Leicester City v West Ham United

It's the second dose of Preview Percy in a few days. We don't pay him for this - and unfortunately we get our money's worth. Here's his look at Wednesday's visit to Leicester...

Next up we zoom up the M1 past still amusing signs for the National Space Centre to Leicester City. Kick-off is an unusual 7:30pm. One can only assume that the satellite tv people have a few youngsters on duty whose Mums don't want them stopping out late. Midweek means that we don't have to worry about engineering works. It's just a matter of the train companies getting their backsides into gear. So best of luck there then.



For the benefit of those who can't be bothered to read the following...


Our hosts come into the game in third place with 45 points from the 23 games played so far. They had a superb run in the lead-in to Christmas. Between October and December they won 8 on the trot, that run coming to an end with a 1-1 home draw with Norwich. The run saw them dally with second place in the league as Man City faltered a bit, and brought back hopes of a repeat of that annus mirablis league-winning season a few years back. Of course PGMOL aren't about to allow anything to interrupt Liverpool's title bid but it was a nice idea while it lasted.

The weeks since have seen a bit of a tailing off in that form - apart from wins against us and the Geordies around the turn of the year, they've lost their last two - a 1-2 defeat at home against a Southampton side they beat 9-0 a month or two back and, on Sunday, a 2-1 defeat away at Burnley. Despite the fact that most observers named Clarets' 'keeper Nick Pope as MOTM, I couldn't help but thinking that the Foxes looked a bit out of sorts. Maybe that was just me though.

Daisy, the permanent full-time assistant with the beautiful smile, informs me that, like most clubs, there's been little occurring in the transfer market since the window opened. Most of the gossip seems to be linking players with moves elsewhere.

Manchester United have been their usual unsubtle selves in pretending to not unsettle James Maddison. Of course they have taken the usual "planted question from a friendly journo" tactic and tweaked it slightly. Instead of mentioning Maddison to Solksjaer for him to say "he's a fine player but of course he is contracted to Leicester City" (translation: "your agent has my number if you're interested") they have taken to having said journo similar questions of completely unconnected individuals.

Which is why Ryan Giggs has been all over the place pointing out just what a good player Maddison would be for Man Utd (translation: Message to Pogba's agent - he can go if we can get the Leicester man). Of course Maddison needs very little to unsettle him - coming on as a sub at our place he spent most of his half hour on the pitch throwing himself to the floor and watching him up at Burnley at the weekend it seems that this is a regular thing for him.

Top scorer Jamie Vardy missed the reciprocal fixture last month. There had been speculation that he might be rested but, in the end, it turned out he was missing due to the fact that Mrs Vardy had just produced a new member of the Vardy clan. Which means that either he can't count to nine or, fancying a day or two off over Christmas, he can. Either way, if they have a christening, don't expect the Rooneys to feature in the photos when they appear in "Hello" or some such magazine.


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Gray day


Replacing Vardy on spot-kick duties at the Olympic was Demarai Gray. Gray had the kick given away by an understandably ring-rusty Fabianski saved. Which means that Vardy was back on 12-yard duty up at Burnley, missing what would have probably been a match-finishing penalty at 1-0 up.

Their goal up at Turf Moor came from youth product Harvey Barnes. Barnes impressed so much during what was supposed to be a season-long loan at West Brom last season that they recalled him in the January window. His first goal for the club came against us last season at the Olympic.

And so to the wild and wacky world of Association Football. Before the Everton match there was the supporters' protest outside the ground. Estimates from the police seemed to suggest that somewhere between 1.000 and 1,700 people turned up which seemed about right to me.

Of course my estimate is based on my having turned up incognito and observed what was going on. Unlike that of a certain intellect-free obese radio presenter who, having made a prediction that only a couple of hundred would be present, took time from posting photographs of him spilling apple pie down his front to upgrade his figure by a few hundred; something he managed to do from the press room a few hundred yards away.

