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West Ham United v Southampton

Filed: Friday, 29th August 2014
By: Preview Percy

What connects Southampton, Jimmy out of the Krankies and Michael Jackson? Nothing. Only a warped mind would even think of such a link. Here's Preview Percy then.....

Next we entertain Southampton at the Boleyn. Kick-off is at 3pm since the tv people haven't got around to us yet. THERE ARE NO ENGINEERING WORKS ON THE DISTRICT LINE IN THE UPTON PARK AREA THIS WEEKEND. Yes I know all that is in upper case but it's such a rare occurrence that I thought I'd shout a bit for once. Also my hearing aid is on the blink so sometimes I don't realise I'm shouting.

The visitors come to us with but a solitary point from the two games so far this season. They probably deserved a point at Anfield on the opening day where they went down 2-1 to what is a mediocre Liverpool side. On the other hand they were, by all accounts, a bit awful in last week's 0-0 draw at home to West Brom.

Close season was a bit turbulent for them. Let's face it things must be pretty awful behind the scenes when your manager decides that even Spurs would be a better option. Off went Pochettino. What was worse for them was he was followed by no fewer than five first team players. Skipper Adam Lalana, Dean Loveren and Rickie Lambert all went to Liverpool. Valuing Lambert at £4m was probably a good bit of business given his age and the fact that his sell by date must have been pretty close. Getting over £40m out of Anfield for the other two wasn't bad either – usually one gets robbed by scousers rather than the other way round.

They also lost a pair of full backs. Luke Shaw went to basket cases Manchester United whilst Calum Chambers went to Arsenal. Getting £30m and £16m respectively for those two wasn't bad either.

There has been movement in. Some of those almighty fees will be going towards the no doubt half decent salary that is being given to Ronald “Not Graham Taylor's Best Mate” Koeman who was brought in to replace Pochttino. Koeman went back to his native Netherlands for his first two signings. Serbian midfielder Dusan Tadic who came in for just shy of £11m from Twente.

Koeman then turned his attention from Enschede to Rotterdam where the Feyenoord coffers were enriched by £8m in return for Italian striker Graziano Pelle. The work experience kid with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips informs me that Pelle's record at Feyenoord was 50 goals in 57 league matches, impressive even allowing for the relative weakness of the opposition in the Eredivisie. Pelle opened his account for the season with the winner in the League Cup against Millwall in midweek.

Koeman next tapped into the loan market by bringing in Chelsea left back Ryan Bertrand. I say Chelsea, actually he seems to be one of those players who Chelsea have bought purely to have some sort of stock to loan out to other clubs. Since signing for the Pensioners in 2006, “Plastic” has turned out for Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich, Reading, Forest, Villa and now Southampton. Strangely enough, Bertrand is an England age group cap and is therefore not, as those of us of advanced years might have thought, Belgian.

The other incoming loan signing was French-born midfielder Saphir Taidir who arrived from Inter on a season-long loan in exchange for misfit striker Dani Osvaldo. Tadir represents Algeria, the country of his mother's birth. His brother Nabil on the other hand plays for Tunisia, whence his dad came. The African Cup Of Nations must be interesting to watch in the Tadir household then.

Having sorted out some loans Koeman then returned to spending a few more bob out of the fees received as a result of the earlier exodus. Once Celtic had finished exploring the number of different ways they could be knocked out of the so-called Champions League in the same season, England 'keeper Frazer Forster came south to see what proper football is like to take up the custodian role at St Mary's, a fee of £10m going north of the border in return. The work experience kid with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips informs me that Forster once went 1,256 minutes in the Scottish Premiership without conceding a goal, though the nature of Scottish football is such that he spent most of those minutes sat in a deckchair, reading a paperback with a cocktail at his side.

They then spent another £12m relieving Hull of the irritating Shane Long. Long is one of those nasty niggly little players against whom other players often end up getting yellow cards for retaliation.

The last piece of business saw Romanian defender Florin Gardas come in from Steua Bucharest. Gardas has yet to feature in the league to date.

