The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Turn Up for Tottenham.

 

 
Europa Conference League trophy.
 
That's the Trophy if we win it
 as well as entry into the Europa League the following season.
.
The JimmyG2 Column.
 
Now there's a proper turn-up. Spurs actually turned-up when it mattered launching themselves into Europe and wrecking Arsenal's and Leicester's  world domination hopes at a stroke. An unfortunate side effect was to cement  Chelsea into the same Top Four as last year.

But you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs so, so be it. This is perhaps Tottenham's new role; barely hanging on by our finger-tips to European Glory ourselves but wrecking the dreams of others as we go. 

Many Spurs fans bemoan our involvement in this new Europa Conference competition but apart from such entitled snobbery there are no down sides to our participation. I am sure the new Manager will agree. It's a  chance to come to grips with the wider squad as part of his pre-season planning.

And a chance to blood some youth and youngsters as part of his 'getting to know you' routines before the competition proper even starts. Trophies are not my agenda but it's yet another one we can fail to hold aloft but the experience could be invaluable.

Anyway the die is cast and we will see what happens. At least the final game of a distraught season gave us just a little hope to take us through the close season. The game hinged late on when Schmeichel under duress from Sanchez at a corner punched the ball into his own net for the second equaliser.

They needed to win and lost their shape an ideal situation for Bale to snatch a couple of goals in what is probably his farewell game. Harry Kane  had scored the first equaliser with a sharp finish which won him the Golden Boot for the 3rd. time ahead of Salah.

He assisted the first Bale goal with minutes to go which ensured him of the Playmaker of the Season award too. Will we ever produce his like again? Good luck HK. whichever part of Manchester you end up in, though staying at Spurs is an option too despite a Gentleman's Agreement. Is Daniel Levy a gentleman I wonder?

Leicester had gone ahead twice with penalties earned/bought and scored by Vardy. The first following carelessness by Toby who tripped him and the second when he grappled with Sanchez but who exactly initiated the grappling is open to question.

But we didn't sulk or retire to our tents and played more on the front foot. Doherty who had a good game and Reguilón got forward  and Winks, I have to tell you played well. About time you might say but he has it in him despite rumours to the contrary. 

Dele started his 5th consecutive game but didn't have the impact I hoped. Son was a little more in evidence. Bale can be world class when he is in the mood. Sanchez like Aurier, always has a mistake in him. 

Several players may have played their last game for Spurs: Bale, Kane, Son, Dele, Toby, Vinicius, Dier and Sissoko amongst them. This is the perennial Bonfire of the Dead Wood which is often deemed  imminent but which never quite catches fire.. The new Manager will obviously want a say.

Ryan Mason. A word on Ryan. He should never have been tasked with this role given his personal involvement with several of the squad and he won't continue. He did well under the circumstances,.

He mastered 'Manager- speak' capably but some of his decisions were inevitably naive and unsuccessful. Nevertheless he deserves credit for stepping in at a fraught moment in the club's history.and behaving with calm and dignity. He clearly has the makings but needs to gain experience elsewhere.

But this was at least a  more positive note on which to end a dreadful season.

Your Guide to the Europa Conference League:  It's a very tangled undergrowth but I will attempt to clear a path. It's on Thursdays and runs throughout the season.

We enter in the Play-offs round (there are 3 qualifying rounds prior to this but we leap over them.)  The draw for this round will be on the 2nd August after the qualifying teams have been sorted.

It will be a two legged affair on the 19th. and 26th. August a week after the Premier league begins on the weekend of the 14th August. 

The group stages begin on the 16th. September.

The eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16. Additional knockout round play-offs will then be played before the round of 16 between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams of the Europa League groups.  

The knockout play-offs begin on Feb 17th/24th,  

 The first round of 16 is on March 10th/17th.

The final is on May 25th in Albania at the Tirana National Stadium (Capacity 21.690)

 Book early to avoid disappointment.

This means if we reached the Europa Conference League final, we will play an additional 15 games, or 17 games if we finish second in our group.

Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France all get one team, while Scotland, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Belgium get two.(184 teams in all at the start)

Among the teams already qualified are Vitesse, Basel, AEK Athens, Rubin Kazan, BATE Borisov and Rosenborg. and Tottenham Hotspur. There are plenty more teams which you've never heard of and which are difficult to pronounce. but we're in it so let's win it.

(With thanks to Col_M from Spurs Community)

 Website if you want to check the fine detail for yourself:

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12304202/what-is-the-europa-conference-league-who-qualifies-when-will-games-be-played

End of Season Awards.

Best Player. Harry Kane

Most disappointing player. Tanguy Ndombele.

Big hopes for next year: Oliver Skipp/ Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy

Big hope for the future: Joe Rodon

Most exciting newcomer: Serge Reguilón. (One or two blips to iron out before next season)

Servant that did his best and didn't let us down but seems to have reached the end of the line. Toby Alderweireld. (if he stays could have a big effect on the youngsters.)

 Looking ahead. 

I think someone dropped the Crystal Ball. Your guess is as good as mine, probably better. The new Manager is key to setting a new agenda and on incomers and out goers. Whatever happens I am up for a re-build, it's time once again and I hope it focusses on youth and some of our own, they go the extra mile.

Silliest Rumour of the week.

Mauricio Pochettino to return to Spurs ahead of the 21/22 Season. (Daily Express and others)

 Next Up Nothing on Spurs website for friendlies or pre-season yet.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Twice behind we gained  control as Leicester faltered. Even conceding two penalties, one at least doubtful, didn't faze us. Schmeichel untypically let one through his legs and conceded an own goal for another.

Bale went on the rampage to clinch the game. Too little too late for this season but let's take comfort and inspiration. where we can.







Thursday, 20 May 2021

Spurs Plunge into the Unknown.

The Tomb of the next Unknown Spurs Manager.

I give him 18 months, if he's lucky.

.

The JimmyG2 Column.

.

‘There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know.’ (Donald Rumsfield February 2002, US Secretary of State for Defence)

There are certainly plenty of known unknowns floating around Tottenham at the moment, probably quite a few unknown knowns too if we did but know it and nowhere near as many known knowns than we previously knew.

 The New Manager is the biggest known unknown and at the heart of much of this. The saga of Harry Kane's whereabouts next season is another and that of several others too. Incoming players is more of a matter of unknown unknowns.

In the known known category is my opinion on the Villa game and the season generally: it is Officially an Embarrassment and a blot on the pages of our History. Why did we not fix the roof when the sun was shining when we got to the CL final?

Why did we appoint Mourinho, a clear mismatch at Spurs? Why did we sack him a week before a Cup Final? How did we lose another game from a winning position at home to a team we usually beat? If only there was a trophy for that.

We were top in November and are now struggling  to make the Europa proper or even the Europa Conference. If things go as badly on Sunday as they did on Wednesday with Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham all winning we could go down to 8th. if we lose and still only 6th. if we win.

But we are in the realm of known unknowns again.Some people think they know and their assertions on many of these topics are tedious in the extreme, both fans and professional pundits whose ignorance is often impressive.

As for the game against Villa we deserved nothing and got exactly that. Search parties failed to find Son and Harry's mind was clearly dreaming of real estate in nice places to live near Manchester. Winks and Dier started..

It made little difference, Villa with a newly recovered Grealish were up for this and we were not despite Bergwijn  scoring after 8 minutes. He created and started the move himself robbing Nakamba, shrugging off two challenges  and lashing home in style.

He missed two easier chances later and so did Kane, all 3 shots were straight at Martinez. Reguilón was the unlikely villian in this tepid drama slicing a clearance from nearer to the edge of the area than the goal when under little pressure for the equaliser.

Not the most auspicious moment for the Premier League's 1.000th. own goal. He then failed to clear twice in quick succession to present Watkins with a chance which he took.

