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West Ham United v Swansea City

Filed: Saturday, 6th December 2014
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy did have a job as a Santa at the local department store until he got the sack after dozens of kids were seen leaving the grotto in tears after he explained to them what venison was. Which meant that he had more time to put together this look at our next fixture. It doesn't show though...

Three previews in a week they’ve got me doing. Yup three. And all for a packet of Werthers a time. For the second Saturday in succession we are at home, this time as we play host to Swansea City – I can remember when they were just Swansea Town you know. Kick-off on Sunday – yes Sunday- is at 1:30pm for the purposes of space telly. By some strange miracle TfL have forgotten to lay on any engineering work this weekend. It’s quiet. Too quiet I tell you.

The Swans – must have taken them ages to come up with that nickname – sit in 8th spot with 22 points from their 14 played so far. Their last six matches have seen them win 3, all at home against QPR, Arsenal and Leicester, drawn 2 (Palace at home and Everton away) and lose just the once up at Man City. On the road they've picked up just the one win – the opening day 2-1 win up at Old Trafford. So all in all not a bad start to the season for them, despite having to travel abroad to away games every other week.

There's been a number of changes since they last turned up at the Boleyn. Not long after we beat them 2-0 they sacked their manager Michael Laudrup. The final straw was apparently his giving players a couple of days off after the match. Rumours of cliques – the club's Spanish contingent were said to be particularly at fault – and a lack of discipline abounded. Club captain Gary (not Harry) Monk was appointed “interim player manger” (whatever happened to the good old-fashioned “caretaker”?).

If he wanted to endear himself to the fans Monk probably couldn't have done better than by beating Cardiff 3-0 in his first game in charge. Having gone on to secure their top flight status for another season, Monk was given the job full-time at the end of last season and wasted no time in bringing players in. First to arrive was 'keeper Lukasz Fabianski who had been benchwarmer-in-chief at the library having displyed a propensity for error that saw him rechristened "Flappyhandski". Fabianski went west with a stated intention of getting himself first team football. This seemed to be in direct contrast to the ambitions of the man he replaced, Dutch 'keeeper Michel Vorm who, not only had decided that first team football was not for him, but also elected to sit and watch Spurs every week. Clearly there was something in the water in Swansea affecting his braincells.

Vorm's transfer was part of a spot of traffic between Spurs and Swansea over the summer that ended with the M4 requiring emergency resurfacing. Ben Davies followed Vorm out of the door whist Tom Carroll (loan) and Gylfi Sigurdsson found the escape hatch at White Hart Lane to pitch up at the Liberty. The work-experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips tells me that trying to sort out the fees in that little lot is nigh on impossible. Part of the problem was that Swansea treated the arrival of Sigurdsson as part of the transfer fee for Vorm. This wouldn't really have mattered but for the fact that Utrecht, Vorm's former club, seemed to think that they were due 30% of any sell-on profit for the keeper. Swansea denied any wrongdoing, pointing out that 30% of Sigurdsson would probably involve removing an arm or a leg or something which wouldn't be any use to either club. There doesn't seem to have been any further movement on the dispute but let's put it this way, Swansea might save a few bob on air fares in future by not bothering to send anyone out to watch Utrecht's players for a bit.

On the way out was cheating git Chico. whose antics in the same fixture last season saw him roundly condemned by both sets of fans. Along with Michu (on loan to Napoli) and Pozuelu (Rayo Vallecano), Flores became the third Spaniard to leave Wales this summer, lending credence to the received wisdom that Monk was keen to sort out the “Spanish problem” once he'd got the job full time. Monk was said to have been very unimpressed with the player's attitude and a training field bust-up between the two in which the club had to deny that anyone had threatened anyone else with a brick probably meant that that the players days at the club were numbered, especially once Laudrup had gone. Flores ended up rejoining Laudrup at Qatar. One can't help but feeling that Flores will feel at home in that upright, honest and in no way at all corrupt country whose summer climate is totally suited to the staging of intense top class football tournaments.

Up front the man of the moment is Wilfried Bony who is the current top scorer with 6 goals this term. We had been linked with the player the season before last and recent interviews with Mr Allardyce confirmed that we would definitely have been in for Bony had our preferred option of Andy Carroll fallen through. The Ivorian topped the charts in the top flight in the Netherlands with Vitesse Arnhem the season before last, and although the usual caveats about the quality of the football in the Eredivisie applies, the transition to the Premier League didn't appear to cause him any problem – he stuck away 25 last season.

One ought to mention the ex-Hammer in the squad. Leon Britton (who will, I suspect in the coming months be even more keen than usual to distance himself from his politician near-namesake). He's played in all four divisions for them. He also had a spell with Sheffield United but it didn't take him too long to suss them out and he returned to South Wales after one season.

And so to us. Here at the Ghana's Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered we often have to make do with the work-experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips's laptop computer to watch those away matches matron doesn't let us out to see. There were so many adverts for viagra and things appearing before the start we thought we weren't going to see kick-off. Then the girl did something clever to it and the adverts went away. After 15 minutes we were begging for the adverts to come back as we were 1-0 down and looking pretty damn awful. Chief culprit was James Tomkins who was being suckered into a battle with Anichebe, a battle he was losing. Then something clever happened. Whether of his own accord or a result of a word in his ear Tomkins started playing just a foot or two off his man, turning him from one of the worst players on the pitch up to that point, into one of the best. The last half hour of the first half saw us playing quite well and deserved the half-time lead. To be honest I thought we defended a little too deep in the second half and we did ride our luck a tad. However, given that we were still not up to full strength I'm more than happy with the three points thank you very much. The winning goal ended a spell of rehabilitation for Tomkins who, in interviews, has shown exactly the right degree of shame for his “Chico” up at Everton , unlike Chico himself of course.

Injury-wise Sakho and Song should be back in contention whilst Noble faces a late fitness test. If Nobes is fit that brings the number of injuries down to, er, nil. Yup as it stands we could well have absolutely nobody on the injury list. Nada, not a sausage. I think we were Thames Ironworks the last time that happened.

The one major problem we might have is that Adidas seem to have made a major cock-up on the kit supply front and there won't be enough for the kids at Christmas. This is the second year in a row they appear to have let the side down. I see Umbro have got the deal again for next season. Possibly not a bad thing.

Prediction? Well I suppose there'll be a lot of disappointed kids wondering what they did to upset Father Christmas this year. Oh, you mean the match? Well with a full strength squad (or pretty much so) to choose from against a team that have won just the once away from the Principality I think I'm going to plump for a home win again this weekend. That would put us up to 3rd for 24 hours and leave us in 4th after Monday's matches. So the £2.50 it was going to cost us to pay postage on all the Viagra that we seem to have accidentally purchased last Tuesday will be going on a 2-1 win this time around.

Enjoy the game!

Referee: Chris Foy Spurs' favourite Olympic cyclist takes charge of one of our matches for the third time this season – which seems a bit odd. Last seen up at Stoke annoying Mark Hughes. Which is no bad thing usually.

Danger Man: Wilfried Bony. Top scorer and forms the focal part of their attack. No relation to Billy the Kid.

Daft fact of the week:When leaving Swansea “Chico” tweeted a nauseatingly saccharine farewell message to Swansea supporters that ended with the phrase “I'll always be a swan”. It's not totally clear whether he meant something owned by the Queen that could break your arm or whether it was a reference to his dying swan act perfected over the years.

Strangely Flores was only the second most annoying thing called Chico to have connections with the Swansea area. Talent-free zone “Chico” from out of that Simon Cowell show was apparently born in Bridgend. Another reason to have border patrols on the Severn Bridge.

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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