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Burnley v West Ham United

Filed: Saturday, 29th December 2018
By: Preview Percy

That bloke ahead of you in the queue spouting lots of consumer law in an attempt to get a refund for a faulty zimmer frame he got for Christmas? It's Preview Percy. He's in the shop because he got fed up with being on hold during the call, a state of affairs which lasted so long he had time to write his look at this weekend's visit to Burnley.....

Next up it is to East Lancs we journey where we will be hosted by Burnley. Kick off is 2:15. The Colne – Blackpool South line which serves Burnley (usually you change at Preston) has replacement buses all day and, even if you can get up there, getting back is likely to be a bit of a sod with a severely restricted service into and out of Euston operating after midday. Check before you leave – which should have been about two hours ago.

Our hosts are in a spot of form at the moment. Unfortunately for them that form is best described as “poor”. They’ve lost nine of their last eleven with only one win (1-0 at home to Brighton) and a goalless draw (away at Leicester) to break up the what appears to be the contents of a Welsh Scrabble bag.

They’ve let in eight in their last two matches, five against Everton and three against Arsenal who had Sean Dyche doing his nut over the constant diving they and others seem to get away with. Just wait until you play Liverpool Sean. All of which leaves them second from bottom with 12 points from the 19 played to date – just the two above Huddersfield after Fulham’s late win over the Terriers allowed the Cottagers to leap frog the Clarets. Dark days then.

I’ve been able to give Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile the day off – she covered their new signings a few weeks ago and since the new window doesn’t open for a few days she has nothing new to look up for me.

The joint top scorer in the league (with Sam Vokes) is Austria’s own Ashley Barnes. Back in March Austria were keeping an eye on the player with a view to perhaps adding to the half a match he got for them at U21 level a few years ago. Although he can point to his top scorer status at present it’s probably wisest to assume that those three goals won’t have caused an awful lot of excitement in Vienna or Salzburg.

It’s a bit hard to find anything positive to say about them at the moment. I thought I would try and inject a moment of levity into proceedings lest any visiting supporters be popping by. So I googled “Burnley Bright Spot” in the hope of finding an article that contained the words “the one Bright Spot for Burnley this season has been…..” The best I could come up with was a Lancashire Telegraph story confirming that the local council is about to spend £15,000 on improved street lighting. So at least they’ll be able to find their way home from the pub after the match I suppose.

On the injury front they will be without Ward and Lennon (both knee injuries) whilst Brady and Defour are major doubts, with late fitness tests being the order of the day. They will also be missing defender Matt Lowton who has tripped the five yellow card limit and thus has an enforced day off.

Nick Pope is just match-fitness short of a return but will then have to cope with the task of replacing Joe Hart who is doing his best to stem the tide of goals behind a defence behind a defence which has let in 41 goals this season – only Fulham (43) have a defence more porous at the time of writing.

I shall draw a discreet veil over Burnley and move on to current affairs. Quite what Dyche has made of the FA’s latest disgusting move on the subject of simulation lord alone knows. For those who have not been following the situation, Mo Salah cheated his way to a penalty against Newcastle last weekend. And as I was getting this ready he has just done it again in a match that he should have missed through suspension.

Diving’s not unusual at that club which practically invented it in this country. However, Salah’s actions have been such an embarrassing example of the tactic that it looked like this time even the FA would have to act. So is Salah looking at a two-match ban? Of course not. It’s Liverpool to whom the regulations don’t apply.

The FA gave the reason that because there had been a bit of contact it didn’t fit the criteria for a suspension. Which would be fine except: a) The retrospective action regulation makes no mention of “contact” despite the FA's rather disingenuous statement that suggests otherwise, b) Law 12 requires any contact to actually “impede” an opponent (the actual opposite of the often reported excuse from diving apologists and all Liverpool fans - a lie first perpetuated by Hansen and Lawrenson -that “if there is contact a player has every right to go down” and c) the fact that there has been contact has never stopped them from issuing retrospective bans in the past.

