The Blog that's not always wrong.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Spurs to Kill Two Birds with One Stone.

Plenty of these at Spurs this year.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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It's simple: win on Sunday and they can't catch us even though they have 5 games to go, draw and it's theoretically touch and go; losing doesn't merit consideration.

Not that finishing above Arsenal is our main priority. If Chelsea slip up there would be only one point between us but there is nothing quite as satisfying as killing two birds with one stone.

Last night we ground out a win against form team Crystal Palace, apart from us that is, on their own ground. If it was Man.Utd or another of the Sky elite it would be a sign of a good team.

Doesn't apply to us though. The BBC report didn't even mention that we lost Dembele to injury at half time. Only that Palace  ' lost influential defender Mamadou Sakho' ten minutes later.

Am I getting paranoid you ask. Nope. Been paranoid for years, just getting worse as the pressure mounts. I think it goes with the Spurs territory in the new Premiership era.

8 wins in a row and on the last occasion we did that, over 50  years ago, we won the league. We have already bettered our best Premiership points total with 5 games to go. Nothing can go wrong now Shirley.

Yes we all know it can but if we don't believe then how can you expect the boys to do so. The bounce back at Palace albeit initially subdued after the Cup semi-final on Sunday was gratifying and possibly very significant.

To be fair Palace weren't up to much and Lloris was our unused keeper. They talked up Benteke and he won a few headers but nowhere near goal and nobody picked up the second ball.

Zaha and Townsend twinkled intermittently and if we bought Wilfred for anything close to the Sissoko fee I wouldn't complain too much. The rest were pretty ordinary despite their recent good results in our cause.

Zaha has caught the eye lately and Mauricio is allegedly a fan. He has improved his work rate, and defended well at times last night. If Lamela is going he might well find a role.

Sissoko came on for Dembele and was given a specific 'Help Kyle Walker' assignment and did exactly that. Kyle was having one of his nightmare flashback performances.

The other Moussa and Eriksen filed a claim for the corner flag territory for the last ten minutes and helped see the game out. Son on for Wanyama who was lucky not to be sent off livened things up as usual.

The first half performance was not encouraging but the arrival of Son and Sissoko and tactical changes at the back changed the situation. They retreated and we upped the pace but it was Eriksen who made the difference.

Both with his performance and his fine goal, once again from well outside the area. Verts won the Belgian best player contest against Benteke and even Toby but Christian took all the plaudits and ran the game in the second half.

Sam will blame the injury to Sakho and the ref's failure to send off Wanyama for a second yellow card foul on Townsend. But his team looked happy to take a draw and put little pressure on us.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Alan Smith like 'The Musings' is not always wrong. He calls this one spot on. 'Just when you want a bit of quality'.  

Christian in acres of space. Harry circling with the ball as if waiting for permission to land and then wham! the only goal of the game.



Monday, 24 April 2017

All in the Mind.



 I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
 Both managers played out of their tiny mind games but Conte was playing with a huge stack of Casino chips and won the match and gets the accolades. Mauricio gambled on Son at wing back and lost.

Son conceded the penalty with a crash test dummy slow motion tackle on Moses who waited patiently for it to arrive and then fell over his legs. Which bit of 'Stay on your feet especially in the box' does our boy not understand.

We were playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded pistol and we had first shot.

Blame Mauricio for putting him a position he should never have been in but both the player and Manager will be hugely unhappy. With Davies and Rose injured Mauricio had to make a call.

Sissoko might have been  better one. Our Moses if you will. We will have to wait for the Manager's memoirs to discover exactly what he was thinking Trying to cram two pints of all our best players into a pint pot didn't work.

This after a Willian free kick for which some keepers might have stood a foot or two further to their left than Hugo did. But a fine strike and a calm penalty to follow.

In the meantime Harry Kane had equalised cleverly redirecting an Erikson cross backwards with his head into the corner. 1-1, game on for a while.

They had five shots including the naively conceded penalty and scored four times. Our two goals were lovely to behold but we were playing catch up both times. 4-2 hugely flatters them.

At 2-2 being able to bring on a fresh Costa and Hazard gave them a significant edge and Hazard with an assist and a goal turned the game.