 All done and dusted before half time.We had 60% possession but had only 10 shots. to their 20. A fair overview of the game.  Hojbjerg was booked again in the first half which limited his defensive midfield role in the second.

Dele starting for the 4th consecutive time under Ryan Mason failed to deliver on his comrades trust and was caught on the ball as he Dele-dallied. Ndombele and Bale got 20 minutes and both looked bright. Doherty came on for the injured Tanganga and did nothing wrong.

The defence apart from Reguilón did OK but no news yet on how bad Tanganga's ankle injury is which saw him stretchered off at the end of the game. After the opening goal we seemed to go to sleep and there was a distinct lack of urgency all round.

There was unrest after the game until the team led by Kane reappeared to appease clearly disgruntled fans for the last game at home of the season and the first in which some 10.000  were allowed in for the first time after the Covid restrictions.

They have plenty to be disgruntled about apart from the poor season and the the ESL nonsense. Levy was forced to admit that he took his eye off the club's DNA. If fans had been present for the whole season he might not have got away with it. But that's another known unknown.

I'm not a great fan of ENIC and Levy I think they have disrespected the fans loyalty and  but I prefer them to foreign regimes that chop up their opponents, or rich business men that evade their taxes, use the club as a piggy bank or an ego plaything..

So I won't be deserting Spurs after all these years even after this pathetic season. Never mind Spurs DNA, they are part of mine - The next Manager is crucial to the return of the real Spurs and I will wait and enjoy the journey if the direction is right.

The great Unknown is how did we get to the sorry state we are in from top in November and in the Champion's League final 2 yrs ago. Plenty of suggestions of how and who to blame but Known Unknowns rather than known knowns.

So many questions so few answers.

Last Up for 2020/2021

Premier League Away to Leicester on Sunday23rd. May at 4pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot:

' Changes' The theme song for this Summer. One of my favourite songs and singers.

''The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new''. (Socrates)


Monday, 17 May 2021

Would You Believe It?

Unemployed need not apply. We tried that.

.

The Jimmy G2 column.

.  

Spurs sail on majestically with their young new (temporary) Manager at the helm who now has the highest win percentage(60%) of any recent incumbent including Mauricio (55%) and especially Jose (44%) Even Harry Redknapp didn't break the 50% barrier

If only we'd given Ryan the job earlier we'd not only be heading for the Champions' League but the World Cup too. Statistics eh! As Accountants are rumoured to say in answer to the question 'What does 2+2 make? What do you want them to make?

Anyway as you can tell I'm in post euphoric semi-demobilsation mood after the Wolves trouncing. Well competent win at least.We controlled the game, didn't batten down the hatches in a siege mentality when 1-0 up at half time and advanced our European credentials.

Quite where, how and when in Europe we will be called is not clear yet but it looks as on as the Champions' League is off though mathematically if we win our last 2 fixtures and Liverpool and Leicester lose theirs we could finish 4th. Probably the Europa proper.

Anyway where were we? Ah yes the pre-penultimate game of the season at home to Wolves. I think they enjoyed their trip to the metropolis if not the game. Sunglasses and flip-flops were a bit of a giveaway. Conor Coady is excused from this disparagement as he played well.

So did Adama Traore when he remembered why he'd come. He carved through our defence on occasions like an electric carving knife through a finger. Fortunately he elected to pass rather than to keep running and putting the ball and the entire Spurs defence into the back of the net.

Ryan elected once again to play a virtually unchanged team thus trolling many Spurs fans with Dier and Dele starting and Winks and Sissoko finishing the match. Nobody played poorly, Dele had another decent game, setting up Harry with a cute ball.

This was his third consecutive appearance in 3 weeks as many appearances in the League as he made under José in a year. Ryan made him his MOM which is a little bit of a stretch but I admire the sentiment. They are still searching for our Long Lost Son.

Lo Celso started and supplied some zip and creativity in the first half especially. Toby re-discovered his inner Michael Dawson with some telling long balls. Gareth kept in touch but the star was Hojbjerg with a fine incisive through ball for Harry's goal.

