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West Ham United v Brighton And Hove Albion

Filed: Tuesday, 1st January 2019
By: Preview Percy

Welcome to 2019. If Preview Percy made a resolution to be slightly less grumpy we think he might have broken it already. Here's his look at Wednesday's visit of Brighton & Hove Albion...

Next up it’s a return to home if it’s ok with the shopping centre. We will play host to Brighton And Hove Albion with a 7:45pm kick-off time at the Olympic. No engineering works to speak of but there are possible alterations heading east towards Shenfield after 9pm as the ballast is looking a bit grubby and they want to give it a clean in case one of the neighbours pops round. Check before you leave etc.

So Brighton then. It only seems like a few weeks ago that we were on the south coast playing them. Which is because it was that was what it was. After that somewhat misleading result we were a point and a place behind them. Since then we are now two points and places above them. Stats – make of them what you will. They picked up four points out of six over the festive season, a 1-1 draw against a misfiring Arsenal being followed by a 1-0 win over the perennially inconsistent Everton. This followed a spell of three defeats on the spin away at Burnley (1-0), home to Chelsea (1-2) and away at Bournemouth (2-0).

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile gets an easy time of it at this time of the year – with no new signings since the last window shut and the new window just open for a matter of hours at the time of writing there’s not much in the way of transfer research she can get up to. However, bless her cotton socks she likes to make herself useful around the place even when it’s quiet so she’s done a quick look back at the head to head stuff. Starting with our original meeting in the Southern League First Division in 1903 (ah those were the days) when we went down 3-2 down by the sea, the clubs have met fifty times in total over the old Division One, old Division Two, Premier League, Championship, FA Cup and the Zenith Data Systems Cup (there isn’t a day goes by that don’t mourn the passing of that one). It couldn’t be closer – each club winning 18 with 14 matches drawn. Since their return to the top flight they have won all three of our meetings which elevates an otherwise unremarkable club to the status of “bogey team”.

As with the victory over Everton the other day, Brighton will start with a stand-in ‘keeper in the form of David Button. Button started out on the books of Spurs but failed to make a first XI appearance whilst there. In the four years he was at White Hart Lane he was rarely at White Hart Lane, going out on an eye-opening 13 separate loan spells during that period. He left for Charlton but lasted just the one year before Brentford snapped him up. He lasted three years there, before remaining in West London for another couple of years with Fulham. He arrived at Brighton in the summer, which I must now learn to refer to as “last summer”, and the one League Cup appearance apart, he hadn’t troubled the statisticians until the Everton match, his appearance coming as a consequence of Matt Ryan’s involvement with the Aussies in the Asia Cup.

They will similarly be without Alireza Jahanbakhsh. The forward/winger is without a goal in 11 appearances this term so it wasn’t too much of an imposition for Brighton to send him out to the Emirates where he will feature in the Iranian squad.

It’s just under a year now since striker Glenn Murray and his missus were arrested as part of an investigation by HMRC into suspected evasion of income tax and VAT, with suspected “cheating of the public revenue” being thrown in as a bonus. As is the norm in these matters there has been nothing but silence in the aftermath of the arrests. Speculation on the subject of the investigation has ranged from dubious dealings in one of the player’s past transfers, to nefarious goings on within a restaurant company called “Dirtybirds” (surely our owners will be firing off a copyright law suit over that name?) Either way, if Murray disappears and ends up on an injury list with an unspecified “knock” with an anticipated return date of “18 months to three years” don’t expect the player to have a suntan on his return.

And so to us then. Well I saw a side that looked rather knackered on Sunday it has to be said. The efforts of the away win at St Mary’s, herculean as they were appeared to have taken a lot out of a side that never really got going. The return of Arnie to the starting XI was welcome, though he struggled with the twin handicaps of ring-rustiness and a lack of service resulting, predictably in a lack of influence in the game.