His shot from outside the area seemed to mesmorise several members of our defence as it passed into the corner of the net. Nobody thought to stick out a leg.

Fabregas was their third substitute, our second and last was N'Koudou for another pacy but largely ineffective cameo. What a difference some Russian oil loot makes when the chips are down.

 Not that I would prefer a mainline cash quick-fix injection to the healthy five a day slow build upon which we have embarked and which is showing excellent progress despite the odd set back.

Matic's wonder strike added insult to injury and had the net not intervened they would still be searching for the ball somewhere down Wembley way.

Starting with Son at left wing back was puzzling, substituting him for Walker and playing Trippier out of position at left back was also perplexing. If it was a possibility why not start that way?

In the event we gave a good account of ourselves; Eriksen was the best player on the pitch and his second assist for Dele's equaliser was our goal of the season.(See Video). Dembele played well again.

Two new records for the annals: most games lost at the New Wembley and most semi finals lost in the FA.Cup but if we can see it out in second all is forgiven. Liverpool losing  to Crystal Palace who we play on Wednesday certainly helps.

Last season the boys were so disappointed by the prospect of not winning the league they imploded and exploded simultaneously. Le's hope the prospect of not winning the Cup doesn't have the same effect.

But we are in a better pace now after another year of team development and cohesion under Mr. Pochettino. He lost this battle but is on course to bankrupt the Casino quite soon

Difficult preferences loom. Arsenal to win the Cup again or Chelsea to do the Double. We still have a chance to prevent the latter so let's all concentrate really hard and that includes you Mauricio.

Keep it simple, focus, play everyone in their usual positions, pray we stay injury free, a pinch of luck and who knows. On this occasion Mauricio confused not only me but himself.

Referee Martin Atkinsonski tilted the level playing field somewhat by giving them free run of the park. Luiz,  Alonso and Player of the Year Kante should all have been booked before half time.

Ironically it was Toby that got the first booking and his first of the season for the early foul which led to their first goal after Pedro had run through the wide open steppes of our defence.

Kante is a fine player, he can walk and chew gum at the same time, pass and tackle, a rare combination these days but he was more likely to win the Russian hit man award for the kind of performance he put in yesterday.

God these grapes are really sour. It all leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth but heads up, the future looks bright if we can hold it all together for just  a little while longer.

Some will say we should have given their rough house tactics back to them but we know what happened last year and I'm glad we learned a lesson which will stand us in good stead in the longer term.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Our goal/ assist of the season by my two favourite players. I just hope nobody else was watching.
Only a top flight geometrician, or a space flight controller. could truly appreciate the curve on that ball. Out of this world.

At this point hopes were raised only to be cruelly dashed with the arrival of Chelsea's 'subs'. For 20 minutes things hung in the balance.

Dele Alli justifies his young player of the year award. Again.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Game changer for Spurs.



Isn't there somewhere else you'd rather be
 at the weekend Eden?
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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 I'm not sure why some teams don't just phone in and concede the points. A 4-0 drubbing of another half decent team in Saturday's early kick off. We could sit back and enjoy the rest of the weekend once again.

Yeah I know; Pride cometh; he who laughs last and so on. Just enjoying the moment, really enjoying it. We've had lots of great players over the last half century bit never had a great team like this. Indulge me.

Those who have been following the team for just the last decade do not know, do not have the faintest idea how lucky they are. It's our turn and we've done it differently with a sprinkling of semi uknowns youngsters and some of our own .

I'm not missing the tension, anxiety, frustration and angst yet. But it's like having your leg amputated: from time to time you can still feel the pain so they say. Give it time Jimmy, the Great Healer.

Next week and the rest of run in will be different certainly but the momentum, confidence and  positives from this seventh consecutive home win are enormous. Our first such run in 50yrs.

I have forgotten it well. As they say of the sixties if you can remember it you weren't there. The trouble with getting old is you forget the good things as well as the bad.

Thank Heavens for a second bite at the cherry. Spurs fans deserve it after the past few decades.

So many positives but where do we start. More scored and least conceded in the whole of the League. Top of the 2017 Premiership league. WHL a fortress. Son Buzzing and Harry back. and I haven't even mentioned. Eriksen and Dele yet.