The message is clear: Diving is bad. Unless it’s Liverpool then we will rewrite everything we can and actually ignore the laws of the game to avoid upsetting the Scousers who continue to be treated as exempt to the regulations that apply to most of the league. The FA have legalised diving just to suit Liverpool. Tawdry affair all round, not that they will give a monkey’s up on Merseyside or at FA HQ at Wembley.

We, of course played on Thursday rather than Boxing Day. We were in our pre-match watering hole of choice when the teams were announced and the general reaction was one of worry. The late withdrawal from the squad of Zabaleta with a spot of flu left us with just the 6 on the bench – I was available but there’s some regulation about not bringing zimmer frames onto the pitch (though no doubt that would have been ignored had Liverpool been involved).

It looked like our fears were going to be confirmed in the first couple of minutes but halfway through the first half it suddenly dawned on me that we were bossing it. The reason for that was Declan Rice whose performance was, quite simply, magnificent. The news that the contract stuff has now been sorted out is therefore most welcome. All he needs to do is discover what nationality he is and life is complete.

I suppose it was typical West Ham that we should go 1-0 down to a handball. What wasn’t typical West Ham was the fact that we carried on as before and within 9 minutes we were 2-1 up. Deservedly so as well. Anderson’s finishing was class personified. And did anyone else notice that (the also impressive) Antonio’s pass found no fewer than FOUR team mates queueing up to bear down on goal? One can only imagine how a certain ex-manager might have reacted to that! Also in the “did anyone else notice” file were the post-match team celebrations. That is a squad with some team spirit believe me.

The latest on the injury/illness front is that of the 10 missing on Thursday, three have any sort of chance of being about on Sunday. Zabaleta is rated as 75% likely to have made sufficient recovery from hid illness to play some sort of role, even if it’s in the racing car seats. Both Hernandez (back/hamstring) and Arnautovic (hamstring) are rated as 50-50. Everyone else on the list will be out.

Which leads me on to the prediction. This one is ours to lose really. It’s a shame to see Burnley struggle – there are many other clubs I’d rather see go down and I have a lot of time for Dyche. However, business before pleasure and all that so I’m hoping for their recovery to start in the new year.

Much will depend on whether we can get some or all of the “possible three” back in action to relieve some tired legs but, having said that, the boost from what was a superb performance on the south coast should spill over into this one against a team surely shell-shocked after conceding a shedload at Goodison Park. 17 for and 43 in the against column tell you much of you need to know so I will therefore go for an away win. Please debit my account with the £2.50 I was going to use to send the FA a copy of the laws of the game and their own regulations and, using the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops it’s because Liverpool say so) I shall place an appropriate wager on a 3-1 win to us.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at Turf Moor: Drew 1-1 (Premier League October 2017)

Antonio opened the scoring on 20 minutes. Carroll rather stupidly picked up two yellows in quick succession. We held on until a late equaliser from Woods gave the home side a share of the points.

Referee: David Coote

Here’s a funny thing. About 18 months or so ago this chap was under investigation for some sort of “misconduct”. What that misconduct was we don’t know. What the result of that investigation was we also don’t know. I mean we must assume that he emerged with a clean bill of health because he carried on refereeing but do you trust PGMOL? Really? If he is clean as a whistle (ironic pun intended) why not announce it? I mean you’d think they’d welcome the opportunity to provide an example of transparency where they have acted in the best interests of the game. As it stands you can simply add the affair as another potential example of PGMOL covering its arse. Again.

Danger Man: Ashley Barnes

Joint top scorer. That's about it really.

Percy’s Poser

Last week we visited the Southampton Daily Echo which isn’t the sound you hear at St Mary’s as a result of the empty seats but is in fact their local paper. Whence came the following headline:

Southampton's Christmas market is full of XXXXX, XXXXXXXX and XXXXX XX XXXXXX

Well done to Mrs Briony Williams of Hove who correctly identified the missing words as “booze”, “swearing” and “music on repeat”. Well done Briony – nice beard by the way!

This week we go to the Lancashire Telegraph who have provided the following headline:

“XXXXX Christmas Day XXXXXXXX in East Lancashire

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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