West Ham United v Leicester City

Saturday's visit of Leicester will be 'Claret & Blue Day' at the Olympic Stadium. Trying hard not to get over-excited about the arrival of a new carpet is Preview Percy. By and large he succeeds......

Next up we play host to Leicester City at the newly carpeted Olympic. Kick-off in front of the new Axminster is at 3pm. Train shenanigans-a-plenty will abound. There's nothing east of Shenfield on the Southend Victoria line. Fenchurch Street is closed on C2C with diversions into Liverpool Street (that one could work in your favour though) and there are no District or H&C lines into central London from Barking . Replacement buses and hiking boots may be required - check, as ever, before you leave.

So Leicester then. Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, informs me that this will be the 132nd meeting of the two sides of which we have won 52, drawn 32 and lost 47 to date. The first meeting took place up at their place in November 1919, a match that, I am sure you will all remember, resulted in a goalless draw. The Leicester XI featured the marvellously-named William Arthur Spittle at inside right. They don't name 'em like that anymore do they?

Since we last met last year up at their place they have a new boss in charge. The unintentionally hilarious Brendon Rodgers pitched up from Celtic, which just goes to show how far down the food chain Scottish football is these days. Rodgers was famed for his "David Brent" management style including his use of the famous Ferguson envelope trick whilst at Liverpool. In one of his early team meetings at Anfield, Rodgers is said to have brandished an envelope which he said contained the names of 5 players that he knew would let him and the club down that season. The envelope was, of course, empty. The previous use of the Poundland Psychology trick was well known in the world of football and, accordingly, the players just laughed. Probably not quite the reaction he was after.

To be fair to Brent, he arrived at the end of a spell in which they had lost 6 and drawn 1 of their previous 7 games, since when they have won five (and lost two) of the subsequent 7. All of which has seen them capitalise on Wolves' recent spell of indifferent results to quietly slip into the 7th place that everyone is going on about. They sit above Wolves on goal difference on 47 points, though Leicester have played a game more.

The improvement in form has been attributed in part to a return to the tried and trusted tactic of getting Vardy in behind the defence, something that Puel, Rodgers' predecessor, didn't think much of. Vardy went public over his frustrations and, according to some lip-readers anyway, was seen to swear at Puel on spotting his boss chatting away with Pogba when they met the Salford whingers back in February. Puel's departure was probably inevitable - player power at Leicester is said to have done for Ranieri in the end. However, the eventual parting of the ways was probably delayed in the aftermath of the tragic events that followed our trip to Leicester earlier this season.

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, informs me that the most significant arrival of the January window was that of Youri Tielemans, a loan signing from Monaco in a deal that involved Adrien Silva making the move in the opposite direction. Tielemans was the centre of attention in the recent home defeat by Newcastle, his challenge on Ki arguably being worth a red rather than the yellow it actually received. Later on he did a Salah, illegally exaggerating the effects of minimal contact in order to try and win a late spot-kick. Not being called Salah the laws of the game applied (in part) and no penalty was given, though, as per usual, the yellow card that is mandatory in cases of simulation was strangely missing.

Tielemans is a potential target for a permanent deal at the end of the season and, with Silva settling in nicely in the land of the casino, formula one and tax avoiding in general it would appear that the Foxes are in prime position to seal such a deal. It's not all plain sailing though. The Belgian International has stopped far short of the usual sort of statement players make when they are committed to a lengthy stay and there are said to be a number of alternative suitors looking closely at a deal - the Salford lot and the occupants of the White Hart Lane bedpan being amongst them.

Another who may not be at the place up the road from Filbert Street next season is James Maddison. Maddison would appear to be on the target list for Arsenal who will be seeking to replace the Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey this summer. So strong has been the rumour mill on this one that Ray Parlour has warned him of the possibility of not being an automatic choice should he end up at the library. Meanwhile, professional gobshi*e Tony "no I am Irish, really I am" Cascarino has been dipping his oar in, urging the player to make the move asap. David Brent's own comments were to the effect that the player is more than happy where he is, so look forward to a departure for much more than the ?20m they paid to Norwich last summer. I hope the Canaries thought to bung in a sell-on clause for that one.

Vardy is way out in front as top scorer with 15 goals at present, the aforementioned Maddison lagging well behind Ratboy on 7. Rodgers has apparently told Vardy that he will build the team around him, though, on past experience, Vardy was probably only one of a dozen players Rodgers said that to. The improvement in his return since Puel went is, statistically, quite astonishing. Prior to the change he had netted 8 in 23 games. Post-Puel he has seven in seven. The clues are there.

And so to this week's look the wacky world of Association Football. The Man City v Spurs match achieved new levels of bonkered-ness in the so-called Champions League. VAR again raised its head with the ref apparently not being given the camera angle with the best view of the handball that eventually saw the Bedpans go through. At which point the world divided itself into two camps: Ajax supporters and Barcelona fans. Keep them crossed - the alternatives don't bear thinking about.

