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Stoke City v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 31st October 2014
By: Preview Percy

Today Preview Percy discusses rice pudding, how many players Chelsea actually own and 100 goal Bundesliga matches. Oh and Stoke. Probably.....

Next it's up we go to the Potteries where we will face Stoke City in a 3.00pm kick off at the Britannia Stadium. No engineering works on C2C, Greater Anglia, the relevant bits of the tube or Virgin Trains so you'll have to have a points failure or the wrong kind of something to make you late.

Our hosts currently lie in 12th spot having earned themselves eleven points from their nine matches played to date. A brief look at their results suggests that, much like the rice pudding here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered, they lack a bit of consistency. The extremes can be gauged by the contrasting results away at Man City (won 1-0) and away at Sunderland (lost 3-1). Losing to Sunderland at the moment is no mean feat given their apparent propensity to throw away matches.

Their last win came a couple of weeks ago at home to Swansea, who were controversially dispatched 2-1, thanks in no small part to the actions of referee Michael Oliver. Oliver firstly awarded a spot kick against the shy and retiring Ryan Shawcross who had wrestled William Bony to the floor. Shawcross came out with one of the weakest attempts at self-justification since Harry Redknapp claimed to be semi-literate. You see according to Shawcross it was all a case of “Potterism”. Had the foul been committed by a Man City player for example, it would have been hailed as “world class defending” rather than the foul it actually was. I'm sure I will recover from the novelty of typing the words “world class defending” in a paragraph about Ryan Shawcross eventually. Whilst it is true that you will see such tussles occur on numerous occasions during a match, the fact that our referees (who are rightly ridiculed across the world) tend to not have the backbone to award penalties for such transgressions is no justification for their continued ignoring of such incidents. Despite Shwcross's whine, ref Oliver got it right. Which was why it was a shame that, he then took it upon himself to even things up.

It was hard to work out what was more disgraceful. Moses' dive or the indecent haste with which Oliver grasped the opportunity to get himself off the hook. It all got a bit silly after that. Swansea boss Gary Monk condemned the dive stating that he would leave out one of his players if they were ever caught behaving in such a manner. Clearly this is a new policy which Swansea hadn't gotten around to implementing last season when Cheato Flores escaped any form of internal sanction after the face clutching antics. More interestingly the tv pundits joined in with the condemnation. John Hartson was particularly vocal, calling Moses a “cheat”. For some reason Hartson felt the need to apologise for his comments which is a shame, as they were entirely justified. It's just a bigger shame nobody had the bottle to address the question of Oliver's honesty in similar candid manner.

Moses is, of course, one of the 4,265,987 professional footballers currently out on loan from Chelsea. In fact, if you look closely enough at some of the junk mail you chuck straight in the bin you will probably find a document in there somewhere that says that Chelsea actually own you, your spouses and probably your family pets as well.

Apart from Moses they weren't the biggest of spenders in the summer window. Manager Mark Hughes went to one of his former clubs to sign Barcelona striker/winger Bojan for £3m. Bojan never quite fulfilled the early promise suggested by his making his full debut at an even younger age than his former colleague Messi. He was actually sold to Roma in 2011 but his spell there wasn't the most successful with him spending much of his time there away on loan to Milan. Whilst Milan had an option to purchase the player, in one of those complicated transfer agreements they seem to love so much sur le continent, Barcelona also had an option to buy the player back, an option they promptly exercised. Having returned to the Nou Camp he failed to make another appearance there, finding himself shipped northwards to Amsterdam on another loan where he made 24 appearances. From pot to Potteries was next as he signed a four year deal at the Britannia during the last window.

Joint top scorer so far this season is Mame Biram Diouf, whose forenames translate as “no its the other guy who does the spitting”. Diouf spent a few years on the books at Old Trafford though he only made a handful of apperances in between loan spells at Molde and Blackburn. He left the “Theatre Of Whines” in 2012 ending up in Germany where he spent his time with Hanover 96, a club whose main successes seem to have been their regular thrashings of Schalke by 92 goals (the work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips is off for half term so some of the stats may be iffy this week). He pitched up in Stoke this summer and opened his account running the length of the pitch to net the winner up at Man City.

