The Blog that's not always wrong.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Justice Done But Nobody Saw It.

 I didn't see it.

 The JimmyG2 Column
I've always liked Swansea. A footballing side but with not enough footballers to make it work. We transferred their best player, Gylfi Sigurdsson because he wasn't good enough. That's the gap and on Saturday it showed.

I liked Gylfi, a taller Icelandic version of Eriksen in many ways and would like to have kept him but sentiment has no place today in such a competitive world.

It took us until nearly half time and a  penalty cunningly earned by Dele to make the breakthrough. But after that we overran them and the statistics tell the story.

We had 28 shots, 15 of them on target: they had only one shot and it didn't trouble Hugo. 5-0 is a fair reflection of the game. Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen got pairs, Son scored a cracker and Wanyama missed a sitter.

Mauricio didn't see the penalty incident and Bob Bradley said the referee was unsighted, such is the modern game. Apparently Mourinho didn't see the penalty incident either in the Everton game.

Oh Mr. Wenger what have you done? Diplomatic blindness runs rife in all sports these days. 'I didn't see it' the football manager's mantra.

We were 4-0 up on 69 minutes and Winks and Onomah could have been straight on. Sissoko could have waited a little longer or been kept fresh for Wednesday. At least he supplied the assist for Eriksen's second.

We consolidated our top five position with United and Everton drawing and Liverpool surprisingly surrendering a two goal lead to lose to Bournemouth and improved our goal difference at the same time.

We also gave ourselves a lift ahead of another important week. If we avoid defeat against CSKA Moscow we go into the Europa which would give the wider squad more opportunities. A balance of youth and experience always works best.

Carter-Vickers, Onomah, Winks, N'koudou, Janssen and perhaps Carroll might all start along with Toby getting in some minutes before the weekend. A strong bench would help in an emergency.

On Sunday we can make a hefty dent in United's season and give ourselves a little more lily-white water between ourselves and the chasing pack, now six points behind.

A draw at Old Trafford wouldn't be a disaster but we might find ourselves nine points off the pace if Chelsea go charging on as they are at the moment. In the end draws are not good enough at this stage.
'No more drawers' as the actress said...

So nobody saw it but it a was fair enough result in the end.It could have been more but let's not be greedy.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Most videos taken down by FA for 'copy-write reasons'

Well they missed this one. The Press returns, bags of effort and some nice football too. Harry back on form, Eriksen and Dele buzzing. Not much to see of Swansea but then they didn't do much. No clear view of 'the incident' in any of the videos I've seen.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

So,so and so long Sissoko?

No Man's Land: CSKA at Wembley in December.
 Flatter but equally hostile territory
The JimmyG2 Column.
Well the 13th game and Chelsea, 6 consecutive wins, saw the end of the  'unbeaten' run so perhaps we can concentrate on getting back to winning a few now.. For 44 minutes we outplayed them but a couple of fannying about moments in midfield led to our downfall.

But I've enjoyed your company all  through the recent good times so it's only right that we stick together through the not so good times. That's roughly since since Chelsea at the end of last season until now and possibly a little longer yet.

Results and clutching at the 'unbeaten' straw have papered over the cracks but investment has been ill advised and we have been poor nudging awful except for the City and Arsenal games. We got lucky against W.Ham last week but not in the Champions' League.

Eriksen got the early goal against Chelsea with a classy shot for a first goal in open play since before...Oh ages. . Son missed an early chance against Monaco in midweek in our Champions' League swansong this time around.

Two contrasting games but the same negative result. We held our own at the weekend but were second best all over the pitch against Monaco. Unfit players, square pegs in round holes and the inexperienced Winks may be excused.

But why Vertonghen was rested for a 'must win' game seems strange. Lloris kept it respectable but no-one else played to an acceptable standard.

Hugo was so good there was a general feeling that if he decides to leave us then you couldn't really blame him. He hasn't as yet signed his new contract but we've been speculating about him leaving since a fortnight after he arrived.

