The Blog that's not always wrong.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Young gifted and back.

And plenty more where they came from.
The Jimmy G2 column.
 Any minute now the alarm clock will go off and I will realise that it's all been just a wonderful dream. I think I'll just doze off until after we seal our Europa progress and thrash Chelsea.

Another fine team performance against W.Ham and though most agree that Moussa was the King of the Jungle  there were a number of other beasts with a claim for MOM: Alli, Alderweield, Kane, Walker and Dier all played well and nobody played badly.

Dembele seems to have been born again and resembles the player we thought we had brought from Fulham in 2012. Strong on the ball, scoring goals and much more direct. Another example of the Pochettino effect.

The pundits, still hooked on their Deli Alli love-in, made him MOM but once again this was an attacking performance by a young, gifted side relishing the opportunity to press and run about quite a lot.

There were some delightful passages of play and quite how on this showing W.Ham were level on points before the game baffles me.

We had more shots on goal (12) in a single game than any team in the Premiership; we have the second best goal difference: we always run the furthest and have been awarded the most yellow cards.

Perhaps the last factor, which makes me a little uneasy, is part and parcel of the overall package. Oh those heady days when we won the Fair Play League. Are we becoming too nasty now or were we too nice then.

As long as we don't crowd the ref; protest every decision; wave imaginary cards about and allow the medical squad on the pitch when necessary perhaps we are still just on the right side of the line..

Deli Alli picked up his fifth yellow card and will miss the Chelsea game. Perhaps it will be a salutary lesson for the 19yr. old who needs to stand his ground but know when to turn away and curb his enthusiasm just a little.

The togetherness of the squad is evident and heartwarming to see. It injects a hard core throughout the squad and is perhaps something that has been missing in recent years.

We've often had a nominated hard man Palacios, Parker, Sandro and Jenas most recently but this is different because now: it's all for one and one for all. They can all look after themselves and everyone can look out for Christian.

But it's a narrow line to walk between team spirit and a Stoke or a Sunderland or W.Ham and two banned before Xmas and another on the edge indicates that it might get out of hand. Jenas was a joke by the way.

Erik Dier says that Spurs aren't 'Spursy' any more. Meaning that the soft centre has been scooped out. But we must take care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Walker Let himself down with an ill-judged attempted clearance which led to their consolation goal after scoring a fine goal himself. Harry remains on track and should have had another hat-t rick.

With Eiderweireld and Walker contributing goals that's twelve different scorers so far this season and shows that the attacking intent is not solely centred on our one season wonder.

We bossed the game especially in the centre of the park and W. Ham were poor in every department except in goal. It was pleasing to see big lump Andy Carroll subbed. Our centre backs stood off him and picked up the second ball.

I'm glad that Onomah is being patiently groomed, but in a nice way, and that Tommy Carroll has not slipped Mauricio's mind. I hope both start against Qarabag or perhaps Harry Winks and that Son who was lively, gives Harry a rest.

I know, I know if we win this one we´re through but it´s Chelsea on Sunday and beating them is a priority and would inspire us to greater things before the Xmas rush. Deli Alli could start.

What team he puts out could depend on whether his faith in youth is greater than his belief in the capacity of his squad to cope with multiple games on several fronts at once.

I haven´t been so excited by our performances and prospects for decades, Gareth Bale in our Champions´ League flirtation under Harry excepted.

Jimmy´s Video Spot.
I expect you can bear to watch the highlights again. Could and should have been more but that´ll do. Eriksen already has more assists than he got the whole of last season. Son sets up two and Mason is very unlucky not to score..
We´re young, gifted and back on track.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The curse of Premature Adulation at Spurs.

New mug Mauricio?
Yeah. The lads had a whip round.
The JimmyG2 Column.
Eleven games unbeaten and three games in six days but our young team did us proud. In the end Arsenal snatched a draw and on possession and chances perhaps a fair result.

But a week that could easily have gone so wrong  and might have done so in years gone by. But this is the new Tottenham itching to go places including the New White Hart Lane.

Mental as well as physical endurance thanks to Pochettino's work on a young and responsive squad. Arsenal and the NLD at the end of an arduous week a call to action, a spur if you will. We had excuses to hand but didn't use them.

