The JimmyG2 Column.
Amazingly its still too early to say whether José will deliver on the promise implicit by his appointment of trophies and success. The options for a trophy have slowly dwindled down to the Carabao Cup Final where we meet City this month. A runners-up medal definitely won't cut it in the Trophy stakes.
Success as defined by Champions' League participation is still theoretically on although declining the opportunity to go fourth after Chelsea were thumped by West Brom. is a set back. Newcastle, whose manager is almost as unpopular as ours, again proving our nemesis.
The appearance together of Rodon and Sanchez as our youthful centre half pairing gave cheer to many, except for the Sanchez part of the equation but both require experienced wet-nursing at the moment. With Dier out of favour, Davies injured and Toby recovering from 3 games in a week Jose had limited choices.
Tanganga fluffed the audition at full back and Reguilón looked unfit and barely ready to return. Jose selected Ndombele as this weeks scapegoat although apart from HK he usually looks the man most likely to. One or two incisive passes proved his point.
Letting Newcastle score first was a doubtful tactic although Harry scored twice to put us in the driving seat. But the equaliser always seemed imminent and they had 22 shots with only 41% possession to our 11.
Fittingly for the sub text of the story Joe Willock an Arsenal loanee scored in the 85th. minute but seasoned Spurs fans had written that script in their heads long before. With 8 games to go the denouement has not been finalised but the early rough drafts are not hopeful.
I have been rejecting for years the argument that there is something in the Tottenham Hotspur DNA which affects all Spurs players over the last generation and robs them of the mental strength necessary to win a trophy. Something 'Spursy' about Spurs.
But I am coming round though there are still some other avenues to explore. Firstly, that there is a debilitating agent in the Tottenham High Road water supply which eventually saps the clubs will to achieve and ambitions. This explains the sudden deterioration in José after years of success.
Secondly that there is a cursed ingredient. in the special fertiliser mix used by the groundsman at the Stadium and the training ground. Both these theories are being examined by the relevant authorities and I will report back later when the investigations are complete.
'Leave it with us JimmyG We'll be in touch' I was assured by a very helpful man at the Tottenham and Enfield Water Board.
In the meantime all is not lost as our run-in is easier than most although I have said this before and the game against Newcastle hovering on the very edge of the R zone was to be the start of our push for the top four.'The best laid plans of Mice and Men' and all that.
Lloris stood firm behind a flaky back four making one wonderful double save from Dwight Gayle though he had little chance with either goal. Rodon was certainly the pick at the back but hasn't the experience to both carry Sanchez and fulfil his own commitments. Each of the back four made avoidable errors.
This was only Newcastle's second win in 19 Premier league games and Spurs expectations were high at the start but hopes were dashed by the end. We conceded an even later equaliser in the first fixture at home. That one could definitely be the water supply or the fertiliser.
Harry was everywhere as usual scoring twice and hitting the post after heading clear from a corner and legging it to the other end of the pitch.. His first was a defensive error but the second was a fine strike assisted by Ndombele.
He seemed to take Newcastle's opener personally, a fine cross-field ball by Longstaff to an unmarked Joelinton who has only scored once in the Premiership all season, against Spùrs wouldn't you know) but you already know how that one goes. He beat Hugo at the near post on the half hour.
He had already been offered a sight at goal by Sanchez with a careless header but blazed it straight at Lloris. Hugo had already made a fine double save from Dwight Gayle who should have scored. The writing was on the wall but until the last five minutes the 'moving finger having writ moved on'.
What on earth we will do without our Harry if as ever increasingly rumoured he departs for Trophville I have no idea. He leads both the Premiership goals and the assists and is having his best season since since 2017/8with 8 games to come.
We have failed to win six Premier league games when winning at half time and have dropped 15 points from leading positions, 4 of them against Newcastle and 11 of them in the last ten minutes. We lead the Premiership field in all these categories.
Generally speaking the players took the rap from José and in particular Tanguy Ndombele, not for the first time and had been economical with la Verité about players availability and fitness on occasions recently. (Toby for example)
Son came on for Vinicius for the second half but was clearly not up to speed. Lamela arrived on the hour to replace Moura but was wasteful. Bale came on just in time to blaze a free kick over the bar before the final whistle. I had to laugh at the level of expectation.
At least it stopped Harry from trying to batter his way through yet another wall. Someone should tell him.
There were moments of good football, Hojbjerg probed tidily and Lo Celso and Ndombele had some good moments in midfield, Reguilón got forward to cross well in the second half but we were increasingly the more passive side and Newcastle looked to get the ball forward more quickly.
Lo Celso made a welcome return but didn't affect things too much. Hojbjerg, Danish player of the season, was solid again but individuals made mistakes as José said and individuals did good things without the semblance of a co-ordinated team effort for most of the time.
We were careless bordering on sloppy out of defence and lethargic and lacking urgency overall. Vinicius lacks a bit of quality but allowing Harry to do his Roy of the Rovers act, the here and everywhere man, and still scoring goals seemed to be working up to half time.
On Monday night Everton stumbled to a draw but West Ham without Rice for the next month held their nerve to fight off a rearguard action by Wolves. 4th place is a dog fight between 3 London teams (Chelsea us and West Ham) and Liverpool and Everton.
These are desperate times which might get worse. We face Utd who came from behind to win against Brighton next Sunday. That's the way to do it Mr. Mourinho. It's still neither fun to watch nor effective. The worst of all possible worlds.
We won't know until the Cup Final whether the trophy pledge has been fulfilled and until the end of the season for any evaluation of success. Don't expect José to be going anywhere before then. If there had been crowds of fans in this season he would almost certainly have been long gone.
Guns and Roses: And a heads up for those tired of football, and therefore life presumably, as Samuel Johnson nearly said the 'Guns and Roses' postponed concerts are back on for next year. Something to look forward to.1st. and 2nd of July 2022.
Next Up. Premier League:Manchester United at Home on Sunday 11th. April at 4.30 pm.
Jimmy's Video Spot.
José's Press Conference, much more intriguing than the game. Strong defensive showing by the Manager and the introduction of the concept of 'instability'. Not quite sure what he means. 'Mistakes?'.
The first goal was a direct result of failures to clear by Tanganga and Sanchez. The second was a real mess and Willock more alert than we were.