Janssen's first Premiership goal in open play and Mauricio's delighted reaction to it is indicative of the spirit of the club. Dembele's first goal of the season from an Eriksen corner.

Harry Kane joining Shearer, Van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henri in the Premiership's elite with three consecutive 20 goal seasons. Next target, Henri's five. All for Spurs I hope.Following in JimmyG1's footsteps

This game repeated the pattern. Quiet but dominant start, focus and application. Then the breakthrough and the floodgates threaten to open but once again don't quite. Is four a flood?

As against Watford we should have scored a hat-full but made do with 4 without reply. Memo to self: get a bigger hat. Son set up by Harry scored delightfully,with speed and close control.

Then Harry himself took over and with persistence and determination hustled the Bournemouth defenders into allowing him to score. He didn't even look up at the goal reasoning that it was still where it usually is.

Janssen's goal was the icing on the cake for us and the cherry on top for him. Mauricio agreed and his celebration along the touchline was exuberant mainly for Vincent himself.

With Chelsea losing the deficit is cut to four and our superior goal difference might just count in the end (46/38). Everybody else in the top seven, even Arsenal, won  so the 3 points was vital to maintain The Gaps.

Conte who blames himself for the defeat against Utd. must now lift his team for their FA Cup semi-final against Spurs on Saturday. “It won’t be easy because I think Tottenham are now the best team.

They are in good form and they have a lot of enthusiasm. They are feeling the possibility to write history and it is important for us to know this.”

Well he's not wrong but I don't think, for a second, that he actually believes it. But thanks Utd. anyway for sowing the seeds of doubt. It's a kind of counter intuitive reverse pep-talk which we had best ignore.

But Conte's touchline performance was subdued from the start. Man marking Hazard with Herrera again worked well and raises the question whether we should do the same with, say, Dier or Wanyama.

I would prefer us to stay with our own game as we are playing well and may disrupt our own performance if we change tactics and take special precautions. It's not something that Mauricio usually does.

Though letting Hazard think that Victor will be shadowing him for the 90 minutes all week won't do anything for his concentration level, if he lasts that long, or even shows up.

Against Bournemouth another team performance with nobody playing badly though the defence was never really pushed. Dembele, Son, Kane and Eriksen played  particularly well.

Captain Hugo watched on with interest again and Mauricio was more animated than usual. The full press was in evidence and was encouraged loudly from the touchline. Slackers need not apply.

Next week the Semi-Final gives us a weekend off in a manner of speaking before we face the final six games. We need to take say 14 points from them and for Chelsea to slip up at least once to give ourselves a chance

Not impossible by any means the way we are playing.  COYS. What odds the Double? Steady Jim that way madness lies.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Nothing fancy this week, just the goals and highlights. I've watched it four times and we get better and better.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Too late now. Spurs are going in.


Spurs breech Sky Four defences.
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 The JimmyG2 Column.
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Bugger. Just swooping in on the Rhur dams when we've been spotted on the radar. Pundits and papers were clearly waiting for us to implode or explode but have decided to give us a helping hand.

Tottenham the best coached team; Mauricio the best Premiership Manager; Dele the greatest footballer of his age in the History Of The game. Trippier for England and that last from Ex-Arsenal Keown.

All in the same week. If that's not formation flying at its best I don't know what is. But it's too late now guys we're going in. Not under the radar, but hidden in plain view.

Dele has had a hand in more goals than Bill Brewer, David Beckham, Peter Gurney, Stephen Gerrard, Dan'l Whiddon, Frank Lampard and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, combined, before the age of 21.

The implication is that Mauricio and Dele are too good for Spurs and putting the usual suspects for the next greatest thing, Man.Utd and Real Madrid among others on the alert.

The raid on the reputations of all but Chelsea was sparked by our sixth consecutive win and more broken records than a bull in HMV. And so let concerted destabilisation begin.

So far they've ignored us and focused on the woes of Arsenal, Man.City and Man.Utd, Arsene, Pep and Jose. But as the number of games decreases the threat to the established order is confirmed.

