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Huddersfield Town v West Ham United

Filed: Friday, 9th November 2018
By: Preview Percy

We've spent most of today trying to work out exactly who the "mischievous few" are from this site that Sam Allardyce was moaning about in his latest radio rant. Then we remembered Preview Percy. Here's the old fool's look at this weekend's trip to Yorkshire...

Next up we traipse ‘oop north to he hosted by Huddersfield Town. 3pm on Saturday is kick-off time with this one not being high on the priority of the TV wallahs.

Travel may be an issue if you are travelling by train. Northern Rail have problems with the staff and some of the local trains may have problems. Details are far from clear at the time of writing but on the bright side Huddersfield is also serviced by something called “Trans Pennine Express” which, apparently, is a rail company unencumbered by hassles with RMT rather than an album by a Yorkshire Kraftwerk tribute act. Nearer to home of course there is little going on engineering-wise because with the joined-up thinking so typical of today’s railways, they save all that stuff for when we are at home. Check before you leave as ever.

And so we look at Huddersfield Town. The space tv companies would have you believe that this is their second season in the Premier League which, I suppose, technically it is. However, they have a few more seasons in the top flight as a whole under their belt, including three titles in a row back in the 20’s. They stayed up last season with 37 points which left them in 16th spot, four points clear of Swansea who occupied the uppermost of the relegation slots.

That they stayed up can be attributed in part to their good start last term where they lost just the one of their first six (2-0 to us at the Olympic) gaining 9 points in the process. After that they garnered the occasional win or two here and there. This suggests that they may have a problem this term. Prior to Monday night they were winless and stuck at the bottom with just the three points, gained from a goalless draw at home with Cardiff and 1-1 draws away at Everton and Burnley. Indeed, until they scored against Fulham on Monday – credited as an oggy to Fulham’s Fonsu-Mensah - they hadn’t scored at home since Tom I*ce’s 91st minute winner against Watford back in April.

The win against Fulham means that they are now third from bottom, the win having doubled their points tally to 6. This is the same as Newcastle who also notched their first win of the season last weekend but the Geordies sit outside of the drop zone by virtue of a goal difference that is 9 better.

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, informs me that they were fairly busy in the summer window. The first arrival was Dutchman Juninho Bacuna. The 21 year-old came in for an undisclosed fee of c£2.25m from Groningen. He’s not made much of an impression since making the trip across the Noordsee, though he may remember his debut in the League Cup for all the wrong reasons, notching a 40 yard og and succumbing to an injury that kept him out of contention until the end of October. Since then he has had two late sub appearances, most recently serving as a clock runner-down on Monday against Fulham. He has international recognition at age level for the Netherlands (wait for it) gaining three Dutch Caps at U21 level (ho-ho).

Keeper Ben Hamer came in on a free from Leicester having failed to dislodge Schmeichel from the no.1 slot over there. He started out as first-choice custodian this season whilst Danish shot-stopper Jonas Lossi had a post-World Cup breather. However a knock for Hamer saw Lossi take over twixt the sticks and he has been in the racing car seats ever since.

Egyptian winger Ramadan Sobhi arrived for £5.7m from Stoke. He made 27 appearances for the Potters last term before their relegation-inspired need to trim the wage bill saw him move up the M6 and across the M62. He has had a total of 33 minutes in the league this season spread across two sub appearances, the most recent of which was a 27-minute runout in the recent 3-0 defeat at Watford. The Cairo-born Real Madrid supporter has over 20 caps for Egypt which aren’t nearly as funny as those awarded to players from the Netherlands.

They haven’t really got a top-scorer as such. Well they do but the honour is split between messrs Billing, Stankovic, Jorgensen and Schindler all of whom have just the one, as does Own Goal. That should tell you something – just the five goals in the league this season has a lot to do with their current position. All of which means I may have some trouble picking up a Danger Man by the end of the page. I’ll talk about us for a bit then while I make up my mind.

