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West Ham United v Hull City

Filed: Saturday, 17th January 2015
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy is back after his rest home relocation. No deposit required...

Next up is ‘ull at ‘ome. Kick-off is the neither fish nor fowl time of 1:30pm on Sunday. Early departure from Church Parade then. Travel is a bit weird. There’s no Hammersmith & City Line but instead they’re extending the Circle Line so it ends at Barking. I said it was weird. There’s also no fairground trains (DLR) between Stratford and Pudding Mill Lane and the Overground is closed between Stratford & Camden Road. There’s probably other stuff elsewhere as well so do the usual checks before setting out.

Our visitors are in a bit of a pickle at the moment. They are third from bottom with 19 points from the 21 played so far. They have won two of their last six though, a 3-1 win up at Sunderland on Boxing Day was followed up by a New Year’s Day win at home over Everton who, of course, have been having their own issues of late. That has to be tempered by the fact that in their last league outing they contrived to lose to West Brom. I’m still trying to work out how we managed to only draw with them so to actually lose to the Baggies must take some doing.

When we played Hull up at their place back in September they brought on Hatem Ben Arfa as a sub for goalscorer Abel Hernandez. Ben Arfa arrived on a season-long loan from Newcastle where he’s had a falling out with erstwhile boss Alan Pardew. However he made but 8 appearances for Hull and in December he went walkabout with Steve Bruce admitting that he had no idea where the player was. (Ok I know that Bruce gives the permanent impression that he doesn’t know where he himself is or what day of the week it is but you get my drift). There was probably cheering on both sides when it was announced that the player’s Hull career was over. Up at Newcastle his bridges had been burnt enough for them to tear up his contract and tell him to bugger off. He signed for Nice only to find that a Development Squad game he’d played for the Geordies meant that he couldn’t turn out for the French lot as, unless you are Liverpool, FIFA rules state that you can’t play for more than two clubs in a season. Still, if you have to sit on your backside doing sod all it’s probably better to have to do it in Nice rather than Kingston Upon Hull I suppose. If nothing else you don’t have to listen to Bruce’s whining.

There were a number of debutants in the reverse fixture on Humberside in September. The aforementioned Hernandez hit the ground running with a header that saw them take the lead against the run of play. They must have thought that they were onto a right winner with the Uruguayan who also hit the bar after the goal had taken the wind out of our sails a bit. However, the work experience girl with an inappropriate number of rings through her lips informs me that he’s only scored twice since that evening. The £10m fee is looking to be less of a bargain every week then. Especially as a groin strain will prevent him from repeating his efforts from the previous match.

They’ve had a slightly better goal return from the other full signing debutant from that evening, a certain Mo Diame. Diame also scored that night and had been reported as saying that he left us to play for a top ten club. David Gold’s response on twitter was quite amusing, pointing out that we shouldn’t rub Diame’s nose into Hull’s current league position as the player hadn’t actually specified what division he was referring to in his comments. Given the “law of the ex” that suggests a former player is always more likely to score against a former club, I suppose we should be happy that he’ll miss this one with a knee ligament problem he picked up around yuletide.

This leaves the burden of dispatching the ball into the old onion bag largely on the shoulders of top scorer Nikica Jelavic. He’s managed six thus far this season but a knee injury picked up in the West Brom match will see him sidelined for up to six weeks. The West Brom match was a bit of a ‘mare all round for them really when you look at it – Hernandez’z injury happened six minutes after Jelavic’c leaving them with only one sub option left with only 39 minutes played.

As a result of those injuries they will be hoping to bring Sone Aluko back into service. Aluko missed out against West Brom with a calf problem. Hull’s official website said that the player is “responding well” to treatment, though most of the usual injury websites still list the player as “doubtful” for the match. Aluko spent some time up in Scotland with spells at Aberdeen and Rangers under his belt. Whilst at Rangers he was punished retrospectively for diving to get a penalty in a match against Dunfermline, gaining a two match ban for his efforts. Meanwhile nobody noticed how desperate things were becoming at Ibrox, where nobody thought it strange that an Old Firm side would need to resort to diving to beat Dunfermline. As Rangers imploded and the company went under, Aluko was one of those players who took advantage of the rules that rendered them free agents on the liquidation of the original club. He was capped at various age-levels by England, getting as far as the U19 set up. However, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall for his England career, he switched allegiance when Nigeria came knocking at the door. They won’t have an African Cuppa Soup problem with him as the Nigerians didn’t qualify this time around. Still at least one member of the family has garnered full international recognition for England. His sister Enolia has over 70 caps for England.

