Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

Preview Percy has spent the last week checking to see when they altered the offside law. Apparently they haven't. Let's hope the officials for this weekend's visit to Tottenham Hotspur have worked that out.....

Next up we visit the Bedpan Stadium which is the current home of Tottenham Hotspur. Kick-off is the ludicrously early time of 12:30 for the benefit of tv.

This weekend's rail shenanigans are base on the C2C limes - Fenchurch Street will be shut whilst the rest of the service will have diversions and replacement buses. You know what to do - check before you leave.

Daisy, the work experience girl with the beautiful smile informs me that there have been 211 matches played between the clubs so far, the first being a 3-0 defeat at Northumberland Park in September 1898 in the Thames & Medway League. In that year some chap called Henry Lidfield lost control of his electric car on a hill and, in the process of crashing into a tree, became the first person to die in a car accident. Of the 211 played we have won 63 drawn 52 and lost 96 overall.

They have been unbeaten at the Bedpan since they eventually turned up there after discovering the wiring was a bit iffy. In fact they have yet to concede a goal since they left Wembley. They did experience something of a blip over February-March where they lost four and drew one, but it should be noted that the four defeats all came away from their (temporary) home at Wembley which, it is hoped, will be undergoing some form of deep cleansing process as we speak to enable it to be used by the girls in their Cup Final.

Since the turn of April they have won three of the last four, the one reversal coming up at Man City where they went down 1-0 at the weekend only a few days after the bonkers So-Called Champions League match at the same venue, something that proved once more that if the on pitch referee isn't shown all the useful angles when he asks for a look there are likely to be problems. All of which leaves them in 3rd spot with 7- points. Chelsea (67) and Arsenal (66) are their rivals for the top 4 spot.

If you listen to their rather dim support they are as good as in the so-called Champions League final already. They would do well to remember that Ajax gleefully dispatched the much-fancied Juventus in the previous round - a much better team than Spurs by any measure. Indeed I suspect that the cheers in Amsterdam at the conclusion of the last round may have been even louder than those in North London.

Tuesday night will loom heavily in their team selection of course. With one eye on this match Son Heung-Min managed to get himself booked against Man City, thus getting himself suspended for the Ajax match. Which means he will be available for this one. I'm sure there was a rule about getting yourself deliberately booked.

Famously, and much to the relief of Daisy the work experience girl with the beautiful smile, they failed to sign anyone in either window this season. They will say that they've done ok without fresh blood to date, however as they pay off the debt on the Bedpan it will be interesting to see how they manage to keep pace with their other rivals - in that respect Chelsea's forthcoming transfer ban will be helpful. However, there are already signs that they are beginning to look closely at fully utilising the resources they already have within the squad.

Witness the recent return to action of forward Victor Janssen. The Dutchman (17 Dutch caps, middle name Anna) spent last term on loan at Fenerbache having proved his inability to bring banjos in contact with cows' backsides on a regular basis in his opening season. On his return he was apparently airbrushed out of existence. No squad number, no place in the team photo nothing. He then went lame with an ankle problem. Once that had healed he was expected to leave in the winter window but no bids were forthcoming and, possibly with one eye on squad rotation in case VAR was kind to them in Europe, they registered him for the latter half of the domestic season, with him making his first appearance in the 1-0 defeat of Brighton as a sub the other night.

The squad rotation thing makes working out who is going to play a bit difficult, especially as their chances of playing in the so-called Champions League next season realistically depend on their league position. One change that is being much touted at present is the replacement of Wanyama with Dier. It will be nice for Dier to get on the same pitch as Declan Rice at last I suppose. Bless him.

The central defensive partnership will be interesting. Alderweireld and Vertonghen is the usual pairing though the alternative of Sanchez and Foyth is an option.

They may be a little short on numbers in midfield. Sissoko and Aurier are definitely out whilst Winks and Lamela are rated doubtful. Under normal circumstances they might have rested the obnoxious Alli, who picked up a knock in midweek. However, given the injuries in that area that might not be do-able.

Whilst Alli hasn't been pulling up any trees of late that cannot be said of Christian Eriksen. It was Eriksen who netted the late winner against Brighton and he will be key if they are to get as far as getting walloped by Barcelona which makes his selection this weekend possibly the most difficult decision for Pinocchio. Even more interesting will be the decision they will have to make next summer which will see the arrival of the last year of his contract. Bigger clubs are already circling around with Real Madrid being mentioned in many quarters, though QPR are said to have no interest.

