Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United (League Cup 4th Round)

Depressed at Friday's performance? Need cheering up? It might be a good idea to give Preview Percy's look at Wednesday's League Cup visit to Wembley a swerve then. Believe us he was miserable enough as it was BEFORE he discovered who the referee was...

Next up it's a midweek trip to the Bobby Moore Stadium at Wembley where we face Spurs in a League Cup 4th round tie. Kick-off is at 8pm and, should they be required, extra time and penalties are available to decide the tie on the night. I'd sort out that late pass now lest you be faced by the cartoon sight of your spouse greeting you at the front door with a rolling pin.

I don't tend to spend too much time looking at our opponents in depth. Mainly because I have no intention of paying the work-experience kid of as yet-to-be determined gender wearing a hoodie who seems only able to communicate with some strange grunting noises just to cut and paste something he handed in a couple of weeks ago. Not that we pay him or her anyway but it's the principle isn't it.

There are a couple of things one should not let pass without further comment however. Firstly a newspaper in Spain reckons everyone hates Tottenham because of their "Jewish origins". The fact is that they don't actually HAVE "Jewish origins" and sources as informed as the Jewish Chronicle reckon that fewer than 5% of attendees in their home support are actually Jewish.

Embed from Getty Images

To put that into context that means that in the MASSIVE crowd of 23,000 that they managed to muster for the last round of this competition around 1,100 will have been adherent of the Judaist faith. No, for the benefit of the Spaniards amongst the readership there are a million and one better reasons for disliking Spurs than the fact that a few of them might eschew the option of a bacon sandwich come breakfast time. Which of course is no reason at all.

Which sort of brings me round to the second thing that ought to be mentioned, namely their 1-1 draw at Real Madrid. Such is the delusional spin their supporters both in the ground and in the media (and boy are they Sky's darlings at the moment) put on everything you would be forgiven for thinking that this was a performance in which they had outplayed Europe's finest, as opposed to scraping a draw against a massively superior but slightly out of sorts side, thanks to a bus parking exercise that would have made Mourinho blush and an inspired goalkeeping performance. 30% possession tells its own story. "[The so-called] Champions League? It's ours" one was genuinely heard to say on interview. Only if you can take Mike Dean with you everywhere mate.

Of course watching them against Liverpool was one of those awful occasions when you watch hoping both teams could lose. There was some irony in seeing that Liverpool's first half goal came following a Kane dive that, amazingly, wasn't bought by ref Marriner who was so pleased with having spotted one after all these years he completely forgot to issue the statutory yellow card which should have come out once the ball had crossed the line for the goal.

That's enough of them. Elsewhere in the real world of football I note that three months into the league season the FA have finally gotten round to remembering that they have a system for punishing diving retrospectively. So who do you think they have gone for? Delle Alli? Harry Kane? The complete squads of Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea? No, of course not. As predicted it was always going to be someone nobody has heard of from the lower leagues. Let's face it, Shaun Miller will only ever be famous for one thing and this is it.

Embed from Getty Images

The failure to punish the likes of Alli is of course partly a function of the cack-handed way the legislation was drafted. Only if a goal is scored directly as a result of the simulation, say, via a penalty, or a player gets sent off will there be any ramifications. Which has given the green light to the likes of Alli to go tumbling down purely to win free-kicks outside the box. Which is pretty much what they have been doing all these years. It's almost as if the legislation had been framed specifically to avoid upsetting the teams who would be most affected. Still it's most unlike the FA to handle things in a cack-handed way isn't it.

Friday? Unacceptable. Disgraceful. Spineless. Useless. Insert your own adjective as you like but that was abysmal. To lose against a team that would probably have done a lap of honour had they left with the 0-0 draw that they had come for is bad enough. To do so 3-0 just beggars belief. There seemed to be no game plan, no idea, no creativity....

I am sure I have written these words before somewhere which is worrying on three counts. Firstly, the fact that I can't remember which preview(s) I wrote it in is a sad indictment of the way the memory goes in one's advancing years. Secondly, the fact that there are any number of previews that I could have written it in is also depressing. And thirdly, the fact that I can't remember which preview(s) I wrote it in is a sad indictment of the way the memory goes in one's advancing years.

There have been all sorts of rumours about the future of the manager. Some sources suggest that Mr Bilic proffered his resignation at the weekend. Others say that, following Saturday's board meeting he has been given this and the Palace match to sort things out. Who knows. The players do need to have a good look at themselves. Fonte's public apology was a nod in the right direction I suppose but how about giving us something to smile about rather than something you have to apologise for?

Embed from Getty Images

On the injury front both Sakho (back) and Ginge (ankle) stand an outside chance of being available. Carroll is back from his suspension for committing offences of the type that I have seen six unpunished examples of this weekend. However, given the choice of match official for this one I'd caution against using Carroll. It's pathetic that team selection depends on the choice of match officials but that's what you get for allowing them to become the centre of attention.

This being the League Cup one would expect Adrian to replace Hart between the sticks and we may ring the changes for this to protect the squad from injuries ahead of the arguably more important trip to Selhurst next weekend.

Prediction. Well it's been a typical West Ham thing to play bloody awful one week then do something spectacular the next but we were so poor last week that it would require a leap of faith of the type that would have one believing that eschewing the option of a bacon sandwich come breakfast time would somehow grant you eternal salvation. I can't see us progressing any further in this competition even allowing for the fact that the choice of match official has already sealed our fate.

So I'm going for a thoroughly dispiriting home win if I can persuade the good people at Winstone The Turf Accountant to relieve me of the ?2.50 I was previously going to donate to the campaign fund to have the Krankies take over running the FA (yeah I know they are Scottish but they couldn't do a worse job, could they?), in return for a bet on a 5-0 home win. Yup things are that bad.

Enjoy the game!

Embed from Getty Images

When Last we met at White Hart Lane Lost 3-2 (Premier League November 2016)
2-1 up with minutes to play. Enter Mike Dean. Lost 3-2.

Referee: Mike Dean
Absolute disgrace of an official whose main purpose in life is to make sure M Dean is the centre of attention. In any other country he would have been under suspension a long while ago whilst they looked through his bank accounts for payments from dodgy betting syndicates so perverse are his decisions on an almost weekly basis. With all the kerfuffle about how the way the FA is handling the scandals in the women's game I'd be slightly more impressed with our Members of Parliament if they were to try and address the abysmal standards of refereeing in the English game while they were at it - and they could do worse by analysing exactly how this obnoxious specimen has gotten away with stealing a living for so long. Last seen signing autographs as fourth official at Burnley for pete's sake.

Danger Man: Mike Dean
Apart from the general dishonesty for which he is noted, he loves Spurs and hates us. So a live tv match between the clubs is just the right appointment. I wonder how many favours that cost Levy?

Percy's Poser: The last poser asked what was unusual about the substitutions we made when we last played Brighton at home. Congratulations to Sonja Metatarsal of Foulness who was first out of the digital had with the information that the surnames of all three subs (Collison, Collins (D), and Carew all began with the letter "C". Look I said it was unusual not interesting.

For this week's poser we see if you have been paying attention and ask you how much public money has been pumped into the new White Hart Lane stadium that, according to Daniel Levy, has not had a single pound of public money pumped into it. (Clue: Levy was not telling the whole truth).

Good luck everyone!

* Like to share your thoughts on this article? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

More Opinion