Level with Diouf at the top of the goalscorer charts is Peter Crouch. Le Freak will be missing from the proceedings this weekend having somehow managed to have gotten himself sent off in a substitute appearance lasting about 15 minutes in the League Cup defeat to Southampton the other night. He must really have wanted this weekend off.

Crouch will be joined on the naughty step by another summer arrival Phil Bardsley. Bardsley came in on a free from Sunderland in July, his contract on Wearside having expired at the end of June. Bardsley's absence will be due to his having picked up his 5th yellow of the season in midweek. Still it could be worse for him. He could still be at Sunderland.

I think it's about time we spoke about us don't you? Last week was as good a 90 minutes as I've seen at the Boleyn for many a year. Beating a team that put something like 30 goals past us last season (I told you the work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips is off) does show the vast progress that we have made in a short period of time. We did ride our luck a wee bit at times in the second half but only the dimmest of Man City supporters who had spent the whole of the match doing that Poznan thing rather than actually watching the game would contend that we weren't good value for the three points. There were strong performances from 1-11 (that analogy doesn't really work in these days of squad numbers and stuff but you know what I mean).

The win did come at a potential cost though. Sakho's shoulder makes him a major doubt for this one. The last official comment suggests that he'll be 50-50 for a start, though it has to be said that the manager does love a bit of the old smoke and mirrors when it comes to giving out team news so it wouldn't be a major surprise to see the player turn up hale and hearty after all.

Other than Sakho we have been granted a small bit of information on the absence of Zarate, whose unspecified “knock” is now listed as a “knee injury” possibly sustained in the u-turn that saw him changing football nationality from Argentinian to Chilean. Tomkins should be fit for a return to the squad – though Ginge's tour de force display last weekend will probably mean that Tomkins is looking at a spot in the racing car seats. Demel is still not about and Carroll still shows up as 29 November – though some sources are claiming that he may be on the bench even sooner than that.

Prediction? Well it would be easy to get carried away but thankfully most of the support seem to be making the most of the possibilities for self-deprecation and irony to which our current position lends itself. The “Barcelona we're coming for you chant” was pretty damned amusing for starters though the gallows humour of comments that we “only need another 24 points or safety” reminds us that it's West Ham we're talking about. Still the sun is shining, it's a gloriously warm day, our opponents are missing a few key players and the pint of Allardyce's Fluid Front Three Ale just served to me here in the Swan & Superinjunction is nigh on perfect, all of which are adding to the general air of bonhommie (all of which will disappear as soon as the first spotty kid makes the mistake of trying to do trick or treat around here). So I'm going to take the £2.50 saved up to buy me out of whatever contrct Chelsea think they have me under on us to win. Let's go for 2-1 then shall we?!

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at The Britannia:Lost 3-1 Carroll gave us an early lead but the game hinged on ref Pawson's failure to award a penalty against Muniesa who clearly controlled the ball with his arm. Pawson's comment that the ball had hit “not his arm” was an unpunished lie. Odemwinge (2) and Crouch took full advantage of the official incompetency.

Referee: Chris Foy They seem to be recycling (pun intended) appointments even quicker these days, Last seen confusing the hell out of Spurs fans on the opening day of the season.

Danger Man: Mame Biram Diouf – it's not the most inspiring of line ups so he'll get the spot by virtue of his being top scorer.

Daft fact of the week: A few years ago I posted a rant about what a dump Stoke is in this here column from the website “knowhere”.In the interests of balance it's only fair that I publish in its entirety one of the responses made on that website. So from the head of Tourism Stoke....

