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West Ham United v Newcastle United

Filed: Sunday, 13th September 2015
By: Preview Percy

Ever felt sorry for a mosquito? Preview Percy has. To learn exactly why, and much, much less read on. If you like...

Next up we play host to Newcastle United. Our run of 3pm Saturday kick-offs comes to a grinding halt as this one will kick-off at 8pm on Monday night for the purposes of televisual entertainment of a subscription nature. So at least there won’t be any weekend engineering works to fret over, not that that will be much consolation to the visiting supporters who will find themselves turfed out into the night at about 10pm the thick end of 250 miles from home.

The visitors arrive in third from bottom place of the fledgling league table with two points from the four played so far. They did in fact move up a place over the weekend courtesy of Stoke’s defeat at the library, and the Geordies will no doubt glean some comfort from the fact that Sunderland somehow contrived to lose to Spurs leaving them at the bottom.

50% of Newcastle’s points came on the opening day when they held an out-of-sorts Southampton 2-2. That was followed by a trip to the Principality where they came away on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline. A trip to Old Trafford ended goalless, gaining them the remaining 50% of their points whilst their last outing, at home to Arsenal saw them defeated 1-0.

They do of course have a new man in the hot seat since we last met at the end of last season. The slightly strange John Carver, who had replaced the (careful – kumb lawyers) er, not at all strange Alan Pardew, was given the tin tack. His replacement was he of the flexibly-awful accent, former England boss Steve McClaren. Of coursh.

There were changes in the way the club was organised as well. Fans’ 'favourite' Mike Ashey is now no longer part of the board to which McClaren and others were elected. In fact the board of directors seems now to include everyone except Preview Alastair and that was probably because he was out (cold) when they called. I don’t suppose that has affected how the club is run to any serious degree – presumably any changes that the board decide on would have to be approved by the main shareholder anyway.

The "still not a cockney" Ashley – whose fortune will collapse if Spurs supporters ever discover that shell suits are not items of high fashion – is the scapegoat for all that ails St James’ Park in the eyes of the visiting support, taking the blame for everything from transfer policy to the white backs on the current home kits. The latter has so annoyed the faithful that they’ve gone out and designed their own kit, a process that was made slightly more tricky by the club threatening legal action over any design that carried anything that even vaguely resembled a magpie.

The Arsenal match saw them play much of the game with 10 men following Aleksandr Mitrovic’s early bath. Striker Mitrovic arrived from Anderlecht during what I shall laughingly refer to as "summer". The fee was apparently undisclosed but the work-experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles informs me that it was something not un-adjacent to £13m. It’s taken Mitrovic only a few games to build up a bit of a reputation as somthing of a nutter. It took him 22 seconds to pick up his first yellow card against Southampton. His second yellow against Swansea took him an almost leisurely 90 seconds. Either one of those two cards could arguably have been of different hue. However he wasn’t as lucky against Arsenal where, after a positively glacial 15 minutes, he saw red after an over the ball stamp on Coquelin which was described by McLaren as “harsh”. It wasn’t, and the resulting three match ban will see him miss the trip to the Boleyn.

The biggest fee shelled out this summer (£14.5m according to the work experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles) went on midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Wijnaldum, who adopted that surname from the easier to spell/type/pronounce “Boateng” when his parents divorced has over 20 Dutch Caps (here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered we will never tire of laughing at that one) and arrived from Holland after a four year spell with PSV, presumably crossing “Schteve’s” radar whilst the latter was employed during one of his spells with FC Twente.

Mitrovic wasn’t the only arrival from our old friends at Anderlecht with Chancel Mbemba joining the Serbian striker on his trip across the North Sea. Mbemba once voluntarily underwent a series of bone scan tests when on the Belgians’ books to prove that he was actually as young as claimed on his Democratic Republic Of Congo documentation, Belgium having long been used as a conduit for players from the African continent who were not always as young as they seemed. The tests confirmed his age was indeed genuine. The 21 year old has 17 Congolese caps, which somehow aren’t quite as amusing as those awarded by the Dutch FA.

The other big money (£12m as per the work experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles) went on French winger Florian Thauvin. There’s a touch of the Berahinos about Thauvin. He left Bastia for Lille in January 2013, the arrangement being that he would see out the season back in Corsica. When the season ended and the time came for him to make the journey north he changed his mind. Enter Marseille who decided that they fancied the player. Lille weren’t over-impressed with the idea of losing a player who hadn’t actually played a game for them. Words were exchanged and Thauvin decided that he would go on strike rather than actually play for his employers. Eventually the transfer went through, the €13m fee representing a profit of about €10m on Lille’s original investment. Which would sweeten the pill a bit I suppose. The story didn’t quite end there though – there were unedifying scenes at Lille Airport when he turned up to play against his former club as Lille supporters clashed with the Marseille party. On the pitch Thauvin has been capped at pretty much every age level short of full recognition by the French.

We’ve had a bit of stick over the number of red cards we’ve received since the start of the season so it may come as a bit of a surprise that it's the Magpies who actually have the worst record in the Premier League since the start of 2014/15, with 9 red cards in that period. In addition to nut-job Mitrovic’s red last week-end they also received a further six yellows. Lord knows what the idiot in charge of this weekend’s match will make of two teams with such records this weekend.

