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West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth

Filed: Friday, 19th January 2018
By: Preview Percy

We haven't worked out whether Preview Percy is grumpier than usual because he was made to stay up so late the other night or because the result means he has to go to Wigan. Here's his look at this weekend's visit of AFC Bournemouth. Just don't mention Bobby Madley...

Next up we have a home match in the League where we will take on Bournemouth in a 3pm Saturday fixture, which, unless the tv companies change their minds at the last moment, as they so often do, will be the norm for the next month or so. Heavens be praised.

Trains? Well there’s the usual stuff going on east of Stratford. Replacement buses yada yada yada. You know the score by now I am sure. This will carry on until the Elizabeth Line starts to open whereupon the excuse for delaying your matchday travel will revert to the more traditional “signal failures” or “wrong kind of passenger”.

So Bournemouth then. Currently sitting in 13th place, a point behind us with 24 points from 23 played. Goal differences are similar (them -11 us -12) and we are separated by Palace who have the same 25 points and -12 goal difference but sit beneath us on goals scored. So pretty close all round. Of course Bournemouth should have a point less than that after the ludicrous refereeing that took place on Boxing Day at their drum. If that wasn’t still fresh in the memory there were any number of incidents last weekend that would have reminded you – Watford’s late equaliser against Southampton in particular was a doozy, though there were any number of incidents last weekend that suggested that the offside law had been given the weekend off to recover from the abuse dished out to it by Mike Dean.

Their latest outing was the 2-1 win over Arsenal where Arsene Wenger “couldn’t see” where Bournemouth’s goals had come from. I would make a comment about old age, cataracts etc but frankly Wenger’s been “not seeing” stuff since he was a babe in arms.

Their last outing saw them schlepp up to Wigan in the cup. They made 7 changes for that one but manager Howe denied that that was the major contributory fact or to their 3-0 defeat to Wigan suggesting that the replacements were all regular Premier League regulars. One of the more regular first XI players who made the trip oop north was alleged Hammers target Harry Arter. The fact that Arter is available for selection after one of the nastier scissors challenges you are likely to see on a football pitch would be a mystery to anyone whose knowledge of the laws of the game actually included reading them. Quite how he got away with a yellow for that one is a conundrum right up there with some of the great mysteries of life such as what happened on the Marie Celeste, the location of Lord Lucan and why Mike Dean has remained in gainful employment as a professional referee for so many years.

They have four on their injury list at present. Of these Jermain Defoe definitely won’t be about to haunt us. His broken ankle is currently hiding behind a protective boot with a view to a return by the end of February. Similarly their other long term injury Tyrone Mings is suffering from both a dodgy surname and a dodgy back and is also definitely out.

They have two who are 50-50 for a return. Former Hammer Felix “Call me Junior” Stanislas (I bet this is the only website that brings up his real name) has a thigh strain and faces a late fitness test, as does Joshua King who is similarly encumbered with a thigh strain gained by overstretching to pick up his award for being the “Norwegian with the least Norwegian-sounding name”.

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 informs me that if you were to mention the word “transfer window” in that part of Dorset you would hear the sound of swirling wind as you watched tumbleweed drifting down a deserted high street while a church bell rings in the distance.

There have been a few links – the Theo Walcott ship has sailed and the interest in Colchester top-scorer Sammy Szmodics that was being touted a couple of weeks ago doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere further than the confines of the sports pages. There was also a link with Genoa defender Aleandro Rosi who is coming to the end of a contract. Apparently Brighton have also shown what has been described as “concrete interest” in the player and it may be a case of waiting for someone to blink over the future of a 30 year-old right back who would be available on a free on 1st July unless a new contract is signed before then.

Otherwise the main story has been the potential fate of striker Lewis Grabban who, having spent the first half of the season on loan, has discovered what most of us learnt many years ago, which is that Sunderland are rubbish. He has cut short his loan spell at the Stadium Of Dim and, with his chances at Bournemouth being on a par with those of the movie version of Mrs Brown’s Boys at Oscar time, he wants to move. Anywhere. Except Sunderland.

One suspects that the principal reason for the apparent lack of activity can be found in the records for the summer transfer window which enriched Abrahamovic’s money laundry to the tune of £30m at Bournemouth’s expense. The £20m paid for Gullit look-a-like Nathan Ake and £10m for ‘keeper Asamir Begovic both looked a bit pricey to these eyes, even in these days of multi-million pound reserves. However, I suppose that Ake (wait for it) does have Dutch Caps (ta-da) but it still seemed a lot for the ‘keeper. And even in this day and age £30m will put a pretty hefty dent in the resources available to a club of Bournemouth’s standing. Which is why they may go into the loan market.

Now at the sound of the words “loan market” you can almost see Chelsea’s ears twitching from here. Statistically speaking, and using the same computers that they use to predict global warming, there will come a time in the year 2142 (31 January at 11:01pm) when the Premier league will consist of Chelsea and 19 other teams made up of players on loan from Chelsea.

In Bournemouth’s case they have apparently expressed an interest in taking 21 year-old Charly Musonda on loan until the end of the season. Midfielder Musonda will be shifted one down the pecking order by the arrival of Ross Barkley so they will be keen to get him some playing time. Not a done deal at the time of writing but should they sign on the dotted between now and kick-off that’s who he is.