With so few totally fit striking options available to him Bruce spent most of the West Brom match with a front pair of Brady and Ince. Ince is an odd one. Clearly there’s a modicum of talent there and he doesn’t seem to have inherited his dad’s predilection for self-promotion (call you “guv’nor?” Will I ****). However, his Dad seems to have been channelling his efforts on junior’s behalf, tapping up his old contacts at Inter over a possible move there last summer. Or so he says.

They’ll be hoping to get the on loan Gaston Ramirez up and running again. Ramirez, whose name sounds like he’s one of those Michelin Award-winning chefs, has missed the last couple with a groin problem. There were rumours that the Uruguayan might be looking at a return to South America with Boca Juniors being reportedly interested in the player. However, his current club Southampton claim to be unaware of any serious interest in the Frey Bentos-born (perhaps not quite Michelin Award material then) midfielder and most sources suggest that there is no recall clause in the loan deal which might make such a deal problematical.

Us? Well it was an interesting night out on Tuesday for us residents of the New Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered. I suspect that the home’s management were hoping that the exciting nature of the game might enable them to free up some of the rooms at our new building. Sadly for the owners we all survived (though the fact that the walk from the new place to the Swan And Superinjunction is now uphill might eventually put paid to one or two of the less robust residents).

Thinking back on the match it’s strange to think that the first half was actually pretty poor given all the mayhem that followed. It was even suggested that when they laid out a table for the 1930’s music hall act Oxford and Powell to sign their pro contracts at half time they might as well leave it there to give players a sit down and a cuppa such had been the paucity of excitement in the first 45. I think it’s fair to say they made up for it in the second half.

The visitors have been whining (scousers so no change there then) about the so-called penalty incident conveniently ignoring the fact that the so-called foul was yet another dive for which their club is sadly beginning to get a reputation. Ref Swarbrick can blame his lino for that one – partly. If Swarbrick had had the courage of his own convictions and allowed play to continue he’d have got it right. Where he has no excuse however is the awful way in which he dealt with their ‘keeper. There was one hellofa lot of time-wasting going on out there and one can’t help thinking that had Swarbrick issued the required yellow after his first warning rather than the eleventh the whole thing might have been nipped in the bud. As it was Robles deserved a second yellow for his acting up and consistent encroachment in the penalty shootout but Swarbrick bottled the decision despite continually threatening to brandish the yellow. If anyone has seen Swarbrick’s spine I guess he’d like it back some time.

Injury news is a bit mixed. Sakho is out for a bit with his back giving him aggro. Winston Reid has an ankle knock which was sustained in the Swansea game (where the ref sportingly evened things up at a corner by removing Collins for the game for treatment he didn’t require). The short chubby one who comes over to pick up my copy each week says he spoke with the media chappy who told him after Tuesday night’s game that Reid was “hopeful” of being fit enough for the weekend and both he and Demel (some sort of muscle strain) were said to have been in “light training” over the last couple of days. We’ll see. Reid has latterly been linked with a move to Spurs, indicating that it may be his brain rather than his ankle that is the problem.

There’ll be no place for Ravel Morrison of course, despite the dropping of all charges relating to a contretemps with an ex and her Mum. Lazio were being mentioned a few days ago. He’d do well to avoid upsetting family members out there if he goes. Such a waste.

Prediction? Well the length of their injury list plus the natural boost we’ll have gotten from Tuesday night’s efforts lead me to optimism for once so I’m putting the £2.50 that matron was going to pay to have the name “The All New Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered” printed on the team’s shirts on a home win. 3-1 to us then.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at The Boleyn: Won 2-1 (March 2014). The infamous “Boo-gate” match in which a Noble penalty and a Chester og were enough to give us victory after McGregor had been sent off for clattering Diame.

Referee: Martin Atkinson Oi Riley. Give those balls a shake. This is the fourth time we’ve had Atkinson this season. The second time we’ve had him against Hull. Not that it makes much difference. I mean when even Hackett notices how bad things are getting you KNOW there are problems.

Danger Man: Tom Ince. With their injury list nobody really stands out but you can bet that this Ince won’t spend a whole match stood with his hands on his hips after taking instructions from another club’s manager.

Daft Fact Of The Week: The Humber bridge was opened in 1981. Nobody knows why.

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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