AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United

With news of "Spygate" coming out of Leeds we were surprised to discover that a website writer had been caught in the grounds of Preview Percy's rest home, presumably in an attempt to discover the secret of how NOT to write a match preview. Here's the grumpy one's look at this weekend's trip to Bournemouth...

Next up we fill up the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home for the Bewildered's Happy Bus (MOT permitting) and head down the M3 and M27 in a roughly south-western direction where we will face AFC Bournemouth to give them their official if slightly dated in a 1970's way name. Kick-off is 3pm on Saturday - enjoy it while you can.

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You're going to have fun if going by train. Firstly, if you normally travel into town on the Southend Victoria line you'll have the joys of the replacement buses supplied to get you as far as Shenfield. Then once you get across to Waterloo you'll get as far as Winchester or Eastleigh where they will turf you out of the train and onto another replacement bus which will get caught up in traffic on the way into Southampton. Where, if you are lucky, there will be another train waiting to take you the rest of the way into Bournemouth. And of course you'll have the same sort of thing going on on the way home. Check before you leave and, before you ask, no there isn't any room on the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's Happy Bus (MOT or no MOT).

So Bournemouth then. Armed with her new stats book, Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me that this will be only the 13th meeting of the two clubs. The first two took place back in February 1929 (ah those were the days) when we drew 1-1 in an FA Cup tie at their place, beating them 3-1 four days later in the replay. Sixty years then elapsed before the next competitive meeting but things have become a bit more frequent since their accession to the top flight in the 2015-16 season - seven of the 12 meetings of the club have taken place since then. Overall we have won five, drawn four and lost three in all competitions.

Our relative fortunes this season are almost mirror images of each other. Our start to the season (thankfully) seems a long time ago and most of our points have come over the past couple of months. For them, six of their 8 wins came before the end of October since when they have won only two, a 2-1 win over Huddersfield at the start of December and a 2-0 win over Brighton just before Christmas both at home being the only three pointers.

Apart from a point at home against Watford at the turn of this year it's been defeat after defeat since November, losing 9 of the twelve played in that period. Currently sitting in 12th spot four points and three places behind us, you'd fancy that they ought to pick up sufficient points over the next few months to add to the 27 gained thus far to keep them up, though frankly if you were a Cherries supporter you'd want to get those proverbial extra 13 or so points that tradition dictates is required for safety (unless it's us) sooner rather than later.

They've spent a few bob already in this window. According to Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile a potential ?19m went northwest to Liverpool in return for the services of Dominic Solanke. It was an odd window for the striker. Not having much first team action at Liverpool - something the player looked all set to move to Crystal Palace on loan. Until he took the medical. Palace took one look at the hamstring problem that was bugging him and decided "no ta". Bournemouth decided that they weren't to be put off by a mere hamstring problem and signed the player with ?2m of the fee taking the form of add-ons.

Solanke won't be fit for another couple of weeks, disproving the theory that only West Ham could sign a player and send him straight to the physio room.

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They have imported one other player this window, Nathaniel Clyne coming in on a loan from the Scousers until the end of season. Having missed a large chunk of last season with a back problem, Clyne's been unable to force his way in to a regular place in the Liverpool side having made just the four league starts this term hence his return to the south coast for the former Southampton player.

The deal managed to upset our old mate Colin down at Cardiff who labelled the scousers a "disgrace" after they apparently backtracked on a deal for the player to go west. Who'd have thought that one of the most bent clubs in the country would be have in such a manner? Still it was only Colin so I can't help but feel that they deserve each other. Meanwhile Clyne - having gone into print to whine about his lack of first team activity, will be smirking slightly at the news that Terence Trent D'arby Alexander Armstrong or whatever his name is, the player who kept him out of the Liverpool team has a knee injury.

There will be a late fitness test for striker Calum Wilson. Wilson has had a rumoured ?75m fee slapped on him in the light of the continued uncertainty over the future of a certain Austrian. He's had a thigh problem and is rated at 75% likely to feature.

Before I move on to us I'd like to share the funniest thing I've heard in years. It seems that Leeds have been caught sending spies to training grounds, boasting "we do it all the time". The club's owners were quick to distance themselves from the shenanigans and, in doing so, came up with one of the most unintentionally hilarious statements of all time. It seems that the ownership will be reminding manager Bielsa of the - and trust me this a genuine quote - "the integrity and honesty which are the foundations Leeds United is built on". Obviously that's a different Leeds United to the one we all know then. I believe the accepted turn of phrase is "you couldn't make it up".

