The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Spurs New Strategy: Sounds Like a Plan.

How many packets of these would it take to Mothball NWHL?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
That's the 5th. consecutive 1-0  victory for Spurs over Crystal Palace. So why on earth would we be worried in the 90th. minute when Sorloth was foiled by Lloris. An out of form striker weighed down by the sheer weight of History and Statistics.

An in form player side-foots that late chance into the corner. But when your touch and confidence is low you blast it in hope and the keeper saves. In fact they had more shots on target than us (4-2) Thanks Hugo.

I get that sinking feeling when the commentator declares that 'so and so' hasn't scored since the end of the First World War. You just know he's going to score the Goal of The Season and the winner to boot.

Pochettino's gamble, putting Foyth straight back in the squad paid off handsomely when he scored the only goal of the game and his career, regained his confidence and his reputation. He may not of had too much choice in the light of injuries

 It could have all gone so wrong in the first ten minutes when the boy gave away a corner attempting a pass back back to Lloris. He shrugged it off and scored the winner. He's 'Juan of our own' as Jan Vertonghen tweeted. Nice.

Not sure what Mauricio said him in training during the week or to Sissoko either. Moussa played very well once again and seemed to thrive in atrocious conditions. I am delighted for him and for Spurs obviously.

These two contested MOM in the media and anyone who is not delighted for Sissoko is no true fan.
(See Video Spot.)

The top of the Premiership table looks like this with significant gaps starting to appear below the Top Four. Nobody apart from City looks convincing or consistent, including us at the moment.



TeamPGDPts
1
Man City12...31...32
2
Liverpool12...18...30
3
Chelsea12...19...28
4
Tottenham12...10...27

5
Arsenal12...11...24

6
Bournemouth12...5.....20
7
Watford12...3.....20
8
Man Utd12..-1...20


With our away record (7 wins out of 8 so far) Perhaps we should become the Tottenham Vagabonds  and play all our games away from home and mothball the Stadium in readiness for the next Olympics or World Cup..

Might take a lot of mothballs but it sounds like a plan. The Stadium might not be ready until then in any case. I'm joking, I'm joking. Lighten up people.

They were without Zaha without whom they haven't won in 12 games; puzzling why they turned up at all really. We lost Trippier early on with a groin strain, our 9th World Cup player to succumb to injury.

He won't get injured playing next week as he has withdrawn for the squad to play USA. It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

In the absence of Dier, and Erikson, both in recovery mode, Dele played deeper and made a decent fist of it. I prefer him further forward but need must. Winks, still being handled carefully didn't start and Aurier subbed reasonably well for Trippier.

Lamela who didn't play that well, went off with what the papers described as a 'horrific' head injury but he was on the team bus stitched up despite being ignored by Referee Moss until the blood flowed.
freely.

A bit of  slog under atrocious conditions. We didn't make many chances but Juan Foyth reacted quickly just after the hour mark when a Harry Kane header from a corner looped up and he headed it into the top of the net.

Seasoned Spurs supporters would file this one under another game we wouldn't have won not so long ago. It would seem that the leopard has indeed changed its spots and the zebra its stripes.

It's comforting going into an International and friendly break with a run of wins though I don't understand the concept of the UEFA Nations' League. It's a nonsense. Or of Wayne's inclusion in an unnecessary friendly against the USA mid-season.

All well above my pay-grade obviously. Next up Chelsea. Anything Everton can do, we can do better.

Stadium Opening.  Opinion hardening among some ITK'S that it will be next season. Not sure whether there is any basis in facts. Don't shoot the messenger.

Hot News:
'Mourinhos job hangs in the balance whilst Man.Utd consider Pochettino'  Don't panic it's only the Interweb thingy.

Jimmy's Video Spot:
Glad to be able to post a tribute to Moussa Sissoko who as Mauricio says has turned his Spurs career around in the past few games.

Not all fans are convinced but then these are Spurs fans we are talking about. Some say he's better but that doesn't make him good. But he's doing a job at a critical time. Credit where it's due.

Greater awareness and better touch has been added to strength and pace. He has been recalled to the French squad this week. Congratulations.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Rethink Causes New Delay.

