The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Danny Rejects Spurs Formula for Success.

 Why go all that way?
Tottenham have one of their own.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Three points. the magic quack doctors cure-all medication: new Stadium not complete? But we won: 3 points. No summer investment?  But we won: 3 points. 

Our joint best Premiership start: 18 from 8; six wins in eight games.Keep on taking the medicine. The worse it tastes the better it is for you. However that was the worst 3 point performance I have witnessed for many years. 

Papering over the cracks; the best cover up since the Kennedy assassination investigations or the recent FBI Brett Kavanaugh probe. Who cares? Well I do for a start.

And Danny Blanchflower for another:
"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom." 

Sorry Danny wherever you are. The Cardiff game was exactly what he had in mind. I know, I know: ''The past is another country they do things differently there.'' But the truth is that this is an enduring thought and applies equally now as then.

Cardiff have 2 points from eight. ( Where's  Redknapp when you need him). They played 30 minutes without Ralls sent off for a crude, deliberate, cynical hack on Moura when he ran free. Harry Kane was booked for confronting him.

All such 'professional' fouls should see red. Well done Mr. Dean. Makes 'divers' look like vicars at the proverbial tea party. 

We are playing poorly but are challenging for the Top Four. It took us 18 passes and at least five back passes from Sanchez to Lloris to get out of our own half at the start of the game.

It might have been more but boredom set in.. We smothered them with passes but mainly in the Tottenham Triangle of Toby, Davison and Hugo .The Bermuda Triangle may be a myth, ours is a stone cold depressing fact.

The high line disappears into it; quick build up and attack is swallowed; excitement and tension disappear from the radar. I understand the tactical reasons but it is all just too ponderous and fools nobody.

But for a fine Lloris save at the end and a timely Alderweireld intervention in the first half it might have been a whole lot worse. 'In the beginning the word was'' slow and dull.

But Dier's close range finish 'early doors' following a corner mix up was the winner so 'All's Well that Ends Well'. Chew on that Mr. Blanchflower.

Early goal, poor opposition who were down to 10 men on the hour; 76% possession, 19 shots but only 7 on target tells a story in itself. Cardiff had 6 on target their best total this season. 

We made hard work of it until Winks perked up later on. Cardiff didn't exactly die of boredom but many Tottenham fans did. Sissoko got a few plaudits which shows how poor the rest were. He passes under a very low bar that boy.

 People are unduly impressed if he remains standing up for 30 minutes at a time

.As Dr. Johnson said of women preaching and dogs walking on their hind legs.
Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

So I'm a bit 'miserable-ist' this week. Apart from Winks and Toby and possibly Kane who failed to score to complete the set of teams scored against nobody deserves much of a positive mention.

Sanchez was particularly negative for most of the game and continually turned back even with wide open spaces ahead of him. Lloris on at least one occasion stayed when he should have come unlike in midweek.

But we won. We are hovering there or thereabouts. 'There' being the Top Four which given the injury situation especially in our creative heart is remarkable in itself.

But with both Chelsea and Arsenal winning convincingly we drop to fifth level on points with a resurgent Arsenal.

The draw between Liverpool and Man. City means we are still in touch, only 2 points behind the three way split for top place. A decent base for when we start to play better though the fixtures get tougher now.
This will hopefully be balanced by more home games and the return of injured players. But 'Don't hatch your chickens before they count' as they say. 

I'm not convinced by Harry dropping deeper and letting Moura 'run about a bit' ahead of him. They seem to want to occupy the same space and Moura's finishing has become wayward. 

I trust that all those external, off pitch  considerations don't worry the players as much as the fans. For now playing poorly and winning is the formula for success.

Christian Eriksen
May have an abdominal strain which if not treated properly may become chronic which simply means lasting for an extended period and may not imply a serious injury which would prevent him playing.

Lucas Moura is recalled to the Brazil squad.

Looking on the bright side here.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Fascinating insight into the dressing room at Spurs through the eyes of Harry Winks. Lovely lad, one of our own and back in the England Squad.

I love this sort of stuff. Highlights when he gets more game time. My hope for the future.

Remember many if not most fans said Harry Kane wouldn't make it.

Some probably still do.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Storm Clouds Over Spurs

Extreme damage inflicted on Spurs Champions' League hopes
The JimmyG2 Column.
Hurricane Messi a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale which swept through Wembley last night and blew Spurs away has cleared the UK and the damage is being assessed.

