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Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

Filed: Wednesday, 3rd January 2018
By: Preview Percy

We're working Preview Percy hard this week. Well it keeps him off the streets. For the third time this season overall, and the second time at Wembley, here's his look at Tottenham Hotspur. Just pray we don't get them should we progress in the FA Cup this weekend.....

Next up we visit Spurs at Wembley. Kick-off is 8pm and the games are coming so thick and fast it’s probably hardly worth your going home after the last one, if indeed you have. I myself have barely stepped through the front door here at the rest home before I have to turn around and head off to Wembley, their temporary home whilst the new place is being built with the assistance about £30m of your money.

This being the third time I’ve had to put pen to paper about them and, in a vague attempt to not ramble on too much I have given the work-experience kid of as yet-to-be determined gender wearing a hoodie who seems only able to communicate with some strange grunting noises the evening off because, frankly, he or she is probably as fed up with trying to dig out researchable information about their players as you are of reading about it.

The difficulty with preparing a preview this close to the start of the calendar year (which apparently is now a “thing” in football) is that it’s phoney war time as far as the transfer window goes. Only Liverpool have been active really, the £75m paid to Southampton containing a hefty premium as a result of their traditional tapping up going a bit astray back in the summer.

Even where clubs are normally being linked with players as journos desperately try to fill column inches with what they hope will become self-fulfilling prophecies, nobody seems to be talking about Spurs bringing anyone in. Even the “Kane to Spain” stories are all a bit half-hearted. Let’s face it everyone knows he won’t be leaving any time soon, someone who struggles with his native tongue is hardly going to take to Catalan or Spanish in a hurry. The latest rumour involving Kane has Real Madrid offering Gareth “Christian” Bale plus a shedload of folding in return for the Mensa reject, However any deal of that nature might be hijacked by Woburn Safari Park who are looking for replacements for the primates barbecued in the fire they had earlier in the week. Spurs themselves, however,are said to be thinking of making Mike Dean’s loan deal permanent.

So at the time of writing they currently lie in 5th place with 40 points from the 21 they have played so far, their most recent result being the rather laboured win at Swansea the other night where, not for the first time this season, they had the benefit of some “generous” refereeing. They have had more than their fair share of assistance from what, frighteningly, is the best that PGMOL has to offer.

The general immunity from red cards that has been afforded to Alli and Kane seems to have been extended to Sanchez who, on a yellow over at Swansea, chopped an opponent in half in a manner akin to lumberjack felling a tree. Whilst all awaited the second yellow the “challenge” merited, the ref elected to issue a stern talking to. The ref – Bobby Madley (for ‘twas he), also saw fit to not override his assistant for the Spurs opening goal when Llorente was offside. All of which must have made a pleasant change for Kane – can’t be often that he is on the same pitch a someone he can refer to as “Trigger”.

Apparently the assistant referee apologised to Swansea boss Carvalho, so that’s ok then. In truth they struggled a bit against the basement club, though to be fair the conditions were a bit of a leveller. Maybe it was a tactical error to elect to attack the shallow end in the second half. I did have to laugh at the BBC’s match report on their website though. Apparently Alli showed “sharp reflexes” in scoring his goal. Or, to put it another - and infinitely more accurate way, the ball hit him on the rebound as he was falling over.

We should of course take time out to congratulate Kane for his record. The most number of red card offences within a calendar year from a player based outside Manchester or Liverpool without actually receiving a red card is no easy title to win, though to be fair he did have a lot of competition from his team-mate Dele Alli who pushed him all the way for the coveted title. Kane’s most recent ankle breaker came in the walloping they received at Man City last month. It looked pretty similar to the one he got away with up at Newcastle earlier in the season and the leniency of Craig Pawson – and the tendency of the FA to ignore their own regulations which allow them to revisit bad tackles where they consider the punishment to have been inappropriate – meant that Kane was free to move on and break some meaningless record relating to goals a calendar year which, prior to this season, nobody gave a toss about. In fact nobody outside Spurs and, for some reason, two-bob crisp salesman Gary Lineker, actually gives a monkey’s anyway.

For Thursday’s match they are not over-burdened with injuries, though there is a big question mark over the availability of full-back Danny Rose. Rose was missing from the trip abroad on Tuesday night and it seems there is a problem with the right knee that has proved troublesome all season. Rose missed the start of the season but seemed to have recovered enough to chip in. However, when asked about the player’s absence Pochettino said that he had been unable to train recently. And just in time for Christmas too.