Time for push to turn to shove. Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get us. Pundits and press have too much invested in the Sky Four to let it go so easily.

Don't fight it people, Spurs are on the move.and heading for the top of a league near you quite soon.

Another 4-0 victory, our default score, after a slightly tricky first 15 minutes against Watford  has made them sit up and take notice once again.

So it was over half an hour before the aforementioned Dele curled a beauty into the top corner for our first. Before half time Dier had lashed one in and Son found the corner of the net with another.

3-0 up at half time and all from the edge or outside the box. Precision bombing at its best: the Rhur valley flooded and the Watford and other Gaps widened severely.

Isn't it nice to be the early Saturday kick-off, win, and sit back. In the event all the top seven teams won except Arsenal, thumped at Crystal Palace. Talk about a result. Enough said, let's not gloat too soon.

Harry returning ahead of schedule just failed to get on the end of another Trippier cross and set up an easy one for Son to complete his hat-trick but he missed. Harry won't be passing unselfishly again in the near future.

Son had scored a fine controlled goal from another....all together...Trippier cross for 4-0. We should have had 6 or more. A footnote on Janssen and that's all he will be in the History of Spurs if he makes even that.

He was in the right place twice but failed to trouble the scorers. Gomes saved from a nice hold up and turn early on and the crossbar prevented a second from close in. Very close in. I remember Soldado doing the same.

Eerie but let's not go there. The sight of Harry  arriving on the hour must have been sad for Vincent but he just hasn't done enough with his chances, honest as he is.

Son is all over the place at times but creates plenty of chances for himself and at least puts some of them away. His two fine goals against Watford and his ridiculous miss just about sums him up.

Not at our impeccable best but 4-0 will do. We don't need more for our goal difference which is the best in the Premiership as is our defensive record.

Dam good show boys. What's not to admire, revel in and ram down everybody's throats?  But not just yet.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Dele's Taxi ride to training with Lloyd Griffith.
What a lovely fella well both of them in fact. Dele is a sport, can crack a joke and take one although he didn't look too comfortable at times. I bet his caravan would fetch a fortune on e-bay.
That Eric Dier's a very lucky boy.



Friday, 7 April 2017

New Era Announced at Spurs


 Mohammad? No Christian!
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The JimmyG2 Column. 
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Can you remember where you were you when Spurs scored 2 extra time goals to win a game and maintain their challenge for the Premiership?

Or how you felt on 88 minutes with Chelsea beating City, Arsenal and Liverpool winning and us 1-0 down to Swansea?

Was much blood spilled? Yours? The cat's? Innocent bystanders'? What odds for our fifth consecutive win?  Or were you all calm and philosophical, if ever so slightly depressed, like me.

There can't be many, if any, in the  'Never doubted the boys for a moment ' camp. Most of us were in in the 'Oh well we gave it a good go. What do you expect away from home without Kane, Rose, Wanyama, Lamela and Winks?

Arsenal person Fabiansky feigned serious injury, waved away the stretcher when it arrived, refused to go off even though his number was up and then conceded three.

 'Poetic Justice' hardly does it... well 'justice' though it was pure poetry.

He had played well and thwarted us several times before the collision with Janssen, on in good time on this occasion for Sissoko. It was Vincent who put in Son for our second with a neat flick.

Eriksen had set up Dele, in the right place at the right time again, via a deflection for the first and he returned the compliment with a ball that took out five players for Eriken's delightful third.

 Like Mohammad Ali, Christian floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee.

We had huffed and puffed for 80 minutes after Routledge's early opener without a breakthrough. If they were going to score it was likely to be by an ex-Spur as they had several on the pitch from the start. 

We had over 70% possession,and once again more shots (18/4) and shots on target (8/1) than the opposition.They scored with their only chance following some sloppy defending by Davies.

We have scored more points in 2017 than any other team and gained more points from losing positions this season (17) and since Mauricio's arrival (53) than any other team.

Never say die team spirit and fitness rule OK? I do love a good  statistic. Well occasionally.

 The top of the table looks like this with 8 to go.

