Text  Larger | Smaller | Default

Fulham v West Ham United

Filed: Thursday, 13th December 2018
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy nearly broke into a smile with the team having won three in a row. Especially as the third win came against Palace from Croydon, a town for which he has much disdain (something about his ex-wife). Then he saw who was refereeing this week's visit to Fulham. Normal service resumed then....

Next up we take a trip down the District Line, taking the first available train and changing at Earl’s Court where no Wimbledon train is shown on the indicator.. No engineering works are planned on the trains or the tube for anywhere that might be relevant – Network Rail are happy to upset football fans but not Westfield in the run-up to Christmas it seems.

So Fulham then. They came up at the end of last season via the playoffs, amusing the hell of all right-thinking people by ruining the day of the obnoxious John Terry. However it’s not been the best of returns to the upper echelons and they currently sit in bottom place with 9 points from their 16 played so far. This has left them level on points with the equally hapless Southampton who have a goal difference better (or, more accurately, less worse) to the tune of seven goals. Burnley lifted themselves out of the bottom three last weekend and sit on 12 points alongside Palace so those are their immediate targets. Last weekend they went down 4-1 at Old Trafford, thus giving Man Utd supporters bragging rights over their neighbours.

They are, of course, on their second manager of the season having dispensed with the services of Jokanovic back in November. The arrival of Ranieri seemed to have the immediate effect that a new boss often gives to struggling sides, with them defeating the aforementioned Southampton 3-2, though it was backs to the wall at the end as the visitors pushed for the equaliser. Any hopes that what was only their second win of the season would set them on a run were dashed in the following weeks, a point from a 1-1 home draw against Leicester being the only return from the last three, Chelsea strolling to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge and the aforementioned 4-1 reverse at Old Trafford completing the set. Ranieri seemed a bit confused about the Old Trafford result – “it was 11 lambs against 11 wolves” he claimed. No Claude, you don’t play Wolves until Boxing Day. Hope that helps.

There are two ways you can go on promotion. You can either hide the club wallet and see how far you can go with what you have got, taking advantage of the parachute payments if and when relegation comes, or you can spend a few bob to try and stay up and consolidate. Owned by the chap who wanted to buy Wembley a few months back, they elected to bring in a few new faces, which means some hard work for Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile.

The fee(s) paid for Nice pair Jean Michael Seri and Maxime Le Marchand is the subject of some debate. The players moved for a combined fee of somewhere between £25-30m, Seri’s chunk of that weighing in at c£5-10m. Which would be all well and good but for the fact that Serri’s contract with Nice provided for them to pay him some sort of bonus which was based on the size of the transfer fee. Given that the player had a release clause in his contract said to be over £35m, Seri called “foul” claiming that, with Fulham’s collusion, he had been severely undervalued in order for Nice to avoid shelling out on the bonus. Ivorian club Mimosas and Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira (remember them?) also have an eye on proceedings – both count themselves amongst Seri’s former employers and both are believed to have negotiated sell-on clauses based on transfer fee profits. Just to throw another tub of Alka-Seltzer into the fizz, there are now queries over the agents involved, the infamous Willy and Mark McKay joining in with all the fun at the expense of another representative who therefore allegedly missed out on a million or two as his cut from the deal. But apart from that the deal was fine.

The £22m paid for striker Alex Mitrovic rubber stamped the player’s permanent move from Newcastle, the Serb having spent the second half of last season on loan. You may recall that he picked up a suspension for elbowing Lanzini at St James’ Park last season, an act made all the more disgusting by the fact that 4th official Mike Jones watched it happen and decided not to intervene despite having done so for a number of more minor issues. After his ban Benitez held back from picking the player for a few games and it wasn’t a surprise when talks were opened with Bordeaux and his former club Anderlecht when the window opened. Premier League wages being what they are the move to Europe didn’t take place and the loan to Craven Cottage eventually took place just as the window closed.

They spent £15m on central defender Alfie Mawson who Swansea had to cash in on following relegation. Mawson spent ages being linked with us last term but in the end we ended up with Balbuena and Diop. Overall I’m not too unhappy about that. Mawson missed the start of the season with a knee problem but has played the last six. However his return from sick bay hasn’t helped shore up a defence which has contributed to a -24 goal difference.

They broke their transfer record on deadline day to bring in Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa. The fee of about £30m took their spending to £100m – similar to ours. I reckon we’ve had better value for our money. Anguissa, a central midfielder with international caps for Cameroon, will be missing this weekend due to his picking up a brace of yellows in Salford last Saturday, a decision that owed more to the disgustingly poor levels of refereeing in this country than anything else.

They pulled in a few loan signings while they were at it. Andre Schurrle came in from Borussia Dortmund on an unusual two-season deal. He managed the neat trick of winning a Premier League winner’s medal without actually realising it. He left Chelsea for Wolfsburg in January 2015 but had played enough games for the Pensioners to qualify for a medal, a fact of which he was blissfully unaware until receiving a text from Mourinho along the lines of “where do you want this medal sent”. He’s their second top scorer this season, his 5 being two goals behind the 7 of Mitrovic. Those 12 goals represent four fifths of the 15 Fulham have scored in the league this season.