He crowned his performance by an opportunistic goal after both Dele and HK had rattled the posts and Rui Patricio could only parry a Bale effort. Reguilón's persistence down the left flank had set up the move and indicated Spurs greater determination.

We dominated all the statistics with 60% possession, 11 shots on target to their 3 and 10 corners to 3. Not exactly a rout though Spurs hit the woodwork three times.Winks got the last 20 minutes for Lo Celso and surprised many Spurs fans by playing quite well.

Tanganga showed he had the makings after another start. Strong, brave, tall, good in the air though eventually as a central defender rather than a full-back.Perhaps alongside Joe Rodon when Dier and Toby finally bow out.

Too little too late I'm afraid but there's always next season under our Mystery Man the New Manager. It's been a funny old season in the funny old game. Few teams have played consistently well.

Would you believe that after such a disrupted and poor season we could still be in with a theoretical chance of Champions' League.. I seem to recall beating both the Manchesters but it seems like much more than a season ago.

Next Manager:

The search goes on with a rapidly expanding and diminishing list. ITK continues to fine tune the candidates but they are still insisting that the Chosen One hasn't changed from day 1 and that the man is currently employed which is a relief from our previous charitable appointment.

Next Up. Premier League. Aston Villa at home this Wednesday 19th May at 6pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Nice steal by Dele and nutmeg pass to set up HK but he could only hit the post. Not much Spurs goalmouth action which is the way Hugo and I like it.

Conor Coady saves two on the line in quick succession from a Lo Celso corner.



Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Dream Is Over: Long Live The Dream.

 I'd better get the next one right.

.

The Jimmy G2 Column.

.

They think it's all over. It is now. There was only a slim chance of everything going in our favour and us winning all our remaining games to snatch Champions' League from the dying embers of a season to forget. Leeds poured petrol on that hope in some style.

Marcello Bielsa passed his audition for the Tottenham job with flying colours but one has to ask why on earth he would be attracted by such a change. We were second best on every positive metric you care to name. 

Away to Leeds at Elland Road was an illuminated flashing sign clearly marking the the end of the road. Many better teams have foundered there throughout the season. Even if we win the next two home games against Wolves and Aston Villa there would still have been the Gunfight at the King Power Corral.

We look as likely to finish 8th.as 4th and whether that puts off any of the aspiring Spurs managers from a constantly changing list remains to be seen.It may well affect the signing of new players too once the often rumoured  clear out has occurred.

We can join Ryan Mason in bemoaning the injustice of the very narrow offside against Harry Kane by VAR or we can face up to reality and admit that we deserved nothing overall, that Leeds were quicker, sharper and played more like a team that knew what they were doing.

Ryan picked the same team that thumped Sheffield which gave some semblance of consistency. but Leeds are no Burnley and nestle snugly in the top half of the table which is perhaps a more achievable target than Champions' League for us at the moment.

Dele turned up and made two telling assists one for Son's goal which stood and the other for Kane's which didn't. Bale was rarely seen and Reguilón joins the growing band of Spurs players who are in the 'accidents waiting to happen' category.

They went ahead early when Dallas swept in a sharp Lloris save to prevent a Reguilón own goal. Son's equaliser before the half hour gave us hope but the VAR rejection of Harry's goal to put us ahead changed the momentum. He later hit the bar from a free kick. 

But these were only moments in a general tide of Leeds enthusiasm speed and control. Meslier made a fine reflex save from a Aurier deflected cross but that was about it. Lamela caused a stir as usual, Ndombele replaced Lo Celso again to little effect.

Ryan intent on currying favour with fans brought on neither Winks nor Sissoko but these were the high spots of an entertaining but ultimately doomed encounter.

There was no kind of feeling that the force was with us despite the second consecutive appearance of the Fab Four. It makes our inclusion in the European Super League debacle doubly humiliating. Even the front-line stars need some back up.

