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West Ham United v Manchester United

Filed: Saturday, 5th January 2013
By: Preview Percy

Next up we play host to Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup.

Kick-off is a pub-friendly 5.15pm in order that the match can be screened by normal earth-bound telly. I believe the oiks at Independent Television have purchased the rights to this one so there will be no need to use the old Chris Morris trick of stapling a moon-faced schoolboy to the side of your house for use as a satellite dish.

Now, as mentioned last time I had to put keyboard to screen regarding this lot, there are a million and one reasons that all right thinking people have for treating Manchester United much the same as one would a canine deposit accidentally stepped in on the street. Just when you think their obnoxious arrogance couldn’t possibly get any worse, they plumb new depths.

Consider the continuing and mysterious case of the idiot Mike Dean for example. I’ve documented in the past how Man Utd seem to be able to avoid this official. The last time we were in the top flight we were lumbered with him for three times as many matches as they got him. Even in the Championship we had him twice – the same number of times as the Salford mob.

This statistical anomaly (yeah right) was brought into sharp focus by recent events. As usual the obnoxious control-freak Alex Ferguson (I’ll save the “Sir” for those who’ve earned my respect thank you) wasn’t happy with the failure of the officials to toe the Moan U line. The resulting ear-bashing that the gormless Dean received from the Ferguson was sure to earn him a hefty fine and a touchline ban – especially given his previous record. Or at least it should have done.

Somehow the idiot Dean failed to mention it in his report. Result? The FA did a Pontius Pilate “oh we couldn’t possibly punish him because according to the ref’s report nothing happened”. And they wonder why they’re the most detested club in the land. Meanwhile Mike Dean will, yet again, get away with doing football a great disservice and once more PGMO's acquiescence over the whole affair proves thatthey are simply not a fit and proper organisation to be involved in the game.

They are top of the league of course – though this being a cup match league form is pretty much irrelevant. Especially as a number of recently key players are likely to be rested. In goal Crimewatch award winner David De Gea is likely to step down in favour of Danish net-minder Anders Lindegaard. Both ‘keepers have had spells in the first team this season. Lindegaard had a five game run earlier in the season when De Gea went missing to have his wisdom teeth done (that’ll teach him to eat that many doughnuts). However, Lindegaard attracted criticism from many quarters for his performance in the 4-3 win at Reading and De Gea returned to the starting line-up. All of which makes Lindegaard’s boast on signing a couple of years back that he hadn’t joined Manchester “just to pick his nose” look a bit optimistic.

Ex-hammer Rio Ferdinand attracted more ridicule for one of his tweets the other day. The chap who discovered him and Anton used to be an inmate here at the Avram Grant Rest Home for the Bewildered and once described his former charge as “nice but dim” and, given his tweet imploring us to spare him a thought on New Year’s Eve while he spent the night in a five star hotel, that conclusion is hard to argue with. His later claim that it was “all a joke” was about as convincing as a Ryanair £1 flight ad.

Team news is, as ever, difficult to obtain in advance. Journalists who have the temerity to print such matters find themselves routinely banned from press briefings. Rumours abound that ex-Hammer Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra and Robin Van Persie are three that are likely to be rested but there's nothing concrete to that effect at the moment.

One player who won't be there is Wayne Rooney. Officially he has a knee problem that will keep him out of contention for selection for another week at least. We reckon, however, that he's having running repairs done to his hair transplant in advance of discount day at the Granny Massage Parlour. Well a man likes to look his best doesn't he? Meanwhile the fact that the player known as “Nani” is also unavailable at the same time is, I am sure, pure coincidence.

Should Van Persie be rested they will possibly start with Danny Welbeck up front. Welbeck started 2012 with a bang scoring vital goals in league and cup. However, goals have been a bit thin on the ground so far this season. He's got just the one so far this term, his opportunities being limited by the form of Van Persie and Hernandez. 8 of Welbeck's 15 appearances in the league this season have come off the bench.

Another England cap we may see is Ashley Young. Young turned down a move to the Boleyn a few years ago whilst at Watford, preferring to go to Villa instead. After four and a half seasons in Brum he moved to Old Trafford where he soon assimilated himself into the Salford way of life, quickly picking up a reputation as something of a diver, something that the referee for this match may wish to keep a better eye on than he has done in recent matches (see below).

Us, well we didn't hang about in the transfer market did we. The transfer of Joe Cole has caused a bit of wry amusement in these parts though. Only last week we were watching Sky Sports News (we have stapled a moon faced schoolboy to the side of the Rest Home for use as a satellite dish) and there was old twitchy himself applying Redknapp transfer tactic no.1 to proceedings. A tame journo enquired what, hypothetically speaking of course, Redknapp thought of Cole.

All the usual platitudes came out. “Lovely lad, great player, we'd have to do some sort of deal with Liverpool to sign him though etc etc”. So far so standard. Until someone asked the question “Have you spoken with Cole?” The sensible answer would have been a simple “no”.However, Mr Redknapp went into implausible deniability overdrive. “No, I can't speak to Joe Cole. Are you trying to get me banned by the FA? I haven't spoken to Joe Cole for two years”. Methinks the man doth protest too much.

Cole (J), it's fair to say, isn't the player that he was when he left us first time round. A decade of being misused by Chelsea and Liverpool is enough to damage the brightest of careers. The move to Liverpool in particular seemed spectacularly ill-advised, - talent sacrificed at the Scouse altar of mediocrity. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that his term on Merseyside was not a success. Any club that venerates the likes of Jamie Carragher is probably not the right place for the likes of Cole.