And so we move on to our sideways look at the wacky world of association football. Chelsea v Norwich was fun wasn’t it. Shame about the penalties though. Most observers thought that VAR had gotten it wrong over one penalty incident. Whatever camp you sit in the incident did highlight the one major flaw with VAR which is this: It’s the same old referees watching the replays. In the case of the Chelsea match it was Mike Jones who, as we have found out to our cost in the past, is not above manipulating decisions to “even things up”. With even PGMOL privately admitting that Jones messed up (god forbid that they should ever fess up in public) what we appear to have here is a ref in a bunker somewhere desperately going out of his way to back up one of his fellow incompetents. Just look at the language of Jones’ decision “there was no evidence of a clear and obvious error”. In other words “I didn’t look too hard at the incident in case I made my mate look bad”.

In my opinion VAR is the way forward but only if it’s primary use is to correct incorrect decisions and to confirm correct ones. Placing it in the hands of PGMOL which, with no proper accountability, is merely a self-interest group, is asking for trouble. Their members on the pitch can’t be trusted and, as Chelsea v Norwich showed, little changes once you stick them in a bunker outside Heathrow.

I suppose it could be said that these are teething problems but honestly, would you really be surprised at watching a Jones howler on the pitch be ratified by Dean in the studio a year or two down the line?

The other concern I have is that Mike Dean, whose interest in the game begins and ends with the words “Mike Dean”, would at least be due to retire over the next few years. Indeed there is a bottle of a splendid 1965 Dom Hutchison champagne on ice at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered which is to be opened the second we hear the announcement that the dishonest one is hanging up his boots. However, absolved from the responsibility of having to pretend to keep up with the game on the pitch, as a dedicated VAR ref he could prolong his career by years without ever having to go out into the cold. Not a prospect to which any sane person should be looking forward.

As for us, well Mr Moyes picked a second string XI once more. Partly as a result of the injury, partly in resting people and partly because certain left backs can’t count up to nine months to ensure pregnancies don’t conclude in the football season and were therefore in hospital accompanying their missus who was in labour. (*Cough* Cresswell).So the disjointed performance was only to be expected.

The kids were alright – not too bad but nothing to get too excited about – though Reece Burke will be grinning like a Cheshire cat having got his first goal in the c&b. Odd really – you wait ages for a Reece to come along then all of a sudden two arrive at once – much to the confusion of the BBC who originally credited the goal to Oxford. Quite what they will do if academy kid Reece Hannam makes the grade lord knows. Anyhow file that one under “banana skin safely – if unspectacularly – negotiated”

Looking through the injury list at present, definitely out is Sakho (knee – allegedly), Antonio (groin), Fernandes and Fonte (both ankle). Also definitely out are Reid (groin) and Carroll (ankle). Then there is Hernandez who has had a spot of flu but is all better now probably. It says here.

There were another couple of absentees. Collins, who sadly the club seems keen to move on had a slight knock for Tuesday and Declan Rice had a sore hamstring. It appears that, from their absence on the official injuries listing sites, their absence on Tuesday may have been precautionary in nature. If that is the case, expect a side similar to that which did the business up at Huddersfield last weekend.

Well we owe this lot one. Wilson’s offside punch into the net would have been cleared up with VAR though had we had competent officials in the first place we wouldn’t have needed VAR and we’d be in 9th place! Arguably, professional footballers shouldn’t need any motivation but, on the off chance that a little boost was deemed necessary, a video loop of Wilson’s smug face owning up to “a touch of magic” should do the trick.

They had a long journey back from Wigan, though by caving in they at least avoided extra time I suppose. I’m therefore going to be dangerously optimistic (careful – ed) and place the £2.50 that I was going to pay the powers that be NOT to build a bridge to France on a home win. So if you see that Turf Accountant chap Winstone, have his girl write me a slip placing the whole darn lot on a 2-1 win to us.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Olympic: Won 1-0 (Premier League August 2016)

Antonio was on target with 6 minutes left on the clock after the visitors had had alleged target Arter dismissed for a second yellow. A match memorable only for the fact that it was the first Premier League match to be held at the new place.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

If in doubt dump Atkinson on West Ham. Third time this season. Must be getting on for double figures over the past two years. No idea why.

Danger Man: Jordon Ibe

Finally coming into a bit of form following his move from the scousers.

Percy’s Poser

Last time of asking we asked you “Whose catchphrase was ‘There’s nothing much wrong with that Arthur”. Well it really was a “Percy’s” Poser this week as the correct answer was Percy Thrower, whose garden centre we parked the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered’s Happy Bus at the other weekend when we went up for the Shrewsbury cup tie. Congratulations to Mrs Roberta Wallis of Shenfield for being the first correct answer out of the digital hat – to which she added “The Arthur referred to was his old gardening chum Arthur Billet”. Of course it was Roberta. Of course it was. Incidentally I am informed Thrower was no relation to the short chubby one from this site who pops in to pay me my Werthers Originals every week. So that’s that cleared up.

For this week’s poser we ask: Charles Rolls is famous for being one half of the famous Rolls Royce car partnership and also for inventing the round bread portions you get on your side plate to eat while you wait for your starter to turn up. Probably. However what first did he achieve in Bournemouth in July 1910? The first correct answer out of the digital hat will win a roll. And not a Rolls Royce. Let’s be absolutely clear about that.

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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