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Leicester City v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 4th May 2018
By: Preview Percy

This week Preview Percy tries desperately to look at this weekend's visit to Leicester without mentioning beaches.And fails....

Next up it’s up the M1 we go following signs in the general direction of the National Space Centre (it still amuses me that we have a "Mission Control Leicester") where we will be hosted by Leicester City. Kick off is at God’s appointed time of 3pm on Saturday which is good. Stuff going on between Shenfield and Southend Victoria but the East Midlands mainline looks clear. Check before you leave as ever.

So Leicester then. See if you can find a preview anywhere that doesn’t employ the phrase “already on the beach” with respect to our hosts. Not this one though. Well, apart from this bit obviously.

They sit in 9th place at present with 44 points from the 35 games played so far. That’s four points behind Everton in 8th over whom they have a game in hand. That’s also a full 10 points behind Burnley who occupy what would appear to be the final Thursday Night League qualification slot. Not much to play for then, but I’m still not mentioning that beach though. Apart from this bit. And the previous bit.

Their last outing was what you might call eventful, going down as they did 5-0 at Palace. That match featured a sending off for Marc Albrighton for denial of goalscoring opportunity – though it was at best 50-50 as to whether or not Zaha would have beaten Hamer to the ball. Albrighton then faced a further charge for his conduct at the referee, a certain Mike Dean. Now one day when the truth comes out about this official I am going to set up an ambulance chasing style legal company which will bombard players and clubs with annoying phonecalls and ask them, in the style of those people who try and get you compensation for mis-sold PP!, whether or they have had any financial loss at the hands of Dean. I’d take a reasonable percentage for my trouble of course – 10% should enable me to by myself my own island hideaway somewhere nice and warm.

At the time of writing I haven’t seen the result of the additional charge but frankly, if asked for the grounds of appeal, Albrighton should merely say “Mike Dean” and put his feet up.

There will, of course, be a bit of a frisson in and around the directors seats this weekend. In January we apparently made an enquiry as to the availability of Islam Slimani during the January window. This enquiry was given the cold shoulder, apparently the result of yet another disastrous entry in the Baroness’s newspaper column. It seems the Baroness managed to insult Leicester’s owner suggesting that he had calmly spent £500,000 on wine the night he had sacked Ranieri. Despite subsequent apology, it is said that their Thai owners are still not overly pleased with Brady. So the atmosphere is likely to be a bit on the cool side. The board has said that they will be going to the match but don’t know where they will be sitting. Which raises the question “is there any part of the ground in which GSB will actually be welcome?

Still it’s a good job we don’t actually do public relations disasters at our club or we’d really be in trouble, wouldn’t we. In the meantime can anyone out there tell me of a job where you can continually write stuff that would cause reputational damage to your employer without getting you dismissed or disciplined? Just asking for a friend you understand.

In the end Slimani went out on loan to Newcastle where he managed to end his season early by re-enacting the famous kicking of Bishop Brennan up the arse scene from Father Ted with a West Brom player taking the role of Bishop Brennan.

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 tells me that officially two players came in during that window/, although in actuality those two were really just the one. Confused? Well it’s like this. Technically speaking, Adrien Silva arrived in January. In fact they signed the player back in summer but thanks to the fax work going through 14 seconds too late FIFA banned him from playing until the next window. Funnily enough something similar happened at Arsenal a few years ago but their signing was allowed to play immediately. Funny that.

The other arrival in January was Fousseni Diabate. The undisclosed fee paid to former club Gazelec Ajaccio (translation: Corsican Gasworks XI) was apparently £2m. Although capped at age level by Mali, he was born in France meaning that his EU passport came in handy come transfer time, with all that tedious counting up of full international caps and percentages and all that stuff neatly avoided. Which raises the question again as to what’s going to happen to all these players post-Brexit?

There may be a return between the posts for Kaspar “son of Rudolph” Schmeichel who has been out for a few games with a dodgy ankle. He is rated 50-50 at the time of writing with Hamer in line to deputise should Lurpak not be available.

Also unlikely to feature is Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki who, after all that throwing himself to the ground that he is so fond of now has a real injury to contend with, another ankle problem looking likely to keep him out of the side. And, as if the Palace match wasn’t eventful enough for them with five goals shipped and one of their better players sent off, they also lost Wilfred “Yes” Ndidi with a hamstring injury which will keep him away from proceedings on Saturday. Ndidi won the club’s “Young Player Of The Year” award which will come as scant consolation should the hamstring keep him out of Nigeria’s World Cup squad this summer.

