Manchester City v West Ham United

We're not sure what is scarier. The prospect of playing Man City away or the idea of reading Preview Percy's thoughts on the match.....

Next up it's Man City away. Kick-off on Sunday is 4pm> No engineering works on Virgin Trains up to the North West and, because we are away there are no engineering works in and out of Liverpool Street. Watch them return next week when we play Chelsea. Of course. Nothing between Chadwell Heath & Shenfield then. It's almost as if the FA are running the trains.

Well they are running away with the league at the moment aren't they. Currently top and 8 points clear with 13 wins and a draw from their unbeaten start to the season. The nearest they have come to anything one might refer to as a "rough" patch (and that's pushing it a bit) has been in recent weeks when they have had to grind out the odd victory as opposed to putting away five or six before declaring. It seems that they are the current darlings of the PGMOL mafia as well which eases their progress a bit. Take Leicester away. A match that they dominated and won 2-0. However, how much different might that match have been had Kompany got the red card he deserved for chopping Vardy in half when the striker was clean through. A measure of how downhill their support has gone in quality since the petrodollars came in can be gauged by the justification for the yellow - apparently the fact that there was another defender (Stones?) in the same frame meant that it was a yellow. No matter that the defender was not between Vardy and goal and had zero chance of getting there.

Then last week I watched their match against Huddersfield. Pawson went through a 20 minute spell in the second half in which he couldn't have been more one-sided had he picked up the ball and chucked the thing in the net himself. Not the big stuff, mind. The penalty looked a correct decision. But there was a spell in which every little brush against a City player was punished whilst blatant trips and body checks the other way were ignored. This officiating reached its nadir at the point when De Bruyne cynically tugged back a Huddersfield player in identical circumstances to a foul given against a Huddersfield player 30 seconds previously. Only one player was booked - clue: it wasn't De Bruyne. Their win in midweek against Southampton came in the 97th minute - with only five added. And to think they used to moan about Fergie Time.

I guess them's the breaks when you're owned by a country, especially one where there the phrase "human rights" tends to be the label on the boxes of body parts removed from the political opponents of the ruling family out there. Perhaps someone could have a word with the country's de facto Minister Of Justice about the meaning of the words "fit and proper". They weren't shy in spending in the summer. Over ?200m of the UAE's money went on players (though in fairness they did get nearly ?70m of that back from sales). UEFA have confirmed that they won't be investigating potential breaches of FFP rules - look out for them coming down hard on some mid-table French team later this year for spending 10 euros too much on an academy player then. It is a bit of a farce when FFP can be bypassed by sponsoring yourself really. It's a case of FFP - but only if you like.

According to 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, ?43m of their spree went on Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva. Another ?34.9 on Brazilian 'keeper Ederson whilst ?43m was enough to rescue Kyle Walker from his Tottenham hell where they were so confused they realised they had two Kyle Walkers hanging around the place. Knowing Spurs fans they probably still don't know which one they flogged.for a similar role in East Manchester

Walker came in to replace Zabaletta who left for a football club and, because they could, they decided to pick up a spare in the form of Brazilian defender Danilo who swapped understudy duties at the Bernabeu for a similar role in East Manchester. Madrid to Moss Side. Why wouldn't you - I'm guessing the curries are better in Manchester.

For a few minutes the ?43m paid for Walker was the record for a defender until they dug out another ?52m to bring in Benjamin Mendy from Monaco. His season effectively ended in September when he did his anterior cruciate ligament against Palace. A nasty little blighter of an injury with which your correspondent is all too familiar from his own playing days. Mendy is going to be struggling to get back into the French side when World Cup time comes around next summer - if he falls just short he might look back on his hobbling down the line goal celebration in the Southampton match in midweek. I ached just watching it and found myself shouting "careful" at him. Weeks were added to my own recovery from said injury following an ill-judged decision to pop over to the Swan & Superinjunction to avoid the cabin fever from being stuck here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered.

At least another ?20m went on development squad and academy players whilst funds were recouped by getting money in for the likes of Bony, Iheanacho, Nasri, Fernando, Kolarov. There was also a loan fee for Joe Hart whose non-availability for this one might be no bad thing.

Us? Unacceptable, Disgraceful, spineless, useless. Again. Do those words seem familiar? They ought to. I have them on shortcut so often do I have to use them these days. Sure we suffered the usual stuff at the hands of Oliver - Hart clearly touched the ball for the penalty - and why anyone would trust the word of a liar like Poll you'd have to ask BT. However we seem to cave in every time a refereeing decision goes against us - and given how bent the officials are in this country that's not something we can afford to do. We also can't afford to miss penalties. On current form that will be the last penalty we get all season - PGMOL are probably fining Oliver for forgetting himself as we speak - and it came at a point where we were arguably on top. Convert it and it would have been game on. We didn't and suddenly the eleven in claret and blue joined Oliver in the class of animal known as invertebrate.

