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West Ham United V Sunderland - Match Preview

Filed: Friday, 20th May 2011
By: Preview Percy

It's been a long tiring season for all of us. None more so than Preview Percy but there again he was old and knackered at the start of it all anyway. Before we say goodnight to the old so and so and pack him and his tartan blanket off to Eastbourne for the summer here's his last effort of the season....

Sunderland at home. 4pm Sunday. No tubes, naturally, although in my copy of the free Metro newspaper on Friday, Transport For London told West Ham match-goers that “the impact on their journeys has been minimised as much as possible”. That’s alright then, because I’d hate to see how bad they could have made things had they really been trying to do so.

Let’s face it, after last week you don’t really care where Sunderland are in the league or what their current form is – I certainly don’t. However, since this is the last game of the season and the editors won’t be back to visit me at the Mike Dean Home For The Feeble Minded until August, I’ll have to write something as their next delivery of Werther’s Originals is going to have to last at least 3 months. So, for what it’s worth, they currently lie in 14th place on 44 points having won 2 (4-2 at home to Wigan and 2-1 away at Bolton) and lost 4 (2-3 at West Brom, 0-2 at Birmingham, 0-3 at home to Fulham and 1-3 at home to Wolves).

Are you still reading this? Ok Well they’ve been fighting a bit of an injury list which has meant that the likes of Asamoah Gyan and Man Utd loanee Danny Welbeck have been missing up front. Both have hamstring problems, whilst potential replacement Frazier Campbell is on the long term absentee list with an anterior cruciate ligament injury that is a recurrence of the same problem that has kept him out of contention for much of the season. Gyan did resume training this week and the Ghanaian may therefore play some part in the match. I have a soft spot for him – his penalty miss against Uruguay in the World Cup went a long way to netting me £150 in the Old Folk’s Home sweep.

As a result of the lack of available forwards they’ve been starting winger Ahmed Elmohamady - who, if he isn’t known as Elmo amongst his team mates, damn well ought to be – up front. He’s acted as the target figure alongside Benin midfielder Stephane Sessegnon, a £6m arrival from Paris St Germain. Sessegnon left PSG under something of a cloud. Having been stuck on the bench/racing car seats/whatever it is they use in France for much of the season he finally had a major bust up with the PSG boss Antoine Kombuare just before Christmas, claiming the manager had insulted him. My French is a bit rusty after all these years but the gist of the argument appears to have been Sessegnon’s allegation that the boss referred to him as a “jouer de merde” in a discussion. The boss remembers the discussion getting a bit heated but not the actual insults. The article then went on to enquire as to the location of the pen belonging to someone’s aunt, though that may just have been the point at where my schoolboy French skills reached the limit of my ignorance. Think of it as a Franco-Benin version of Kinnear v N’Zogbia and you probably won’t be far out.

They’ve got injuries at both ends of the pitch. Once their first choice custodian, Craig Gordon is out for the duration as an injury hit season has concluded with an op on an anterior cruciate ligament injury. It seems they like to have certain injuries in twos up there. Gordon’s replacement has been Belgian cap Simon Mignolet who has yo-yoed in and out of the side as Bruce struggled to decide which of his ‘keepers should be no.1. Rock, scissor, paper was the accepted method back when I used to play but I expect these Premiership bosses are too good for that sort of thing.

One player who won't be featuring is Argentinian defender Marcos Angeleri. Manager Bruce has selected Angeleri but three times this season, much of which he has spent in treatment for an injury picked up in pre-season. Angeleri claimed that there was more to his non-selection commenting: "I think he doesn't like me because I'm not English". Strangely enough these were the same words uttered by Villa boss Gerrard Houllier after the protracted transfer of Darren Bent back in January.This prompted Bruce to angrily deny that he was in any way racist, no doubt adding for good measure that some of his best friends come from outside the North-East.

There are two ex-Hammers in the squad. Kieron Richardson went to school just around the corner from the Old Folks Home where I am typing this right now. Richardson was a trainee at the academy for a while until being poached by Man Utd. He has a calf/shin injury that will keep him away from playing until next season.

More familiar to those present will be Anton Ferdinand, whose partnership with Elliot Ward in the season we last got promoted is fondly remembered in these parts. Or at least it would be if I could remember anything. Ferdinand is also recovering from a hamstring problem (there was obviously a special offer on hamstrings at the local Injury Superstore) but is said to be close to a return. If he doesn’t play you’ll probably see him about the place somewhere if he doesn’t get lost.

