Arsenal v West Ham United

Preview Percy is kinda relieved that the reign of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal is over as his hip hasn't quite recovered from the "Wenger Hokey Cokey" that started up a couple of years ago. Warning: contains typhoid outbreaks and, worse still, Piers Morgan.....

Arsenal away next. 3pm Saturday. Proper time. Travel? Well should you come in from north of the greatest city in the world (New York? Pah!) you may have the teensiest problemette should you try to use Euston. Basically it's knackered. Leave now or you will miss the start. Unless you are reading this after the match has finished. In which case you are totally misunderstanding the concept of the word "preview".

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So it's a relegation six-pointer already then. They too have played two and lost two, going down 2-0 at home to Man City and and 3-2 at Chelsea having come back from 2-0 down. Which must have been irritating. Shame. Not.

To say it's been "all change" at the library over the doesn't quite cover it all. If you start at the top Russian gazillionaire Alisher "Everton has nothing to do with me" Usmanov has sold his 30% stake to "Silent" Stan Kroenke. Usmanov might have one eye on the trend for countries to take a dim view of having people poisoned on their patch, sanctions being the order of the day. Even Abrahamovic, Chelsea's chief launderer, seems to have upped sticks having blagged himself an Israeli passport in recent weeks. The deal meant that, much to the chagrin of supporters with small holdings of shares, Kroenke's holding meant that he would compulsorily mop up all remaining shares as required by Stock Exchange rules.

Kroenke paid ?29,400 a share, something that throws up a bit of a mystery. In the days before the official announcement of Kroenke's buyout there were six dealings in the shares at either ?37,000 or ?32,000 a share. It would appear that someone had "heard something" and figured they might make a bob or two. In fact they lost between ?2,600 and ?8,600 a share based on Kroenke's bid price. Who would be dim enough to do that? What we really need here is an Arsenal supporter with knowledge of dubious share deals to come out and explain it to the masses. I would ask "where's Piers Morgan when you need him" but for the fact that I cannot actually conceive of any situation where one might actually need Piers Morgan.

The change in ownership followed the tearful departure of Arsene Wenger, who, hopefully, will take full advantage of the free and concessionary treatment available to persons of retirement age in the field of opthalmics. The new boss is Unai Emery, which means we have gone from a manager whose first name sounds like the name of the club to a manager whose surname sounds like the name of the stadium. A bit. You don't get this type of analysis in the papers I can tell you. (with good reason - Deputy Ed)

Emery joined PSG in 2016 having managed the Sevilla side that kept winning the Thursday Night League a few years ago. Despite the huge amounts of money available to PSG, Emery (who older readers may, like me, struggle to not refer to as "Dick") had a modest return when it came to silverware in France. The 2016 Trophee des Championes might sound a bit grand but it loses a bit of lustre once you realise that it's nothing but the Charity (to give it its proper name) Shield. In France. He also picked up a "Coupe De Ligue" which is the League Cup. In France. Apparently. Other than that he was most renowned for being in charge of the PSG side that were 4-0 up after the first leg of a so-called Champions League match only to lose the second leg 6-1. Oops.

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They brought in five first team players during the window. Right back Stephan Lichtsteiner arrived on a free from Juventus. At 34 and with over 100 caps for his native Switzerland, "Forrest Gump" as he was nicknamed at Juventus is firmly into the veteran stage of his career. He featured for the Swiss in Russia where he picked up a 5,000 Swiss Franc fine for joining in with Shaquiri and (his now team-mate) Xhaka's "eagle gesture" goal celebrations which apparently had some sort of ethnic Albanian/Serbian connotations.

They shelled out an undisclosed fee (which Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me was about ?22.5m) on 'keeper Bernd Leno who arrived from Bayer Leverkusen. Leno looks even younger than his 26 years in photos - and, let's face it, 26 is remarkably young for a keeper these days anyway, given that most seem to be in their prime in their 30's. Although he has been capped six times at full level for Germany, and he made the initial preliminary squad for the World Cup, he missed out on selection for the final Russia squad. This was something that, in hindsight, probably wasn't as bad a thing as he initially thought it was. He hasn't dislodged Petr Cech in the starting line-up in either of their two games to date, though the increasingly variable quality of Cech's performances may mean that he features sooner or later this season. But probably not in this one.

Germany again was the source for Sokratis Papastathopoulos who arrived from Borussia Dortmund for ?17.6m. SP has been capped over 70 times by Greece and had spells with Genoa and AC Milan though he barely featured for the latter. He then headed north to Germany where any clever political jokes about Greek bailouts have just been scuppered by the news that they have just finished paying it all back. After a couple of seasons with Werder Bremen he spent five years at Borussia Dortmund making two shy of the double century of appearances for the "Black & Yellows" (a nickname that took ages to come up with I expect). A centre back by trade he's started both matches so far this season and his transfer fee was recouped in minutes as a Greek supporter went into debt getting the player's surname printed on the back of his shirt.