Ah the innocence of youth trusted and given a sense of purpose by a Head Coach that is not afraid to throw them in at the deep end and so far they have all swum safely ashore.

It felt as if we totally bossed the NLD especially in the centre of the park. But I'm content for the moment to be disappointed to come away with just a draw at the Emirates.

We may have drawn this particular battle but we are making good progress in winning the Premiership war.

We've beaten the top of the table and yesterday stopped Arsenal themselves going top. Cazorla was withdrawn at half time to lick his wounds and the pundits were falling over themselves to acclaim Deli Alli.

Not that it's my favourite fixture or the Chelsea and West Ham games to be honest. Of course I relish the chance to establish the London bragging rights but the emotion can get in the way of the football.

These are games where the result becomes more important than the performance and yet it is the performance that produces the results. No complaints though about this latest episode of Beat Your Neighbour.

It's difficult even to pick a clear MOM whatever the commentators might have said. Ali, Dembele, Lamela, Dier, Walker, Rose for his beautiful assist and Alderweireld all have their advocates.

Alli looks the real deal with his strength in the tackle and ability on the ball. If he doesn't have his head turned by premature adulation he could be a mainstay for us for years. But pundits: they build 'em up and they bring  'em down. Adulation I said.

Only Lloris who might have done better for the goal and who was hesitant at times doesn't make the frame. Even then he made a couple of excellent saves to match Czech at the other end.

So a team performance then. Pressing, harassing and tackling all over the pitch and a Harry Kane goal to round it off. Two weeks ago it wouldn't have gone in but this is on the other side of a hatrick.

One season wonder, clearly not. But even with Harry misfiring and Mason and Bentaleb, last years midfield  stalwarts, injured for weeks we have maintained our momentum towards the Promised Land.

The emergence of Dier and Alli; the central partnership of Toby and Jan; the re-emergence of Dembele, Walker and Lamela has not merely papered over the cracks this time round, they have knocked down the wall rebuilt and replastered it.

We are not only consistently fielding the youngest team in the league we are bringing the most 'own grown'  products from the production line to the showroom.The Future is Bright and the present is very satisfying too.

 How relaxing it is to go into an international break following a good performance riding high in the league. Not that many of the Senior squad or the younger teams either will get much rest with friendlies and qualifiers galore at every level.

But at least they should be able to play with smiles on their faces.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
A tale of two assists
Moussa mops up. Jan send Danny away and that pass forward is the most beautiful thing. Harry scores with aplomb as all the best sports writers say. I think the commentator changes sides at half time.

 Blame game? Difficult because  its such a peach of a cross from chief Premiership assister Ozil. Rose not close enough? Jan too far across? Walker gives Gibbs too much space trying to cover Jan? And the award goes to Hugo.

Amazing clarity on the video

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Belgium play France in N.London. The Derby

 What time does it all kick off?
The Greg Meyer Column.
Derby Day 8 November 2015: Dracula’s Birthday.

Belgium Play France in North London: The Derby.

War has been declared for today only. Our pub hunkered down amid the leafy glades of Kent is in combat mode. Over a pint or two our merry band of regulars have forensically examined the looming battle in North London.
The first clue surely relates to the make up of the respective combatants. Spurs have a significant Belgian flavor while Arsenal have  on many occasions been mistaken for the French national side.
Guess who are rated the best football team in the world. Yes its Belgium. An omen surely.
Spurs have  4 members of the Belgian side including Alderweireld, Vertongen, Dembele and Chadli. The defensive pairing of Toby and Jan has seen a remarkable turn around regards Spurs previous open door/open goal policy of last season.
A second “clue” may lie in the unlikely turnaround of a certain Belgian’s form. Mousa Dembele went knocking on Mauricio Pochettino’s reputedly always open door in the summer. Not entirely sure it is always open.
 Andros Townsend had trouble meeting a decidedly frosty reception from Mauricio this week. Banished to the Under 21’s. Dishonourable mention in despatches for Andros.
Dembele was rumoured to be unhappy with his lot, as in not getting a lot of game time. Whatever transpired between him and the manager seems to have worked in spades.
 He is fit, he is scoring goals(3 in 3 just lately), and he is closing on the form that he was demonstrating when he first signed from Fulham. Remember his scintillating display when he ripped Manchester United apart at Old Trafford.
More of that form will mean the chances of the Belgian contingent trumping the French in the Derby today are much enhanced.
So to that French factor. The likes of Koscielny, Debuchy, Giroud,  Flamini, Coquelin and of course Monsieur Wenger are a formidable sextet.
Koscielny will line up on Harry Kane no doubt. Coquelin likewise will try to snuff out the threat of Eriksen.