Oh, you’re still here. I suppose you want me to come up with a few lines about us. Oh well if you insist. Obviously the main topic of conversation in our local (The Swan and Super-injunction – coaches by appointment only) has been regarding the identity of the new manager, what with Avram Grant’s services having been dispensed with before the players made the changing room last weekend. The list of candidates is not that inspiring and the fact that someone like Allardyce is even being mentioned in the same breath as the vacancy worries the hell out of me. Allardyce is fond of reminding us that he could manage Real Madrid so frankly I don’t see why we should be the ones to stand in his way. It’s not just the type of football that his teams play (though frankly that would worry me enough) it’s just, well, him.

Neil Warnock is another I’d rather see elsewhere. Let’s not forget that this is someone who has spent the last four years using the club as a diversion from the fact that he simply isn’t good enough to manage in the top flight. I suppose Wally Downs might welcome the opportunity to flatten him once and for all though. Perhaps Warnock could take over from Harry up the road whilst he’s away for a while not getting a tan as a guest of Her Majesty (gawd bless ‘er).

If fit this will almost certainly be Scott Parker’s swansong. The 3-time Hammer Of The Year will go with the good wishes of everyone about the club, having on occasion seemingly been the only thing keeping us afloat at times this season. Let us not forget that Parker put in some of his best performances for us at a time when his father was seriously ill. For me one of the saddest things of all this season was that Mr Parker senior was not about to see his son pick up the Footballer of the Year award.

If you’ve bothered to read this far without losing the will to live well done – you’re doing better than me. Parker is of course a bit of a doubt thanks to the Achilles problem that has plagued him of late. Given that there is nothing on the game it’d be nice to see him substituted with ten to play so that he can get a decent send-off I suppose. Otherwise, the usual injuries will keep the usual players out – Noble (Groin), O’Neill (Ankle), Dyer (Acne) will all be missing. Ba will however be available for selection having had sufficient time to recover from signing his name – though Hitzlsperger’s condition is not known.

Last week, well we blew it didn’t we - though not without some assistance from the worst referee in the world. Dean has cost us so many matches over the years that the only surprise was that he waited as long as he did before getting involved last week. His decision that James Tomkins was culpable when N’Zogbia hauled him over was as predictable as the goal which resulted. I noted last week that that Man Utd always seem to avoid this idiot so it comes as no surprise that they have him this week in a match that matters not one jot to them. Very suspicious that. I just hope for Blackpool’s sake that they get a fair rub of the green with him this weekend.

I haven’t a clue who we’ll start with this week. The side will be picked by Kevin Keen who, in between telling anyone who will listen that he wants the job full time if someone will give him a box to stand on, has commented that he will be picking players willing to “run through brick walls for West Ham”. This isn’t much help. I suspect that many footballers would run into a brick wall if you told them that it was a revolutionary new training technique or that there was a former Big Brother contestant on the other side of it. Me? I’d prefer the type of player intelligent enough to find their way past the brick wall without risking the serious injury that would inevitably result from trying to demolish the thing using only their forehead.

Prediction? Do I have to? Oh well, what the heck. They’re not in the best of form. We’ve got nothing to play for or lose. Let’s go for a 2-1 win for us as we put this whole sorry mess of a season finally to bed.

Enjoy the game – and have a good summer.

(Can I go now?)

Last season Won 1-0 Ilan’s 50th minute bundle home was the only goal of the game. Bruce was left fuming as ref Jones refused to let his side take a quick free kick as half the home side were off the pitch celebrating a wrongly-disallowed goal.

Referee: Anthony Taylor – a new one on me. Mainly to be seen in the Championship, although he has taken about a dozen Premier League games this season none of them have involved us. Booked two players in the J-League match between Hiroshima and Kyoto San back in July. Hiroshima won 3-0. I bet you don’t get that level of information in this weekend’s programme.

Danger Man: Asamoah Gyan – if fit he’ll be the striker to watch. Jordan Henderson is something of a favourite amongst the Mackems as well.

Daft fact of the week: Amongst Marcos Angeli's knicknames at school were "Cascarita" meaning "Eggshell" and "Gordo" meaning "Fat Guy". The concept of Humpty Dumpty hasn't quite reached Argentina then.

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 marc y
08:40PM 20th May 2011
''Very good read, very funny. Shame you went down, much rather got rid of Wigan. Hope you come stright back up.''

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