Thankfully the only fatalities were to reputations. Captain Hugo Lloris suffered a major setback following a first minute catastrophic error from which Spurs struggled to recover before the full force of the storm struck.

A lightening strike by Rakitic inflicted further damage and as the storm increased Spurs struggled for survival until the emergency services could be deployed.

The storm gathered strength but further casualties were narrowly avoided in the early stages. Four key staff were on sick leave and this seriously affected our ability to respond effectively and quickly. 

However we clung on and survived the opening impact and complete catastrophe was narrowly avoided. After the Emergency Services reconvened for the second stage of the night we were waving not drowning.

 A life-raft launched by Harry Kane gave us hope until Hurricane Messi again increased in strength but another launched by Erik Lamela gave us further hope of a safe landing.

Young Winks and Lamela were given commendation for their actions later, but another misjudgement by Hugo sealed our fate.We were left clinging to the wreckage, fighting to survive.

The debate will rage as to whether Spurs should have stocked up on supplies over the Summer for just such a contingency but it is doubtful in the event that it would have made a decisive difference.

We were caught in what the experts term a 'perfect storm' and lacked the resources to fully cope. Initial planning errors contributed too.

We have been blown well off course from last night's destination and should perhaps set sail once the ship is righted for a new landfall as our current objective looks a voyage too far. 

This then was not as complete a disaster as it might have been and some positives can be rescued from the wreckage. One or two reputations were enhanced especially that of Harry Kane and Erik Lamela.

Jimmy's Video Spot 
Highlights and lowlights. Masterclass from Storm force 5. Classic Harry Kane goal. We frightened them briefly but they were too good and almost always in control.

Let's win the Europa if that's how it pans out and take the positives where we can. 

Original video of Messi v Spurs taken down by you tube (Infringement of copy write)
So here's another.
 The scarlet Pimpernel: they seek him here, they seek him there. If only he was two footed, he'd be really good.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Another Monkey Off Our Backs.

The bigger they come: the harder they fall.

The JimmyG2 Column.
So, where were we? Ah yes tip-toeing away from the Land of Woe and Doom. Cancel the cut-throats, wait on the wrist slitting, demur on the overdose: Spurs are back on track.

Up to 4th; more than 2 points a game; into the next round of the Caraboa Cup; 3 games 3 wins, Not exactly in style I agree but a win is a win is a win. and there are no extra points for artistic interpretation.

If there were we would not be getting many at the moment I'm afraid. Bag the points while we can and pluck the fluff from our navels later when we lose, not when we win. Winning ugly is not my preferred route, but winning is.

The old question about which you prefer: to win or to play well is a non-starter, they are not mutually exclusive.If you play well, over time, you will win more games than you lose.

Some weeks it seems like a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back scenario. This week though is a 3 steps forward , but only 2 steps back. 'Snakes  and Ladders' syndrome as it's known on the High Road.

A week of general improvement though we have been lucky with our opponents.This  continues next weekend with a chance to play the bottom of the league for the second week running.

After that  we have Man. City in the Premiership, West Ham in the Caraboa and  PSV. in the CL.  Barcelona provide a bit of light relief this Wednesday in the Champions' League and the sight of Messi and Co. will hopefully inspire rather than depress.

They are not the team they were, losing to Leganes, the bottom team in La Liga last week and relying on a late equaliser at the weekend. But let's not underestimate them.

Our last seven games have been in seven different cities in seven different stadiums. We have played five of them away from home and won 4 out of the seven. This experience should stand us in good stead.

Ladders include the performances of 3rd. choice keeper Paulo Gazzeniga; the return  of the Old Harry if you'll pardon the expression who goes back to the top of the goals and assists charts ahead of Erik Lamela.

The return of Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama is another step up for the immediate future  and our ability to clock up wins without playing well is the longest ladder on the board. 'Sign of a good team' remember. No nor me.

Snakes involve the collapse in form of Eric Dier and Ben Davies and the sick bay slowly filling up: Aurier, Vertonghen, Dele, Lloris, Vorm, Eriksen, and possibly Dembele according to the last doctor's round report.

We showed some grit and determination against Watford on Dele's Big Night Out in midweek and held firm with Paulo's help in the shoot-out. We don't usually turn up for those. Another one of the tribe of monkeys removed from our backs.

Captain for the night Dele returned to his boyhood stamping ground at Milton Keynes scored a penalty during the game and put his shoot-out shot safely away. Shrewd man-management by Mauricio.