Team..............Played.....GD......Points.
(1) Chelsea..........30...........38.........72
(2) Tottenham.....30...........38.........65
(3) Liverpool.......31...........27........60
(4) Man.City.......30...........23.........58
(5) Arsenal..........29...........25.........54
(6) Man.Utd........29...........19.........54

Of course good players, an excellent manager and a bit of luck always help. But as Tina Turner almost sang 'What's luck got to do with it? Do with it?

We left it late but better late......... Did their early goal upset their game plan? With a goal to defend were they perhaps more negative than they might have been.

But 'To do is to dare' or some such nonsense and we dared and definitely did. The Dier, Dembele axis is not the most imaginative but Mauricio eventually sorted things out and the creatives were released to do their thing.

Even Georges-Kevin got a run out and had a hand in one of the goals. We were good but wasteful for much of the game but got it together as they tired in an exhilarating final ten minutes.

Only Chelsea stand between us and The Double. I'll say that again. Only Chelsea stand between us and the Double. Has a certain eerie ring about it don't you think.

With several returning players the future is looking very bright indeed: Wanyama and Hugo at the weekend; Kane next weekor sooner; but Winks, Lamela and possibly Danny out for the season.

But don't shoot the messenger love. Good news in the short run on returning players and better news in the long run on the attitude and outlook for the club.

This victory will stand us in good stead for the run-in. We proved to ourselves that nothing is ever a lost cause and that knowledge will keep us honest and focused.

'Spursy'
So farewell to the 'Spursy' period then, a phrase more used by our supporters than our rivals. It was our get out of jail card; our self mocking comfort blanket. Our 'what can go wrong, will go wrong' put down.

It developed out of our so called soft centred, lack of 'mental strength' period; the 'it's only Tottenham' era; the 'Spurs will always let you down' phase.

It briefly re-appeared for the last four games of last season. But let's not go there again just now. A page has been turned and a new  chapter begun.

We could still catch Chelsea but I don't think we will. They would have to lose too many points even if we win all our games and there is a tough period looming; neither is likely.

But 'Spursy' has been stuffed firmly into the back of a drawer and although it cannot be destroyed and could return to haunt us I don't think it will for some time and certainly not under Mauricio Pochettino.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
 Christian Eriksen
My 'first name on the team sheet' player. Five minutes of magic. 11goals and 16 assists so far this season.. His return to form after Xmas is the key to our progress. Love this boy. Finds space and has time on the ball, always the mark of a top top player.


Monday, 3 April 2017

No Excuses for Spurs

Chelsea go up in flames at Crystal Palace.
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The JimmyG2 Column.
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'Egressi sumus, vidi, vici' to adapt Julius Caesar's famous phrase: we went to Burnley, we saw, we conquered. Not an easy place to go by popular acclaim but with Chelsea losing, a crucial win.

To be honest Burnley are in free fall at the moment and we gave them another little nudge towards the relegation cliff edge. The two goal gap did not flatter us in the circumstance.

 Without Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Erik Lamela and forced into emergency measures by in match injuries to Wanyama and a more serious one to Premiership d├ębutante Harry Winks we adapted, coped and thrived.

Hugo was barely troubled and had time to complete another chapter of his memoirs; the removal of Gray for Voakes was a bonus and Dembele played well, on for Wanyama who had eventually succumbed to a back problem.
  
We went to a back four with Dier in midfield and he coolly scored the opener following an Eriksen corner. Sissoko replaced Winks just after half time and might be called upon more in the run in.

The ankle ligament injury to Harry the Younger almost certainly means the end of the season for him but he has youth and the summer recess on his side and should be fit for pre-season.

He will likely miss his chance with the U/21 tournament in the summer too, but he is probably bound for bigger things in the medium term. Get Well Soon HW.

The unexpected Chelsea loss to Crystal Palace gave a twitch to the lace curtains and allowed a little crack of daylight in on the title race. It's still theirs to lose and on this occasion they lost.

Dele could have settled the nerves earlier but his miss from a deflected save prolonged the tension at 0-0 and a dithering miss at 2-0. However his link up with Eriksen for Son's goal was a pleasure to behold.

Son was only on for 15 minutes but had three chances, one of which he took. He seems to thrive as a substitute and perhaps this is the way we will go to allow Janssen to play himself into form.