Spurs fan getting into good habits early.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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The most recent delay in the completion and opening of NWHL is an alteration to the seating arrangements. Single seats are being replaced with 2 and 3 bench seats with space to crouch behind  to view the match in safety.

The latest Champions' league outing against PSV was another nerve jangler. But was it a cunning game plan by Mauricio? Dele and Toby were certainly in on it and eventually it worked. Eventually

Concede very, very early and prey on their defensive fallabilities as PSV eased off and tried to see the game out. This was why Sissoko didn't feature and why we played without a defensive midfielder from the start.

I don't usually do tactical analysis and the preceding paragraph probably shows why. In the end it was a Tale of Two Harrys. The 'One of our Owns' duo: Winks who controlled and enlivened the midfield and Kane who scored the goals.

You could say that this game encompassed the Best of Times and the Worst of Times. The first minute was the worst; the last ten the Best.“It was a far, far better thing that we did, than we have done so far in this years CL.

We left it late but that was mainly down to the corpulent solidity of keeper Zoet and the failure of a succession of Spurs players to connect cleanly and/or not to shoot straight at the keeper. Dele might have had a hat-trick.

We had 21 shots, 9 of them on target; 70% possession and 16 corners. Unlike our defence they repelled all 16. I have lost count of the set piece headers we have conceded this season. Actually I'm trying to forget.

We just need to beat Inter Milan and Barcelona now and we make the next round. Well nobody said it would be easy especially the way we go about it. But given the injuries and frequency of matches we're not doing badly at all.

Four games in 8/9 days, three wins and the only loss to Premiership favourites Man. City by the odd goal in one. This with half a dozen key players out, Dele and Eriksen returning from injury and a couple running on empty.

Next months calendar is pretty hectic too with 9 games in the month. I doubt we will see Dembele back ( confirmed) but Wanyama, Dier, Vertonghen Rose and others may return for some or all of these. Skipp could even feature.

Whether by default or design Tuesday's team was positive in the extreme: Son, Dele, Moura, Eriksen and Harry K. starting,  Lamela coming on and Llorente getting the vital assist in his brief cameo.

Moura being subbed rather than Son was not well received and understandably as he was our most threatening player at the time but Mauricio has many things to consider, the next game against Crystal Palace on Saturday for a start.

And, as he says, ''We won''. Apart from the first minute lapse we were able to play pretty well although except for one cross by Davies which Harry converted for the winner, via two deflections, the crossing was very wasteful.

Glenn Hoddle. 
Nothing new in the last week since he came out of intensive care. Advice and warnings from David Ginola about not returning to work too soon.

Stadium Opening:
 Probably in the New Year. February rumored but next season still possible. The current atmosphere, attendance and state of the pitch at Wembley means it can't come too soon.The Wembley 'magic' has definitely worn off.

Transfer Rumours:
Don't be silly we don't do transfer rumours. Since Pochettino arrived it is estimated that over two hundred players have been linked.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The Man himself. Class. Nothing to add

Monday, 5 November 2018

Injuries disrupt Tottenham game plans.

Keep aknocking but ya can't come in.
Twice was more than enough
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 Having bigged up our Argentinian contingent last time, they suffered mixed fortunes in the narrow 2-3 win against Wolves on Saturday evening. It wasn't that narrow in reality but seemed like it at the time.

Erik Lamela led the pack, oh sorry that's them, scored the first goal and generally put himself about in true Lamela style. Juan Foyth in his first Premiership game played well until he gave away two penalties late on. Paulo Gazzanigo only made the bench.

That's like saying Juan Foyth lived a long and happy life until he died at 21 from a broken heart. But you know where I'm coming from.

 Hugo Lloris was in inspirational form when the Wolves howled at the door after half time.Three saves in quick succession kept our 3 goal lead intact  until, you know who, did you know what.

As Oscar Wilde meant to say : ''to give away one penalty  may be regarded as a misfortune; to give away two looks like carelessness''. Mauricio admitted he'd done exactly the same himself playing for Espanyol so the boy's career is probably still on track.