On the down side he aggravated the hamstring injury collected on England duty and is out for possibly a month. Lamela and Eriksen will share the creative duties in his absence. Time to step up Mr. Winks.

Against Huddersfield we ran out easy winners in the end with Harry's two goals despite an opening blitz by the home side and the constant threat of long throws by Billing We dealt withevery one without trouble. Another monkey dumped.

Moura created the opener by his persistence but he is still a bit of a headless chicken. Diers midfield form has collapsed though in the reshuffle after Vertonghen's injury he was better at the back

Sanchez was calmer and more focused too after his midweek uncertainty. Trippier's cross for Harry's opening header was his second assist for the season.

See Naples and die they say. See off Barcelona and live I say.

I'll never forget the bookies face when I put 1000 Shekels on David in the big fight all those years ago. ''Double your stake and I'll double the odds'' he beamed. He who laughs last.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

Just a reminder of the force of nature that was Victor Wanyama. Kenya believe it!
Not back to his best yet after injury.. Another in the line of 'strong man' hopefuls trying to fill the boots of Dave Mackay

Go Victor. He has added more measured passing and at least one spectacular goal to his repertoire since joining just over 2 years ago.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Spurs Inquest Postponed.

The Inquest has been postponed
 because the patient adjudged not quite dead yet. 
The JimmyG2 Column.
One Seagull doth not an Autumn make. This one is well dead or perhaps it was just 'resting'  all the time. But for today it is an ex seagull. 

At the end it was almost a Knockaert but we survived our usual late frights and deservedly won. 72% possession tells the usual story. 

A quicker build up but still verging on the ponderous; a lively performance by Lucas in one man band mode but generally pretty uninspiring until Lamela came on and scored at the end.

The penalty jolted Harry, into life like Frankentein and he remembered what his job description was and acted accordingly. at least for the last half hour.

Gazziniga,  in for the 'injured ' Vorm, in for the 'injured' Hugo impressed and stood firm on occasions but was let off by Brighton's poor finishing.

So don't press the panic button yet..12 points from six has a healthyish ring to it at this stage given the way we are playing. Dele is back and Winks and Wanyama wait in the wings. And Sissoko.

Rose was entertaining as always but went AWOL for their goal and hardly deserved his MOM award. But Knockaert is a fine player and his goal was well taken.

For the rest effective but dour covers them all. Dier and Dembele is not our most creative midfield and with Eriksen still to fully turn up, against a better team we might have lost.

Our 4th. consecutive 2-1 result but this one went in our favour.  The next three Premiership games are eminently winnable and then we get to City and who knows by then we might have played ourselves into form. 

Next up Watford in the Caraboa Cup, Huddersfield in the Premiership and soon Barcelona in the Champions' League. Plenty of opportunities to make our mark at every level.

A point to be proved against Watford at Milton Keynes; pints, sorry points to be won at the John Smith Stadium against Huddersfield and then the 'magic' of the Champions' League all in a week or so.

Jimmy's Video Spot.

The match wasn't too exciting apart from the Lamela set up and goal so here's Chas and Dave on 'Later' recently.

'I wonder where he is now?' Chas's son on base guitar. Another one of our own, Chris Hughton marked the occasion at the Amex. RIP and thanks for the Memories Chas.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Losing Focuses Attention on Wider Problems.

 We haven't lost four consecutive Premiership games since 2004

The JimmyG2 Column. 
The wheels continue to fall off I'm afraid. Last night against Inter Milan we had the chance  to jump start the season and get back 'on track'. In full sight of the chequered flag we blew up again.

For half an hour after Eriksen's opener we motored smoothly on, but a brilliant strike by, ironically the Argentinian Icardi put them on level terms and in added time we conceded our 4th headed goal in six matches to Vecino.

The mechanics are poring over the smoking remains but no single cause is obvious for the breakdown. Our first run of three defeats in a row since 2014 under Sherwood and obviously the first under Mauricio.

The team and Manager are out of sorts and Pochettino's after match interview betrays an embattled man accusing critics or 'disrespect' which hardly affects the actual performance on the field.

Leaving Trippier and Toby behind for undisclosed 'technical' reasons didn't affect the result,because Aurier was close to MOM but for Eriksen and Sanchez overall played well.

But once again his in game management was suspect. Moura for Son was well judged but Winks for Lamela was not. Erik had been a potent threat and Son had been ineffective.

 The entry of Winks seemed to be a signal for everyone to defend a 1-0 lead when we had been close to a second. Davies and Dier were poor and Harry Kane set up by Eriksen missed a chance he would probably have scored last season. 