Whilst the spectacular stuff of his first spell at the club is unlikely to be repeated, if used in the right way he will bring a much needed dose of creativity to the side, something that against the likes of Reading we were sadly lacking. Cole J is likely to go straight into the starting line-up according to Mr Allardyce, assuming all the paperwork is done in time.

The other new arrival at the club is Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh. I believe midday Friday was the deadline for the player to be available for selection in this one. So, even if the loan terms allow the player to play in Cup matches, don't expect to see him in this one.

Mr Allardyce has commented that he will be putting out the strongest possible side for this one. However, he also mentioned that he has a few (unspecified) injury issues to consider. I take this to mean that anyone who is carrying a knock might find themselves rested or on the bench. Nolan and Collins are available once more after suspension though the usual trio of Diame, Carroll and McCartney are still out for a while.

Although we sat back a bit for the second 45 of the Norwich match, we totally dominated the first half and the win was thoroughly deserved, despite Chris Hughton's protestations to the contrary. I did have a bit of time for Hughton in the past, but he dropped a few points for his Wenger-like selective vision of events. I thought he was better than that.

Predictions for cup games are difficult, particularly in the earlier rounds when teams make full use of their squads. We've had some good cup tussles with this lot in the past, not least when we turned them over 4-0 in the League Cup a couple of seasons ago – Spector's Match as it became known.

There will be a spring in the step at the return to the fold of the prodigal son (or JC's second coming as the non-religious of us might have it). If Mr A is true to his word and puts out the strongest possible XI for this I fancy us to go through. 4-0 is probably a bit much to hope for so I'll be putting the Avram Grant Rest Home For The Bewildered fund to replace the moon-faced schoolboy with a proper satellite dish (£2.50) on another 2-1. I enjoyed Wembley last year and I'd quite like to go back!

Enjoy the game & Happy New Year!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Lost 2-4, April 2011. Ref Lee Mason was man of the match for the visitors as he failed to send off Vidic, despite the defender committing a string of cautionable offences. Add to that the worst penalty decision ever seen and free-kicks awarded for blatant dives and yet another three undeserved points went north west. Noble put away a brace of spot kicks. Mason gave Rooney a hat-trick.

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Has had the spotlight on him of late as he booked Gareth Bale for diving the other week. Failed to spot a more obvious dive by Fellaini for Everton against Newcastle that led to Baines' spectacular goal. Let's hope his diving radar is switched on for this one. Last seen at the Boleyn handling the 3-1 defeat of Chelsea, disallowing Collins' goal for a non-existent foul.

Danger Man: Javier Hernandez. Tricky Mexican blighter with 12 goals to his name in all competitions. Need to be on our guard with that chappie.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Manchester once had a population of 80 million people. It must have, because every Man Utd supporter you ever meet is keen to tell you how they really are connected with the city despite never having been within 200 miles of the place. Strangely the census reports fail to reflect this population effect. Scientists put this down to the “Blind Beggar paradox2 where it was noted that, despite being of limited size, a certain Whitechapel pub played host to 10,000 people all of whom were definitely there on the night Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell.

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 123; West Ham Utd 42, Manchester Utd 57, Draws 24.

First Meeting
25th February 1911: West Ham Utd 2-1 Manchester Utd (Boleyn Ground, FA Cup)

Last Meeting
28th November 2012: Manchester Utd 1-0 West Ham Utd (Old Trafford, Premier League)

Biggest Win(s)
30th November 2010: West Ham Utd 4-0 Manchester Utd (Boleyn Ground, Carling Cup)
11th October 1930: West Ham Utd 5-1 Manchester Utd (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Heaviest Defeat(s)
26th January 2003: Manchester Utd 6-0 West Ham Utd (Old Trafford, FA Cup)
1st April 2000: Manchester Utd 7-1 West Ham Utd (Old Trafford, Premiership)

It's a classic
April 1992: West Ham Utd 1-0 Manchester Utd (Brown)

Already doomed to relegation with three games still to play, the pressure was off Billy Bonds' team as they prepared to face title-chasers Manchester United at the Boleyn in April 1992. The Red Devils went into the game knowing that only a win would be enough to keep them in the title race having lost at home to Nottingham Forest earlier in the week. However Kenny Brown, for one, was to have other ideas. With 66 minutes on the clock and the game still goalless Stuart Slater set off down the left. His cross was inadvertently diverted into the path of the full back who slammed home the game's only goal in front of his father, former Hammers great Ken, watching in the stands. The goal gave West Ham three pointless points as they finished bottom of the table; Manchester United had to suffer in silence as the title went to rivals Leeds United.

November 1972: West Ham Utd 5-2 Manchester Utd (Tyler 2, Robson 2, Brooking - Ronnie Boyce's Testimonial)
August 1981 (Aberdeen): West Ham Utd 1-0 Manchester Utd (Cross)

They Played For Both
David Bellion; Michael Carrick; Roy Carroll; Noel Cantwell; Luke Chadwick; Rio Ferdinand; Billy Grassam; Paul Ince; Ralph Milne; Ravel Morrison; Stuart Pearson; Teddy Sheringham; Jonathan Spector; Carlos Tevez; Ted MacDougall; Les Sealey.

Early baths
1995/96: Marco Boogers (a)

Bossing It
Former players Frank O’Farrell and Dave Sexton both became Man Utd managers, while United player Lou Macari was installed as the Hammers manager following the departure of John Lyall in 1989.

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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