West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur

Preview Percy wasn't as upset as some when England crashed out of the World Cup at the semi-final stage this summer. To find out why, and to find out why Daisy, The Work Experience Girl With The Beautiful Smile is nowhere to be seen this week read on... If you look hard enough there might also be some stuff about Tottenham in there..

Ah right. You're back. Back to domestic football then where we will play host to Tottenham (checks notes) Hotspur. Kick off is 3pm on Saturday - hurrah and huzzah for that. Trains? Usual stuff involving replacement buses on the Southend Victoria line and the closure of the line between Stratford and Tottenham Hale will probably confuse visiting supporters, though even they will probably have worked out that we have moved from E13 by now. Regular readers will recall the hilarious telephone conversation overheard at Stratford tube a couple of years ago where a Spurs fan (complete with traditional dandruff) was telling his missing mate "no you plum they moved in the summer".

So Spurs then. They currently sit in 5th place having won 6 and lost 2 of the 8 played so far. Both defeats came in September in consecutive matches away at Watford and at "home" to Liverpool, both by 2-1. In the so-called Champions League they have lost both their games - 2-1 at Inter and, hilariously, 4-2 at home to Barcelona who treated them as one might a small child by keeping them at distance with a palm on their forehead while the youngster swings away wildly out of reach. The two defeats have got them with one eye on blocking out Thursday evenings for the latter half of the season with them facing a fight with PSV Eindhoven for the third place they occupy over the Dutch outfit on goal difference.

They beat Watford on spot kicks in the League Cup up at Milton Keynes, a match moved because Wembley was unavailable, something that set up another visit for them to the Olympic for them on Halloween.

Whilst we are on the subject of stadiums (or, if you will, stadia) as nice as their new place might be (and having a West Ham scarf buried in the foundations will increase its value inestimably) do not let any Spurs supporter kid you that "not a penny of public money" was involved in its creation. That particular lie was promulgated by Daniel Levy and ignored the fact that his multi-million pound business had been let off paying for a whole raft of infrastructure improvements that any other business would have been forced to stump up for had it been something more useful, like a branch of Sainsburys - or in that part of the world probably a Lidl. And that's before they were let off the "social housing" element for the flats they are building. Still I expect that was a different Daniel Levy to the one who sent emails to the Mayor's office threatening to relocate because the banks wouldn't play ball until the promised GLA/London Borough of Haringey money was confirmed. Glad we were able to clear that one up.

At this point you are probably expecting the welcome arrival of Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, who would normally spend some time going through the opposition's new arrivals, wheedling the value of "undisclosed" fees out of various unidentified people, obtaining transfer fee exchange rates from the spotty kid at the post office who fancies her and finding out which of the dozens of countries players were eligible to play before they picked France. However, this week she was faced with opponents who, famously, didn't spend a penny on new players this summer. So, nice person that I am I gave her the afternoon off. I do miss that smile though. Still she'll be back next week. Hopefully.

Earlier this week Levy denied that the failure to make any signings in the summer window was a direct consequence of the money committed towards the stadium, though he did qualify this comment by pointing out that they had a budget that they would stick to. In a throwback to the days when everyone used to take the mickey out of them over their boasts over who they "nearly" signed, they "nearly signed" Jack Grealish from Villa for a reported ?25m. This seemed an odd target for a team whose supporters were convinced that they were going to win the so-called Champions League up to the point that they actually played anybody in it. Certainly at that price anyway. No doubt they could have afforded extra, but even at that price Villa seemed to be having a laugh.

There has been much talk of how knackered Harry Kane has been of late. He himself denied that he has been suffering a dip in form since the World Cup. At least that's what I think he said. It may surprise you to know that I agree with him. The fact is that, despite his "Golden Boot" for being the player in the side that gained the most penalties, he was rubbish in the World Cup too, so his form has been more stable rather than the subject of a "dip".