Enough of them. "What's happened in the wild and wacky world of Association Football" I hear you ask. Well arrogant p*ick Jurgen Klopp declared that Liverpool are the "team of the year" irrespective of whether they win the league. That's the Liverpool side who wouldn't be in with a shout of the title had referees gotten a decent percentage of decisions right in their matches. And had the FA had the bottle to suspend Salah for diving rather than re-writing the rule book to avoid their responsibilities. Team of the year? No Klopp you're a few steps behind Fort William on that one. And they wonder why everyone wants Man City to win the league?

Elsewhere Pogba managed to get enough votes to get himself on the PFA team of the year. Somehow. He will turn up to pick up whatever gong it is you get for doing that just as soon as Declan Rice lets him out to play. At the time of writing Raheem Sterling (24 and shedloads of England Caps) is rumoured to have taken the young player award. Rob Green is probably runner-up on that basis.

And what of us? Odd game last weekend I thought. We were by far the better side in the first half but lacked a bit of cutting edge in the final third, as proper pundits are wont to say. Antonio's fine header seemed to go in in slow motion. So, with the sun shining more of the same in the second half was the order of the day. Instead we sat back and allowed the visitors to dictate proceedings, equalising through Ratboy in the process

The second goal came a little against the run and, initially, Perez's finish looked as if it had hit him and gone in, though the big screen replay showed that, in fact, the finish was totally intentional. In effect Perez had Hernandez-ed. He had a good run out off the bench. Then, of course we had, for the second week running a goal incorrectly ruled out. It is to be hoped that when VAR comes in next season it would, ideally, have someone in the nuclear bunker completely unconnected with PGMOL at the screen, if only to dismiss the possibility of them covering each other's backs, which is the standard modus operandi for the so-called select group.

Ideally if an official gets basic things wrong time and time again he would end up dropping like a stone down the leagues, much in the same way as players do if they are consistently poor. Of course, if such a system had been in place already, the improvement in standards would already have been palpable to the extent that VAR might not be necessary. After all in pretty much any walk of life if you are constantly bad at your job you'll get the push so why should PGMOL's closed-shop be any different?

Having had a goal wrongly chalked off, those of you with the Winstone Turf Accountancy App on your mobile telephonic devices should have put everything you had on an equaliser coming. It was that bound to happen, wasn't it?

The boss has potentially got a couple of selection posers of his own to ponder. Up to now, whenever Perez has looked as he did on Saturday he has turned up the next week and failed to impress.

The starting line-up will depend partly on whether Hernandez's ear has healed up - he is rated as "75% likely" to start - and partly on whether the manager has faith in Perez's hitherto well-hidden resources of consistency. I suspect that Hernandez will start if fit and, if not MP will revert to Antonio up front.

There has been some talk of Sanchez maybe playing some part in proceedings after his knee problem. Maybe a week too early I reckon. Cresswell is 50-50 with the knee issue that has dogged him of late, Nasri is most unlikely to feature whilst Lanzini is a definite non-starter along with the long-termers.

Prediction? Well they have one eye on Tuesday night's visit of Ajax (I can still hear the late and much-missed Brian Moore rejoicing in their 1970's European Cup win over Inter, calling them "A-Jacks" throughout) so who knows what sort of team they put out. I have a feeling we will at least open the goalscoring account for the visiting sides at the Bedpan but I fear that referees are giving the top 4 all the help in the world while they can still get away with it and, even with a weakened team I think their twelve will probably shade it.

So I will be putting the ?2.50 I was going to add to the ?40m of public funds that contributed to the building of their stadium instead on a home win. So on with the Winstone Turf Accountancy App (when the fun stops you'll have caught dandruff at their ground) and stick the lot on a 2-1 home win which would make this the only cup final they will win all season.

Enjoy the game!


When Last We Met At Wembley: Drew 1-1 (Premier League January 2018)

Obiang opened with a piledriver. Son stopped diving enough to hit an equaliser from distance. Son said Obiang's goal was better. He was right.


Referee: Anthony Taylor

Thick as two short planks. He will feel at home at their place then.


Danger Man: Son Heung Min

Hasn't got to worry about Tuesday so can go for it a bit.


Percy's Poser:

Last week's guest publication ws 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

Congratulations to Mrs Doreen Wilberforce-Kaempfert of South Fambridge who correctly identified the missing words as: Stubborn Swan and Ramadan Celebrations. (Basically a swan got in the way of a van carrying street decorations and delayed the installation of said decorations by, ooh, several minutes. A lucky escape there Leicester).

This week's headline comes from the "Tottenham Independent" website who provide this delightful snippet. From which we have removed some delightful words:

Drug dealer hid 26 XXXXX in his XXXX
Not for the faint-hearted this week!

Good Luck everyone!


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