One who will be available is Rat Boy Jamie Vardy. He turned up on the box last week to deny that the players had any problem with Manager Claude Puel. The only problem with the interview was that he made a less than convincing witness, having the air of all those people who appeared on the box telling us that Robert Maxwell was a great guy just after he’d died.
It is said that the owners held a meeting after the Palace debacle and that Puel may only have until the end of the season to prove he can still get something out of the side.

And so to us. Well ok nobody was expecting much out of that game but the manner of the defeat was disappointing to put it mildly. It’s very galling to lose a game containing five goals when you have scored three of them. Annoyingly there was a spell in that match where we actually worked out how to get ourselves into the game. Firstly we suffered from the officials going all gooey-eyed at Man City, firstly denying Arnautovic a goal for a foul that wouldn’t have been given up the other end. Then Fernandes got upended in the box only for Swarbrick to give a free-kick a few yards away. Thankfully the officials couldn’t come up with a good reason to disallow Cresswell’s splendid free-kick, though I am sure they might have done given a few more minutes. The big problem was having worked out what to do we came out after the interval and promptly stopped doing it.

Of course the refereeing incompetence wasn’t all one way, they should have had a penalty when Cresswell took Sterling’s legs away. However that error was sort of understandable. After all if you aren’t sure with Sterling and assume that he has dived, you are going to be right more often than you are wrong. See also Zaha and, more relevantly, Vardy.

Injury news is a bit odd. Having spent the last few months being on the “see you next season” list Obiang is now said to be close to a return. This one seems to have been a week or so too early though. Ginge will be similarly absent.

Then there is Carroll. When he discovered that he wasn’t amongst the three deckchairs to be rearranged on the Titanic on Sunday he disappeared down the tunnel with a burst of speed not seen all day by a West Ham player. “I needed the bog” was, apparently, the none-too convincing excuse. Which went down about as well as Jeremy Corbyn at a Bar Mitzvah when it came to training the following week. Words were exchanged with Moyes and the player sent home with a note for his parents as to why he had been a bad boy.

Fast forward 24 hours and the player apparently apologised to the manager and all is sweetness and light again. I can only think that the player’s sudden Damascene conversion might have something to do with the fact that, by getting himself some sort of internal suspension he would be severely limiting his scope of getting game time. I mean it’s bad enough being out injured but when that bullet wound is self-inflicted…

Well we are at the stage of the season where we are nervously glancing over our shoulders. Which makes you look back on matches like Stoke at home where we seemed to set up with a “must avoid defeat” mentality. We achieved that I suppose but the extra two points we should have been going for would have seen us safe to all intents and purposes. I guess that there’s a possibility we’ll set up the same way for this one – if results go the expected way over the next few days that point could be enough. The problem I have is that word “could”.

We should be capable of a win but frankly this will depend on whether they players are told to give it a go. I’m not sure that that is happening at the moment so the traditional £2.50, which I was previously going to donate to the Goodbye Arsene Trophy Parade Fund will instead be going on a draw. 1-1 please Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the “Daft Name For A” Stadium. Lost 1-0 (Premier League December 2016)

Schmeichel had one of those days against us as he pulled off save after save against Payet and Cresswell. Slimani was on target with a first-half header to give them all three points.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh:
In his rookie season at the top level. And it shows. Mind you some of them have been doing it for ages, not that you’d notice.

Danger Man: Riyad Mahrez

The transfer request he submitted in January is no longer in operation though the player admits that his future is “uncertain”. Translation “I’m off In the Summer”. If he’s in the mood he can be a right handful.

Percy’s Poser

Last week we asked you why is Associated Press Journo Rob Harris is unlikely to be on Guardiola’s Christmas card list this year? A copy of the Sheffield United Little Book Of Hypocrisy goes to Mrs Hortensia Vacuum-Cleaner of Westcliffe On Sea for informing us:

“At a press conference earlier this year Guardiola, having been rather effusive with his praise for his club’s owners earlier on went all moral high ground with his support for Catalonian independence going into great detail of how his people had the right to freedom. Whereupon, alone amongst the gathered journos, Mr Harris asked Guardiola how he could square his support for “freedom” with his collecting of large amounts of money in salary from people to whom human rights obviously meant nothing. At this point Guardiola mumbled something vague about that being different or something. So that’s ok then!”
Well put Hortensia.

For this week’s poser we look at Leicester itself. When they won the league a few years back the Daily Express, in a desperate attempt to find something interesting to say about the place, came up with one of “those 10 facts you didn’t know about” pieces. (Even their local paper only managed nine). No. 10 of these facts was the fact that Leicester Square was named after the 2nd Earl of Leicester. All of which would have been fine but for what rather big blunder made by the work experience kid they presumably used to post the piece online?

A copy of “The Idiot’s Guide To Tourist London” goes to the winner assuming such a thing exists.
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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