As it happens he had a decent first half against Spain the other night setting up three goals with his three touches before heading onto the bar with his fourth. Knowing our luck he will step his game up this weekend before returning to his previous "invisible until the ref points to the spot" status.

Talking of the World Cup did anyone else notice how you couldn't move for Spurs supporters boasting of how many players they had in the England team only for them to disappear faster than you can say "where have all the shell suits gone?" once we were out?

One Spurs player who did ok in Russia was 'keeper & skipper Hugo Lloris who, of course was on the winning side as the French took advantage of the turning point afforded them by a dodgy penalty against Croatia. Lloris had his own Spursy moment in that match, electing to try to beat an opponent in his own box to give the plucky Croatians what was ended up being a consolation goal.

Incidentally, France's win cost me the ?800 first prize in the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered World Cup Sweep. Having drawn Croatia I had to make do with the ?400 second prize - which would explain why I wasn't as upset as some when Spurs, I mean England blew it in the semi-final.

By amazing coincidence, ?400 is ?50,000 divided by 125, and ?50,000 is the exact size of the fine Lloris received when being apprehended by the Met in his vomit covered. Presumably it was his own vomit - as every Spinal Tap fan knows you can't dust for vomit - the main evidence being the presence of over twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream. It continues to depress that footballers on ?100k a week seem unwilling to shell out what would probably have been half a ton for a minicab after a night out. I'm not having a particular dig at Spurs for this - most clubs would have acted the same way - but in any other walk of life his job would have been on the line. Another sad indictment of the strange warped moral bubble that Association Football sometimes seems to operate in.

They have a couple on the sick list who are definitely ruled-out, those being Vertonghen (thigh) and Janssen (ankle). The irritating Alli (also thigh) has been missing for a bit but has been promoted from "ruled out" to "50-50" which is also the rating given to Danny Rose. However, from Pinocchio's comments in the press conference neither is likely to feature. Wanyama is likely to be fit (late fitness test) as Christian Eriksen, who has had a good lie down after his "fatigue-related" injury.

So what's been happening of late since we last met. Well outside our own stuff going on we had a couple of internationals and a splendid set of results it was as well. Defying all the odds Gibraltar beat Armenia 1-0 away before following that up with a 2-1 defeat of Liechtenstein, whose national anthem the Armenians had played instead of the Gibraltar one.

Presumably the anthem was identified as that of Liechtenstein because a vocal version was being played. Had it been an instrumental they might have gotten away with it (at a pinch) given that the same tune is used for "God Save The Queen". So that's two wins in the UEFA What The Hell Is Going On League for the plucky rock-dwellers. Watch out Scotland they're coming for you.

Meanwhile in the upper regions of the competition (I think we are in division Alpha Bravo 101 or something) if you listened to the pundits, the England win was the greatest thing since 1966 . In truth England played well on the break in the first half but were penned back by the Spanish in the second half and rode their luck - yes you Pickford.

Mind you it was a vast improvement on the snoozefest that took place in Croatia. Who'd have though such an improvement could be gained from the absence of Jordan Henderson? Everyone.

And what of us? Bit unlucky at Brighton I thought. One slip let in a team who would have been more than happy with a point. A point they might not have got had Balbuena and, more unusually, Arnautovic been a bit more on the ball. Still hopefully it was JUST a minor blip in the grand scheme of things.
Off the pitch there's been all sorts of a kerfuffle over the U18 coach going on a march with something called the Democratic Football Lads Alliance. This is an organisation that split from the original Football Lads Alliance over "differences of opinion over certain issues". So far, so very "Life Of Brian".

It's a tough one. Whilst the stated aim of the organisation to protest "against all extremism" is laudable enough, the involvement of certain particular individuals who might have a different agenda understandably gives cause for concern. And, of course, whenever such events occur they will usually attract the attentions of some equally worrying types from the opposite end of the political divide, with predictable consequences.