And so to us. Firstly a few words about our last match. “Bloody marvellous” are two that spring to mind. Those of us who have been making that trip up to the god-forsaken hole that is Anfield over the years have despaired of us ever getting a result up there. To do so in such style fair brought a tear to the eye to us old ‘uns I can tell you. There was, of course the usual fly in the ointment in the form of a poor refereeing performance of the type that is now occurring every week. The only people who haven’t noticed how bad things have got would appear to be the FA. Their ludicrous pursuit of the club over the reaction to what even their own appeals panel were forced to agree was a dreadful decision to send off Noble showed how far the FA is prepared to go in turning a blind eye to the rubbish served up by PGMOL. As for the £50,000 fine, if I were SuGo I’d send the bill directly to Mike Riley since the “offence” resulted 100% from his failure to supply officials of a suitable standard for professional football.

Since the Liverpool match of course we have been a bit busy in the transfer market. Nikica Jelavic arrived from Hull to provide some much-needed depth to the striking department, an area where we’ve been hit with injury after injury in recent times. Jelavic replaces Modibo Maiga who ended up in Saudi, his last action for the club being to score the last goal in the Bournemouth match. The fact that he blagged a hat-trick in his first match out there probably tells you more about the standard of the game out there than it does about Maiga.

Arriving to supply the ammo for our strikers are Michail Antonio and, becoming the 400th player to go out on loan from Chelsea this season Victor Moses.

Antonio’s trip to the top flight has taken a while – he had a decent non-league record with Tooting & Mitcham before going full-time pro with Reading, the Stepford Wife of professional football. Spells on loan at places like Southampton and Cheltenham ensued before he ended up at Sheffield Wednesday. He spent a couple of years with the Owls before moving down the M1 to Forest where he was last season’s Player Of The Year.

Moses is a more familiar figure though his career has failed to hit some of the highs that a move to Chelsea might have suggested. Of course following loan spells at Liverpool and Stoke he’s probably now aware of his status as “stock” at Stamford Bridge.

The fourth “new” arrival was, of course, Alex Song who is, of course, injured. Well we have to sign one player who is already injured each season, It’s the law. Once fit, it is to be hoped that Song can reproduce the form of his first half of last season, rather than that of the second half.

With all the new arrivals it’s easy to forget about all the injuries we’ve had of late. The big news on that front is that Andy Carroll stands a chance of being involved at some point in the game after missing most of last season. If that is the case we’ll have no fewer than three strikers to choose from with Jelavic and Sakho also available for selection, and assuming that Zarate isn't right yet. Valencia is still a month or two away though.

In defence O/Brien is an injury doubt, though the bench was probably the limit of his ambition in any case.

There’s an interesting selection problem at right back where Jenkinson is available once more after his disastrous outing against Bournemouth. Tomkins has performed admirably in the two matches where he has deputised – and we’ve won both of them. Of course with Thauvin to contend with it may be that the boss might prefer a regular full back in place, which might be a wee bit harsh on Tomkins but them’s the breaks.

It is traditional of course that I should seek out a few words from the Rest Home’s resident Geordie, Preview Alastair, prior to making any sort of prediction. His opinion of their season thus far was that they “could do better” and that they had “nothing to worry about – except our defence”, a statement which he followed up with a shake of the head muttering “oh s***”. In fact it was the work experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles who pointed out that there may be problems further up the pitch – apparently they haven’t had a shot on goal since the first half of the match at Swansea.

Well the win at Anfield was followed by a transfer window in which we not only got our men but also avoided Adebayor who ended up costing Spurs money to get rid of him in the end! This means that there is a bit of a buzz about the old place at the moment. Yes we’ve been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season but the new faces mean that we will at least have a plan B if all is not going well. It’s about time they gave the home support something to cheer so I’ll be placing the £2.50 we’ve been fined by the FA for suggesting that the referees supplied by PGMOL are anything but 100% correct all of the time on us to win this one 2-0. If that’s ok with Mr Taylor of course.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn: Won 1-0 Cresswell’s effort was enough to secure all three points in one that didn’t live in the memory for much after the final whistle. Sissokho saw red for two stupid yellows.

Danger Man:Florian Thauvin. Still finding his feet but good things have been heard of him.

Referee:Anthony Taylor. Yes really. The fact that this imbecile is actually in a job after his last visit to the Boleyn is symbolic of the utter contempt that PGMOL has for the game. The fact that they sent him back to the Boleyn two games after his disgraceful performance in the Leicester match beggars belief.

Irritating Celebrity Supporter Of The week: Another “spoilt for choice" week. Unfunny camp comedian Alan Carr is the son of Magpies chief scout (and board member) Graham Carr and is quite irritating but this week’s award goes to the talent-free zone that is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini who achieves the double whammy of being both irritating and thoroughly unpleasant. She allegedly caught malaria in 2010, the occasion being the first time that anyone has ever felt sorry for a mosquito.

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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