West Ham United v Leicester City

Preview Percy The leftover turkey of the preview-writing world. Here's his look at Leicester...

Leicester City at home next. It's a 5:30pm kick-off for telly purposes. If you are going by train there's Engineering works on C2C between Grays & Barking, on Greater Anglia in the Colchester area and, of course, no train report would be complete without mention of the Southend Victoria line east of Shenfield. The late kick-off will be useful for once then. Check before you leave as usual.

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Leicester then. While Man City were having a bit of a stutter they were putting together a run which had one or two people beginning to wonder whether they could emulate their title-winning season of a few years back. Of course such dreams, marvellous as they are, ignore the cold facts of life, one of which is that PGMOL have already decided it's Liverpool's year.

The run of eight consecutive wins came to an unexpected end at home to Norwich with whom they drew 1-1. Since then they have lost to Man City away (3-1) and, most recently, at home to Liverpool (0-4), the latter game turning, as so many Liverpool games do, on an iffy penalty awarded just as Leicester were pushing for an equaliser.

So overall, whilst one is sure that they will keep plugging, The So-Called Champions League may be a more realistic target for the end of the season, something that will at least stop Spurs from stinking the place out next season.

Daisy, the full-time private assistant with the beautiful smile, tells me that a few bob was spent during the summer. Having prised out ?80m from the Salford mob for Harry Maguire ?30m went to Mike Ashley for the services of Newcastle's Ayoze Perez. He was on target three times in the recent annhilation of Southampton. Those were his first three goals for the Foxes That was a nice little earner for Ashley who had paid just ?3m or so to Tenerife for the player.

Youri Tielemans actually arrived in January, the ?40m fee paid to Monaco this summer being by way of making a loan deal permanent. It's a far cry from his first six months with Monaco in 2017 which saw him labelled amongst the worst flops of that season. He now has over 20 caps for Belgium and makes you wonder what our scouting team have been doing for the last few years. One of Tielemans' middle names is Marion, something that we found amusing in a "nothing to do with John Wayne" sort of way.

Tielemans' compatriot Denis Praet arrived from Sampdoria on a deal worth about ?18m depending on the exchange rate at the time. Praet's name is pronounced "Pratt" and you will not be surprised to discover that we find that fact even more amusing than the fact that Tielemans' middle name is Marion. Praet's appearances have come largely from the bench this season and though capped at every other level by the Belgians, his full international caps have been a bit more sporadic - six in five years suggests that he will not be near the top of the Belgian squad list for next summer's Euros.

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Unsurprisingly, top scorer is Jamie Vardy, whose goals have come about as part of a desperate attempt to make him the most famous person in his family. For months there has been this spat between Mrs Vardy and Rooney's other half. I have no idea what it was all about but the idea of them getting into a public argument has had the editors of those crappy gossip magazines getting their knickers in a twist.

Which bemuses me somewhat. Surely a magazine featuring Rooney v Vardy would be most sensible people's idea of hell? Presumably read by the same sort of person who watches Mrs Brown's Boys I guess. Suffice to say that Vardy has 17 goals this season so his missus is going to have to go some to take over the headlines for a bit.

They pretty much have a full squad to pick from at the time of writing. Midfielder Matt James hasn't appeared this season - a leg injury is progressing well but he is nowhere near a return.

Ok now to the wide and wacky world of Association Football. Former Crystal Palace striker Neil Shipperley was given a 12 month community order for "intentionally exposing his genitals intending to cause harm or distress". The incident occurred in Hillingdon and in mitigation Shipperley claimed that, having spent so much of his career in the Croydon area he hadn't realised it was an offence.

Meanwhile VAR continues to cause issues with nobody willing to admit that the problem lies with the idiots operating it. The headlock perpetrated on Antonio and the body check on Haller in the Southampton match proved that, if you have someone who can't distinguish a penalty from a banana, showing him the same penalty a dozen times is simply going to result in an imbecile drooling "that's a nice bunch". After ten minutes of him deciding whether or not the penalties are ripe enough to eat.

Time for us then. Ok it took a freak goal that the goalscorer will never replicate in a month of Sundays but the fact remains that we have just had the double done over us by a team as average as Crystal Palace. If that doesn't ring alarm bells somewhere it bloody well ought to.

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The powers that be at the club have a bit of a downer on KUMB.com over what it claims is "negative" reporting. So in the spirit of trying to spin everything positively, which is what the club apparently wants, I ought to point out that Boxing Day's defeat leaves us only 14 places short of a So-Called Champions League slot. The handbags between Noble and Ogbonna was in no way a negative thing - being indicative of how much they really care. And magic pixies and elves will make it all better before you know it. Positive enough for you?

Not so long ago the editor requested input from those with a less jaundiced view of the board - in the interest of balance. I'm guessing that he had more visits from carol singers than he had email from people with articles to write. Seriously though, if anyone does have something to write in that direction please forward it to the boss. In particular I would be interested in seeing confirmation that, despite all appearances to the contrary, we are not relying on magic pixies and elves for the second half of the season.

Injuries continue to be an issue. Fabianski is chomping at the bit and is likely to be ready sooner rather than later, the big question being whether he makes his return now or against Bournemouth. Roberto's relatively half-decent game will probably swing the scales in his favour for this one, though Martin is 50-50 if required. Yarmalenko (hamstring) Reid and Wilshere are all out as is Cresswell who picked up his fifth yellow of the season after a particularly embarrassing dive.

Prediction? Well frankly I'm damned if I know. Leicester were admittedly poor against PGMOLiverpool the other night, but our levels of poorness make them look like 1970 Brazil. Of course, the magic elves and pixies may be working overtime.

However, back in the real world I don't suppose any of them have their UEFA Coaching badges so I am afraid I will have to go for an away win this time around. The ?2.50 that would have been spent on hiring a hitman to deal with the next person to play "Fairytale Of New York" in my earshot (the appeal slightly wanes after the 3,987th hearing) will therefore be going on a result of 3-1 to them. Make it so Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the Olympic: Drew 2-2 (April 2019)

Antonio opened the scoring on 37 minutes. Vardy's near post finish levelled just after the hour. Perez converted after Obiang's shot came back off the post to give us the lead on 82 and then was denied a second by a dreadful offside call which allowed Barnes to give the visitors an undeserved equaliser in stoppage time.

Referee: David Coote

The only single referee caught cavorting with "Indonesian Party Girls" whilst representing the PGMOL Mafia on a charity trip last summer. Usually to be found in the VAR bunker being too afraid to overturn the decisions of anyone more senior.

Danger Man: Jamie Vardy

Because our whole team is packed with pace, right?

Percy's Poser:

Last time out we looked at Croydon's biggest story of the week which read as follows


Well done to Mrs Angela Unexpired Gift-Voucher of Canvey Island for spotting that the missing words were "Driving around Croydon's worst roundabouts" I'm not sure if they give out Pulitzers to local newspaper journos but.....

This time out we are indebted to the Leicester Mercury from which we have nicked the following headline:

XXXXXXX among 28 people banned from Leicestershire's libraries for XXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX

Best of British!

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