Moura 's headed goal from Trippier's accurate.cross took us into half time at 2-0. That was the high spot for Kieron as it was his silliness that led to Foyth's first penalty error on 70 minutes. Dele already has the Nutmeg Concession.

Harry Kane added a third on the hour and Spurs looked home and dry but after that it was mostly Wolves and the Tottenham of old might have drawn or even lost this one. In the end we kept the wolves from the door.

I'm ignoring the groans. You don't get originality for the money you're paying.

The injury to Dembele within the first 5 minutes upset the game plan and I doubt we will see him again in the starting line up much before the New Year, if then. Son replaced him and Lamela  operated centrally.

So an early injury; Son, the sub, subbed himself later for Eriksen; two goals for Spurs within 3 minutes after half an hour; another for Harry Kane on the hour and cruise control engaged;  then two penalties and some generally slack defending by Spurs under pressure.

All this made for an exiting game in a late kick off in Birmingham on Saturday night. Much too late for a young Spurs team who should have been tucked up in bed by half time. No wonder Juan (20) had a nightmare.

The high praise from Pochettino makes me suspicious that he will have to serve at least a brief suspended sentence for a while as we have cover at centre half even while Vertonghen is out.

Those pushing for Foyth to play in midfield may see a breakthrough here with Dembele, Wanyama and currently Dier all out with injury. Winks, Skipp and Foyth might get a start together soon.
( Dream on Jimmy- editor)

Our strongest team at the moment includes the much more effective, indestructible Sissoko. He had a good first half but like Winks faded under pressure in the second. Moura's goal should increase his ambition to get into dangerous positions.

Son's substitution was a shock to him by his reaction. But Dembele's early injury made game planning awkward and Mauricio seemed loath to put Eriksen on so early after injury or even promote Skipp.

We played some good football to take a 3-0 lead though Wolves are a decent attacking team and we really put the pressure on ourselves in the second half. Harry Kane scored a proper striker's goal and continues his progress.

We move above Arsenal and back into 4th. but now 5 points off the leaders City. On Tuesday we play PSV in the Champions' League at home and 'must win' if we wish to progress.

Team a matter of conjecture and depends on Mauricio's priorities and recoveries if any from injury. Dembele, Rose, Vertonghen, Wanyama and Dier definitely out. Lloris is suspended.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
'Kes': The football match

As promised and for my my older  subscribers this will ring a few bells. As an expose of Secondary Education in the 70's the whole film is a classic. But this football section, Spurs v Man.Utd will suffice for now.

I taught in a Secondary Modern, certainly secondary but not very modern, and was in charge of sports. Well it was only a very small all-boys school.

No that's not me. I was young and idealistic at the time. ''Denis Law's in the wash this week''

And we won!


Friday, 2 November 2018

Spurs; The Facts Become Clearer.

Please don't shoot the Messenger. 

The JimmyG2 Column.

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I don't usually do 'gloating' but some teams and their supporters ask for it. Anyway, apparently, the fact is that we have won more games at the 'London' Taxpayers' Stadium than the resident hosts.

' Just the fact's Mam just the facts' as Detective Joe Friday used to say at the start of  his interviews on 'Dragnet' which started in 1949 and was revived in the 60's. Actually it's a misquote from a Stan Freberg's parody.

Ironic really. But what's a misquote among friends. Don't shoot the Messenger love. W.Ham are not the team they used to be and probably never were. Fact. Well verifiable opinion anyway.

I only use statistics when they support my case. ''Facts are stubborn things but statistics are pliable“ (Mark Twain) I'm with Aldous Huxley on this: 'Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.'

We have a good team; we have strength in depth and some talented youngsters in the pipeline; we have made our best ever start in the Premiership and lost narrowly to the odds on Premiership favourites.

We have a talented young Manager; the best facilities at our training ground; the soon to be opened state of the art stadium and will not be deflected by temporary setbacks; we are ahead of the curve.

I think the Club have handled the delay poorly in terms of keeping fans in the loop.Just my opinion of course. Feel free to agree.

 But what is not in dispute is that we won convincingly at West ham with two tidy goals by HM Son both assisted by Dele Alli. And the double cherry on the icing, a first goal of the season by Fernando Llorente from an Eriksen corner.

