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Everton v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 28th October 2016
By: Preview Percy

After all the rubbish written about Wednesday evening we can confirm one thing at least: Preview Percy has never been known to take a coin out of his pocket let alone throw one at anyone. Here's his look at Sunday's trip to Everton....

Everton next. Kick off on Sunday is the middle of hangover sleep-off time at 1.30pm. No engineering works on the lines between London and Liverpool itself but if your journey involves travel into and out of Liverpool Street the usual weekend insanity will apply from all points east. Check afore ye depart.

So Everton then. Odd season so far for them. They opened with a 1-1 draw at home to Spurs, a result that was followed up with wins over West Brom, Stoke , Sunderland and Boro’. An nice run of fixtures that if you are in anything approaching form. However since then they went out of the League Cup 0-2 at home to Norwich and they’ve drawn two (1-1 away at Man City and the same at home to Palace) and lost two (1-0 at Bournemouth and 2-1 last weekend at Burnley). All of which means that they are winless since September 17th’s 3-1 home win over Boro’. This leaves them in 6th place, four points behind Spurs and a point clear of Salford at thetime of writing – Saturday’s results may have a bearing on things before our match kicks off of course.

Pre-season they started off by getting rid of Roberto Martinez at the helm. Martinez had presided over the club’s worst home record in its history so it wasn’t the biggest of surprises that he had been “allowed to leave”. Ronald Koeman was the next incumbent, bringing his brother Erwin along as his assistant for company. He wasted little time in bringing in new players. He went Dutch for a new ‘keeper with Maarten Stekelenberg coming in nominally from Fulham, though with loan spells at Monaco and Southampton in the past two seasons it’s been a while since he plied his trade at The Cottage. Those with a sense of tradition for this column will be delighted to know that Stekelenberg has over 50 Dutch Caps (titter) and was, for a while after Edwin Van Der Saar had quit the international scene, considered to be their no.1 netsmith. He is still on the fringes of the squad though he did go four years without troubling the Netherlands supplier of ceremonial millinery, coming back this year to notch up another couple of appearances behind those tasteful orange shirts. The 33 year-old joined on an undisclosed fee, though the work experience girl with the “And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead” T-shirt without knowing who they are tells me that this fee is believed to be under a million.

Coming in for over 25 times that amount is former Palace winger Yannik Bolasie. Yup £25m for a player whose career highlights include spells with Hillingdon Borough and in the Maltese Premier League, so ending up at Palace indicated a downward path from which Everton have rescued him for the time being. He has over 30 Democratic (yeah right) Republic of Congo Caps (which aren’t as funny as the Dutch ones) having plumped for the country of his parents over France (where he was born) or England (where he has lived since he was a babe in arms) for whom he also qualified, probably because the latter two weren’t exactly beating a path to his door. He’s always struck me as a tricky cove with a lot of pace but a bit raw in what you might call football nous. Although at Palace he was fully at home with that club’s ethos of learning how to fall over before learning how to trap a ball.

A further £7m went on Swansea’s Ashley Williams. Maybe £12m is the going rate for 32 year-old central defenders these days but it does seem rather a lot to me. He had been at Swansea and had been part of the team that got them out of “League 1” (Or Division Three as it ought to be known) helping them manoeuvre themselves through the Championship to the top flight. Williams was part of the successful England Reserves squad that reached the semi-final of Euro 2016, qualifying for the side from the wrong side of Offa’s Dyke by virtue of having a granddad from the Rhondda. Sort of “Land Of My Grandfathers” then. Still he is the sort you might want to bring into your central defence to bolster things up and clearly Everton had a perceived need for that type of player so I suspect the laws of supply and demand had a bearing on the fee.

Slightly cheaper at £7m was Villa defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye. The fee was believed to have been the release fee specified in the player’s Villa contract once they got relegated – I believe that was mathematically confirmed somewhere during the third week of October last year but don’t quote me on that. Gueye has been ever-present in the League this term and is a regular with the Senegalese national side for whom he has appeared in the Olympics and the African Cuppa Soup. Not one to immediately appear on the radar but “does a job” as they say. The BBC’s report on the opening day draw v Spurs described him as a “terrier” which hopefully doesn’t mean that he acts in a similar way to Kinnear – the completely bonkers terrier owned by Preview Alastair which has a habit of relieving himself on the base of goalposts at the local playing fields.

It looked for a long while this summer that striker Romelu Lukaku might be following John Stones (£47m??????) out of the door at Goodison. Chelsea had tabled a bid of £57m for the striker, a figure made even more mind boggling by the fact that it was double what they had sold him to the Toffeemen for in the first place. The player himself had reportedly asked to leave so it appeared that it was only a matter of time before he was on his bike. However, and with Juventus also rumoured to be sniffing about, there was a change of heart from Lukaku who apparently decided to give it one more year on Merseyside. Earlier on this season he had gone over 1,000 minutes without scoring, mainly because they hadn’t played us yet. However, he ended that particular dry spell with an eleven-minute hat-trick against Sunderland. Along with the fact that Liverpool players will dive, and anyone supporting Spurs will be as thick as two short planks, it is one of those inviolable laws of football that Lukaku will score against us if fit for selection, him having done so in every game for that last fifty years. Well it seems like that anyway – the work experience girl with the “And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead” T-shirt without knowing who they are has popped out for a cuppa and I can’t be arsed to look up the depressing statistic for myself.

