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West Ham United v Chelsea

Filed: Sunday, 5th March 2017
By: Preview Percy

As we enter March we suspect that the phrase "full of the joys of spring" is not one with which Preview Percy is familiar. Here's his look at Monday's visit of Chelsea. Interesting stuff courtesy of www.kickoff.com....

Next up we play host to Chelsea at the Olympic. It’s a Monday night match so kick-off is at the usual 8pm meaning that you may have to sneak back into your accommodation dodging the security patrols on the way. Or is that just me?
Transport? Well as it’s a Monday there are no engineering works to speak of but you should factor in the bleak depressing inevitability that there will be some sort of rush hour foul up on the transport system to generally make the journey more of a misery than it ought to be.

So Chelsea then. Top of the league at the moment with a ten point lead over Spurs, who lead a pack who aren’t so much chasing Chelsea as scrabbling around for the next three places, in Spurs case as a particularly long-winded way of getting knocked out of the Thursday Night League this time next season. Won four lost two is their current form record, their last defeat coming at Spurs at the turn of the year.

So comfortably well off then and barring a collapse of Devon Loch proportions they ought to be able to add another Premier League title to all the others they have bought since Abrahamovic arrived looking for somewhere to launder all the cash he made out of the Russian Aluminium Wars. Unlike many other events described as “war”(The Cod War?) the Aluminium Wars ended with numerous people actually dying. Not that the average Chelsea fan will probably spare too much thought to the number of people who were killed to give them the title as John Terry and UKIP’s Paul Nuttall go up to collect the Premier League trophy at the end of term.

The work experience girl wearing the Madness T-shirt without knowing who they are (an inexplicably popular novelty act featuring a saxophone torturer since you ask) thought she was going to have an easy time of it this week on the transfer front. “Only one player in during this winter window” she chimed cheerfully “and that was a kid pinched from Southport”. She smiled sweetly to herself thinking of an early departure from her duties at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered, possibly thinking of a night off and a trip to the discotheque or wherever it is youngsters go these days. At which point I casually asked: “thanks – and what’s the current loan position?”.

Well dear reader I haven’t seen someone’s face drop so quickly since the last time Preview Alastair bought a round – it cost him ten shillings as I recall. Well several hours later she emerged from behind her laptop which was overheating to the point that had the home’s owners would have turned our central heating off had they actually bothered to turn it on in the first place. It seems that over the course of this season there have been no fewer than 38 deals loaning out players to other clubs.

One that stood out in the list was a ‘keeper by the name of Nathan Baxter who is too obscure to have even his own Wikipedia page. He’s on loan to the Metropolitan Police. Yes that Metropolitan Police. Though a quick bit of research shows that the boys in blue (yes,really) haven’t had a serving boy in blue play for them since 2011. Which sort of ruins my vision of one of them being booked only to be let off when he points out that the tyres on the ref’s car were looking a bit bald earlier on. Meanwhile Chelsea continue to operate both as a football club and a player hire firm.

Another one out on loan is Tammy Abrahams who is scoring well for Bristol City. Although he is only 19 he already has one of the main markers of a top flight professional footballer, awaiting as he is details of what is going to happen about his summons for careless driving and driving without a licence that he faces thanks to Avon & Somerset Police. Perhaps he’d have gotten away with it had he swapped places with Baxter.

One player in the news this week who is not first on the team sheet is John Terry. He was pictured making the most of the few extra days off afforded to them by their non-qualification for Europe this season by popping over to France for a spot of skiing. At least that’s what the photos showing him and the missus posing happily halfway up an alp seemed to suggest – there are so many photos showing Terry doing stuff that he was never actually involved in (like those showing him lifting trophies) it’s hard to gauge what’s genuine or fake. There were photos of him looking at coaching manuals doing the rounds the other week suggesting that he wants to go into management. Obviously fake – you’ll be telling me that Harry Kane can read as well next.

Recent reports suggest that during his absence his drum was burgled. Among the missing items were such irreplaceable objects as the Nobel prize for Physics he won for discovering the Higgs Boson, some samples of moon rock from his spell as captain of Apollo 11 and his certificate of merit from the Commission For Racial Equality.

Chelsea management were reasonably relaxed over the Terry’s trip, assuming it wasn’t a photoshop job, though they did remind the less racist members of the squad about the rules on outside activities lest they be tempted to attempt rock-climbing or a series of “The Jump” during their spare time. The management’s laid back attitude was probably a function of the fact that the EDL’s pin-up boy is very much a fringe player these days, though last time I saw them on the box David “Sideshow Bob” Luiz seemed to be struggling with a knee injury that might see some game time for the loathsome individual.

