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West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

Filed: Saturday, 26th April 2014
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy has asked us to point out to all the nice people who have asked that he won't actually be attending the kumb.com live awards show at the East Ham Working Men's Club on May 13th as it clashes with "Prune Night" at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewidered. So you can buy your tickets without any worries on that score....

Next we visit the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell where our hosts will be West Bromwich Albion at the good old fashioned Hawthorns. It's a Saturday 3pm kick off as well which is splendid. There don't appear to be any engineering works between Euston and Smethwick either, which is also splendid.

Our hosts are in the thick of the scrap to avoid the drop. They are two places and three points above the trapdoor with 33 points, though the 34 matches they have played is one fewer than played by Norwich, Cardiff and Fulham, who occupy the three spaces immediately below them.

Their last six read WLDWDL. The latter of the two draws came courtesy of a 3-3 draw against Spurs I a match that was entertaining for at least 50% of the match as the Baggies raced into a 3-0 lead with a missed Spurs penalty to add to the mirth. Unfortunately they couldn't hold onto the lead and a 90th minute equaliser naused up our plans to spend the evening laughing uncontrollably.
Nobody can say that the Baggies (or “men in ill-fitting trousers” to give them their full title) haven't been “living in interesting times” this season. Just before we played the reverse fixture they dispensed with the services of former Hammers assistant boss Steve Clarke, eventually alighting on Pepe Mel, late of Real Bettis, to take the position.

Before Grandmaster Flash's mate took over they played us at the Boleyn. The match saw a return to first XI action for Nicolas Anelka, who had been absent from the team for a while following compassionate leave after the death of his friend and agent. Controversy and Anelka are not the strangest of bedfellows and, though he scored twice in the 3-3 draw with us, it was is goal celebrations that caught the headlines. The player made a gesture known sur le continent as “The Quenelle”. This confused us a little here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered, where none of us could work out quite how or why a French footballer would want to perform a salute to an ageing Welsh rugby player. The answer turned out to be somewhat less edifying as it emerged that the “quenelle” was actually a kind of inverted Nazi salute commonly used as an anti-Semetic gesture.

The FA banned the player for 5 matches, though noting he wasn't actually anti-semetic himself. Eventually, and possibly as a consequence of a perceived lack of support from his club, Anelka announced that he would be retiring, whereupon his club, noting that he hadn't given them any notice period, promptly sacked him or gross misconduct.

Annoyingly, in all that time he scored but two goals for the Baggies, both of them against us.

Top scorer is Saido Berahinho who, in a bit of an average season for West Brom, has 8 to his name, though the averageness of the season can be gauged by the fact that of those 8, only four have come in the league. He managed to pick up a booking last year whilst on England U21 duty for displaying a t-shirt in tribute to his late father after one of his goals. If only referees would take a similar stance on, say, diving.

Central defender Liam Ridgewell, who spent a nano-second or two on the books at the Boleyn as a kid, will be absent after picking up an injury at Man City earlier this week.

Another defender, Gareth McCauley is also a doubt with a calf injury, which kept him out of the defeat at Man City. Otherwise they'll be pretty much at full strength.

Us? Well I'm still trying to work out how we managed to lose to a team as poor as Palace, though, as suspected, Pulis's commitment to ridding the game of the disease that is diving lasted right up until the point when his players stopped getting caught out. What's that old chestnut about leopards and spots? There again I suppose it does provide evidence of some semblance of equality in the Premier League. It seems the title is going the way of the club whose players can con the referees most so I suppose it's only fair that the relegation scrap should be decided in much the same way.

As with the Arsenal match, against Palace we were crying out for a spot of creativity. You know, to take a random example, the sort of thing that the type of player who could, say, pick the ball up on the half way line, beat four or five players before dinking a lovely effort over the advancing 'keeper might provide. You know I swear I saw us score just such a goal at Spurs earlier this season. If only I could remember the name of the goalscorer.

Injury-wise Demel is likely to have recovered from the vomiting bug that apparently made his home resemble party night at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered, whist the only other definite absentee will be Boriello, whose Hammers career looks likely to be spoken of in the same hushed tones as the likes of Richard Hall, Simon Webster and Mauricio Taricco whene'r two or three are gathered together and want to talk pointless stuff about West Ham United.

Other than that it is now officially a full squad to pick from. Which kinda leaves the management few excuses for not having a go at this one doesn't it? Barring a combination of results so bent one might suspect the involvement of the good people at Anfield we're pretty much safe so we're in the perfect position to give it a go, especially in a match which for the opposition, is going to be (on their own admission I might add) something of a “Cup Final”. In that respect it'll be a nice warm up for Spurs' Cup Final next week.

However, such is the general mood about the place – the strange sound of an unsatisfactory season slowly grinding to a dull end is all I can hear at the moment – I think we'll be out going through the motions in one of those “respect the point” style matches. So I will therefore be placing the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered' s contribution to the “Where Is Boriello Search Fund”(£2.50) on a draw. Lets say 1-1 (but don't be surprised if we nick it with a late, late one such is their propensity for letting in goals just before the kick off of their next match).

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Hawthorns – Drew 0-0 (December 2012) You know how some 0-0 draws are incident-packed thrill fests lacking only a goal? This wasn't like that. Yes I know I left this bit in from last week but, hey, recycling is all the rage at the moment, or so I am told.

Referee: Mike Dean Clearly he is annoyed at having his limeight stlen by the continued efforts of Howard Webb. I hate to say it but, despite the charmless nature of his sarcastic rant last weekend, Mourinho has a point.

Danger Man: Morgan Amalfitano. Scorer of a wonder goal against Cardiff that was infinitely better than the one that Rooney got against us because one's appreciation of it did not rely on ignoring a blatant foul leading to its scoring. Didn't get the acclaim it deserved because it's difficult for the press to come to any objective view from that far up Rooney's rectum.

Daft fact of the week: The nearby railway station Sandwell and Dudley is the only railway station in the country named after a 1930's music hall and radio comedy double act. I expect.

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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