One player who will be missing is midfielder James McCarthy. Now you know the rules around here. I never, ever wish injury on a player. I’m quite old-fashioned in that respect. However, that doesn’t stop me being glad when one is a deserving recipient of a knock. Precisely zero tears are being shed here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered over McCarthy’s hamstring injury, by virtue of it being payback from the footballing gods for the appalling scissor challenge that kept Payet out for a couple of months last term. Indeed over the two games their main tactic seemed to be trying to kick Payet and Lanzini out of the game. A bit of protection from the officials wouldn’t go amiss from the officials if they could spare the time from enforcing all the REALLY important laws of the game, you know, like making sure players don’t remove their shirts when celebrating a goal.

Us? Well that was fun the other night wasn’t it. I would like to point out that that was one of the rare occasions where I got the prediction spot on by the way. The one thing that spoilt it all was the “trouble”. Not the “trouble” itself – frankly I’ve had more violent bowel movements - but all the complete and utter twaddle written about it afterwards. Much as it pains me, I have to say that the short idiot who comes over every week to pick up these words of wisdom from me got it spot on with his assessment of how the press have handled it.

On the more important subject of the match itself it was a fine performance all round. Randolph was solid on the few occasions his services were required. Kouyate is like a new player in the “three at the back” system that is working so well these days. Reid and Ogbonna seem to be enjoying themselves as well. Obiang is showing the benefits of an extended run in the side and the skipper’s slow start to the season seems like a distant memory. The always overrated John Terry was made to look old and overrated by Antonio and, as usual there were moments when Payet and Lanzini just make you purr. Fernandes has crept up underneath the radar somewhat and the goal capped a fine couple of games for the youngster

Injury news is that we have no fresh ones to note. Carroll and Sakho are listed as possibly being available for the Stoke game, Tore a week or so later whilst Byram and Masuaku are still on the “nobody knows” list alongside the opening date for the new Heathrow runway. Ayew made a welcome return to the ranks on Wednesday and, perhaps, ought to have scored with a header though a lack of match fitness is hardly surprising under the circumstances. I expect that we will put out a similar side for this one. Adrian will probably replace Randolph – though frankly I wouldn’t have an issue with either of those two.

Prediction? Well our tails will obviously be up after Wednesday night and it seems that things are finally beginning to click. Against that we have to account for the “Lukaku factor” (see below) and the fact that, over the years, whenever things start to look a bit bright for us we have traditionally found ways to shoot ourselves in the foot. Having mused over this match over a pint of Allardyce’s Special Reserve Ale (drink within 67 days or it goes off) I have decided that Winstones The Turf Accountants will get my patronage to the tune of the £2.50 I was going to give that poor little kid whose Dad told her she’d been hit by coins on Wednesday night, said sum going on a 2-2 draw.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at Goodison: Won 3-2 (Premier League March 2016) 2-0 down and an absolute joke of a referee gives one of the worst penalty decisions you will ever see against us. Adrian saves. With 12 minutes left we are still 2-0 down. Then Antonio, Sakho, and Payet score to give us all three points. Funny Old game.

Referee: Anthony Taylor. Always seems to get this fixture. Always seems to make a complete hash of it. Like every other fixture he takes charge of. Last seen telling the world that a deliberate stamp down the shins of Adrian by Costa was a perfectly acceptable challenge that was not worthy of the straight red it deserved. Or even a second yellow. Costa went on to score the winner in that game. One day these idiots will be independently assessed and fired when they don’t do the job properly. Until then clowns like this will continue to steal a living.

Danger Man: Romelu Lukaku. Always scores against us. Always. Once, after a night of eating some fine stilton, I had a dream that I was playing for West Ham v Everton. Lukaku even scored in that. Shortly after scoring he turned into a strawberry-flavoured cornetto. Which is probably a bit less likely than him scoring this weekend I suppose.

Percy’s Poser: Last week we asked you to name a major sporting trophy ceremony at which John Terry had not appeared with the winners. The first correct answer out of the digital hat was that supplied by Mrs Dymphna Aspartame of Vange who correctly spotted the fact that it was a trick question – John Terry turns up at every presentation irrespective of whether or not he was a part of the winning team. Mrs Aspartame wins a night out with John Terry himself at the MOBO Awards where he is strongly tipped to pick up the gong for best Female Act. Well Done Dymphna!

For this week’s poser we go back to the year 2003 and ask “What did Carl Bishop do in Formby on Merseyside that year that meant he was either very, very, very brave or, more likely, very, very, very stupid?” The first correct answer out of the digital hat will win an Everton mint, possibly still in its wrapper. We spoil you don’t we.

Good luck everyone!

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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