They have used three ‘keepers in the league this season. One of these is the Spaniard Sergio Rico, who is on a one season loan from Sevilla. He got the nod last weekend over Marcus Betinelli who, despite the moniker is actually of these waters and has England U21 caps to boot. Betinelli was between the sticks for the promotion campaign. He’s made 7 appearances this season with Rico making 6. The other two appearances were mopped up by another Spaniard in the form of Fabri who was another of the new arrivals this summer.

And so to us! Another odd but ultimately satisfying game last weekend. The first half saw Palace nick a goal and commence time-wasting. Keeper Hennessy took 45 seconds over one goal-kick and was scarcely any more rapid with any of the others as they brought their anti-football across the water. I’m not sure what would have annoyed me more had the free-kick they got late on in the first half gone in. The blatant dive from Townsend that bought it, the fact that ref Taylor made sure that the wall was back about 13 yards or the fact that we would have been 2-0 down to such a mediocre team. All would have grated. As usual Taylor made a great play of pointing to his watch whenever Hennessy was taking a goal kick and did the square root of sod-all about it, the three minutes of stoppage being accounted for by the arrival of the physio.

The arrival of Carroll for the ineffective, and, as it turned out, injured Perez changed things – though not in the way one would have expected 12 months ago. We carried on passing and Carroll proved adept at taking the ball into feet, holding the ball up and bringing others into play. Snodgrass levelled things with a worldy – how improved is he by the way? Tomkins moaned merry hell about giving away the free-kick that led to the second – to the extent that he picked up a post-match yellow that will keep him out of the next match. He was wrong – he clearly clipped Carroll.

Anderson’s free-kick was marvellous and Chicharito’s anticipation was exactly the sort of thing we signed him for. And if Snodgrass’s goal was great Anderson’s took things up a level as we made a bid to have our own corner to ourselves on MOTD’s goal of the month competition. The late header from Schlupp might have made things worrying for the last few minutes but, one ball played across the goal apart we saw out the last few minutes quite comfortably really. And how hilarious was it to see Hennessy sprinting to take goal kicks in the last few minutes.

Special mention should go to Zabaleta who had the handicap of getting up and down the right-hand side with Zaha in his pocket. I’ve seen others sent off for the sort of petulant stamp that was Zaha’s only contribution to the game.. And he would be moaning his head off had Zabaleta done it to him.

So three goals, three points and, until Mike Dean decided otherwise up at Newcastle, tenth place. The memory of those first four games is getting dimmer by the week.

At first it was thought that there were no new injuries to speak of. Then Perez posted photos of a nasty looking cut on the top of his foot. Hopefully it looks worse than it actually is. Honestly these carpet slippers players wear these days. Cresswell was fit enough to return to the bench – somewhat surprisingly given the nature of his injury - leaving Lanzini, Yarmalenko, Sanchez, Reid, Arnautovic, Wilshere and Fredericks on the unavailable list.

And so on to the prediction. Well confidence levels are sky high at the moment, obviously. However, one should point out that we are a work in progress still and it would be typical of us to slip up against the bottom side in the league. Ok that’s the statutory small print out of the way. Truth be told even my usual pessimistic self can’t see a defeat in this one. Even allowing for the choice of referee.

They don’t score many up front and they let in loads at the back so I’m going to place the £2.50 that I was going to pay Mike Dean to simply bugger off on an away win. Let’s fire up the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops The Carol singers have arrived) and place the whole bally lot on a 3-1 win for us and, given the unusual circumstances surrounding the bet, Mr Winstone has kindly agreed that the bet can be cancelled if (when) Dean deliberately manipulates a decision to alter the result.

Enjoy the game!

When Last we met at the Cottage: Lost 2-1 (Premier League January 2014)

An injury-hit side saw us field four full-backs and a midfielder in a back five. We went 1-0 up then, just before a corner, Noble sat down injured and was unable to take any further part in proceedings. Rat came on and they scored from the corner while we were still working out who was marking who. Nolan then kicked out at someone who had shoved him off the ball, earning himself his second red card in 4 days. Berbatov scored the winner from the part of the ground from which he hadn’t moved all afternoon. We finished 8 points clear of them and stayed up. They went down.

Danger Man: Aleksandr Mitrovic

A bit too handy with his elbows so cool heads required.

Referee: Mike Dean

I have read things in Stephen Hawking’s “A brief History Of Time” that are easier to understand than why this official is a) still in a job and b) not actually in prison. Remember, doing rock, scissors, paper to decide kick-off is “not acting in the best interests of the game” whilst deliberately flouting the laws of the game because you are (at best) a megalomaniac on an ego trip or (at worst) corrupt over a period of many years, is absolutely fine.

Percy’s Poser

Last week we visited the Croydon Advertiser whence came the following headline:
legendary XXXX X’ XXXXX XXXXXXXXX XXXXX wants improvements to Crystal Palace dinosaurs

Congratulations to Hortensia Hip-Joint of Sudbury who correctly identified the missing words as: “Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash”. Obvious when you think about it.

This week we go to the fulhamsw6.com website who have (inexplicably) been getting very excited about the subject of this week’s missing words headline as follows:

XXXX XXXX brings XXXXXXX XXXX XXXX to Fulham Broadway

Good luck everybody!

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.

Your Comments

comments powered by Disqus