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West Ham United v Swansea City

Filed: Friday, 1st February 2013
By: Preview Percy

Next up we return to the green green grass of home where we play hosts to Swansea City. Kick-off is at the right-thinking person’s preferred time of 3pm on Saturday.

It’s been a while so I bid you pray welcome for the return of the tube engineering works which we’ve missed so much of late. Basically the District Line is running only between Bromley-By-Bow and Upminster and the Hammersmith & City line is also out of action. So if you use the District from central London you might wish to entertain the thought of using the Jubilee line as far as West Ham then waiting for what will probably be a much reduced District service to Upton Park from there. You’re welcome.

Our visitors this weekend sit in rude health, occupying as they do 8th spot with 34 points from their 24 matches played so far. However they’ve been one to mark your “X” next to on the pools coupons of late, having drawn 4 of their last 6 matches. Three of these have been 0-0 draws away from home, at Reading, Everton & Sunderland, so it may be worth having a think before going for your first goalscorer bet. The other draw was a 2-2 home share of the spoils against Villa whilst the remaining two matches resulted in victories over Fulham at Craven Cottage (2-1) and 3-1 at home to Stoke.

Of course the big news down that way in recent weeks has been their qualification for the League Cup final by defeating Chelsea in the Battle of Ballboygate. This can be summed up as follows: Spoilt brat who probably deserves a kicking holds onto ball and gets a kicking. Overpaid Chelsea muppet gets deserved red card for violent conduct. Meanwhile the poor little podgy soul who was at the centre of the affair has apparently received death threats, which is something that that bloke who keeps forgetting to mention that he’s fatboy’s ghost writer when he slags us off appears to have made no comment on. Funny that.

We’ve just completed transfer deadline day. The current transfer window system is a ludicrous innovation of the past few years and seems to have been invented purely to give Sky the opportunity to fill their sports news channel with stuff on what would otherwise be a quiet month. They go a bit OTT don’t they. It only takes the announcement that someone’s reserve team ‘keeper is on their way to a League 2 side for a month’s loan for Jim White’s head to explode. Swansea had a relatively quiet window, with the major news being the departure of striker Danny Graham off to Sunderland. Newcastle fan Graham was roundly booed when coming on as a sub up there last week. That one is destined to end in tears I tells ya.

The Swans main transfer dealing happened in the summer when they picked up Michu, who is being described by many as the signing of the season. Tottenham were offered him for free when he was at Celta Vigo, and then again last year for £2.2m, which was the buyout clause in force while he was at Rayo Vallecano. So that’s another one they nearly signed then.

There’s a bit of a doubt over their first choice ‘keeper. Dutchman Michel Vorm has been suffering with a ‘knee problem of late. He’s said to be close to a return but if he’s not ready they will turn to the German Gerhard Tremmell, who had a spell as a kid with our old chums 1860 Munich.

Leon Britton, the two foot tall ex-Hammer is likely to feature in midfield. He cost us a cool £400,000 as a 16 year old but never quite made it at the Boleyn. When asked about this his response was quite refreshing: “I wasn’t good enough”. In the recent match against Chelsea he finished the game with a bandaged head after a stray elbow from Ramires. Who knows what damage he might have sustained had he thrown himself onto the ball. There were some stats published recently that suggested that Britton was statistically the best passer in Europe or something. Whilst I’m not a fan of these Opta things – it lists Jamie Carragher’s occupation as “footballer” for example – he’s certainly not looked out of place at the top level.

Michu is the club’s top scorer this term with 13 in the league. Next in the League list is Jonathan De Guzman with 6. De Guzman is on a season’s loan from Villareal and is a pretty cosmopolitan character all told. He’s Canadian by birth, and, in addition to Canada, he also qualifies to play at international level for Jamaica and the Philippines. However, having seen his big brother up sticks to seek a football career in France, he did something similar, ending up in Rotterdam where he signed for Feyenoord. En-route he picked up Dutch citizenship and a few (Carry-on style joke warning) er, Dutch Caps at U21 level. A spell at Mallorca followed before a transfer to Villareal where, following a change in coach, he found opportunities limited, hence his presence in South Wales.

Us? Well the transfer window ended quietly, despite all the speculation over Diame. A new ‘keeper and a left back would have been nice but since we are still relatively broke we were always going to be short of options. We therefore need to make the best use of what players we do have available to us. Which is what made Wednesday night so worrying. I’m not one to jump on the “anti-manager” bandwagon and start calling for his head but I do think it was a mistake to start with Chamakh against Fulham. On the evidence of his appearances so far he doesn’t seem to have brought much to the table so far. Furthermore, in Carlton Cole we had a forward who has scored more times against Fulham than any other club and, unlike Chamakh, he would have, at least made something of a nuisance of himself.

Of course things weren’t helped by yet another indefensible display from the officials. Now one can understand marginal offside decisions getting missed but ntheir first goal had three players, including the goalscorer, all sitting 3-4 yards offside. This sort of thing is happening every week and standards have slipped so far that the rest of Europe regards our officials as a joke. They’re right. The sooner match officials are controlled by someone willing to take action against those who are not up to standard, rather than protecting them the better.

Injury news is that the usual long-term absentees will still be out. We’re one down in midfield where Alou Diarra seems to have talked himself into a swift departure from the Boleyn and is off to Rennes. The good news is that Carroll is now on the available list. I’d hope that Pogatetz is being considered to partner Reid. No disrespect to Tomkins but Reid always seems more at home with the more traditional central defensive partner and we’ve not been at our best at the back since Ginge caught hamstring.

Prediction? Well the run of form that we’re going through has knocked my usual optimistic mood into touch. My bunions are playing up as well and my usual happy-go-lucky demeanour has been further dented by the Avram Grant Rest Home’s failure to sign a younger, more attractive Matron during the recent Rest Home transfer window. I’m therefore going to place the Rest Home transfer fund (£2.50) on a 1-1 draw for this one.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Drew 1-1 (FA Cup 3rd round January 1999) Swansea were in whatever they called Division 4 at the time so, given our traditional frailty against lower league teams, they were probably nailed on to go through. A late Dicks effort (assisted by a ‘keeper error) sent the match to a replay. The match was notable only for marking the debut of Joe Cole. We lost the replay. Obviously.

Referee: Lee Probert. Took charge of the home match against Liverpool. Let’s hope he and his assistants don’t miss anything like, say, 5-yard offsides or blatant penalties, or they might be punished by being promoted to a cup final or something.

Danger Man:Michu. Their best player who Spurs will probably end up having to pay £20m+ for one day.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Swansea’s rise from the basement has been well documented. The moment that they probably look back on and say “well we can laugh about it now, but at the time….” took place in 1995/96. A consortium was on the brink of buying the club and appointed a chap called Kevin Cullis as manager. His previous experience had been with non-league Cradely Town. Not as manager, mind, but as youth team coach. He was so out of his depth that at half time in his second match a couple of the senior pros threw him out of the changing room and gave the team talk themselves. The club’s owner cancelled the deal to sell the club and Cullis resigned or was sacked depending on whose version you care to believe. Seven years later, Cullis went on to do two 9 month spells inside for fraud and handling stolen insurance certificates. Funny old world innit.

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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