Still I suppose we should be honoured that said presenter took time out of scouring the papers for the birthdays of famous people just so he could wish them a happy birthday and refer to them as his "friend". And it must have been really hard coming up with all those difficult questions he had for David Gold such as "how wonderful are you?", "why is the London Stadium so great?" and "what's on the lunch menu on Saturday? "

Elsewhere Sky Sports decided that the fact that Mike Dean, the referee who has spent a career wilfully and deliberately ignoring the laws of the game, has somehow managed to make it to 500 matches without some sort of investigation into his actions was worthy of celebration. As opposed to investigating how and why we got to the position where he became fireproof. They could do worse than tracking down the assessor who, having observed a typical Dean performance, gave him a less than complimentary mark only to get a phone call from PGMOL inviting him to re-write his report if he wanted to keep on assessing.


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Issa beauty


Saturday's match was all a bit "meh" as I believe you kids say. We were by far and away the better side in the first half but failed to turn that into goals. Diop's header was apparently our first headed goal this season. I've not verified that "stat" but I'll be damned if I can remember another one this season so it could well be true. Incidentally I don't know if anyone else noticed but in the first half the lino on the West Stand side raised his flag for an offside as a player received the ball from a throw-in. The flag was ignored, thus sparing blushes all round but it does rather show where we are with the officials these days.

Everton produced little other than from corners which was a shame because we tend to turn off at least once a game from corners. Other than that the main talking point was the little contretemps Albian Ajeti had with Holgate. Now Ajeti did flick his head gently backwards but the effort wasn't anywhere near enough to cause the disgraceful reaction from Holgate who went down clutching his face and spent the next minute or two on the ground comatose.

A closer look at the incident shows Holgate gently kneeing Ajeti in the back of the leg - no big deal but imagine the furore had the West Ham man reacted in similar fashion to Holgate. VAR, having decided that Ajeti's conduct fell short of the level to be regarded as "violent" then somehow forgot to consider the punishment for "feigning injury to deceive a match official". I suppose you can't have everything. Or as we are finding out with VAR, you can't have anything.

Injury news suggests that Antonio is edging closer to a return having done some training, Fabianski, Yarmolenko, Fredericks and Anderson are all going to miss out - Anderson's ribs are worse than anticipated. Wilshere? Whenever.

And so to the prediction then. Well as mentioned although their defeat at Burnley was credited to the performance of Pope in goal for the home side, and there were a lot of comments of the "we should have taken our chances" variety there was something about the performance that seemed not quiet right. Nothing I could highlight or quite put my finger on but there was something wrong. Whether or not we can exploit that of course is another matter entirely.

The worrying thing for me is our susceptibility to the quick ball over the top - which is, of course Vardy's modus operandi. This vulnerability is particularly prominent at corners - our corners - where q quick collect and clearance can often be our undoing. So this week we will see just how solid all this Increased confidence actually is. I can't see a win this time around and I have a horrible feeling that a draw might be beyond us this time. So the ?2.50 that would have been sent to the "food for starving Talksport presenters" fund will be going off to Winstone the Turf Accountant and placed on a 2-1 home win.

Enjoy the game!



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When last we met in Leicester: Drew 1-1 (Premier League October 2018).

Balbuena opened the scoring on the half-hour but shortly after Noble got a straight read for a late challenge. It looked like all three points were heading south until Ndidi's late shot took a wicked deflection past Fabianski. None of which really mattered one jot as five people lost their lives an hour after the final whistle as mechanical failure caused a helicopter crash in the stadium car park.


Referee: David Coote

Took charge of the return fixture before Christmas. Proved to be gullible in the extreme a giving a free kick every time a Leicester player went to ground. Let's hope he was doing his homework on Sunday.


Danger Man: Jamie Vardy

Top scorer in the league even if he missed a poor penalty on Sunday


Percy's Poser:

Last time out we asked you pick the missing words out of this dumb crime in the Liverpool Echo:

"Idiotic robber chased by post office owner led him to XXX XXXX"

Congratulations to Mrs Hermione Gout who correctly identified the missing words as "his home". There's dumb then there is scouse dumb.

This week we look to the Leicester Mercury who reported the opening of a new major attraction in the Leicestershire village of Blaby. To discover what it was simply fill in the missing word from the following headline:

People queue from 5am in freezing weather for opening of new XXXXXXX"

Best of luck!


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