When a plane crashes the search begins for the Black Box that will reveal all but football teams don't have such a ready solution. There are probably as many theories as there are fans.

Some will emphasise one factor over all the others, some simply do not have clue. Whether it's the disappointment over signings and contracts; or the delay over NWHL and the lack of clarity and even honesty over that matter.

Some will fall back on the facile 'Spursy', mental toughness agenda which I reject as totally illogical. How do previous winners become hopeless losers as soon as they approach Tottenham High road.

But all is not well between fans and club. In the absence of clear information about the Stadium, Hugo Lloris and his injury and relations between Toby and Kierran rumours will abound.

None of this would matter  if we were winning. Good results hide all sorts of problems and fan and player resentments fade in a false haze of well being.  But currently we are not and someone has to take the fall.

All declines have reasons. If you have time read Gibbon's the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Partly attributed to the arrival of the Barbarians for whom read West Ham currently

Has the Enic/Levy Evolution run its course? Or perhaps even the Pochettino Revolution? The cohesiveness and current philosophy is facing its first real stress test since Mauricio arrived. Not to destruction hopefully.

There are no simple answers and we should be wary simplistic single reasons. Bad week at the Office or 'blips' doesn't even begin to cover it. Beware simple solutions to complex problems. Or 'Brexit' as it is known.

Answers on the back of an envelope. As Oscar Wilde might have said: ' To lose one game may be regarded as a misfortune: to lose two is looks like carelessness: to lose three is a shambles requiring deeper examination'

There were signs on Tuesday night of a return to some form and cohesive play. Eriksen certainly played a bigger part although the first half was ragged by both teams. 

Cycles of dominance usually last longer so I think that our rise will continue once  the team and the management sort our current problems out. It had better be quick or this season   will be a huge disappointment.

 Win at Brighton at the weekend and the cycle is broken, the fog temporarily at least lifted Losing does not bear thinking about. 

Jimmy's Video Spot:
A better showing from Spurs, shame about the result. There were plenty of opportunities to wrap it up but we fell at the last. Best video I could find though it's a bit hectic.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Crisis: What crisis?

Now available in Club colours with Cockerel motif
for a small extra charge.
The JimmyG2 Column.
This might make an appropriate Xmas gift for the fan in your life. If it's not already too late. The Liverpool result could have been even worse though and yet we almost snatched a draw. 'Funny old game' innit.

Plenty of excuses and maybe even reasons but there is no denying we were poor in almost every department and could have been 3 down in the first 20 minutes. 

We had 60% possession but most of it pointlessly within our own defensive ranks. We gave the ball away needlessly frequently and lacked movement, purpose and effort.

Vorm  made some decent saves but was culpable for both goals in one way or another. Kane was never in it; Eriksen was at his most enigmatic and peripheral; Dembele is well past it and Dier passed it badly.

Popular wisdom is that Harry K needs a rest and popular wisdom like Musings is not always wrong. Eriksen cannot carry the team on his own. He needs movement ahead and support alongside.

Ask not what Christian can do for Spurs but what the rest of the team can do for Christian.

Winks has played less than 10 minutes football in 6 months and was thrown in at the deep end here: he all but drowned. Rose and Trippier were too high up against speedy opposition players.

Yet another different formation, and without the flair and movement of Dele, injured on England duty , it was left to Moura to take on the Liverpool back line which he did especially playing wide in the second half.

Otherwise we played the long ball straight onto Van Dijk's reliable head more times than I have fingers and toes to count. Even our back line Belgians looked ruffled at times.

There was little press, energy or purpose until Lamela arrived ahead of schedule on the hour for the malfunctioning Dembele. He scored a good goal from the edge of the area in injury time and at least showed some desire and invention.

We endured a confused pre-season with International call ups affecting key players more than at many other clubs. Injuries, exhaustion and general lack of focus are widespread.

Entering the International break on an unexpected loss was a downer too especially with Liverpool and Roma to come. Concentrate on the CL I say.

The ongoing Stadium debacle; Captain Hugo's midnight ramblings: new contract extension wrangles and injuries all seem to have  played their part in disrupting the concentration levels of the squad.

But we still managed to win the International Champions' Cup; our first three games,  including Man.Utd at Old Trafford and are 6th. ahead of Arsenal and Utd. Crisis. What crisis?