Interestingly, the Dutch FA has postponed the entire weekend's fixture prior to Ajax's trip to the Bedpan for the first leg. Ajax will benefit directly from the weekend off before the match and rearranging the whole list will avoid the need for Ajax and De Graafschap having to meet after all other fixtures have been completed, thus ensuring nobody has an unfair advantage.

Elsewhere, Liverpool supporters who never misbehave and whose violence according to one journo at least "merely creates an intimidating atmosphere" lobbed a (no doubt totally harmless) pyrotechnic device into the Chelsea crowd the other day. No physical damage was done but it scared the bejaysus out of a 9 year-old kid in the Chelsea end. It's being looked into by the authorities, but no doubt the Liverpool Daily Echo is looking for some sort of angle to excuse the behaviour. A pretty shabby thing to do from a crowd marking the anniversary of Hillsborough I'd say.

I wont go too deeply into the dreadful stuff seen on a Manchester Tram on social media earlier this week other than to point out (as others have done on this site in more erudite fashion than I can muster) that the song in question isn't big or clever or even particularly funny. So stop it.

In happier territory, on the distaff side of things congratulations are due to the women's team for beating Reading in the FA Cup semi-final in their first season as a pro unit. Sadly, the final at Wembley is due to take place on the same day as the mens' final home game against Southampton - opponents Man City's male side are also at home on the same day. Unless some sort of date and/or time change can be agreed the crowd will be much lower than it might have been, which is a bit of a shame really.

And what of the male team? Well I'm not one to say "I told you so" (yes you are - ed) but I did say that we would need to be at our best and the officials would need to forget their usual inbuilt bias towards the home team at Old Trafford. Well we did our bit. The result was such a complete travesty of justice that even the broadcasters, usually apologists for every bent thing that goes on at Old Trafford, had to acknowledge that the better team had not prevailed on this occasion. Now if we could get one of them to do a proper investigation into the reasons our refereeing standards are so appallingly poor and into why they are regarded with contempt across Europe (clue: The answers are PGMOL and Mike Riley) then maybe we will see some progress. Don't hold your breath though.

When the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's "Happy Bus" finally arrived back at base the day after the match we sat in front of the magic record-without-tape thing we have rigged up in the lounge and watched the match again. I swear I heard Steve McManaman give Pogba the MOTM award. There was a delay in making the presentation as it wasn't until they went through Declan Rice's pockets that they could locate Pogba, whose only contribution to the game was to convert the two iffy spot-kicks fraudulently awarded to them. Seriously TV companies. Isn't it about time you worked out like the rest of us that, just because someone played for Liverpool, that does not mean they are any good as a pundit. Indeed the opposite is invariably the case, as the careers of McManaman, Owen and Carragher prove, they tend to not have the slightest clue of what they are talking about and have even less of a clue of how to say it.

Of course we came away with another couple of injuries. We always do. Lanzini's groin will keep him out and, bizarrely, Hernandez's ear will have him similarly sidelined. Hernandez's injury is particularly galling since he played well on Saturday, and his ear was just about the only part of his body that didn't get kicked up in the air in a series of challenges that would have earned pretty much any other club on the planet a string of yellow cards.

Prediction time. Well I'm flummoxed. If the team plays like it did at Old Trafford it will be all smiles and three points. If not, it will be frowns and no points. We do need to be cautious against the Ratboy runs - and also his propensity to collapse in a heap to con referees is a danger, with Maddison useful from set pieces.

They didn't impress against the Geordies but up to that point recent form had been useful. So I'm gonna go for a draw. The ?2.50 that was going on the Free the Snodgrass One campaign (?30k for that when Salah remains unsuspended for diving?) will instead be wagered using the Winstone Turf Accountancy app (When the fun stops the FA is issuing another ludicrous fine) on a 2-2 draw this time round.

Enjoy the carpet!

When Last We Met At The Olympic: Drew 1-1 (Premier League November 2017)

David Moyes' first home match in charge following the dismissal of Slaven Bilic did not start well with Ogbonna's slip allowing Albrighton to score in the 8th minute. Kouyate levelled just before theinterval, after which we were much the better side, Ayew's overhead kick nearly sealing the points at the death.

Referee: Lee Probert

You have to go back to a 0-0 draw at Stoke in 2017 for the last time we suffered this one, though he was in charge for the famous "it's happened again" 3-0 win at White Hart Lane often referred to as "The Morrison Game". I'll take any good omen I can.

Danger Man: Jamie Vardy

Rat Boy's form has picked up since David Brent's arrival in the East Midlands.

Percy's Poser:

Last week the Manchester Evening News was the source for the following headline:

'I found a XXXXX on my petrol station forecourt, so naturally, I XXXXXX XX XXXX XX XXX XXXXX'

Well done and huzzah to Hortensia Monkeywrench of Thorpe Le Soken for being first up with the correct answer, for which the missing words were "Dildo" and "posted it back to the owner." Well done Hortensia.

This week's guest publication is the Leicester Mercury from which the following and, it should be said, highly misleading, headline was half-inched:

'How a XXXXXXXX XXXX almost put a stop to Leicester's XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX

Good luck everyone!

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