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West Ham United v Crystal Palace

Filed: Friday, 18th April 2014
By: Preview Percy

Whoever named it "Good" Friday clearly never had to visit Preview Percy over Easter. Unfortunately, we did.........

Next up we play host to Crystal Palace for a proper Saturday 3pm kick-off. The tubes are clear but if the C2C service in and out of Fenchurch Street you may want to check your options – the dreaded replacement bus service comes into play somewhere around the Pitsea area I believe.

Before I start I'd just like to add my condolences to those offered by the football world to the family of Dylan Tombides. By all accounts he was a great kid and his passing from cancer at the age of 20 - on the anniversary of the passing of John Lyall - puts things into perspective somewhat. RIP.

Back to the matter in and. The visitors are in are in a position that is pretty unique for them, ie contemplating a second season in the Premier League. Should they stay up it will be the first season that they will have stayed up since the current Premier League set-up was established. One would have thought that sitting in 11th spot with 40 points from their 34 games that would make them safe enough. There is, however, a bit of a fly in the ointment.

Cardiff City have put in a formal complaint over the Glaziers' behaviour when Palace beat the Bluebirds 3-0 a while back. As far as my investigative reporter (aka the spotty-faced work experience kid) has been able to work out, the story goes something like this: Prior to taking over as “Sporting Director” at Palace, Iain Moody was employed in a similar capacity at Cardiff. Prior to the match Moody is alleged to have contacted former colleague Enda Barron to find out what the Cardiff starting XI was going to be. Barron, whose job description was described as “performance analyst”, denied having leaked the details but mysteriously left the club after his mobile phone records were examined. 0

Then things started to get silly. OK, “sillier” then. A text showed up on the mobile belonging to Bolton boss Dougie Freedman. Apparently sent by Moody by mistake, the text is supposed to have detailed the precise starting XI fielded by the Bluebirds. Freedman contacted Cardiff to warn them of the leak,which had allegedly come from the lips of midfielder Aaron Gunnarson. When Cardiff boss Ole Gunar Solskjaer went to exchange team sheets with Palace boss on the day of the match he is said to have remarked wryly “Here's our team – but I guess you already know it”. With at least three Premier League rules possibly broken before you even take into account possible disrepute charges this story has aa fir bit to go. However the most depressing part of the tale has been the failure of our national press to come up with anything more imaginative that “Spygate” to call the whole affair. Surely “Palacegate”at the very least would have made a better title?

The aforementioned Pulis took over from Ian Holloway last year and (Palacegate pending) seems to have done just about enough to keep them up. Here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered we've never been a fan of Pulis. The disgraceful way he cheerfully admitted to setting up his Stoke teams to go out and brazenly flout the laws of the game left a nasty taste in the mouth. So we were more than gobsmacked when, he announced publicly that he would be fining two of his players for diving. The culprits were Marouane Chamakh and Jerome Thomas. Thomas picked up a yellow for his trouble prompting uncharitable thoughts that the fines may have been more of a punishment for getting caught than for the dives themselves. Meanwhile we await news of the loathsome Brendan Rodgers making a similar announcement, but we won't be holding our breath.

The form man at present is Jason Puncheon. Puncheon cheesed everyone off down at his last club, Southampton, an a series of run-ins with team-mates, management and owners saw him shipped out on loan to various backwaters, including Millwall for whom he once scored a hat-trick against his current employers. After his umpteenth apology things settled down for a bit and the player actually signed a 3 year deal in March 2013. Somewhere between then and August he managed to find himself surplus to requirements once more and off he went on loan once more, this time to Palace. He seems to have settled down a bit in Croydon, which is not something I'd wish on anyone really and his loan deal was made permanent at the end of the last window. Puncheon has four from his last three games, including the opener in midweek's 3-2 win over an uncharacteristically off-key Everton.

There are a number of injury doubts in the opposition ranks. The aforementioned Chamakh faces a late fitness test from what is described as a “knock”. Not to put too fine a point on it he's not very good. Which, of course meant that he bagged the winner in the reverse fixture last year. Others on the waiting list to run up and down by the touchline before kick-off are Bolasie and Ward (both “knocks”) and Mariappa (broken nose).

Us. Another disappointing one the other night. One can only speculate as to what might have happened had we not given away the equaliser so cheaply before half time. In fact we should, of course actually have been two up by then. Much has been made of the foul on Jarvis that saw the player stumble but remain on his feet and some have argued that he ought to have thrown himself to the floor. I disagree. Although the standards of refereeing in this country surely can't plummet any further, the more players fall over the place the more difficult it gets for the officials, who, frankly aren't really up to the job in the first place. I'm reasonably proud of the fact that, by and large, our players are an honest bunch. When Morrison went down a bit too easily in a match earlier this year he got a deserved slating from the crowd and the day we stoop to the depths of Liverpool (whose supporters defend such stuff on the grounds that they are top) is the day I give up on football forever. Talking of Morrison, did anyone think that what we needed was a creative player who can drift past opponents the other night?

Team news is that the skipper is likely to return from his hamstring tweak and both Ginge and Joey O'B may also be available for selection. Leaving Boriello as the only player definitely out of contention.

Prediction? Well they'll be cock-a-hoop over their midweek win of course. I do think, however we'll have a bit too much for them this time round. So I'm going to stick the Avram Grant Rest Home's contribution to the fund to buy Iain Moody a new mobile phone (£2.50) on us to do Dylan proud and win 2-1

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boeyn – Drew 0-0 (Championship Feb 2012) You know how some 0-0 draws are incident-packed thrill fests lacking only a goal? This wasn't like that.

Referee: Martin Atkinson Last seen handling the cup match up at Forest. Be interesting to see how he handles a first XI match.

Danger Man: Jason Puncheon. Four goals in three games, 'nuff said.

Daft fact of the week: Croydon was once voted the second most miserable place to live in in the UK. Clearly those who voted only saw the good bits or missed bumping into the former Mrs Percy or any of her family.

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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