There is a lot on Daniel Levy's shoulders before next season, appointing the tenth manager of his 20 year reign after a series of spectacular mistakes. The appointment of Mourinho and his sacking to save money a week before our only chance to win a trophy were by no means the worst.

Harry and/ or Son might give us another year under a new Manager but no blame would attach if they didn't.We have failed to live up to their expectations and that of the fans too. A second year without Champions' League and no instant remedies on the horizon.

The rebuild might be painful but it is inevitable after our sad decline from the heights reached under Pochettino, but it has been coming for a while and I welcome it. Rebuilding the dream could be quite exciting though I'm not sure I trust Levy's football judgement to make the right decisions. 

There will still be some Spurs diehard fans hoping for a miracle and even now thinking we might still qualify. I gave up that hope weeks ago before Hope did what Hope does and I live to anticipate another exciting chapter in the Spurs story.

Apologies for anyone checking in for the latest hot-tip ITK on the next manager or transfer rumour, in or out. We don't bother except to occasionally mock the nonsense.

 Next Up. Premier League. Home To Wolves next Sunday 16th. May at 14.05 pm.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Nostalgia incoming. 'Time of our lives'.

Those were the days of our lives. The other Glory period. Glen Hoddle,Steve Perryman and Ossie Ardiles chat with  Jeff Sterling about the successes of the the early 1980's.

The only way is up at the moment, well nearly.. They say the darkest hour is just before the dawn. It's looking pretty dark from where I'm sitting.


Monday, 3 May 2021

Bale now Happy. Will He Stay?

 All singing from the same hymn sheet this week

.The Jimmy G2 Column.

.

We'll keep a welcome on the High Road,
We'll keep a welcome down The Lane.
This Club you knew will still be singing,
When you come home again to Spurs.

Were you watching José in your multi-millionair fox-hole? Ryan Mason shook off the post Carabao Cup Final Blues and went his own way; the Tottenham way. Whether this approach would have made a difference last week we will never know.

But most Spurs fans would have rather gone down fighting by a bigger margin than conceding the game meekly 1-0. At least Ryan is thinking it through, he just got it wrong on the day. With the brakes off and the throttle open Spurs savaged a poor Sheffield team.

We had 20 shots, 11 on target: Sheffield managed 7 but with only 1 on target straight at Hugo.We had the lion's share of possession (66%) and our attacking play was quicker and our finishing deadly. Just what the fans ordered as a cure for the Post Mourinho era.

Ryan paid homage to José last week in an attempt no doubt to keep the score down and spare our blushes but in doing so won the battle for our self respect and lost the Trophy War. This week his true Spurs colours were on full display in both team selection and performance.

Already relegated on record breaking low tallies of points and goals this was a fixture made in heaven for Spurs in their effort to present the new manager with a spot in the Champions' League for next season. Four games to go we are now 5th. 5 points behind Chelsea.

Ryan refuses to be drawn on this prospect and reverts to the straight bat 'one game at a time' mantra from page one of the Manager's Manual which he hasn't quite finished reading yet. But he's got as far as page 2, 'Play to your strengths with your best players'.

It's clear we need to win every game to have a chance but West Ham and Liverpool have a game in hand and could overtake us but the 'one game at a time' approach enables him to ignore the other possibilities. He'll no doubt be 'over the moon' if we arrive at Leicester on the final day still in with a chance.

I think it will be all over before the last game, after all it's not entirely in our own hands. and we have three opportunities to mess up before then. We are bound to take one of them, possibly at Leeds next week. Aston Villa and Wolves at NWHL are not nailed-on wins unless we play like we did today.

With Bale, Dele and Lo Celso starting together with Son and HK  we showed clear intent against Sheffield. Bale was 'outstanding' and Dele though still a little ring rusty had a hand in two of the goals, found space and showed the Art of Standing Still.

The other stand-out features were the determined high press and the forward passing of Toby which led to the disallowed Son goal for a marginal offside. 5 scorchers to make the heart sing in unison. The 'Good' Aurier turned up with two assists for Bale.