Last week I left the ground with an odd feeling which, doctors assure me is what one gets when one leaves a ground having been entertained. It’s been a while. It seems our alien friends from the planet Kepler 442 (b) have been busy, kidnapping the Anderson who had been struggling in recent weeks, replacing him with an alien replica looking for all the world like the player we thought we had signed all along. It wasn’t just the goals. It wasn’t even the way he looked going forward. For me it was a change of apparent attitude that was refreshing. Now clearly we don’t expect much from him in a defensive capacity. That’s not what he is there for. However, there were a couple of occasions where he lost the ball where, unlike recent weeks he didn’t hide. He went and got the damned thing back. If I recall correctly the first time he did it he was warmly applauded – which may have triggered something in a synapse. So he did it a few more times. Keep it up sir I say.

Whilst our alien friends are about I wonder if I could prevail upon them to do something with the referees, though I fear invaders from another planet may have already beaten them to it. Certainly, nobody within a dozen parsecs of the Olympic Stadium would have given anything other than a penalty when Diangana was upended. And the shocking tackle on the same player by Tarkowski was a yellow card only to the warped mind of Roger East, leaving Mark Noble to wonder why he was having to watch the match from the stands. A doff of the cap, incidentally, to Burnley boss Sean Dyche for his comments on the penalty – refreshing honesty from a manager in a profession not noted for such a trait.

On the subject of Diangana, how about a bit of protection for him referees? He got kicked all over the place by Spurs last week, the astonishing lack of yellow cards from Atwell proving that he at least had no interest in honesty. We hear the likes of Zaha bleating every week that they keep getting fouled and refs are so worried they then give Zaha a penalty every time he dives. Unlike Zaha Diangana doesn’t dive all over the place so, also unlike Zaha there’s a better than 50-50 chance that if he goes down it’s a penalty. Just a thought referees, in case one of you actually wants to do the job you are overpaid to do sometime.

There were good runouts all over the shop last weekend so I suppose it would be a bit churlish of me to point out a couple of low points, namely the fact that at various stages we were 1-1 and 2-2 against a team we had played off the park – where was that Joe Hart last season? And that headed clearance from Mee was little short of magnificent it has to be said. Yet there we were with not that long to play level pegging with a team who had barely gotten out of its own half all game. See also Brighton and Spurs. Moral of the story: Convert the chances.

Injuries: Same as last week really. The nearest to a return will be Wilshere and Carroll who look likely to be available after the international break. The other day I had the tiniest gut feeling that Carroll might sneak into the squad this week. No ITK, no guesswork just a tiny nagging feeling at the back of my mind. But it’s gone now so you can ignore that one.

Well they will be buoyed by their win on Monday but then again it was against Fulham who are so bereft of “hap” that we really need a new word to replace “hapless” to describe them. If one could have “negative hap” that would be them. There starts my campaign to have "negative-hap" installed as the next "word of the year". I suppose Burnley aren’t much better but at least they can look at two of their three recent thrashings being against decent sides, though the Chelsea ought to worry them.

I’m thinking this is eminently winnable but I’m very wary of the fact that we often lose when I think that. So I will err on the side of caution and place the £2.50 I was going to put towards a trip to see the statue of Mo Salah that looks like Leo Sayer on a draw. I shall therefore open up the Winstone Turf Accountancy app (When The Fun Stops Allardyce is on the radio again) and stick the whole damned lot on 2-2.

Enjoy the game!

When Last we met at the Horrible Bitter Stadium: Won 4-1 (Premier League January 2018)

Noble put us 1-0 up in a first half we bossed, so, as usual they equalised just before the interval through Lolley. The second half was a bit of a waltz though as Arnie and a brace from Lanzini sealed the points

Danger Man: Christopher Schindler

Yes I know he’s a defender but it’s a tough week for danger men. He is a danger at corners and we’re not doing too well with those at the moment.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Promoted to the select group in 2017. Nobody knows why. Or how.

Percy’s Poser

Last week we visited the Lancashire Telegraph for the following headline from which we removed a number of important words.

Burnley XXXXXXXXXXX pubs receive top rating in national XXX awards

Congratulations to Mrs Belinda Luxury-Yacht of Bradwell on Sea who correctly identified the missing words as “Wetherspoons” and “Loo”. They sure know how to have a good time in Burnley.

This week we visit the Huddersfield local news website the Examiner from which the following headline has had certain words removed:

Students at college have to ask teachers for XXXXXX XXXXX after XXX XXXX XXX

Best of 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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