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West Ham United v Watford

Filed: Friday, 21st December 2018
By: Preview Percy

Is Preview Percy happy with us getting four in a row? Surprisingly, the answer is yes he is. It hasn't stopped him moaning about the weather at Craven Cottage though. Here's his look at this weekend's visit of Watford which will take place in warmer and dryer conditions. He'll have to find another excuse for those "medicinal" brandies then...

Next up we return home where we will play host to Watford for our final home game of the year. Kick-off is 3pm (hooray) and Network Rail have given the football bothering dept. the weekend off. However the scrooges at the RMT Union have called a strike on the Central Line which will nause your journey up if that’s your preferred route. You can’t help thinking that if the RMT leadership hadn’t been so busy sticking their expense claims in they would have arranged their strike for one of the weeks when Network Rail were digging up the area they could really have annoyed people. Having said all that Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me that it’s been called off. So the delays will simply be down to the usual incompetence then.

Watford then. They currently stand in 10th place with 24 points from the 17 played so far. They sit just below us on goal-difference, our 2-0 win on Saturday giving us a neutral GD as opposed to their -2, which, I suppose you could also attribute to the two late ones they let in against Cardiff on Saturday. That looked an odd game. By all accounts Delofeu, with whom we were linked a few years back, had one of the sort of games that clubs sign him for. His problem has always been one of consistency, hence his current employer I guess.

The Cardiff match, four of the five goals of which were rather good, marked their first three-pointer since the end of October when they beat Huddersfield 3-0. Since then they’ve lost to Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester and Man City, with just the two points from draws with Southampton and Everton to write home about. Food for thought then for manager Javi Garcia. He pitched up at Vicarage Road in January after they dismissed Marco Silva with whom Everton had been chatting on the quiet, prompting Watford supporters to wave inflatable snakes at the Everton dugout the other night. Apropos which, is it just me or does this recent trend for referring to disliked opponents as “snakes” just a little bit, well, soft. Every time I see the word in print I envisage an irate Kenneth Williams berating someone with “you, you snake you”. Bring back cad, bounder and scoundrel I say.

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me that Garcia brought in 8 players during the summer window, though not all of these were earmarked for the first team window. The highest profile (and fee) for these related to the aforementioned Delofeu. He came in for £11.5m from Barcelona who had exercised a repurchase option when things didn’t quite work out at Everton – who had loaned him out to AC Milan for the latter part of his spell there. We like “unusual” international stuff in these parts and it pleases us no end to discover that, in addition to his Spanish caps, he has one appearance for the Catalan “national” side under his belt.

Delofeu’s compatriot Marc Navarro came in for an undisclosed fee of €2m (£1.8m according to Sally at he Post Office) from Barca’s neighbours Espanyol. A right back he has not featured since the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the end of September, his only other two appearances coming prior to that in the League Cup. He wasn’t in last Saturday’s squad and it doesn’t appear that he has been injured according to the usual sources. Still telling you that took up a few lines in a process that I believe journalists refer to as “padding”.

Slightly more significant a signing was that of Ben Foster. Technically this is his third spell with the Hornets him having had back to back loan seasons at Vicarage Road back in 2005-06 and 2006-07 when he was on the books at Old Trafford. This is, however, the player’s first permanent spell with Watford who picked him up for £4m in the aftermath of West Brom’s relegation to the Championship at the end of last season. We do love a comedy club name here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered so it is a source of some amusement that the player began his adult football career with Racing Club Warwick, then of the Southern League Division One. (That’s division one WEST, obviously). He still lives in Warwickshire in a house that he apparently designed himself and he can also turn himself to providing a decent fried-egg sandwich when the occasion demands having trained as a chef before turning professional with Stoke City, a club more noted for its butchery than haute cuisine.

We relieved them of £1m in exchange for Domingos Quina. At one stage Quina was highly thought of at the Academy and his handful of first XI appearances includes a sub appearance in the 3-0 defeat of NK Domzale in the first ever match played in the Olympic. Quina left in the summer with the thought of more first team opportunities being uppermost in the player’s mind. Based on recent seasons that may have been a fair point and things are going reasonably well for the lad, who became their youngest Premier League scorer against Cardiff last weekend. However, one of the more pleasing aspects of the Pellegrini era has been the close interest taken by MP in the progress of the youngsters at the club. Yes we knew all about Rice already but the emergence of Diangana as a genuine option for the first team shows how that policy is beginning to bear fruit so maybe the player might one day have cause to think of what might have been.