Son rejoined the choir  with an assist and two goals very well taken, (one disallowed) Lo Celso was lively  and Ndombele wasn't missed. The defence was under little pressure and I doubt this will happen again this season. We made plenty of hay and fixed the roof while the sun shone.

Lo Celso was stamped on by Fleck for his efforts and ended the afternoon with an ice bag on his head. Ryan Mason was outraged that it wasn't a straight red. I've seen 'em given.

HK was disappointing. He looked a bit lethargic and missed two chances he would normally be expected to bury. Reguilon got forward well and missed a very decent chance at the end. It was good to see Steve Bergwijn get 15 minutes and he assisted Son's valid goal to make it 4  within minutes of coming on.

Lamela got 10 minutes but made little impact. Winks saw the game out for the last 20. Ryan used our dominant position to give most of the players needing time and a little love, a chance especially Dele who faded in the second half but we were 3-0 up by the time he was subbed.

The only exception was Moura but he hadn't trained all week until Friday and his omission was understandable. Ndombele seems to be regarded as an expensive luxury, an exotic fruit, an acquired taste at the moment but I have no doubt he will find his way back into the team soon, he is too good to be totally overlooked.

The fans are back with a vengeance particularly at Manchester Utd where a forced entry caused the Manchester/ Liverpool game to be postponed. They did their anti European Super League campaign little good by being alcoholed up but a necessary point was made.

 So Mr.Mason keeps his 100% Premier record and maintains his forlorn bid for the permanent job. Even if we get into the Top Four he won't get an offer he can't refuse from DL. As more managers drop out the theoretical race Ralph Rangrick is emerging as the available favourite.

I'm still for Bielsa whose odds are dropping, Premiership time served, his new Leeds contract unsigned and remember Levy likes a left field Argentinian who can't speak fluent English.

Marcelo will have enjoyed our approach and performance on Sunday. Next Saturday might be an important step towards his recruitment. You read it here first.

Quote of the Day: Bale on Bale. ''I'm happy and when I'm happy I play well." Which raises the question, if he's happy will he stay? It's probably not entirely his decision but it's a good first step. We'll keep a welcome Gareth.

And while we're deep in the Land of Welshdom. Where the hell was Joe Rodon? He was not even in the squad. Sore throat perhaps and advised not to sing.

Gareth Bale's hat-trick was his first in the Premier League for almost 20 years. The last was in 2012 against Aston Villa  who we play quite soon. Just  saying.

Next Up. Premier League: Away to Leeds next Saturday 8th May at 12.30 pm. 'Win it to stay in it, innit'.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

This is a pretty fair assessment and that's from Sheffield United TV. They sneaked in a couple of early Sheffield 'attempts' before Spurs took over completely.

Ramsdale hesitated on the first and should have blocked it. Bale's hat-trick dominates as the Sheffield commentator says 'One of the best players on the planet'. 

Ryan picked out attitude and an 'outstanding' performance after a good week's training which led to Dele's inclusion. Tanguy your route back in is clear, tear it up in training.

I thought you would prefer the highlights from this week rather than a concert by a Welsh male voice choir. Perhaps next week.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Tottenham Farewell Gig

 

 And now for the final time will you please welcome .......

.

The JimmyG2 Column.

.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan, all that goodwill spaffed up the Wembley walls. Winks starting ahead of Ndombele who in the end was left on the bench. Sissoko on before Lamela and finishing the game with Winks. Lo Celso and Moura our liveliest attackers  substituted and Son left on.

A catalogue of misjudgements born of hope and nostalgia. Dele on for five minutes at the end, Bergwijn for two. I'm not disappointed with the result because I had no expectations but I think that these decisions made the task harder and the result all the more likely.

Whatever were you thinking? Or weren't you thinking but just hoping against hope that things would turn out well. The Managers job is to use his skills, experience and knowledge to inspire the team to be more than the sum of its parts. But he didn't appoint himself.