The Flamini factor surely cannot strike twice.He scored two in the League Cup against Spurs. Before that his last goal was for the Under 10’s at Ecole Primaire Marseille in 1994.
Spurs of course have their own French factor namely our Hugo Lloris. The Captain of France no less. Arsenal boast their own goalkeeping superstar Petr Cech. Things cancel each out on balance.
A final “clue” may lie in the supporting cast for each team. Arsenal have an impressive list of wounded soldiers . The English invalids include Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain, Wiltshire and Aaron Ramsay, almost English.
Spurs have most available albeit our Korean is short on game time.
The Arsenal foreign legion however is all class. The likes of Sanchez, Ozil and Cazorla  for starters. Goals galore there and hopefully for Spurs but perhaps not this week. And so any one of 3 outcomes would not surprise our assembled squad …
At A Kent Pub.
Nervous anticipation hangs in the air here at our pub. Nothing to do with Bram Stoker's birthday. He is 168 years old today. The fact that Spurs are going to war away from home is perhaps a tipping point in favour of the Gunners.
Mind, that said, our lawyer is going for a narrow and famous win to the youngsters.
Cheers … Belgium to triumph …  Greg Meyer.       coys.
Jimmy's Video Spot. Vintage stuff on a vintage radio from Rob Wilton. 'Our Harry' features. Some of this spirit is exactly what we need today. Mauricios's pre match pep talk. (Home Guard 1943). I think you had to be there. I was: just.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pochettino gets his reward.

Shaun the sheep.
It would appear so from this side at least.
The JimmyG2 Column.

The biggest of elephant traps, lavishly baited with banana skins and laced with the droolings of TV pundits lay in wait for Spurs on Monday night, and we almost fell in.

When Carragher and Neville rate us, like us, and want to have Mauricios babies then it's tin hat and body armour time in my book. Especially just before the first game of a hectic and possibly crucial week.

High flying, unbeaten, pundit backed Spurs against the (technically) managerless bottom of the league strugglers Aston Villa on Sky Sports, in prime time.What could possibly go wrong.

In the end it was almost the architypical Tottenham game. The New Spurs rising Phoenix like from the bones and ashes of the old Spurs. But the same DNA still  flows.

Early goal; two up at half time. That's the New Spurs. But then as history shows 2-0 up is a dangerous situation for us.. We relax and drop deeper; get slack; they get a goal courtesy of a misplaced pass and a deflection and its 'Game On'.

That's the Old Spurs. Then Lamela keeping his head when all about him others are losing theirs earns back a little of his record fee. Some harrying and nice footwork and he sets up Harry for the goal that not only takes the wind out of their sails but overturns the boat.

Harry without thinking whacks the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area and we maintain our unbeaten run and press our noses hard against the Champions' League Gift shop window and start compiling our Xmas wish list.

70 minutes of dominance with yet another goal for Dembele; a calm finish by Deli Alli; good work by Dier; a Mr.Sensible performance from Kyle Walker; hard centres only in our Belgian Centre Back selection, and ten minutes of mayhem.

Lloris tried to summon up a bit of trade for himself by some careless distribution but at least he chose a good game to do it in. The goal which deflected off Vertonghen is not down to him.

Whats not to like? Spurs fans should be conditioned for this contingency now whatever Mr.G. Neville, who I respect as the best of the current pundits, says.

What Mr.J. Callagher thinks is out of his very short volume 'The Beautiful Game on Merseyside'. Namely that Clarke should have brought Moussa down before he reached the penalty area and scored. He didn't though he tried, and he did.

Well at least you practised what you preach Jamie. So have Spurs turned the proverbial corner before the return Europa game against Anderlecht. Not quite a must win but certainly a mustn't lose.

