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Manchester City v West Ham United

Filed: Tuesday, 26th February 2019
By: Preview Percy

Psst. Want to know how to beat Manchester City? Preview Percy shares the secret here in his look at Wednesday's visit to the Etihad.....

And next we go to the City of Manchester Stadium as was for a 7:45pm kick-off on Tuesday evening where we will be hosted by Manchester City. No weekend engineering works because, well, it’s not a weekend, is it. Just the usual midweek incompetence to deal with then.

Our hosts had a weekend off from league action this weekend just past. Instead they had a runout in the League Cup final. Now normally you’d welcome a match against a side that had just endured extra time. However the match was so plodding that I probably broke sweat more getting up from the sofa getting my half-time cuppa than any of the players on show. The fact that a major cup final went to penalties and the main talking point was the non-substitution of Kepa should give you an indication of the quality of the match were you fortunate enough not to see it. On that matter the increasingly forlorn Sarri described the whole thing as a “misunderstanding”. One can only presume that the “misunderstanding” was Sarri’s erroneous belief that he was actually in charge at Chelsea.

In the league the Citizens currently sit in 2nd spot, a point behind the Scousers whose 0-0 draw at Old Trafford last weekend was a slightly less worse game than the League Cup final only by virtue of the fact that we didn’t have to sit through an extra 30 minutes of it – again substitutions were the biggest talking point. Incidentally, it says a lot about how disliked the Scousers are that even Man City, a club whose owners’ attitude to human rights (“fine but they’re not for everyone”) is matched by their attitude to the Financial Fair Play Rules (“try and punish us and our lawyers will bankrupt you”), are still considered to be a more preferable winner of the league by most supporters. The weekend fixtures mean that both clubs have now played 27 games so everyone knows where they stand without having to factor in games in hand.

The work-experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me that this will be the 109th meeting of the two clubs, the first coming as recently as 1924 when we went down 1-2 at home in what we then called “The First Division. We have won 37 drawn 17 and lost 54 of the previous meetings between the clubs. It should be noted that we have lost all of our last six meetings in all competitions though.

Perhaps unsurprisingly under the circumstances, they didn’t go into the transfer market during the just closed window with Guardiola presumably being happy with his squad as it stands. They did pick up a few knocks at the weekend to add to a number of players already hors de combat though. The latest two on the sick are central defender Laporte and the influential midfielder Fernandinho. Laporte was struggling in the dying embers of the first half and was replaced by Kompany whilst Fernandinho just about made it to the end of the 90 but, hobbled away to miss the extra half-hour. Something that, on reflection, I wish I had done myself. Mendy, Delph, Jesus, Bravo and Stones are all on the “likely to miss” list as well.

That still leaves them with a whole constellation to select from. They have scored 74 goals in the league this season and whilst Aguero (17) and Sterling (12) are out in front in the score charts, Gundogan (5), Sane (8), Silva (B) (5), Sliva (D) (6), Mahrez (5) and Jesus (6) have all chipped in with five or more goals this season, suggesting that dealing with them is not a matter of keeping one or two quiet.

They aren’t infallible of course, and whilst losing at Stamford Bridge in December might not have been a total surprise (notwithstanding Chelsea’s indifferent form), the sources of their other three reverses have raised the odd eyebrow here and there.

Palace came from behind to win 3-2 up there, with the home side seeming to lack ideas as to how to break down Palace’s 4-5-1. There were parallels between the Palace defeat and that that followed a few days later at Leicester. On both occasions Man City took the lead and on both occasions the opposition pegged them back quite quickly. And on both occasions the opposition stuck away a wonder goal with Townsend and Pereira both sticking away spectacular efforts.

It was slightly different at Newcastle where Aguero opened the scoring after 24 seconds. It was well past the hour when Rondon equalised and it was later still when Ritchie stuck away an 80th minute penalty to give the Magpies all three. The penalty was the second of two efforts on goal.

So there you have it. All you have to do to win is to follow the Percy Plan. 1): If they score equalise quickly, 2) Score a world-class wonder goal of some sort, 3) Create at least one more chance than the number of goals they score and 4) Take all those chances. Simple really. I wonder why so few teams have thought of it before?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world Klopp picks up a fine but escapes a touchline ban for an offence that would have seen a fine and a touchline ban for anyone else. The French football authorities proved that football administrators are jumped-up self-important buffoons the world over by fining Nantes because supporters lit flares as part of a tribute to the sadly deceased former Player Emiliano Sala and Pochettino is forced to apologise to Mike Dean, who, despite a career based on manipulating matches to suit his own ends, has never had to apologise to anyone.