Davies and Trippier were very ordinary but fortunately weren't tested. Walker and Rose can't come back too soon, or Kane, though Janssen with a rare start in the Premiership was again honest and hardworking.

A 'gritty' win then under adverse conditions with plenty of excuses to let this one slip but we availed ourselves of none of them. Our fixtures and those of the others bode well for the run in. The Double is still on!

With Verts and Toby composed at the back, strong choices in midfield but most importantly a new attitude,  confidence and discipline by the whole team a repeat of last year's disappointment looks unlikely.

And with those painful memories still fresh and sore we should be inoculated against any form of collapse. In fact Chelsea have blinked first and City could do us another favour in midweek while we travel to Swansea.

Gilfy and Tommy, a couple of our favorite sons might try to undermine our heroic ascent but they were sold for a reason and neither would make our current first team though I like them both.

There is no need to rush Victor back for this game as Dier and Dembele can cope in front of a back four and there are tougher games to come.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
'All Spurs can do is win their games and hope the news from elsewhere is good' The commentator calls it right and the news was, like Mr.Kipling's cakes, exceedingly good.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

World's end comes at an awkward time for Spurs.

 We took to the lifeboats briefly
 but didn't completely abandon ship.
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The JimmyG2 Column.

Another home Premiership win, our 10th consecutive and 13th. in all competitions. We seem to be leaving the old WHL at exactly the wrong moment but that's in the script for Spurs.

Just seconds away from winning the Champions' League, last minute of extra time and 2-0 up against Real Madrid when a flash of lightening, a whiff of sulphur and a crash of thunder heralds the end of the world.

Just a recurring dream or rather nightmare of mine which you are welcome to share. But the move to Wembley might just be more than a little disruptive. Unless rumours of a year's delay for whatever reason are more than that.

Probably wishful thinking at this stage. Meanwhile another team came  to the old WHL and were sent packing. Only just this time. We cruised out of port majestically for the first half and went in at half time 2-0 up.

In the second half we seemed to be waiting for the whistle from about the 46th. minute. An uncharacteristic error  by Toby gifted them a goal and in general our passing was increasingly all over the place.

Briefly we seemed to have abandoned ship and were bobbing about in the lifeboats. Until the arrival of Harry Winks that is who was combative and positive as always. He re-energised our approach and helped us off the back foot.

 Janssen too. Both might have come on 15 minutes earlier again. Spurs of old might have drawn this against a decent, well organised, well coached outfit with some decent players.

 Or even conceded all three points. On another day if all chances had been taken and both penalty shouts given or not given a draw would have been a fair  result but not these days.

Eriksen opened the scoring again with a controlled shot on 14 minutes from a rare assist by Dembele and set up Son with a fine ball but Forster made a good save. Dele bought and scored the penalty before half time.

The winds at half time were set fair for us to coast home.  But Southampton hadn't read our cruise brochure and after Ward Prowse scored gave us over half an hour of possible tension though in fact there was little real threat.

Had Rodriguez come on instead of Long it might have been different. The injury to Gabbiadini was a bonus as he looked lively if only briefly.

Romeu matched Wanyama and Dembele for beastliness and Tadic threw a Dele but didn't get the penalty. His dramatic fall after being touched by Davies got nil for artistic interpretation.

Redmond saw off Walker, who did not have his finest hour and Trippier arrived and was even worse. Davies though improving starts a long way behind Rose in every sense and is never going to catch him.

Son had done little  and was eventually replaced by Janssen who put himself about for 10 minutes, drawing fouls and distracting the Southampton defence like a wasp at a picnic.

He and the other Harry should start the next game. Dele ghosted in and out of the game, now you see him now you don't. He's our Wild card, Joker and Ace all in one. Gives us that unpredictability that we otherwise lack.

So good game, good win, decent opponents and now an International break. Pray for all our boys on duty. At least Harry Kane and Danny Rose are safely tucked up in the treatment room.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Ironic that just as they start to muse on Harry Kane's absence Eriksen scores. Plain sailing until we encounter some choppy water on 50 minutes but we see out the final 40 minutes fairly comfortably.
Dele 11 in last 12 games.