Where did they find an Arsenal supporting fixture computer. The group is finely balanced at the half-way stage and we need to play with more focus in the remaining ties.

The question of Spurs progress reminds me of the two Professors of Philosophy on the train to Oxford. One thoughtfully tapped his note-pad with his fountain pen which tells you how old this anecdote is.

'The sheep in that field have all been sheared' he remarks. The other after careful consideration replies, 'It would appear so from this side at least.' Clearly a  lifelong Spurs supporter.

If we won the Premiership and then the Champions' League we would surely celebrate but then ask' 'But can we do it every year?' The fans version of the managerial cliche 'We are taking it one game at a time'.

Whatever the outcome this season all credit to Mauricio. He has cleared the decks, battened down the hatches with Toby prompting Jan to greater effort and responsibility. Mostly though he has trusted youth.

Onomah(18) was the latest fledgling to be hatched and not at an easy moment in the Villa game. He like Alli looks the part. Harry is threatening once again to reward his Head Coach handsomely.

As are all of his young proteges. Their spirit and camaraderie shines out and the fans at last have something of their own to cherish and support.

We are scoring more and conceding less and it is decade and a half since our goal difference looked as healthy as it does after 11 games. It could be important in the final countdown.

So it would appear that we are making progress. Well it looks like it from here anyway. 

Jimmy's Video spot. 
All the goals and highlights as they say. Scott Sinclair a pain early on and Ayew and Gestede later. But the highlights flatter Villa who were out of it for most of the game. Eriksen and Lamela buzzing and Harry winning his cousin £5000 with his late strike to complete a six scorers accumulator for him. Rewards: they  just keep on coming.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Vardy pips Harry for Real Madrid spot.

Life is just a bowl of cherries. Five is plenty
The JimmyG2 Column.

Nice place for a stroll on a sunny winter afternoon, Bournemouth. And that's exactly how it turned out. I spent a couple of pleasant holidays there as a boy. Pitch and putt, Fisherman's Walk; probably all car parks now.

What a difference five goals make. Funny old game . There I was one minute into the Bournemouth game preparing myself for a bout of clinical depression when up pop Eriksen and Harry Kane to make it all better.

Against Anderlecht  we got what we deserved, namely nothing, for a lackadaisical performance, a word that encapsulates Spurs at times over the years. As usual they were better than we allowed for.

I posted in another place my thoughts on the performances in that game and I'll leave it at that. I still think that we will progress but in our usual way making it harder for ourselves. How Spursy is that!

Europa summary after Anderlecht

'Pity it isn't Bonfire night or I could go off on one of my world famous thematic outbursts

Damp squibs; Townsend, Trippier, Davies 
Rockets that burn brightly briefly and then fall back to earth: Eriksen, 
Sparklers that fizzle but ultimately disappoint :Lamela, N'jie 
Catherine Wheels , Look pretty but go round and round and get nowhere: Dembele. 
Roman Candles. Good in brief bursts. Dier and the rest .
Except Hugo Lloris who is pure dynamite and got into the box by mistake.
But it isn't so I won't............(On Spurs Community match thread)
However after several games in which we deserved better we get three points and five goals in a game where the scoreline flatters. Let's hear it for Artur Boric, the Secret Spurs Footballer.

Harry's gifted hat-trick was the cherry and the icing on the cake. I'd add marzipan too but I've never liked the stuff. Not that he didn't deserve it. As usual he grafted and popped up in the right places at the right time.

So let's hear it for Mauricio's pale blue and dark blue army. We move up to sixth; break the drawn games stranglehold; get Harry back on track; see the return of Mason, and Dembele scores his fourth goal in just under a hundred appearances.

Eriksen is purring like the Rolls Royce that got the cream; Lamela scores and Walker has yet another decent game. We've never played them before in the league and they wished it had stayed that way.

Our goal difference gets a healthy boost and Lamela heads the combined assists and goals chart once again.

Christian Eriksen.
I made him my MOM against the beleaguered Cherries simply for his sheer class. His curler from range should have been the 6th. Sorry Harry.

Every Spurs team in every decade needs a player of Eriksen's class or they're not really a proper Spurs team.  If we had spent the Bale money on just him it would have been money well spent. Well nearly.