I am also indebted to some chap on the BBC website who described Spurs’ “title bid” as being more “following from a safe distance” than an actual title “chase”. I may use that one myself one day. Funny old world innit.

Us? Well the more observant of you may have noticed that I inadvertently gave the kick-off time for last Friday’s game as 8pm rather than 7.45. Well done to m’learned colleague Mr Walker for winning the spotter’s badge for that one. The problem is that it looked for all the world as if the players had made the same mistake as I did. We could already have gone one down when Zabaleta played a back-pass shorter than a Spurs fan’s attention span, Fabianski stood firm. The cross that Babel converted was also from Zab’s side. Thankfully, once the players had caught up with the real kick-off time we started to get into gear a bit, though it wasn’t until we had equalised that we really began to settle. I’m sure that Zabaleta would be the first to admit that Friday was a “bit of a mare” but some of the reaction to the travails of the wily old campaigner have been a bit OTT in my opinion.

The equaliser was handball of course, though it seems that Mason was unsighted – though even had he seen it and Hernandez been holding up a placard with “this was handball” written on it, you can never be sure what Mason would have given. It’s unusual for us to get on the right end of one of those -but it doesn’t make it right. Meanwhile it does make you wonder how bad things are north of the border for anyone up there to suggest seriously that bringing in referees from PGMOL would improve things.

As it happens the missed handball didn’t really affect the outcome of the game any more than the two penalties for the fouls on Hernandez that weren’t given, so should you encounter the tall speccy one out of Pointless in mid-moan about the handball feel free to offer to trade the two pens that Noble would have stuck away, for the handball. Not that it’s likely to make a difference to them but that would give them a goal difference one worse than they have at the moment.

It was of course great to see Lanzini return to action after that nasty knee injury – in truth he didn’t really contribute much in the short spell he was on. He did once got into a decent position for a shot but delayed it too long. It was the sort of opportunity he will stick away with a few more games under his belt. The main boost this time out resulted simply from his presence in the first place.

Injury news is that, whilst both Balbuena and Reid have started training it’s going to be a bit soon for them. Which pretty much leaves us with the same sort of squad available as we had last week.

Which brings us to the prediction. Well the short chubby one who comes here to the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered to pick up my notes before taking out all the good stuff that he and his lily-livered legal mates reckon is libellous tells me that his girlfriend did rather well at Winstone The Turf Accountants by sticking her own £2.50 on a 3-1 last weekend. Which was amazing. I mean who knew he had a girlfriend? So I’d better be a bit careful with my prediction this week.

I suspect that we will be on the usual hiding to nothing up there, though if it’s anything like the reverse fixture earlier this season the score may flatter them somewhat. So this will be another of those head over heart predictions made in the fervent hope that I am wrong. So this week the £2.50 I was going to send to Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa for providing the one spark of entertainment in the League Cup final will instead be spent on a home win. Once the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (When the fun stops, you’re watching the League Cup final) firmware has updated itself to version 0.02 the whole lot will therefore be going on a 3-1 home win.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at Middle Eastlands: Lost 2-1 (Premier League December 2017)

A wee bit unlucky to come away with nothing. We took the lead before the interval through Ogbonna. Second half goals from Otamendi and Sliva (D) gave the Citizens the points, the winner coming seven minutes from time. Sakho pulled what would have been an equalising effort wide at the death. Which was a shame.

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Refereeing’s equivalent of Father Dougall – he has the appropriate clothing for the job but hasn’t the foggiest idea of what’s going on. In general.

Danger Man: Sergio Aguero

A zillion and one options for this slot but he seems to be on a bit of a roll in the league…

Percy’s Poser:

Last week we asked for the missing words in this headline from the website “Fulham SW6”:

Fulham firm Pelango crowned XXXXX XXXXXXXX of the year

Congratulations to Mrs Dierdre McDozenlegs of Purfleet who correctly identified the missing words as “Cider Retailer” adding “the award came from a poll of the residents of the bit underneath the Hammersmith flyover just to the west of the Hammersmith Odeon (as everyone still calls it).

Well done Dierdre!

This week we visit the website of the Manchester Evening News which has the following which, trust me, is actually even more surreal after the missing words are replaced!

Video shows hilarious moment a driver is spotted with two XXXXX, a XXXXXX, a XXXX and a XXXX in his Vauxhall Zafira

Trust me it’s a doozy!

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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