Lucas Torreira was the next arrival. The midfielder came in for a reported ?26.4m from Sampdoria and made his Uruguayan debut earlier this season. The Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos always raises a smile in these parts so we were happy to discover that the home of corned beef, steak and kidney pies and the 1964 Aberdeen Typhoid outbreak was Torreira's birthplace. Torreira only made his full international debut for Uruguay in March but featured in the World Cup for his country and was a starter in the side that beat Portugal in the knockout stages. He's a bit of a set piece specialist but, not being the tallest of players, knowing our luck he will score with a header.

The final addition to the first team squad this summer was midfielder Matteo Guendouzi for whom ?7m was shelled out to French 2nd division outfit Lorient (that's the one in Brittany not Brisbane Road). He's but 19 years old and this is his first excursion in domestic football outside France. He's been capped by France at all levels up to U20 whereupon the Moroccans sat up took notice of his North African parentage and got in touch. He sent his Dad along to deal with the Moroccan manager and after a bit of a father to son heart to heart he decided to stick with the French after all, thus missing out on the delights of all those African Cuppa Soup matches every few weeks. Which will please Arsenal I expect. He also has featured in both matches this season.

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They have a few on the sick. Not that he was likely to feature anyway but ex-Hammer Carl Jenkinson has a sprained ankle. Koscielny (calf), Kolasniac (knee) and Maitland-Niles (fractured hyphen) are all also ruled out.

And so to us. Well at half time on Saturday all was sweetness and light. There were little spells where we looked like a team and, although we had a couple of shaky moments at the back it looked for all the world that if we carried on as we had been we would simply outscore them. So, in typical West Ham style we stopped doing whatever it was we had been doing, namely attacking, and we sat back and invited them on to us. The aliens from Kepler 442b that currently seem to be in charge of the club may have conquered the mysteries of near lightspeed travel but even they are struggling to understand why we stopped attacking.

The first goal saw four players beaten by one. None of the four got a tackle in, partly because those who were close enough to do so seemed terrified of doing so. The visitors did have a tendency to go to ground (and judging by the number of players clutching their faces Dorset's facial reconstruction surgeons are in for a bumper few weeks) and that may have influenced things a bit but that's still no excuse. As for the second, see Liverpool's 4th. Set pieces need working on. On the bright side however, we managed to go up a place without having to go through all that tedious mucking about with actually winning a match so it wasn't all bad news. Just mostly.

However, I'm not going to harp on about last week - there's no need to add to the number of cases of depression in the Western world after all. So I'll move on to the injury list. Which is the same as last week's (Reid, Lanzini, Caroll for the foreseeable) with the addition of Mark Noble, who, like the club as a whole, has a back problem and is a major doubt. Other than we have a full squad to pick from which, bizarrely, may not be the best thing for a manager who, on his own admission, is still searching for his best starting XI. Perhaps the absence of the skipper might result in the slightly more limited options providing a solution.

Prediction? Well I'm struggling to see us getting anything out of this one on based on what I have witnessed so far this season. Spells like we had in the first half against Bournemouth have been very much the exception rather than the rule. So, with heavy heart and with the sincerest hope that I am completely wrong, I'll be placing the ?2.50 that would have gone on buying the club's ticket office a copy of "Data Protection For Dummies" on a home win. I shall therefore be contacting Winstone the Turf Accountant via his new-fangled app thingy (When the fun stops you've just got married) to place the whole bally lot on a 3-1 home win.

Enjoy the game!

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When Last We Met at the Library Lost 4-1 (Premier League April 2018)

We were the better side in the first half with Kouyate hitting the bar and Arnie forcing saves out of Ospina. So they took the lead in the second half through Monreal, not that you would have noticed from the (non) reaction of a half-empty Library. Arnie equalised 15 minutes later and a draw looked on. Except we let in 3 goals in the last 6 minutes through Lacazette (2) and Ramsey to five the sore a look that not so much flattered the home side as popped over to the florist and bought them the biggest bouquet in the shop

Referee: Graham Scott

At the end of 2016-17 PGMOL tried the unthinkable and demoted him. He appealed. They let him back in. Make of that what you will.

Danger Man: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Missed chances at Chelsea. I doubt we'll be as lucky.

Percy's Poser:

Last week we gave you the following incomplete headline from the Bournemouth Daily Echo:

Sabotage: Stone-throwing vandals damaged my XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX.

The first correct answer out of the digital hat came from Mrs Juliet Balcony of Wivenhoe who wrote thus:
"Dear sir. This is a complete guess but are the missing words 'Beastie Boys Scarecrow?'" Yes Mrs Balcony they are. Well done!

For this week's poser we go to the pages of the Islington Gazette. Simply insert the missing words to win all the muesli you can eat:

Police forensics called in over mysterious Finsbury XXX XXXXXXX

Good luck everyone!

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