Monaco were better quicker and more interested than we were. Now we have to decide whether to throw the Leverkusen game and avoid the Europa and concentrate on the Premiership, or try to win the Europa and qualify for the CL that way. Hmmm.

If I didn't know Mauricio better I'd say he threw the Monaco game we were so poor. The Europa is knock out from now on so we might as well give it a go. He has decided to stick with Wembley too which raises doubts.

Playing at Wembley has done us no favours and Sissoko's intervention on this matter has done him no favours with the Head Coach either.

But as he's currently leading the 'worst ever signing at Spurs' poll and has only been at home for five minutes then  buckets of salt may be necessary. Early days, he may yet surprise us all but there are few signs yet.

However he may not get the chance as his attitude in training has not impressed and he was not even on the bench for Chelsea. Never argue with the Coach Moussa: he is always right even when he's clearly wrong.

Chelsea on a 5 game winning streak and conceding few brought out the best of us as usual. I 'd have taken a draw. In fact I'd have taken a narrow well contested defeat, which is exactly what we got.

But once again for us it was a game of two halves which at least was an improvement on Monaco. Son's failure to match the run of Moses was a crucial element in the winning goal on top of overplaying in midfield by Dembele.

Pedro's goal matched Eriksen's for quality but the defence stood off him in admiration while did a half Cryff turn and curved it past Hugo.

Against Chelsea we saw off our nemesis Hazard but Diego Costa was firmly focused on playing football and created the winning goal for Moses completely unmarked on the edge of the area.

We almost missed signing him apparently!

We need a good December and the fixture list throws up some eminently winnable games: Swansea, Hull and Burnley at home and Man.Utd. and Southampton away. Two of those are in the bottom three but remember there are no easy games in the Premiership.

Thirteen points should maintain our challenge.We also have the return fixture with CSKA Moscow in No Man's Land at Wembley though not on Xmas Day. We may get an inkling of Mauricio's thinking here especially if Sissoko gets a run out.

We are now seven points off top spot, four behind Arsenal in fifth and four ahead of Man.Utd in sixth. We will do well to finish in the top four from here but there's lots of games and  we can only, fingers crossed, get better.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Moussa Sissoko: 30 million at 27yrs. old. Whatever were we thinking?  This video gives a whole new meaning to 'Highlights'. Actually we could save a fortune on players because he doesn't need team-mates.

I repeat he may yet surprise us if he ever gets the chance. Lamela got a couple of years and Moussa may get at least half that. We need to wait until the ink dries on his contract.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Winks gets the nod.

Winks gets the nod and even the blind horse is impressed* 
The JimmyG2 Column. 
Well 'The Musings' lobbying on behalf of young Master Winks finally paid off and Mauricio was not disappointed as we have been telling him for some time.

He not only started his first game but scored our first equaliser and played well to boot. Sorry. Along with another of our own he turned the game though it was a damn close run thing.

If W.Ham deserved any sympathy after the ongoing London Stadium debacle, which will probably run and run, this is not the place to look for it because they ain't gonna get none.

We didn't play that well, Winks excluded, and left it late, very late. Substitute Son gave the ball away several times in as many minutes but had a foot in both  of Harry's goals that secured the win.

His cross was palmed into Harry's path for the calmly taken second equaliser and he secured the winning penalty following a dart to the by-line and turn invoking a rash challenge by the W.Ham substitute Nordveit.

So we remain in fifth but closed the gap on most of those above us and put a little more Lilywhite water with those beneath us after a deluge of draws all around us. Two points per game and three points up on the same stage last year.

I won't dwell on the performances: it was an uninspiring and tedious performance especially in the first half, but though twice behind we came back well.  Danny Rose got a fifth yellow and will miss Chelsea.

Dembele was rightly subbed having been booked, worryingly, for dissent and at best we were alarmingly average. Eriksen flickered and faded and must have narrowly avoided being substituted himself.