Apart from spending part of the exodus windfall, Koeman's main job has been to try to hold on to others dissatisfied with the disappearance of the club's better players. Morgan Schneiderlin in particular is kicking himself that he didn't get in the exit queue a bit earlier – with over £90m of fees received for the others, chairman Ralph Kruger doesn't feel any pressing need to sell. Schneiderlin recently declared himself “mentally unfit” to play, something that is quite easy to believe given that his preferred destination was Tottenham.

Our turn now. Fine performance over in Croydon last Saturday. The picking of Zarate to play just behind Cole may have been forced upon the manager by the absence of Nolan, but it certainly worked, albeit against a Palace side who, with the appointment of Colin as manager, seem to be preparing for next season in the Championship already. Of course after the fine performance in the league came the League Cup. Typical West Ham – only we could actually manage to get knocked out of a cup by a side who couldn't manage a shot on target. The bright spots in midweek were the form of youngsters Burke, Potts and Poyet all of whom acquitted themselves well.

Morrison annoyed me though. For the second time in two seasons I saw him dive. Thankfully we do not appear to have descended to the depths plumbed by the likes of Liverpool and, indeed this weekend's visitors under the appalling Adkins, where it is expected of players to cheat to win free-kicks and penalties and his transgression remains a mercifully rare event from our players. Someone, however, needs to remind him that we don't want that sort of thing at the Boleyn.

One thing we did learn from the other night is that, should Mark Noble ever be incapacitated, Zarate has a fine penalty in him – his effort in the shootout resembled something that the likes of Julian Dicks, Ray Stewart or even Geoff Hurst might have been proud of. As for Noble, he will probably skipper the side this weekend, safe in the knowledge that, with the likes of Delph and Colbeck now making the England squad, there are probably amputees who are now more likely to get picked by Hodgson. There are rumours that the player might now accept an invitation from the Irish Republic, for whom he qualifies through a grandparent. England's loss.

Injury news is not the greatest. Carroll and Nolan are on the long-term list. Jenkinson, Collins and Jarvis are all out whist Sakho picked up a back twinge on Tuesday night and his involvement will hinge on the result of a late fitness test. I'd therefore expect to see the starting XI to resemble that that commenced proceedings at Selhurst Park, the proposed loan signing of Alex Song being too late for him to qualify for selection, assuming it goes through.

Prediction? Well had Pochettino remained in charge we would probably have seen them line up in similar fashion to the way they did last term and in similar vein to the way in which Spurs set themselves out the other week. We beat Southampton and ought to have done the same to Spurs so I'd have had no hesitation in going for a win. Under Koeman, however, they are a bit more of an unknown quantity to me (if, hopefully, not to the manager). In terms of “momentum” our last two league performances were decent runouts whilst for the visitors their most recent league outing was somewhat more forgettable. I'm still therefore going to go for a win, putting the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's fund to help the Icelandics make their bloody minds up about that volcano (£2.50) on us to win 2-1.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Boleyn: Won 3-1 – February 2014. This was the fourth win in a row that effectively saved our season. Though we went 1-0 down goals from Jarvis, Cole and Nolan were enough to give us all three points against a side that seemed to think spending most of the match passing the ball amongst themselves across the back four and in midfield should have given them a result.

Referee: Mike Dean Webb's retirement got rid of one official who swanned about the place under the impression that the whole thing was about him. Must be time for this loathsome individual to take the hint surely.

Danger Man: Dusan Tadic Can run at defences so the midfield will need to be alert.

Daft fact of the week: In 2007 Southampton unveiled a statue commemorating Ted Bates. The edifice resembled not so much a much-loved former manager, as Jimmy out of the Krankies, the Scottish husband and wife schoolboy comedy team. Eventually, and at great expense, the statue was replaced with one that at least bore some resemblance to the former Saints boss. Meanwhile the fate of the Jimmy Krankie statue is unknown, though it's rumoured that Mohamad Fayed might have been interested in putting it next to the Michael Jackson eyesore at Fulham had he not sold the club.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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