Officially, well about as official as these things get anyway, Chelsea have nobody on the injury list. Nobody. Not one, though Luiz’s knee would certainly give cause for concern based on his last outing. So amongst those available will be Diego Costa. Costa led a very charmed life before Christmas. Firstly he managed to avoid a number of straight reds and second yellows that he deserved that, had they been given would have seen him serve numerous suspensions before Christmas. Secondly, he somehow managed to avoid the first yellows that he deserved, meaning that he didn’t actually serve the one match ban you get for five yellows until Boxing Day.
Astonishing given the fact that Cresswell got a ban for committing precisely zero yellow card offences.

A minor doubt according to the press conference last week is Hazard who got a kick in training. The extra couple of days will probably prove decisive in terms of his recovery meaning he will almost certainly be fit for the match. There’s been a bit of a transformation in Hazard’s fortunes this season. Last term he went practically all season without scoring, only coming to life at the end with a goal that ended what Spurs thought were their title hopes in one of the funniest games of the season, as Spurs completely lost the plot, kicking lumps out of anything that moved as Leicester opened a few bottles of something fizzy.

Talking of Leicester how key does Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante look to have been for them now as they find their own level in the mid to lower reaches of the league. Meanwhile, Kante is on line to pick up back to back Premier League winner’s medals with different clubs.

And what of the rest of the world? Well the Man
Utd v Bournemouth match was fun wasn’t it? Ibrahamovic will hopefully be facing a lengthy ban, less for his elbow and more for his "he jumped into my elbow" excuse. Serves you right for headbutting his foot Zlatan.

Elsewhere the FA are proposing to experiment with video assistant referees in next season’s cup. That will be fine as long as the video referee corrects the mistakes he sees rather than trying to cover them up. A referee who constantly has decisions overturned should face some sort of remedial action, otherwise the use of technology will end up being no more than a cop out. After all why replace poor officials when you can simply correct their mistakes? You might think it would be better of they didn’t mess up in the first place. And you’d be right.

Us? Well last week we were denied a penalty for the sort of tackle more to be encouraged in rugby.It would have been interesting to see if the ref’s mate in the video box would have been honest or, alternatively, backed his mate up. Antonio’s second yellow was annoying as it means a suspension we could well do without. Carroll is the likely replacement, though only the club will know whether his return has been hastened by Antonio’s absence.

Otherwise I’d expect it to be pretty much as you were team-wise. Snodgrass is available despite a warrant being issued by the Polis north of the border for allowing someone to sit in his car carrying a baby. You can’t help but feeling that Snodgrass hasn’t read the full instructions on how to be a Premier League Player yet. Although this is not his first brush with Plod Scotland, he does rather seem to be starting at the bottom of the offence list and working his way up. Those of you with long memories may remember a preview wot I wrote a few years back whilst the player was at Norwich when a similar warrant had been issued for him failing to turn up on a charge of parking on a Pelican crossing. Next on the list is likely to be a pull for having an illegible number plate.

Prediction. Well much as I would love us to turn them over again as in the League Cup (if only for the completely false hope it would give Spurs) I fear that their form plus the usual assistance from the officials afforded to them will prove too much. Hell we get sod all out of referees against West Brom and Watford so the chances of one actually turning up and saying “hey I found this book called the laws of the game which I’d like to try for once” are on a par with those of Preview Alastair getting a round in before the new fivers wear out.

So the £2.50 I was going to donate to the John Terry burglary fund will be taken along to Winstone The Turf Accountant and placed on an away win say 3-1 to them.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Olympic Won 2-1 (League Cup October 2016) – Probably the first night the new gaff showed any atmosphere. Kouyate and Fernandes were on target whilst there was barely time to kick off after Cahill’s 95th minute consolation effort. All the talk was over crowd trouble with some muppet claiming that he and his daughter had been hit by coins thrown from 30 yards away. The fact that the bloke’s daughter contradicted him and that there seems to have been no further action taken over the issue suggests that the John Terry approach to the truth applies to their fans as much as their players.

Danger Man: Edin Hazard – had a year off last season. Back now.

Referee: Andre Marriner – fresh from handing Moan United the League Cup on a plate he will award them a dubious penalty and deny us several obvious ones of our own. How do I know this? Well it’s happened every bloody week so far this season so why should this match be any different

Percy’s Poser: Last week we asked you what was so odd about the fact that ten travellers bought tickets to Watford West station in 2005. Congratulations to Mrs Christabel Prittstick of Writtle for being the first person out of the digital hat to tell us that the station had actually closed in 2003. A four year old railway sandwich is on its way to you. By train.

For this week’s poser we ask: How many League Titles had Chelsea won in the 98 years prior to Abrhamovic’s arrival. First name out of the digital hat will win a box of Aluminium foil (American entrants please note no prizes will be given to anyone who can’t pronounce the word “aluminium” properly).

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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