Harry Kane.
Anyone who just knew that Harry would come good can heave a big sigh of relief. He's one of our own and I love him but he needed those goals and a rest to follow. He should have been subbed for N'jie as soon as he got the third goal.

He plays and speaks as if he desperately wants Spurs to succeed so that he doesn't have to leave. Amen to that. And remember he didn't properly start his scoring spree until Halloween last year. Scary.

His nerve and confidence in taking the penalty was exemplary.

Football Gossip: well at least at this time of the year they have the decency not to call it ITK.
I happened to inadvertently read the Bleacher Report Gossip Column, as you do: Here's a sample.

Deli Alli to PSG;
Jamie Vardy to Real Madrid .
Well they won't be needing Harry then. Who writes this stuff and who inadvertently reads it?

Meanwhile in the real world: A whole week for us and Harry to savor what could be a turning point in our season. So many positives and Villa next Monday night without Tim at the helm and heading for the relegation rocks.

If we all shove together they may be well and truly scuppered. Wreck ahoy.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Halloween  a couple of years ago. See Townsend is still with us.

What does Kyle Walker bring to the team apart from being the life and soul of the party? Strength speed, determination and commitment. Playing better now after a season disrupted by injury. I like the boy.

Only Jan.(Mr. Cool) Vertonghen takes this Halloween prank in his stride. Perhaps they don't celebrate Halloween in Belgium.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Spurs ready to challenge.

Ah!  Mr. Klopp I presume
 The JimmyG2 Column
The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. Jurgen and Mauricio ran themselves to a standstill or at least they encouraged their respective teams to do so. Both teams 'pressed' in the image of their managers.

In the end it was an exhausting deadlock but we could easily have won and beaten both the dreaded New Manager Bounce and the even more dreaded Manager of the Month curse. We steered a narrow path between them.

Mignolet made three vital saves whilst Lloris had nothing but routine stuff to deal with. They might have gone one up whilst their legs and arms were still pumping in the first 20 minutes but we faced them down and controlled matters from then on.

They ran further than they had in any match this season and even more than us, not only the Premiership's youngest side but the fittest and acknowledged current Premiership long distance champions.

We have been building up to this for some time but Jurgen must have threatened them with something extreme to manage this change in half a week. The result was a lively game which we can file once again in the 'should have won´ folder.

Unless we can turn draws into wins we are doomed to finish somewhere around 8th. That´s our fifth draw in eight games, more than any other team in the Premiership. With Kane misfiring, Son injured and Clinton as yet a little raw we are struggling for goals.

But the defence shares with Arsenal the accolade of the meanest in the Premiership so far, only seven conceded in nine games. Our goal difference looks a little healthier than it usually does at this stage.

Mignolet spoilt Clinton´s afternoon with a fine save from  what would have been a contender for ´Goal of the Month´ following a nicely worked move.Harry provided the pass but he lost out on another one on one.

With Eriksen returning to form from open play though certainly not from corners, Dembele giving a fair impression of his alleged true self and Walker playing almost sensibly we are fleetingly beginning to look something like a team ready to challenge.

Alli and Lamela though failed to rise to their recent form but the Belgians in defence look stronger by the game. Rose replaced Davies but made no lasting impression this time out.

Am I disappointed that we failed to win, or relieved that we avoided falling to Liverpool once again? As usual a little of both. But this is not the Liverpool of old and it feels like two points dropped rather than one gained.

Jimmys Video Spot 
Mignolet thwarts Spurs, not for the first time I seem to remember. Jurgen does his little 'klopp' dance and the Spurs crowd rise in unison in a well rehearsed scene to clutch their heads in their hands. Commentary is speeded up and behind the play. I think I prefer Michael Owen like this.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Klopp, Pochettino and Rodgers Open Envelopes ... All Revealed.

Can't stop Mr.Rogers. Busy, busy, busy today.
The Greg Meyer Column.
Friday 16 October … a Wilde man’s birthday.

Klopp, Pochettino and Rodgers Open Envelopes ... All Revealed.

Spurs and Liverpool at The Lane just got a whole lot bigger and more difficult because of that envelope Brendan Rogers opened on Sunday 4 October. Out popped a P45 from John W Henry.