 For five minutes at 2-1 doubts crept in but Llorente sealed the victory and it's very rare for me to be able write that. We had 10 changes from Monday and a starting eleven with 5 players 22 or under. Fact.

Juan Foyth and Kyle Walker-Peters were making their first appearances this season and certainly merit some more game time before the next round of the Carabao Cup. That's just an opinion.

We have only 2 outfield players in the squad over 30 (Dembele and Vertonghen) and the night was crowned for me by the 10 minute cameo by Oliver Skipp (17) How does it go? 'The Future's bright.......'.

Some are saying that they wish the Future was here right now and suggest that tomorrow never comes. But as Robert Louis Stephenson once said 'it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive'. Holiday brochures can be misleading. Enjoy the journey.

The win earns us another NLD at the Emirates just before Xmas. Away again but aren't we always wherever we play. The stand out performance was by 20 year old Juan Foyth who has skill and composure beyond his tender years.

Not faultless by any means but convincing overall. He will get caught on the ball occasionally as he makes his keynote move, accelerating into midfield with the ball to open up the game. Sanchez (22) and Foyth played very well together.

The return of Dele, Eriksen and Son proved too lively for a physical but somewhat negative W.Ham until they put their all-stars on but we were in control of the game by then. Winks impressed again.

Kyle Walker- Peters was bullied somewhat but made some positive runs later in the game. Aurier switched to the left to accommodate him but the jury is still out. With a dozen regulars missing this was a clear demonstration of some strength in depth.

Pellegrini agreed: "Maybe they made 10 changes but if you see the names they played - they are names and have qualities for their starting team."  I think he was agreeing anyway.

N'Koudou made a rare appearance at the end but like Moura is more motion than notion. Wanyama was a shadow of his former self, but Gazzaniga our 3rd choice keeper is clearly on his way to be 'numero uno'.

As Mauricio says ,'You can't have too many Argentinians in your team'. If he doesn't then he should. Shades of Ricci Villa and Ozzy Ardiles. Foyth,  Gazzaniga and Lamela make up the Argentinian contingent currently.

Some of the Monday blues were painted over and a win against Wolves on Saturday night will leave a pristine palette for the heavy fixture load in the weeks to come as the Champions' League re-surfaces.

I leave you Gentle Reader to sort the facts from the opinion in this piece. But like Mr. Trump I always like to tell the truth, when I can. Apart from football pundits and opposition fans, who doesn't.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Longest highlights I could find as many will have missed this one which was not easily available. You could barely see it even if you attended the game live at the Taxpayers' Stadium.


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Party's Over

Make your minds up.
Is it starting or is it over?
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TheJimmyG2 Column.
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Stand by for the Tsunami of psychological bullshit about killer instinct, mental strength, the Tottenham  bottling factory, body language and whatever after our latest narrow defeat to Man.City.

Pundits  like Jamie Carragher declare we have missed our Moment of Glory under Mauricio; the Golden Age has ended, the team so parsimoniously assembled will break up and we will revert to Mid-table Mediocrity and serves us right.

I must have missed all that, obviously lost in a sunlit haze of positivity or denial after our best Premiership start. We have 'lost' only Walker and on last night's performance he vied with Mendy for the worst player on the pitch accolade. I can only say 'don't phone us'.

 Gary Neville disagrees with his fellow pundit and has a less Gung Ho modern take on the matter. Read the conversation here:
www.skysports.com/football/news/11675/11539674/neville-and-carras-heated-spurs-debate.

All this is of course predicated on our failure to buy anyone in the last transfer window, the NWHL debacle which is still ongoing; the failure of some players to extend their contracts and the imminent departure of Mauricio himself to Madrid.

Some player churn is necessary and it was probably a  provocative red rag to a bull that we spent zilch. Maddison or Grealish would have done just to keep the more zealous anti-Enic anti-Levy fans at bay.