And so to us. Never in doubt on Tuesday was it?! Scoring with 11 seconds left is the way forward I say. Though actually there ought to have been another couple of minutes added to the mystifyingly short period of stoppage added by Jones who had a predictably poor night throughout. We were poor first half it has to be said. Kouyate and Obiang don’t seem to play well together and either could have been hooked at half-time. I suspect that the slightly increased goal-threat from Kouyate influenced the substitution decision there.

The addition of Noble to the fray lent an urgency to proceedings that had been almost totally absent during the first half. The goals? Well the cross from Cresswell was top-notch. It was of the order of the sort of delivery we had all forgotten that he was capable of. As you saw Carroll moving forward for the header you just knew it was a goal. The second was well-finished as well – hands up anyone who thought Carroll was going to cross it back to the middle. Not you Foster – we already know you did. So not pretty but I’ll settle for a few of those.

One ought to mention the somewhat unedifying scenes involving Jake Livermore I suppose. There are multiple witnesses who have attested to the fact that no mention was made of the child that the player had lost. West Brom themselves have issued a statement to the contrary, presumably basing that statement on input from the player himself. If the fan said something of that ilk shame on him. If the player is falsely claiming that that is the case shame on him. Not having been anywhere close to the incident – or even aware of it having taken place until I got back to the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered – there’s little I can add to the debate other than to point out to those Spurs supporters referring to a lack of class that the facts of the case are disputed. Unlike say those pertaining to the chucking of urine during our last visit to Wembley.

Moving forward to this match Cresswell may be fit despite limping off with some sort of back spasm on Tuesday – something of a problem for him of late. Sakho – who we may never see again – has a cyst on his knee. Oxford, who is either going somewhere or staying depending on who is talking, has a sprained ankle gained from kicking the ground. Ginge and Antonio are both out as are the usual suspects in Fernandes, Fonte and Byram – with the third of that trio being closest to a return – maybe Huddersfield. With all those out changes are likely to be at a premium for this one.

So prediction then. Well it used to be the case that it was always best to play some sides on the Saturday after they had played an away tie in Europe, That’s tempered by the fact that were playing at the same time, albeit at home and in slightly dryer conditions. I think a draw shouldn’t be out of the question but when you bring the Mike Dean factor into the equation things change considerably. There is, I suppose, a possibility that the bald headed fraudster might look at their last few matches and start to dish out a few controversial decisions our way. It is also possible that Piers Morgan might get hit by a meteorite. Frankly though, we are not that lucky. Either way we are in the hands of an official whose integrity should be questioned – were it not for the fact that he clearly has none.

So under those circumstances I will reluctantly be placing the £2.50 that would have gone towards paying Wenger’s forthcoming fine on a 2-1 defeat in the hope I am disastrously wrong – all yours Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at Wembley: Won 3-2 (League Cup October 2017)

We sat back and gave them a 2 goal start. A brace from Ayew and another from Ogbonna restored the natural order of things and meant that there was one less trophy for them not to win this season. Being the League Cup, PGMOL replaced Mike Dean with someone who just looked like him. How else to explain the lack of controversial decisions in a live tv match? He’s been making up for it ever since.

Referee: Mike Dean

The poster boy for everything that is foul, rotten and corrupt about refereeing in this country. Would have been on the dole queue many years ago in just about any other walk of life. No doubt his next move will be to demand a share of the gate money since he clearly believes that everyone has paid to see him officiate.

Danger Man: Harry Kane

Seemingly exempt from the laws of the game, he should be on possibly his 2nd suspension of the season. That he isn’t speaks volumes about the standards of officiating in this country and the unwillingness of the FA to do anything about it. His partnership with Dean will be one to watch.

Percy’s Poser

Last time out we asked you why Black Country Day is celebrated on 14th July each year. First correct answer out of the digital hat came from Mrs Megan McMegan who informed us that this is the date of invention of what Black Country residents like to refer to as “the world’s first steam engine”. Presumably nobody has told them up there that there had been steam engines around for about 2,000 years before that one. Well done Megan – you win all the turkey you can eat.

For this week’s poser we ask you: “Why does the Spurs badge feature a pigeon standing on a beach ball”. First correct answer out of the digital hat wins all the lasagne they can eat.

Good luck everyone!

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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