When Dele came on at the death I had visions of an ageing Rock Band on a farewell tour bringing on their former stars for a final solo for old time's sake.  'And now for the very last time please welcome....' Son, Lloris and Harry Kane give off the same vibe.

That we kept them down to a single goal was mainly due to City's failures, Lloris brilliance and Toby's heroic interventions. But apart from ten minutes just after half time we were never in the game. Lo Celso  brought a good save from Steffen and that was about it.

Harry Kane made a couple of good runs during this brief period but had little support and the effort petered out. Hojbjerg failed miserably to find Reguilón on the overlap or even shoot when bearing down on the City goal and then guiltily blamed the Spaniard for the poorly hit pass.

 In the end we lost to a headed goal ten minutes from time from a poorly judged foul by Aurier on Sterling near the corner flag. Laporte who arguably should not have been on the pitch after two ruthless fouls on Moura in the first half,  headed past Hoijbjerg on the line.

Sissoko allegedly marking him didn't even get off the ground, neither Lloris nor any defender attempted to cut out the cross inside the 6yard box. Not the first time this season that this defensive lapse has featured

I have long advocated that fouls that would produce penalties in the box in the box should be liable to a red card outside. So-called 'professional fouls which are totally unprofessional should be be focused on as diving once was. It's spoiling the game and should be eradicated.

This can be construed as sour grapes on my part but I don't want Spurs to follow the trend and adopt an 'if you cant beat them,join them' attitude. But Laporte perhaps wouldn't have committed the second foul if he had been rightly booked for the first and Moura would have been free.

We were no match for City still bent on a three time Trophy hunt this season and winning the league Cup for the 4th consecutive season and for the 8th. time in total. We are not in their league currentl although we actually we are in the literal sense.

We didn't get across the half way line until almost 20 minutes and they had 17 shots to our 1. De Bryne's assist was his 17th. of the season. They are talented side with a relentless attacking style. Their defence is a little fragile but we didn't put it to the test.

After the European Super league debacle and the sacking of Mourinho this has been a disruptive week for Spurs. The appointment of Ryan was a whistle in the dark and turned out to be a forlorn hope. Our hopes of making the top four are in the same category.

Every one of Ryans decisions can be justified in some way. I am not a Winks hater, he has had a successful professional career with a few England and Spurs highlights. He might have prospered more at Spurs if he had been part of a balanced midfield and used in a way that suited his talent.

Bringing on Bale with Sissoko makes sense if the plan was for Moussa to supplement Bale's attacking focus. Ndombele has not played well recently but then neither has Son. We were lacking some creative attacking talent and the two players supplying it were both substituted.

8000 fans were present at Wembley to witness this mis-match made worse by some eccentric selections and substitutions but he'll learn though not at Spurs starightaway.

But enough already, there are few immediate solutions and I look forward to a new manager, some overdue departures and necessary arrivals and a focus on the future and youth including some of our own instead of recriminations of the past. It might take 5 years but let it be so.

It feels like the end of an era, and the old team will be dismantled one way or another though it will take more than one window.. The Team is Dead: Long Live the Team.

Next Up. Premier League Next Sunday 2nd.May at home to Sheffield Utd. at 7.15 pm. A whole week Ryan to sort them and yourself out.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Happier days. 2008 Carling league Cup final. Berbatov and Woodgate wipe out Drogba's free kick. First trophy for 9 years under Ramos. Due another but not this year.


Thursday, 22 April 2021

Once Upon A Time

 

 

 

20 years a Spur, man and boy, and he's not 30 yet.

.

The JimmyG2 Column.

.

 And they all lived happily ever after. It feels a bit like that today. Fairytale endings, the Big Bad Wolf despatched, the Handsome Young Prince rewarded with the hand of the girl he loves after sad adventures befall him on the way.

I don't quite see Daniel Levy as the Fairy Godmother but he played his part after his two near catastrophic errors: the appointment of Mourinho and the signing up of Spurs to the short lived European Super League conspiracy, more a bout of 24hr. flu than the feared Eurodemic.