There is a current vacancy over in Madrid after the 'el classico' disaster but no sign that Mauricio is looking at flight times. Most players have re-signed or are on contracts with over two years to go including Dele Alli.( Six more years, yea)

The club are well ahead of the curve and punching above their weight. Other teams that are spending hundreds of millions of pound annually may be concerned that we have found a way to do things differently.

We lost 1-0 to a goal we gifted them. Man.City firm favourites for the Premiership have spent 758 million pounds (net 518) since Mauricio arrived. We are in the process of building a state of the art stadium and maintaining our position in the top four.

KWP and or Aurier will hopefully soon replace Trippier whose gross errors against Sterling gifted Man City an early goal and Danny Rose will return to put us out of the ongoing misery that is Ben Davies.

The bright spot again was Harry Winks to replace Dembele who wandered around like an ageing bull in the final stages of the 'corrida'. He should have left last season with his reputation more or less intact.

Winks was sharp, incisive and inventive for his brief spell and must become a regular starter soon now that he appears to have overcome his ankle problems. No doubt Mauricio will handle him carefully.

Lamela played well but missed his moment at the end to score from a measured Dele pass to level things up. Fine margins as they say. Harry Kane's heavy touch allowed another scoring moment to pass.

Sissoko hesitated and was lost for another opportunity and he did did well within his limitations  for most of the game. He certainly wasn't the worst of the turgid midfield three that started.

Perhaps we were saving out creativity, artistry and skill for the Caraboa Cup against W.Ham on Wednesday but apart from Lamela there was little on display until Winks, Dele and Eriksen appeared late on.

Man.City were certainly not at their best and we could easily have pinched a draw on the night.

Jimmy's Video Spot
Remember what Danny Blanchflower said about Glenn Hoddle when asked if he was a problem. Glenn Hoddle a problem? No it's the bad players that are a problem'. Hopes for a full recovery after your narrow escape.

And you thought the Wembley pitch was bad last night.





Thursday, 25 October 2018

Old Spurs story. New twist.

The Tracks of My Tears
It's enough to make a Clown cry.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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'Dear me' as James Bolam used to say as Terry in the Likely Lads. Before your time I expect but a catchphrase for all occasions especially last night against PSV.

Overall a decent performance but this was a 'must win' game and we didn't win it, mainly due to crass individual errors and poor game management.

Yes that's you Christian, Toby and Hugo. Pagliacci is alive and well and plays for Spurs if the latest transfer tips are correct.


Not sure why Sanchez passed back to Toby and put him under pressure from Lozano. He miscontrolled the ball and in a desperate effort to retrieve the situation deflected Lozano's shot over Lloris.

Moura's equaliser similarly deflected over the PSV keeper and we were level just before half time. Eriksen found his mojo after his layoff and set up Harry for the lead.

He pulled the strings briefly but understandably flagged later. His mistake was the beginning of the end for our CL tilt this year barring miracles if the football Gods relent.


The moral of this story is: when you are  the driver's seat, don't take your foot of the pedal or everyone else will catch up or even overtake you. Though not in this case but a draw was not enough.

Anyone thinking we have more than a statistical chance of progressing to the knockout stages would win a Gold medal if 'Straw Clutching' were an Olympic event. I'm with Mauricio. 'It's nearly over', without the 'nearly'.
 
Spurs explored once again the varied possibilities of how to screw things up without really trying at which they might well be in the running for World Champions at the top level.

Twice in three matches a lead has been thrown away.This was a new twist on an old story.

We have one point from three games and need three wins from the return fixtures. Even then other results in the group could still frustrate our ambitions.The permutations are complex but the task seems beyond us.

Do we now want to drop to the Europa and qualify for next years Champions' League by winning it or drop out altogether and concentrate, as they say, on the League and the domestic Cups.

We controlled the game and Harry Kane might have had a hat-trick. He and Lamela, on far too late, both hit the bar. Harry Winks should have been on earlier for Dembele on a yellow. Son should been replaced not Moura.

Sanchez scored a legitimate goal which was ruled out for offside against Kane. Their equaliser was allowed although they had two players in offside positions. Either both should have been allowed or both ruled out.

But the game was lost after we boldly went ahead and deployed a casual and negative game management instead of pressing and seeking a third goal. We were the better team and apart from Lanzano they threatened little.