Janssen played reasonably again but within his limitations and gave away the penalty with a stupid grappling offence. The up front pairing of him and Harry Kane is not a match made in heaven.

Winks was a positive shining light and we stepped it up a little in the second half to take more control but chances were rare and we capitalised on most of those we had. We would have won the league by now if we were playing well.

The title is a stretch in the circumstance but the more damage City, and Chelsea do to those around us the better. We haven't lost to any of those above us and if we can do a City on Chelsea next week
things will be looking up.

In fact we are still unbeaten in the Premiership after 12 games though not in the Champions' League
which rears its ugly 'must win' head on Tuesday at Monaco.Our best opening run since the Double season over 50 years ago but there the comparisons end.

There are tough decisions in midweek for Mauricio on team selection ahead of Chelsea. The return of Lamela and Toby is imminent(ish) but perhaps not  in time for Monaco. Dele (Nutmeg specialist) was back against W.Ham. Will Winks keep his place and sit out Chelsea?

With Rose out against Chelsea will Wimmer or CCV join the back 3/4 and Verts switch to left back? Jan is not quite your speedy overlapping wing back now is he.

 Could Josh Onomah  get some time? I feel another 'Musings' campaign bubbling up. Money can't buy the kind of spirit, or love we have at the club currently shown by Winks celebrations with Mauricio and Dele.

Tell me that you want those kind of things
That money just can't buy. (Can't buy me love. The Beatles) 

The perennial rumours of Man.Utd interest in, at the moment, Harry Kane can be safely ignored but we can't be too far out of kilter with the rest of the money obsessed world and we do have to keep faith with our players.

Harry could probably double or even treble his wages by such a move but he says he's not interested and I believe him. 'Stay Harry stay!' to coin a phrase. He certainly has the 'love'.

* From a 16th.century adage, 'A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse' and The Faces third and most successful album.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Quick feet, and alert positive brain. Another Harry here to stay for the long term. Looked the part on Saturday. Might need some of his creativity tomorrow.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Unexpected Challenge for Harry Winks.

Get Changed Chirpy, you're on.
What can possibly go wrong in two minutes?
The Jimmy G2 Column.
Phew! We needed that performance at The Library to prevent our hopes from plummeting and our fears from gaining ground. What a difference a game makes. Yet another draw but this one was a point gained rather than two points dropped.

 After Bayer Leverkusen in midweek I feared for the worst at the NLD. Away from home against a team who would have gone top if they'd won, not least against the 'auld enemy'  after the worst ever performance many can remember this was a must not lose moment.

I haven't dwelt on the CL game as it is best forgotten. Vertonghen and Wanyama did OK; the rest drifted between hapless and hopeless with Sissoko the pick of the latter.

The Arsenal game was a Premiership Cordon Bleu occasion not a pie and mash supper and as usual we were suited and booted for it. The return of Harry though not at his best after a couple of months out showed us what we had been missing.

Janssen is a willing understudy and his brief appearance  pointed up his weaknesses.The Soldado factor is an incidental red herring. He will likely settle in as Lamela eventually has.

An unfortunate own goal by Wimmer gave them hope. Were several players offside when the kick was taken? Apparently not in the latest version of the offside rule.The ref was probably technically correct but the law is a nonsense.

They weren't interfering with play. As Bill Nicholson once said: ' If they weren't interfering with play what were they doing on the pitch? Add a Yorkshire accent and some down to earth language and you get the flavour.

At least our penalty was indisputable other than among Arsenal fans. Dembele's driving run at the heart of their defence, something he should do more often instead of lateral runs and negative changes of direction, induced a penalty.

Harry converted with confidence though Cech went early and the ball was driven straight down the middle. The defence held firm, Lloris was on form, Rose Vertonghen and Dembele were outstanding and honours were even.

Eriksen stepped up in the absence of Lamela and Dele and as usual ran further than anyone else but on this occasion to good effect.