And so to us. Good win that one last week with Declan Rice taking centre stage - and deservedly so. A goal, and an MOTM award all on your birthday weekend? Probably couldn't have had a better weekend had he got six numbers up on the lotto. The good thing about it was that this was not a "park the bus and nick it" win. We looked the better side throughout and even the papers and tv pundits were seen/heard to use the word "deserved", though in the case of the BBC it did sound like the word was coming through gritted teeth.

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And I suppose we ought to have few words on the matter of Arnie who did lots of poignant waving to the crowd as he was subbed off on Saturday. It's all a bit odd. It seems the Chinese club whose name nobody can remember who were thought to have put in a bit for the player weren't actually the Chinese club whose name nobody can remember who actually put in that bid. No, it is said that it was a completely different Chinese club whose name nobody can remember who put the bid in. The bid was rejected and it is said that neither of the Chinese clubs whose names nobody can remember have been back to improve the offer,

The Chinese thing will cost them small fortune if it goes ahead with there being some sort of tax on foreign players coming into the country. Of course 20% of any profit will go to Stoke which is why the club will want to squeeze every last penny out of the deal. Arnie has been left out of the squad for this weekend for reasons that, as yet, have not been commented on by either club or player, though I see his gobby brother has been quick to turn up on two-bob radio to shove his two-yuan worth in. If we have seen the last of him my only thoughts on the matter can be summed up with the words "what a waste".

The good news is that Hernandez is back available, despite himself allegedly fancying a move to Spain. We are going to need all the forwards we can get it seems. Otherwise all the other usual injury suspects will be absent, though Fredericks has at least started training again after his ankle injury.

So we must move to the subject of the prediction. Their form, as has been mentioned, is a tad on the poor side though they had their moments up at Everton last weekend where current golden boy David Brooks hit the post and had a decent shout for a penalty turned down. It will also be interesting to see how the all the Arriverderci Arnie stuff has affected our squad, though the unity that the current squad seem to have will more than cover that. We have also proven capable of winning without Arnautovic over the past month or so.

I am wavering between draw and away win at present and in the spirit of optimism gained from just looking back at the highlights of last weekend I will therefore be placing the ?2.50 I was going to put towards a driving lesson gift card for the Duke Of Edinburgh on an away win.

So with the firmware upgrade to the Winstone Turf Accountancy App firmly installed (when the fun stops someone's turned the bloody news on again) I will be placing the whole darn lot on a 2-1 to us verdict as we stray ever closer to nosebleed territory.

Enjoy the game!

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When Last we Met At Dean Court: Drew 3-3

Went 1-0 up through Ginge. Then 2-1 down. An Arnie double put us 3-2 up in the 89th minute. Then Bobby "Brain Donor" Madley decided he didn't like the score. The linesman flagged either for offside, or handball, or both - Wilson was guilty of both. Madley decided that since he couldn't be bothered to decide which offence to punish he would do neither. As we were struggling in the bottom four at that time - with Bournemouth in the bottom three it was a blunder that could have had major repercussions at the end of the season. Thankfully it didn't.

Referee: Simon Hooper

A recent addition to the so-called select group our only encounter with him was a League Cup tie against Bolton a few years back. It was he who was the subject of Charlie Austin's "Parklife" rant a few weeks ago when he disallowed a perfectly valid Southampton goal.

Danger Man: David Brooks

Welsh international who is flavour of the month down there - selected ahead of Wilson (who usually scores against us) by virtue of the fact that he doesn't face a late fitness test.

Percy's Poser:

Last week we took a look into the pages of the Islington Gazette from where we purloined the following headline:

XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX sell out in Islington

Full marks to Mrs Elsie Piddletrenthide of Stifford Clays who correctly identified the missing words as "Greggs Vegan Sausage Rolls". Well done Elsie!

This week we have a look at the Bournemouth Daily Echo where this rib-tickler was paraded for the education of the local poplace:

Britain's longest-serving butcher fears her business may eventually XXXX XXX XXXX

Good luck one and all!


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