However a blind pass by Eriksen set them up and as Lozano bore down on goal, Lloris had a rush of blood again bringing him down just outside the are despite the close attentions of two defenders..and received a red card.

Ironically it was the two players who have been most tipped to leave due to the state of their contract negotiations that were involved. Hugo has been leaving us for years and some might not care any more.

Man City on Monday. I'd take a draw now.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
The football episode from 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads'. Dated and somewhat offensive in those pre political correctness days of the 70's. I bet Terry voted for 'Brexit'
Brian Glover as Flint who was the P.T teacher  in Kes. Another classic.Perhaps it's just me

"Who are you today, sir? Liverpool?
Don't you know your club colours? - Manchester United, this.(indicates shirt)
Are you playing Denis Law, striker?
No. Charlton today, lad. All over the field. Too cold for striker.
Charlton's not as quick ont' turn as Law, is he?
You tryin' to tell me about football?
No. l...
You trying to tell me? Anyway, Denis Law's in the wash this week.



Monday, 22 October 2018

Spurs still Searching.



The Beast Hunt Continues but that's the wrong T.Rex.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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The record seems to have got stuck; playing 'Not that well but winning'. Our best ever Premiership start without two of our key creatives Dele and Eriksen yesterday or Verts, Wanyama, and Rose. 

Not only stuck in the groove with the needle clogged up with dust, fluff and feathers but sometimes seemingly playing our cherished vinyl 78's at LP speed. (Ask your dad)

But it's a squad game and more turned up yesterday to keep a clean sheet and win away to West Ham which in Tottenham's collective memory is marked down as a tricky fixture. Recent memories still weigh more heavily.

One key talking point was the performance of Sissoko who provided an excellent assist for Lamela's crucial winning goal. He got more right than wrong yesterday although he made all the same mistakes as usual.

He was not the only one. Trippier and Davies were pretty poor and Harry laboured in the deeper role. But Winks and Lamela were excellent and Moura frightened with his pace though there was not a lot of end product.

Lloris made a couple of crucial saves and the rest of the team were decent. It was still mainly the result of individual efforts rather than coherent teamwork but we are well in touch, only 2 points off top place.

The return to form and fitness of Harry Winks for both Spurs and England is for me the brightest light and his lively direct running is an example to others. It's brains not brawn we are short of.

Which makes the transfer rumours about Wilma Barrios a Columbian playing for Boca Jnrs in Brazil a little worrying. Can he pass I wonder as well as laying waste to his opponents

Some Spurs fans have their minds set on another 'beast' an ongoing search with some. They  still say the other Harry won't make it at Spurs. 'Too lightweight', but they said that about Modric.

And many said that about  Harry Kane and I expect some still do. But with Wanyama increasingly side-lined and Barrios now in the frame the mythical descendants of Super-beast Dave Mackay still lurk in the Spurs sub-conscious.

But I understand the focus on Sissoko whose strength determination and pure blunt force imposed itself on a very ordinary, incohesive W.Ham side

The low key nature of the game can be judged by the fact that there were only three yellow cards issued, all to West.Ham players, in a game usually predicted to be 'lively'.

Some people adjudge honest criticism of a players poor play whether directed at Davies or Sissoko or whoever to 'hate'. But why would a proper Spurs fan have such a self defeating agenda.

All are Spurs players playing for Spurs and the better they play the better for Spurs.Sissoko had a good game: Davies did not and has been  lacking in confidence for some time.

I prefer Danny Rose overall but hope that Ben can exert a challenge for the place to the benefit of the team which is my hope for all our players.

We haven't turned the speakers up to maximum warp so far this season but this was a better performance with more players turning up. 

We have some difficult and important  games ahead and need as full a crew as possible turned on, tuned in and ready to run until they drop.

Lamela moves ahead of Kane at the top of the  goals and assists chart with five goals and three assists from eight appearances against Harry's six goals and one assist.from nine Premiership appearances.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Let's hear it for Moussa. Credit where it's due. There's a player in there somewhere but it struggles to get out at times. Anyway here's to more good performances.Could save us 20million or so.