Another talking point was Son's failure to beat Cech to the ball when the keeper slipped. Did he funk it? Was he slow to react initially? Was it a lost cause anyway? I tend to the first and that he should at least have tried to get a toe in.

The substitution with less than two minutes to go of Son for Winks was too little too late again. Chirpy might have done as much in the time available. 

Walker struggled on with an injury until 10 minutes to go and was replaced  by our very own Lone Ranger. Who is that masked man? KieranTrippier no less.

Our injury list is starting to be a worry: Toby, Lamela, Dele and now Walker.  Davies and  Son have confirmed ankle problems. But at least Harry is back which should give a boost to the whole squad.

Especially as the latest news is that Janssen was subbed off with suspected concussion after being punched by Mignolet in the Holland, Belgium friendly. No confirmed details of the injury as yet.

Mauricio needs to match his new found flexibility in formation with renewed confidence in the youth. The bold move of going three at the back and using Walker and Rose as wing backs seemed to free up space.

We often in fact play this way with Dier moving into the back line giving Toby and Jan the freedom to move forward.

Will this give us momentum for the next phase of the season? Beating City didn't  and with Chelsea and Liverpool scoring for fun we need to make sure we don't slip any further behind.

We are still in fifth but now 5 points  behind the leaders and only three clear of Everton and Man.Utd. It could develop into a tough 7 team dogfight and maintaining our unbeaten run with draws won't hack it.

But this was a performance to gladden the hearts of players and supporters alike. Arsenal were very negative and timid in the circumstances. Their star players didn't perform but we hardly gave them time and space.

We need more of the same Mauricio against W.Ham after the break. After that it's Monaco and Chelsea so no time to relax or think about the Christmas shopping just yet.

Editor's Note.
Chirpy's registration has been refused by the FA and he is therefor not available for selection. We are appealing the decision

Jimmy's Video Spot.
All the highlights. A few chances evenly shared. You decide about the two goals and the Son opportunity. Offside, soft and funked for me.

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Great Tottenham Bake Off.

 Toast or stuffing?

The JimmyG2 Column.
We are still unbeaten,  and only three points off the top having secured a hard fought draw with the Premiership Champions. What's not to like? Well not many more crumbs of comfort to be honest.

Another game we could and should have won. And the Premiership Champions this season are half baked mid-table mediocrities at best and certainly not the force they were, if they ever were. Oh and we were at home.

The introduction of youth, Winks, and speed, KG N'Koudou, with two and eight minutes to go respectively in an effort to secure all three points was once again too little, too late and reflects Mauricio's current lack of boldness.

At the minimum it's a five horse race this year and with the added pressure of the Champions' League perhaps Mauricio and the team are feeling the heat. They have collectively become cautious and risk averse and our build as a result up is painfully slow.

On paper we are doing well especially with key players missing. We are still well in touch in the League leaders. Against Liverpool in the cup we gave youth and back up players their opportunity.

But Liverpool's back ups played better than ours and they deservedly won in a disappointing performance. The fact that it's a competition we can afford to jettison is not the point.

Against Leicester we were perhaps unlucky. We hit the woodwork three times and once again the defence in general and Vertonghen and Rose especially were excellent.

Their one shot on target went in after a careless header by Wanyama and Walker falling asleep and failing to respond to the danger on the back post. He's behind you! Both played well otherwise! But moments win and lose games.

Our lack of both goals and inventiveness in our approach has been evident for some time. The view that,no Dembele: no Tottenham has been exposed as a myth. More like, no Eriksen: no Tottenham
and he's just not on form.

The Belgian waffle is under-cooked and the Danish open sandwich lacks bite.

Pochettino is the best thing since sliced bread for Tottenham but perhaps he has gone a little stale. He won't be toast any time soon like most of his predecessors but he needs to add some yeast to the mix Toast definitely not, but stuffing perhaps.