Simultaneously two envelopes containing invitations were winging their way to Vancouver, Canada and Frankfurt, Germany. Mind the envelope addressed to Carlo Ancelotti in Canada relies on the believability and trusted sources of one Harry Redknapp.
A man who has received more than his fair share of envelopes in his time. P45’s, invitations from the taxman and many more.

Whatever, it all started with an envelope, to be more exact three of, back in 2012 when Rodgers was appointed Liverpool manager and whether for money, vanity, publicity, fan enlightenment, all or none of the above Liverpool allowed the cameras in and so the documentary Being: Liverpool came to be.

 Brendan was mercilessly parodied and it was not just the envelopes. No the comparisons to the David Brent School of Management  were close to the bone. Show and tell was born in America. John Henry’s wife an avid fan. In the UK it was positive cringe country.

The most famous perhaps infamous scenes involved our Brendan brandishing 3 envelopes and announcing inside were three people who will let us down this year. Chronologically he may not have got it spot on but the identities of those 3 envelopes has finally come clear.

Envelope One.

Undoubtedly Luis Suarez.

Not that he let Liverpool down, damn near won them the League but his big money move to Barca certainly justified him being in the envelope eventually.

Envelope Two.

Here Brendan was  a little disingenuous. There were actually 23 names on a list . He was not just betting each way but the whole field. And to give him his just desserts he was not wrong. After spending over 110 million pounds in his first year after Saurez it went belly up. 
We won’t do a Spurs ( a reference to the Bale money fiasco). Finished behind Spurs who got fifth. So then given another train load of cash and thus far another belly up. Ergo the …

 Last Envelope.

 No prizes for guessing. Brendan himself. Live by the envelope, die by the envelope.

Still that early TV career at Being:Liverpool was not all to waste. Looks like a pundits job at beIN awaits. As well surely Tim Sherwood is looking nervous. The bookies have installed Brendan as favourite for the Villa job. Quickly moving on from a dead man walking to the bright new thing in waiting.

 Ah football, don’t you just love it. We certainly do …

At A Kent Pub.

Here at our cosy hostelry in the green glades of Kent it has been a busy week. With no Premier, Harry Kane has been our concern. Great to see him score again. Dubious . Never.

Of course a lot of discussion has centred around the bounce factor of a new Manager. Certainly like the cut of the Klopp jib. The Normal One has charisma which is generated by others.
 Lovely contrast to The Special One who first bust onto our screens with the self promoting statements. I am the Special One. Not so special at Chelsea at the moment. Hardly surprising little sympathy for him here at our pub.

Spurs are without Son and Dier since City. Big misses. Dembele is tipped to come in. His talk off season was lack of opportunity. They don’t come a lot bigger than this one. Son, sounds like a broken foot bone but all will be revealed in true Spurs fashion the week after he comes back in possibly 5 weeks.
 Lamela. Can the man this Pub has stood by, albeit teetering on the odd cliff too many times, continue to be a real influence. Another goal would be delicious.

Perhaps we can but ease the anxiety by thinking of our back four. Toby, Jan, Kyle and Ben. Doing great so far mostly.

Worth a paragraph on his own. A whole Column I hear you say. Our favourite Frenchman, and favourite man besides … Hugo… say no more. Our truly world class player and leader. He leads France and more importantly he leads Spurs.
 Here at the Pub his Gallic charm plus a lovely photo still attract the female fan. Which besides man love galore from our menfolk does lead to some desirable discussion with those female fans, all engendered by the fabulous Captain of Spurs. A big man in these parts.

To leave you with two of life’s truisms. Firstly a Pub philosophy.

 “ A bottle of fine red a day keeps the doctor away. Mainly cos you’re too drunk to call him.” Seen in the Kent Pub lavatory.

Cheers … Oscar Wilde’s birthday today … in the immortal words of the early Spurs fan …” Work is the curse of the drinking classes”.. and don’t we try to live up to that at our Kent Pub … Greg Meyer.     coys … think we should squeak by Pool.

Jimmy's Video Spot.
Just to prove you don't get sacked for nothing. Motivation is his middle name.