four goals, three assists). Moura too was more effective and scored from a Dele assist.

Watching videos of the bench reaction to the game and especially Mourinho they seem much more involved and pro-active. Even at 5-0 up Jose hardly ever sat down and prowled his area like the Crouching Tiger.

The Hidden Dragon has yet to appear but hopefully when he does he wields the Sword of Destiny. Probably too late for this season but who knows what lies in store for next.

I hesitate to talk of breakthroughs or major steps forward and turning corners but that's what it felt like as I watched the  match. The almost forgotten Spurs spirit surged through me as Son ran through and more was to follow.

Watching Jose give the match ball to Troy Parrott suggested to me that something significant had happened. All fans like to see their own make it through the ranks but at Spurs we made a thing of it and Jose has picked up on it.

Young Troy  and Skipp could start against Bayern Munich. He wouldn't go that far would he. I don't put it past him. New Manager new directions.

Rumour of the week. 
Jose targets Fellaini to sign in January. Might undo a lot of the good will generated so far. On the positive side he is Belgian.

Next up
Tottenham round off their Champions' League group-stage campaign away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, with nothing at stake as both sides have already qualified for the knockout phase. Expect some changes.

In the Premier League action we are away  to Wolves next Sunday (14:00 GMT).

Jimmy's Video Spot .
Focus on Mourinho this week. I'm coming round but this is the new caring Jose, still crouching and prowling at 5-0. What's not to like?

I was going to put Son's goal on but you've probably all seen it, many times. Could feature later as 'Goal of the Season'

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Party? What Party?

The party's over
It's time to call it day
They've burst our pretty balloon*

All a bit over-dramatic I know but tell me it doesn't feel like that the morning after the night before. Mourinho produced a sub Pochettino performance away to Manchester United in terms of team selection and game management.

Why I thought it might be any different this time I'm not sure. We've lost more Premier league matches against them than any other team and Jose has won none of his last five games under four different Managers. (BBC)

We conceded another brace to make it 8 in four games both down to a buzzing Rashford who Jose had managed to unsettle whilst their Manager.  Sissoko's late challenge gifted them a penalty straight after half-time.

Jose had a point to prove but Rashford's point was apparently bigger and took the plaudits and the points. Dele's goal just before half time, a triumph of skill, touch and ingenuity should have set us up for the second half.

Perhaps Mourinho was trying to prove something though what it was is unclear.. Perhaps that Sissoko and Winks as a pivotal pairing doesn't work. They had ably demonstrated that by half time but the inevitable entry of Eriksen was delayed until the 64th. minute.

Sissoko is all heart and little brain and Eriksen is all brain and little heart. If Christian is not signing on again he should be nowhere near the squad; if he is he should start.

The back line creaked like a sinking ship: Aurier reverted to his former unreliable self; Sanchez deferred every time to Toby who is not the player he was; Mr Grumpy, flappy hands Vertonghen didn't seem up for it at all.

The slow motion back line ballet made it's unwelcome re-appearance and the midfield neither protected it nor inspired the players further forward.

Up front Son was erratic and selfish; Moura left hardly even a faint trace on the game; Harry without service was leaden  and only Dele shone. Gazzaniga after the early mistake at his near post performed heroics to keep the score down.

Jose stood and watched as if it was nothing to do with him and made the changes too late like his predecessor. United. could have been out of sight by half time. Things improved after half time but again the early penalty killed us.

So back to the drawing board Mr. Mourinho. You could do worse than give Oliver Skipp a run out or Sessegnon, or Tanganga. Let's rebuild the ship in what is inevitably turning out to be a mid table year not just try to refloat the old one which may be holed beneath the water-line

Balloons burst; new Manager bounce completed, now the hard work begins. The worrying thing about Wednesday night was the lack of energy and involvement on display. United weren't that good apart from Rashford but they were up for it.

Whatever the underlying causes of the demise of Mauricio are clearly still there and the magic of Mourinho is in itself not going to solve them. In the end we lost by a penalty but apart from Dele there was very little positive to hold on to.

Next Up.
Burnley at home on Saturday 7th. at 3pm.
Four out of 5 wouldn't be too bad.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Such clarity, such control. We could do with some of that. The Wedding Nuptials and the Honeymoon are over but there's the rest of life to get through now. The season goes on.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

This Can't Go On at Spurs.

Spot the Spurs Fan.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Another classic Spurs performance against Bournemouth but a most untypical Jose Mourinho one. Jose reveals his inner Ossie Ardiles with another narrow squeak win in the 'Who cares about the score as long as we score more than them''show.

Two goals per game conceded and performances that veer between the exciting and the reprehensible. But I don't think that this current attitude can last much longer before the whip is crackled and Jose normality restored.

We started badly as we did against Olympiakos and Gazza was forced into some untidy saves before the real Tottenham emerged and we took over. Tribute acts to the Exorcet firing Toby Alderweireld and the free running Dele of old took centre stage and just after half time we were two up.

A collector's item for the third, a Moussa Sissoko volleyed finish to a sparkling counter attack involving, Dele  and Son should have put the game to bed. Instead of which the team went to sleep and dozed during a tight finish, as we had done at West Ham.

Aurier seemed as delighted as his French speaking colleague even though they have a bet on who scores more. The tie stands at 1-1 currently. Dele continues to make the runs and currently is being increasingly found.

With Dier and Ndombele having an unfitness competition all of their own in midfield Sissoko did the running about a bit for both of them. The back four coped without too much trouble. Sanchez is learning to stay on his feet like his mentor Toby.

Rumours and whispers around that all the contract rebels might be persuaded to stay if required. Aurier seems to have played himself back in favour and only Danny Rose is left out on a limb.

Bournemouth had more shots than us (14/10) and more shots on target (6/5) and twice as many corners (8/4) In the end though it was quality rather than quantity that told, and Dele was pure quality.

Against better team we might not get away with such generosity but going forward we are a delight to watch once again. The smile never leaves Son's face, but now it's back on Dele's face too and certainly back on the faces of the fans.

History will recall that we won our first three games under Mourinho. Next up it's Manchester United (Away on Wednesdy at 7:30 pm) and he will want to win this one for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that Mauricio won his first four.

A nice touch was Jose's fist bump, on Dele's first goal, with  Callum  the ball boy of recent fame who had lunch with the team pre-match. A small thing but it draws the family closer together.

At the moment we are 5th. and closer to the top four than the relegation zone. So definitely something to smile about people. It's easy to spot the Spurs fans at the moment.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Those of a nervous disposition are advised to stop watching at1.49 . Dele has been making those runs quite often but not being found. Toby rediscovers the knack.