 A batch of that would come in handy for Leverkusen and especially Arsenal who are up next. As we showed against City we can work up an appetite for the Caviar and Bolly. It's the Bread and Butter stuff we  choke on.

We've lived mainly off scraps and crumbs from the high table for decades and must grab the recent more solid fare more firmly and with greater vision and guile.

Jimmy's Video Spot
Vincent Petrus Anna Sebastiaan Janssen.
Just to remind us and him of what he can do and why we bought him. Not just  blunt instrument either. To the victor the spoils.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spurs Milestone turns to Millstone.

Unbeaten: Try playing with that round your neck.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Still unbeaten in our best start for years. But that Milestone can soon become a Millstone. After all you could, at the extreme, draw every game and still get relegated. That's an observation not a prediction.

Three consecutive draws is a worryingly reassuring trend or a reassuringly worrying trend depending on your state of mind. Being a Spurs fan probably the latter.

 It could be worse. But yet another opportunity to go top, however briefly, spurned for the second week running. But we are still in there on all fronts, well, until tomorrow anyway.

The Champions' League group is wide open after our midweek draw with Bayer Leverkusen. We played quite well in the first half but the fact that all the candidates for MOM were defenders(Verts, Rose, Lloris, and Wanyama) is telling.

It was a similar story against a hardworking well coached and organised Bournmouth side on Saturday. Other Premiership contenders could easily come a cropper here. Candidates for MOM again  all defenders:Verts , Rose and Wanyama.

We are clearly missing a consistent goalscorer and although Harry Kane's backup has his strengths and merits putting the ball in the net is not so far one of them. Son, Dele and Lamela need to swarm round him to benefit from his hold up play.

Son seems more effective coming in from the space on the left and Janssen needs to be trusted to do what he does. Goals will come but in the meantime he is working hard and effectively.

Of course our recent experience with Roberto Soldado creeps into the minds of the more pessimistic Spurs fans. But then what other sort is there?

Even if he doesn't score soon he will become a fan favorite. We have a soft spot for honest and hard working strikers even if they don't often score. Think Pavlyuchenko. Spellcheck suggested 'bellyache' for my first effort at that.

Some might say three tough opponents, in different ways, away from home and to emerge with our undefeated medals round our necks is a positive scenario. Captain Hugo has admittedly made some top class saves but that's what keepers are for.

Jan has stepped up in our hour of Toby need and Wanyama continues to surprise and delight. Well me at least. In fact the back six have been consistently good, apart from some stray and suicidal passes playing out from the back. 

The front five have been good at times but never consistently good together. They take it in turns to shine and then the light flickers and fades. Calls for Lamela or Ericksen or Dele to be rested are mounting.

But rest any or all of this trio and where is the creative spark to come from. Dembele back from injury is still in recuperation mode; Son has sparkled, fizzled and gone out and Janssen's blue touch paper is yet to be lit.

You should have saved this for firework night Jim (Editor)

Fortunately City after a lively start have never quite recovered their panache after losing to us and Arsenal faltered after six consecutive wins to preserve our position one point off the top. But there are four teams ahead of us now.

One point and a two goal difference covers five teams. So where exactly are we? There or thereabouts as they say but this is not Premiership winning form, and certainly not Champions' League although I expect us to go through.

 Pochettino continues to puzzle with his substitutions and his persistence with Sissoko who could well get a three match ban for throwing a touchline elbow against Bournmouth. (Charged today:
Monday: accepted by Spurs)

No bad thing at the moment but it would be just our luck for him to escape. He will take time to settle and will be given some space as was Lamela. He was cheaper than Eric but only just.

The team against Liverpool on Tuesday should feature Vorm, CCV, Wimmer, Davies, Trippier, Winks, N'Koudou and Onomah (Edwards is injured). Dembele could captain as he needs more pitch time and Dier has had time off.

It looks like a five horse race for the Premiership at the moment but Liverpool Arsenal and Chelsea are all on the rise. We are currently treading water. We managed to throw a two horse race last year and it might help if there were less pressure.