U people who slag stoke off need sort your lives out, this city is legendary, i mean there not many citys in this country who still use their fists for fighting, haha u call da men plastic gangsters, the onlimen who are plastic in stoke is the ones who aint even stokies; an they dont last long till the y get terrord da f*** out ov here wiv all there trash talk bout i shoot u up or merc u up, yea mate till u try shoot me but miss and hit an innocent person, then u go for your knife an we take it off u an put it in bin, an then if u dont run off u cum for a go wiv fists an get put down, so u decide to leave town an start slaggin it off, i read an article earlier about 1 ov u whinin about our council well well ya dik u cant be all that if u had to endure our council for years so u cant act as if u r all dat if u were on council for years best of it u probly on housin benefits ya hypocritic twat, an as for our council estares well im from a town from meir an i dont live their now but my family still do but i still go their every weekend to visit them an mates but let me say this, i was born n bread in meir an it usd to be ruff, im 30 now an i have an always will love dat town, i sed to the missus when we hanve kids we wil move bak their because it a great town an all the people in it r great we aint mates we r 1 big family an meir used to b biggest shit hole in stoke but now it bin done up like all the other towns have in stoke, an for our football teams been shit well we have stoke who r tenth in prem and the highest ranked midlands team at mo wiv west brom, congrads to them gud team now, an then we have vale top ov champ league 2 prob get promoted this season so, oh 4got say highest scoring team in country so far, so for not a very rich city we have da highest scoring team in the country in our city and we have the 10th best team in da country and wait for this da highest ranked team out ov all midland teams an it all cums down to real people, da stoke fans r probly 1 ov loudest an r proudest an most loyal in the world wen it comes to supporting their team, i mean cum on if stoke had 40 or 50 thousand seater the country wud have an earthquake everyother satday an delilah wud b heard around country, i mean cum on they already dun tests an it bin proven stoke r loudest in country by miles an they r most loyal too wiv castle an liverpool but it all comes down to 1 thing u bunch ov hypocrytes, reality, real people, yes we mite not be da richest city we r 1 ov onli a few citys without a cathedral, but we r not dreamers, if we say we goin do fings we do it, we dont hide behind guns or knives like a lot ov other citys do know an we defo aint overun buy smackheads because all the junkies have got off it cuz it shit ,i know because a few ov my mates use to b 1 they say it not even worth buyin da shit no more they reckon they wud rather go jail 4 nuffin than go 4 that shit, but yea we do hav few rats who wont get off it till it puts them in a box but dont every city in country, i mean it sez summate wen u big rich citys cant even supply so called stoke on smack wiv drugs wat r even worth buyin, but hey we can onli thank u for dat cuz i have seen sum good mates ov mine go down dat road but have now bin clean an r doin well in lfe, so where wre we, oh yea we aint no bigwig i am mister or miss important people who fink they all dat wen they no they not an they have never bin heard ov, an if their is they get told to f*** rate off strate away, their is stuk up people everywhere in country, people who make out to b summate they not an they get told to get real or f*** off too, c that 1 fing a true stokie hates an that is a fake daydream believer 2 faced im gangster no1 i watch to many gangster films ni gonna shoot u up or merc u up plastic wannabe wasters who r far too stuck up their own arse or r brainwashed by all da gadgets wat your hitech rich citys hav supplied u wiv u bin ov f**in dillusional hypocrytes who need to get a life an cum bak down to real world, no dont google earth it u tits or google summate about it an then slag us off for it, dont ask your stokie student mate who is onli goin slag it off himself becuz he cudnt handle real world, u cum up to our very real city an c wat u fink, if u dont like it u say wat u dont like about it dont start sayin shit wat u dont no, or if u have lived ere but moved out then u either got terrorized out an never faught bak likevreal men supposed to do or u cant handle the real world or i seen earlier on a stoke man was slaggin it off well he still lived ere cum on u knob every englishman shud alwayz remember an love his roots, the onli fing is i cud say bout u is u r livin in the real world but u cant handle it u prob a facebook geek an computer geek, an u were born to rich mummy an daddy an prob never set foot on 1 ov our cobbles in our council estsate ever, u r da kind ov person who is brainwashed an u onli hear wat da media want u too hear or c wat they want u too c, u r the kind ov person dat is goin to b microchipped as soon as they bring it out in this country yes that rite so all u fake im this an that braainwashed tits u all goin get ya chip soon ya fick c***s maybe a year or too, an yea i hope they do put a big 15 foot wall around this city an then we will finally be rid ov all u fakers an 4 the ones who rleft innit well i hope u get terrored untill u finally kick off yourself an learn to fight like a true stokie soldier an then your eyes will finally be opened up to da real world an then u wud luv it, shit u wud proly ebd up in stokes loudest footvall ground in the country an b blowin dat 15 foot wall around city strate around the country so they cud get a piece ov memerobillia from real world so guyz dont judge a book by its cover dont knock it till u tried it dont hate it till u taste it becuz we r the most loyal and loud and real people' not just to our city but too our country which in my eyes a real englishman should love the city an country he was born an raised in, 2 all u fakers out there dont 4get ya roots and enuff respect to all stokie soldiers an meir crew peace Cr

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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