They will be welcoming back Etienne Capoue back from suspension. He picked up a red against Leicester, a decision that cheesed Watford off so much they appealed. And when that was rejected they went to arbitration. That was rejected and at that point they abandoned the “keep appealing until you find someone stupid enough to fall for it” tactic so successfully pioneered by Sheffield United all those years ago.

Capoue might have been unlucky to get a 3 match ban but that can be countered by the fact that the loathsome Troy Deeny got away with an attempted vasectomy last week against Cardiff’s Etheridge. It’s not often that one agrees with Colin Warnock but Deeny is the sort of player that regularly likes to leave a few studs in. Makes you nostalgic for the days of Billy Bonds who would have sorted him out without breaking sweat.

And so to us. Well ten out of ten for getting four in a row though I think the team would, on its own admission, describe the Fulham performance as “professional” or “workmanlike” rather than “scintillating” which would not be an exaggeration as a descriptive for some of the football seen in recent weeks. Having said that I was put in mind of Man City’s performance at the Olympic a few weeks back. It wasn’t great per se and we had a number of good chances over the course of the game. However, you always got the impression that had we had the temerity to score they would have stepped it up a gear or two. And that was how I felt about us on Saturday – we weren’t brilliant but we didn’t have to be.

That notwithstanding there were some decent shows – Anderson and Antonio both putting in a decent shift as did Fabianski – though to be honest such was Fulham’s lack of confidence in front of goal we were looking at saves that one might these days expect of the ‘keeper. Hats off too to our alien overlords from the planet Kepler 442b who, having kidnapped our owners and replacing them with shape-shifting aliens programmed not to open their gobs seemed to have managed to pull off the same trick with Mike Dean who, despite the fact that the match was live on tv managed to get through the game without getting anything major wrong. One hopes that the real Dean is currently enduring some particularly unpleasant probing back in the experimental laboratory back on the Keppler 442b mothership.

I do have to say that in all my years of following the club I have never been colder or wetter whilst watching football – and bear in mind that includes trips to Newcastle. That rain fair wreaked havoc with my arthritis and it is an odd feature of that walk through the park to their ground that, as soon as the ground comes into view it seems to start getting further away. However, apart from my arthritis we seemed to come out of the game with no fresh injury worries.

Prediction? Well that very quiet noise you can hear is the sound of Hammers not getting carried away. We’re like that you see. False dawns have been so common to us over the years that, by the time we realise it’s been a real dawn, the landlord at the Swan & Superinjunction is shouting “time gentlemen please”. So we like to err on the side of caution and I’m no exception in this case.

I’ve been wavering between a win and a draw but on the whole I will go on the slightly optimistic path of enlightenment and plump for a home win. So fire up the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (when the fun stops it’s some female once a year drinker trying to tell you she fancies you shortly before depositing the three mince pies and four large vodka contents of her stomach on the pavement) and I shall place the £2.50 I was going to spend on new drones for the ones the nephews seem to have lost somewhere in Sussex on a 2-1 home win.

At this time of year I’m supposed to wish you all well. However, that would make it look like I actually care. But since they have threatened to hide my lineament I suppose I had better wish you the least unpleasant festive season possible and a new year devoid of embarrassing rashes.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Olympic: Won 2-0 (Premier League February 2018)

Pre-match David Sullivan expressed his wish to see David Moyes at the club “for many years to come”. Those aliens from Kepler 442b couldn’t come quickly enough. Hernandez opened the scoring towards the end of the first half whilst Arnie made sure of the points, netting from close range with seven left making it five unbeaten at the Olympic.

Referee: Lee Mason

With Troy Deeny likely to line up for the opponents you would hope for a calm referee not afraid to clamp down on the sort of thing that Deeny got away with last week. Unfortunately we have Lee Mason who is that proverbial of referees who is capable of doing the job of two men – Laurel & Hardy.

Danger Man: Gerard Delefeou

Consistency has always been his problem but if he is on as good form as he was in the Cardiff match last he could be a handful.

Percy’s Poser

Last week we visited the fulhamsw6.com who were (inexplicably) getting very excited about the subject of the missing words headline as follows:

XXXX XXXX brings XXXXXXX XXXX XXXX to Fulham Broadway

Congratulations to Mrs Sandra Multiple Occupancy-Dwelling who correctly identified the missing words as Taco Bell Mexican Fast Food. Thanks but I’ll stick to a tub of eels if its all the same to you.

This week we have a gander at the Watford Observer whence the following hedline has been lifted:

Britain’s XXXXXX XXXXXXX hits the high street at the XXX XX XXX

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.

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