There was one major disappointment for me in the antics of some of the Burnley players, mind. Sean Dyche has waged an admirable campaign against diving and “simulation” in the top flight. It has often seemed like he has been a lone voice – you won’t find the likes of Klopp condemning their own tactics obviously. However, every time Carroll went for a ball the nearest player would go down clutching his face. The most ludicrous of these challenges came when Carroll had won the ball fair and square only to be presented with a yellow card from an official whose most notable contribution to the game we all love has been to behave in a manner worthy of a full blown misconduct investigation. We still don’t know what that investigation covered but I sincerely hope that the referee was refereeing on reputation because otherwise the caution had all the hallmarks of being pre-determined, which would be a natural consequence of the way refereeing is set up in this country.

On the injury front this week we have a new addition to the list in the form of Robert Snodgrass whose withdrawal at the interval appeared to be 50% poor form and 50% injury. The form thing was largely tiredness with him having done so well over the first half of the season. The injury thing was, I am given to believe, largely precautionary with him having picked up a knock to his calf. He is expected to be available on Wednesday. As is Zabaleta who has been knocking back the Lemsip over the past week or so having had a dose of influenza.

On the more suspicious side of things it appears that Hernandez’s thigh injury seems to be coinciding with, allegedly, a possible bidding fight between Valencia and Levante about to erupt for the player’s services. I would have thought that, with the current injury list we would need every player we can keep hold of. I would hope that nobody gets sold unless there is a replacement lined up. The accepted cliché that gets used for where we are at present is “bare bones” and the squad is ill-placed to survive any further injury depletions – never mind selling from a severely reduced pool.

We have already made one addition to the squad in the form of Samir Nasri. Nasri arrives as a free agent on the expiry of a doping ban which resulted from his exceeding the maximum permitted levels of a completely legal hydration mixture when taken intravenously. Having looked at the stuff that the company he used is knocking out one can’t help but think he’d have done better by having a nice cuppa. Still Ken’s Café doesn’t quite have the same, er, calibre, of staff as they employ at Drip Doctors in LA. Having been training with the team for what seems like years Nasri may go straight into the squad to add another option to a squad that is becoming shorter of options with every hamstring tweak.

So to the prediction. Well much depends on the recovery of the players from the travels. London-Southampton-London-Burnley-London in 4 days is quite a trek even without a couple of 90 minute matches and training stints in between. Brighton will have had an extra day as did our opponents on Sunday, an advantage that ultimately proved to be our undoing. On the other hand they are arguably not the greatest of travellers – only 7 of their 25 points have come on the road this season.

They’ll have had a good cuppa (let’s hope it's not supplied by Drip Doctors). I am therefore going to place the £2.50 that I was going to send to the Burnley centre for Reconstructive Facial Surgery to assist with all those facial injuries they appear to have at Turf Moor on a home win.

On to the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When The Fun Stops you’re probably trying to get a refund out of those shysters at Argos) then and let’s go for a 2-1 win this time around.

Enjoy the game – oh and have a new year of whatever description you feel like having.

When last we met at the Olympic: Lost 0-3 (Premier League October 2017)

An awful defensive performance allowed Murray to open the scoring early doors. Hart made a pig’s ear of Izquierdo’s effort just before the break whilst Murray added his second with 15 left. Bad Friday night all round.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

In his second season in the so-called select group. Beginning to look at home there. Note this is NOT necessarily a good thing.

Danger Man: Glenn Murray

Scores against us with the same regularity with which he doesn’t fill out his tax returns.

Percy’s Poser

Last week went to the Lancashire Telegraph who have provided the following headline:

“XXXXX Christmas Day XXXXXXXX in East Lancashire

Well done to Mrs Gretchen Hadron-Collider of Billericay for correctly guessing the missing words were “seven” and miracles”, the article referring to the number of babies born on the local maternity unit rather that the rarity of some locals actually getting a round in.

For this week we visit the Brighton Argus’s review of 2018 from which the following headline was nicked:

A DEDICATED football fan based in New York became XX XXXXXX follower after splitting up with his girlfriend...who is a XXX XX XXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXX.

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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