As for Mr Phillips, it's a bit of thorny problem for the club really. He's currently suspended while some poor sod has to work out whether or not his (quite legal) actions have somehow brought the club into disrepute. I do have a bit of a problem with the suggestion from Kick It Out that Mr Phillips might somehow be "re-educated" in order to keep his job. Apart from the Orwellian overtones of such a process, such an "offer" does rather make a general assumption as to the man's opinions based on little more than his presence at a march and a few "liked" tweets. Compare that with the fortunes of, for example, Lloris who may have had a club fine to add to his court one but still retained his captain's armband. Still, on the bright side if anyone knows about bringing the club int/o disrepute it will be our lot - lets just hope that the alien owners from Planet Kepler 442b can channel some wisdom through the mind control matrix while they work out how to deal with that particular poisoned chalice Meanwhile I'm off to join the Popular Front Of Judea while I work out quite how the former Mr Princess Anne ended up coaching our kids.

Back to the matter in hand and the long-term injury list is compiled of Reid, Lanzini, and Sanchez. All of whom will have heard drunken choruses of "Auld Lang Syne" before they make an appearance. Andy Carroll has been training and might be back by Halloween to terrify the visitors. Wilshere is looking at being available just before we start lighting bonfires (in most cases to celebrate Guy Fawkes' Night but here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered an awful lot of paperwork seems to go missing about that time of the year). Snodgrass and Masuaku both face late fitness tests on ankle knocks but are both considered more likely than not to be available. Finally Chicharito has recovered from the glandular fever that has laid him low for the last month or so.

So prediction then. Well the worry is that Kane won't carry on being the invisible man forever - and we do have that reputation of being the team to play if you need to snap out of a rut. The challenge will be to see if we can keep up the form that we had going into the break - even if the finishing at Brighton was a bit lacking we kept pressing. The visitors will be less defensively-minded of course which suggests that there will be goals.

So, partly based on the premise that they haven't had a draw in the league so far this season I will be placing the ?2.50 that I was going to spend on a copy of the Gibraltar National Anthem (to send to Hampden Park should they not have a copy for the next competition) on a 2-2 draw using the incredibly useful Winstone Turf Accountancy app (When The Fun Stops It Must Be Another international Break), once I've remembered where I left my 'phone charger.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Olympic Lost 2-3 (Premier League October 2017)

Michael Oliver was on fine form for the visitors ignoring an offside for Kane's first. Kane added another from a rebound for the second before Oliver gave them a free-kick from a dive that even Alli was embarrassed about, Eriksen sticking away the rebound as Kane's freebie came back off the post. Oliver admittedly sent-off Aurier, but only after the player had committed no fewer than five yellow-card offences. Just as it looked like me might rescue a point with goals from Chicharito and Kouyate putting us within touching distance, Oliver then ignored a two handed shove in the back on Carroll, something that in an ideal world he would have been asked to explain to those from whom he steals a living.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

I think PGMOL have nominated him as our house ref as we seem to get him every few weeks. At least he's not Dean, though if ever the phrase "damned with faint praise" were to apply it is now.

Danger Man: Harry Kane

Will probably be anonymous for 89 minutes before something goes in off his backside to enable the tv pundits to go into raptures about how he is "back".

Percy's Poser:

The other week we gave you the following incomplete headline from the Brighton Argus:

"Drunk Flasher who exposed his bottom to onlookers while drunk has been ordered to clean up his XXX"

Congratulations to Mrs Ada St John-Polevaulter who was first out of the hat with the correct answer which was "Act".

And shame on the 1,242 entrants who provided an alternative three letter answer beginning with the letter "A"

For this week we go to the pages of the Tottenham & Wood Green Independent - it wasn't easy this week since every other story seemed to involve someone getting shot or stabbed but we did find this useful little item:

The one thing you shouldn't feed XXXXX - and what you should feed them instead

Good luck everyone!

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