Some of this can be laid at Mauricio's door but not all. A Summer playing Football manager with his sons have led him to think he's a football manager in real life. Oh wait! Less is more Mauricio, less is more.

Early days you say: I hear you. Liverpool deserved their win but were wasteful in front of goal and not up to the high levels of the Merseyside hype.

So hold the 'crisis talk' for later when we really need it. This is more of an exigency, a situation, precursor of a crisis perhaps but we are not there yet. Step away from the cut-throat razor: now!

Stadium Rumour Update:
Safety tests early 2019. season for Prem.
Rumours from contractors on-site schedules.

Don't shoot the messenger. 

Next five games
3 Away at Brighton, Huddersfield and West Ham.
2 at home, Cardiff and City.
Anyone see 13 points there? I'd settle for 10.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Note that Sunny Jim didn't actually say the words 'Crisis' what Crisis? in 1979, that was a tabloid interpretation. It's gone down in History anyway. Nothing changes.

Calm and careful words in a tricky situation, but within months he was replaced in a General Election by Margaret Thatcher.

Be careful what you wish for.  

Monday, 3 September 2018

Blame game begins at Spurs

Well it certainly wasn't mine. Blame Game begins
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Where to start on this one? After beating Man.Utd at Old Trafford on Monday you would have thought that this one was a forgone conclusion. Perhaps that's exactly what they all did think

From formation to personnel to the performance itself this was the proverbial dog's dinner. Though even Mauricio's own dog would have turned its nose up at this offering. Attitude and application were both wanting.

Watford, possibly the new Leicester, are no pushovers this season and neither the Manager nor the players had any answers when they came back strongly from behind. They even scored our goal for us.

A limp, lacklustre, loose, lackadaisical, leaden, listless show. A shambolic 'l' of a performance which only subsequent lively defeat of Liverpool will erase from the memory. 

Actually any win would do but this can be forgiven eventually but probably never forgotten. Our worst show for some time although no doubt regular readers can suggest their own favorites for this prize.

Another change of formation, our 4th in four games with Dembele tasked with a crucial lone responsibility in midfield clearly beyond his current ability and fitness levels.

Moussa and Davies, who is no wing back, overstayed their welcome by at least half an hour. Which brings us to Pochettino's obstinacy over substitutions which I thought he had overcome.

They equalised with 20 minutes to go but no reaction by the team or from the Manager. Our first sub was Llorente, as good as waving the white flag, with ten minutes left. In the meantime we were being bullied and they had gone ahead.

This is cross your fingers, whistle a happy tune and trust to luck management. Winks' 5 minute cameo showed that he should start with whichever of Dier and Wanyama is most fit or even Amos or Onomah. Oh! Wait.

Rose was on for Davies on 88 minutes. This is a new managerial concept, wasting time when you are losing. Moura was lively but should play on the right wing where he can use the space and Harry should lead the line.

Pochettino is fuming apparently having warned his players of the consequences of failing to take games like this seriously. Fume on Mauricio but a lot of this is on your head.

Eriksen is still on holiday, four games in and counting, and Dele was hesitant and slow on the ball again. So a mess from start to finish and Vorm will likely be the scapegoat because he's not Hugo.

Even The Belgians were found wanting and Sanchez although he took on Deeley man to man came off second best. He did the same once with Rondon and ended up on his backside both times. Trippier played OK again.

So a different formation after beating Man.Utd, desultory performances and poor Management decisions or lack of Management decisions to compound the imbroglio. (love that word).

And so the blame game begins. Apart from Vorm, Eriksen Dele, Davies Sanchez, Dembele, Harry, all fall under suspicion as well as Mauricio. But conceding twp goals from corners cannot be laid at the Manager's door.

Credit Watford somewhere along the line, but this was a collective team and management failure and nobody should escape scrutiny.

Going into the International break with Liverpool up next on an unexpected loss is dispiriting but given the will at least its early enough in the season to put right all the things that are wrong.

 The Good News is that there is no new Bad News: points deductions, fines,  expulsion from competitions. The Bad News is that there is no Good News.
All Champion' League group games are to be played at Wembley as the rules say you can only use one venue for these fixtures.

It's still looking like January to me from recently viewed footage of NWHL. Think positive, any earlier will be a bonus.

Positives.  Harry Billy Winks and the fact that we only lost 2-1 away to the likely Champions.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Let's Skipp a generation (see what I did there) and go with Luke Amos and let's not forget Kyle Walker Peters although Mauricio seems to have. He should have come on for Davies at half time.