A couple of seasons ago Mr Bilic had many of those players playing to the best of their abilities both collectively and individually. Clearly in recent times he had lost the ability to do so, prompting the owners to dispense with his services. What was needed then was some sort of manager who could repeat the trick. I mean no disrespect to the chap personally but "inspirational" isn't the first adjective that leaps to mind when one considers Mr Moyes. One suspects that the two adjectives uppermost in the minds of the owners were "cheap" and "available". Certainly nothing else seems to have changed on the pitch. If the players are inspired they are hiding it well and, sadly, results are panning out much as one would have expected given who is in charge.

Just when things are going badly things get worse. An already threadbare defence looks set to be without Winston Reid as his hamstring went. He really ought to have gone off when it first went. It's not the sort of injury you can run off and had he gone off at that point the substitution would have been made with his replacement, Rice, coming on with the ball up the pitch. Instead Rice came on at a corner from which, predictably, we conceded. Basic stuff and so unprofessional but that's the club all over at the moment. No criticism of Rice intended by the way - it wasn't his fault he was thrown on at a corner and Antonio got in his way.

I mentioned the threadbare cupboard with regard to the defence. Well it ain't getting any better with the news that Collins lasted a mere 22 minutes of the U21 (ha) match the other night. So the lad Rice can probably look forward to a start this weekend unless they shoehorn Kouyate into the back four or five. And how uninterested did he look at Everton?

Prediction? It's a hiding to nothing isn't it. Threadbare team so totally lacking in confidence they couldn't take advantage of a team on the back of what their own supporters were calling their "worst performance in living memory". We lack so much confidence that we miss the only penalty we are likely to get this season. We are a team that referees openly hate. Against a team that referees love so that even when they are a few points down on their usual standard they seem to get a helping hand. It's not going to end well is it? The ?2.50 that I was going to invest in getting Panorama to look into the financial affairs of PGMOL will instead be going on a 5-0 home win Mr Winstone - in the hope we can keep it down that much.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Etihad: Lost 3-1

Two early goals from Sterling and Fernandinho put us on the back foot. We rallied in the second half and Antonio converted a Masuaku cross to put us back in the game. That was about as good as it got. Aguero's elbow on Reid was missed by Marriner despite him looking straight at it, an argument used by City supporters to justify the idea that a ban wasn't due. Thankfully - and unusually - the disciplinary bods ignored that argument for the hypocritical humbug it was and described the attack as "brutal" in their summing up when dishing out a retrospective ban. None of which was much use to us the home side put away a late third through Sterling who only a couple of months previously had looked about as much use as a tub of jellied eels in a tumble dryer as part of the debacle that had been England at Euro 16.

Referee: Mike Dean

As if things weren't already going to be hard enough. When all the bleeding hearts out there try to defend the ever-lowering standards of refereeing we have to endure in this country, one of the arguments you often hear in defence of the status quo is that "it's a tough job and all their decisions are analysed to death every week". Well not long ago this particular specimen gave a match-changing free-kick miming a shirt pull that had clearly never happened. The incident itself was looked at on the box and all agreed that it was a rotten decision. And that's where the "analysis" stopped. Proper analysis of this official might have picked up on the fact that he has a terrible record for making controversial and attention grabbing decisions - especially when he is on live tv. I realise that with Dean we are probably looking at a 13 one-hour episode series over his career but you have to ask why none of the TV companies or journalists have the bottle to stand up and say "No. That this official does this so often and so regularly is wrong and something ought to be done". The nearest we got to this was paper comment after last season's sending off (later rescinded as usual) of Feghouli at the OS. In, of course, a live TV game.

Dean should have been given a last chance in about 1997 and when he continued p*ssing over the game from which he makes a handsome if dishonest living he should have been barred from football for life like that chap in Africa - they didn't hang around to find out why he had influenced the result, the fact that he had done so was sufficient enough for CAF to kick him out. Instead we have the current position where nobody bats an eyelid whenever Dean hogs the limelight. More analysis I say. Not less.

Danger Man: Kevin De Bruyne

Class act who is so good that he will be even more of a danger man than Dean - which will annoy Dean no end. De Bruyne will be attracting the attention of the big boys in Spain - though with that ginger look all that sunshine might not be his scene.

Percy's poser:

Last time out we asked you why Everton's brand new electronic scoreboard immediately proved unfit for purpose when it was switched on for the first time in a match against Southampton in 1971. Congratulations to Mrs Dolores McIbruprofen whose correct answer was the first out of the digital hat. Dolores explains "Everton beat Southampton 8-0 that day and unfortunately the scoreboard only had space to display 7 of the goalscorers' details.

This week we ask: What happened to Ahmed Mansoor when he dared to speak out against abuses of human rights in the UAE? First correct answer out of the hat will win the right to tell us what they think about that situation - something poor old Ahmed hasn't got.

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