Liverpool away is no Gillingham at the Lane. However good luck to those that play and I hope that the back up squad excel and shock Liverpool who will be keen to progress.

Of course Mauricio may have different ideas and put out a more experienced team but I doubt it.

And remember this is the blog that's not always wrong.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Not much to see but mainly Spurs. Lloris to the rescue early and a few chances not taken. Not a lot of scintillating team play and passing but some individual moments against a compact defence. Lamela came closest

Monday, 17 October 2016

Hugo: City Link

Masters of Distribution! I should forget that one Hugo.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Eight games in and still unbeaten. First goal conceded in open play. I'm starting on a positive note because that's the kind of guy I am despite being trapped in this Spurs nightmare for more years than I can remember.

Sometimes you get to feel like a hamster on a treadmill frantically peddling and getting exactly nowhere against the packed defences and negative ambitions of our opponents.

(Watch the imagery Jimmy: hamsters on a treadmill against packed defences with negative ambitions doesn't really work for me! (Editor) Sorry Ed. good point)

Total domination of all the relevant stats, over 70 possession overall and 78% in the first half and yet in grave danger of losing to West.Brom. for the last ten minutes.

 Foster was their clear MOM and Time-Waster in Chief and we were saved by last minute genius from Dele and almost getting what we truly deserved from an Eriksen free kick on the whistle.

So what's new? We've seen this movie so many times. It's like Xmas repeats on the BBC. We deserved to win but almost lost. In days gone by though we might have come away empty handed. But this is the New Spurs.

It's a bit bit like the Old Spurs admittedly, same DNA after all, but with added bite and energy. We were good in the first half but needed to step it up in the second once we realised that Foster was having one of them days.

Instead we seemed to go into sleep mode and forgot where the 'wake up' button was located until they scored. By 'they' I mean Chadli. The curse of the returning player strikes again.

That shock and the arrival of Son, who should have been on earlier, was the alarm call we seemed to have been waiting for. Dele's equaliser was cheeky and classy at the same time and Eriksen nearly snatched it at the death.

One point off top and one point behind Arsenal. Was ever thus. We missed the chance to go top but the last three games between us have been 1-1 draws. Proves again that we need learn to jump start parked charabancs not search fruitlessly for the keys.

Did I mention that we are without Toby Alderweireld for anything from three weeks to a year. Awaiting updates after scans  as they say.. Latest news is that the likelihood is towards the former.

Dier slotted in reasonably seamlessly. Sissoko was again a bit of a letdown and Lamela somewhat randomly ineffective.  One or two of our own were spotted slouching about on the bench but none got any minutes. Again.

Wanyama was consistently strong and arguably our MOM. Lloris is to be replaced by City Link until he learns to lump it up to Janssen who will hold it up until the rest of the boys arrive. Where's Paul Robinson when you need him

Ahhh,the old days. They weren't that bad were they? Well yes most of the time. At least Hugo won't be going to City any time soon. Everyone else was good intermittently except the two mentioned.

The Dembele substitution puzzled me; he could have benefited from a few more days off and Wanyama didn't need him either. He even had time to gett himself another yellow card for simulation.

Perhaps Mauricio was checking whether he could start on Tuesday. Never mind Winks and/or Onomah your time will come.

Still our best start in decades but  worrying 'Spursy' signs if you look closely. Best not to. Enjoy the ride and don't worry too much about the destination at this stage. Tottenham's Perpetual Magical Mystery Tour.

I am the egg man, I am the Walrus and we are all (in this) together. Get well soon Toby.

Jimmy's Video Spot..
Any excuse to feature our rock. Strong brave, stays on his feet, scores goals and only cost 11:5 million. Eriksen (11million) apart Spurs Best Buy for years. Tall and not bad looking either. Another to add to the five famous Belgians. Poirot, Dembele, Verts and er.. Chadli.