Ryan is of course a temporary appointment to bridge the gap until the end of the season so there is plenty of scope for  messing it all up again and rest assured the money men behind the Euroleague  will be back  once they have checked their wallets.  Follow the money and J.P.Morgan.

With the replacement of Mourinho I was really looking forward to this but felt more tension than of late partly for Ryan Mason's sake. Win it and we are back in hopeful territory which seemed unlikely under José. The New Temporary Manager bounce carried us through.

We faced a Southampton side on the worst run of form in living memory from top of the league in November down to 14th today having lost 14 of the 24 games since. They topped Spurs for losing points from winning positions (21/20). for which much thanks.

But they began by huffing and puffing and threatening to blow our house down with a goal by Ings  to cap a dominant opening half hour and two fantastic Lloris saves in the first five minutes. They dared us to play out from the back and ambushed us when we did.

Spurs looked disorganised and lethargic for most of the first half and didn't have a shot on target. Ryan Mason's half time talk clarified a few issues according to Gareth Bale and as Southampton tired Spurs, increasingly on the front foot, dominated and pressed.

Without Harry Kane the centre was confused and Son and Moura frequently got in each others way This culminated in a well worked Son goal on 75 minutes being ruled out because Moura, offside ahead of Son, was in the keeper's line of vision.

On the hour Bale equalised with fine control and a delicate finish. A happy ending was on the cards. It was fortunate when it came with minutes to spare when a penalty was awarded for a foul on the very edge of the area on Reguilón awarded by VAR and converted by Son.

Harry in the stands fist pumped with joy and no doubt relief. So Ryan the youngest ever Manager in the Premiership won his first match in temporary charge and puts Spurs in 6th just 2 points behind West.Ham and Chelsea who play each other at the weekend. They both have a game in hand.

His playing career had been ended with a life threatening head injury and his role on the Spurs coaching staff was a heart warming new episode in this football fairy tale. With the introduction of Winks with 20 minutes to go it smacked of Mates United on Hackney Marshes.

Spurs improved as the game proceeded although Lucas was somewhat random again and Ndombele was late to wake up. It was good to see Lo Celso and Bale start and they made good the new manager's pledge to play on the front foot. Dier and Toby were paired at the back and coped pretty well.

Assuming that all report fit then this starting eleven could well face City on Sunday with the possible replacement of Ndombele by Winks and Moura by Lamela or Dele. Just thinking out aloud.

But it worked and Winks instead of Sissoko was a clear indication of the new attitude. Lamela and Berwijn came on late with the clear intention of pressing for the win. The players were encouraged to play with greater freedom and it reaped its rewards.

It's hard to fathom why Southampton have gone into such a decline; they have some decent players especially Ward-Prowse and ex Spurs Walker-Peters who we were perhaps unwise to let go. Their Manager Ralph Hassenhuttle proceeded Nagelsmann at Leipzig, both linked to Spurs..

They pressed us hard and for the first 25 minutes and were the dominant team. Danny Ings is always dangerous though prone to injury. He went off after scoring the opener with a recurring hamstring problem.Walker Peters had an early chance after a mistake by Reguilón.

Fittingly this was the first time this season that Spurs have won from a losing position at half time.The Ryan Mason effect obviously. Will he get the job permanently if we beat City on Sunday and gets us into the Champions' League? Dream on people.

Next Up.

Carabao Cup Final at Wembley. Against Manchester City Sunday 25th April at 4.30 pm.

Premier League: At home to Sheffield United on Sunday 2nd May at 7.15 pm. 

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Ryan's first News Conference as (temporary) Manager. assured and competent, steered clear of European Super League controversy despite journalists persistent attempts. Kept it personal and positive.

Lovely boy, deserves to do well. OOOOwn and a friend of HK. What can possibly go wrong? One down, 5 to go and a chance of silverware before that. 'Life is just a bowl of cherries' at the moment.