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Burnley v West Ham United: Match Preview

Filed: Thursday, 4th February 2010
By: Preview Percy

Nigel Quashie may have gone for free but we'd have had to pay someone to take Preview Percy away. So, sadly, he's still here until the next window opens.....

Next up we have a trip up to the North West to Turf Moor – a ground with a proper unsponsored name.

Since we last met at the end of November there have been a few changes about both places. The last time I wrote of Owen Coyle I mentioned that he was linked with every half-decent managerial vacancy that came up. Clearly the words “half-decent” meant that I didn’t have the likes of Bolton in mind yet, having turned down Celtic a while back, it was at to the Reebok (horrible sponsored name) he went, much to the annoyance of the Burnley faithful. The move inspired a rash of biblical insults with the fans’ taunts of “Judas” being countered by Coyle’s own self-comparison to “Moses”. Given the use of Old and New Testament references, I suppose we should be grateful that Coyle didn’t go to Stoke where we’d have had to add “Delilah” into the mix.

Coyle’s replacement was Brian Laws, a manager with no managerial experience of the Premiership. Though he made him self popular on the non-hypocritical side of Sheffield by becoming the first Wednesday boss in 95 years to do the double over their whinging thuggish neighbours, a poor run of results led to his departure from Hillsborough “by mutual consent” as the Owls descended to the Championship relegation zone. Small wonder then that some Burnley fans have been crying into their Benedictines over the change.

Their mood won’t have been improved by their lack of form in recent weeks, having drawn one and lost 5 of their last 6 in the league. They’ve lost their last 6 away from Turf Moor whilst their last league win anywhere came in the 2-0 home victory over Hull way back on 31 October, since when their home form has included draws against Villa, Bolton, Arsenal and Fulham, and last week’s battling defeat at home to Chelsea where the difference between the two sides was John Terry’s ability to score away from home. One win in three months has met that they have dropped from 11th when we last met, to 19th at present where they sit one point and four places below our good selves.

There has been a bit of activity on the transfer front during the recent window. David Nugent’s loan spell from Pompey has been extended, Nugent’s reluctance to return to the South coast being matched only by Portsmouth’s reluctance to pay their players. They’ve also brought in Chelsea midfielder Jack Cork who, it is to be hoped, has brought his girlfriend up with him if he has one. In defence they have brought in Leon Cort for £1.5m (rising to £2m with add-ons) from Stoke, and ‘keeper Nicky Weaver from that legendary club “Free Agent”. Weaver’s last proper job was with Dundee United with whom he made 18 appearances in the SPL. Weaver has been brought in to provide competition for Brian “Beast” Jensen, though the rather chunky Dane was preferred as onion bag custodian against Chelsea.

Cort also started the Chelsea match alongside Bikey, though Nugent didn’t actually feature in the squad, the ink not having dried on the loan paperwork from Portsmouth. Expect him to at least make the bench on Saturday. They do have a few casualties in the treatment room at present – welcome to our world! Norwegian Christian Kalvenes and Scot Steven Caldwell may miss out this time round, being listed as “doubtful” with hamstring and groin problems respectively. Kalvenes was replaced by Edgar who may stand in again should the Norwegian not recover in time.

We, of course have also rung the changes. The advent of our new owners (who I believe in the modern parlance are to be known as “SuGo”) has meant that we haven’t had to sell any of our best players during the window. In have come Benni McCarthy, Mido and Ilan. McCarthy managed to upset Sam Allardyce which is probably reason enough to have signed him. Mido has agreed to play for a grand a week in a bid to prove a point whilst Brazilian Ilan has arrived from “Free Agent” having fallen out of favour with French strugglers St Etienne, which, as CVs go isn’t the most inspiring. However we definitely needed more depth up front where Nouble’s understandable lack of experience of playing as a lone striker has been all too apparent in the absence of Cole and Franco. Expect Nouble to return to learning his trade in the reserves or on loan for a bit bearing in mind the recent influx of forwards.

On the injury front things are looking up. Franco’s hamstring will probably need another week though the injury room websites have returned to playing the “Kieron Dyer’s back soon” game in the hope that one day they’ll be right. Danny Gabbidon is similarly listed so neither of them are likely to be about.

The big question is whether Zola will go for one or two up front. If it’s to be one then look at that to be Cole. However, all the talk has been of what a good partnership Cole and McCarthy will make and, given Burnley’s recent form, the feeling may well be that this is one away match for which the less cautious approach of a traditional 4-4-2 might be appropriate. If that’s the case expect Benni to start and Mido and possibly Ilan to turn up on the bench.

Prediction? Well they haven’t won since Halloween whilst we haven’t got three points on the road since the 2-0 win at Molineux on the opening day of the season. The blank facts would therefore suggest a draw is on the cards. However you can never underestimate the effect that a few signings can have on team spirit. Whilst I personally would have liked to see a right-back come in, maybe at the expense of one of the three strikers, I still reckon that we’ll have got more of a boost from the arrival of our three signings than they’ll have got from their new arrivals. The fans’ jury is still out on the manager and an early goal may well cause mutterings of discontent. Whilst I wish Burnley no ill – there are definitely other teams around us that I’d rather see the back of – I can’t help but notice that we’re unbeaten in the league this decade so I’ll go for an optimistic and cheeky 2-1 win to push us closer to safety and leave our opponents worrying for a week or two more.

Enjoy the game!

Last season: Did not play.

Danger Man: Chris Eagles. Impressive during the late rally that saw then score three times at the Boleyn in the bizarre 5-3 victory in November.

Referee: Steve Bennett. Gave a shocker of a penalty against Manuel Da Costa in our 2-1 win over Villa, a decision that nearly cost us two points that were rescued by Zavon Hines’ late, late winner.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Well we can all remember game at Upton Park against Burnley. An eight-goal thriller but both teams have grown up considerably since then.

West Ham are however struggling to actually win games and at 7/4 it’s hard to see how you can back a team who’ve only won once since their first meeting this season in November . To boot Burnley have picked up 15 of their 20 points at home this season. New signings or not this is a tough game.

So where can we look to make a penny on this game? Well following the clever money is often the best way and all week people have been selling Total Goals in the game with extrabet at 2.4-2.6. With an average of 1/2 goal per game in the last 11 games, Burnley are certainly of the opinion that defence is the best form of attack.

Add to this the fact that West Ham have averaged just over ½ a goal a game in the last 10 Selling goals has to be the sharp play this has to be the play. Burnley v West Ham. Under 3 goals scored is 7/10.

Extrabet’s Chris Shillington explains further: “Goals could be rarer than hen’s teeth for this one I’m afraid."

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.

Your Comments

by Anon
01:26PM 6th Feb 2010
''I've just laid a bet - 4-2 to the Irons. Believe...''

by Adrian White
03:21PM 5th Feb 2010
''Great preview Percy, very funny, especially the Chelsea lad on loan, must surely take his girl with him.

Up the Irons!''

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