West Ham United v Manchester United

Next up we return to home where we will be playing host to Salford’s other club, “Manchester” United.

Kick-off is just after breakfast at 2pm. Trains? Well, as seems to be the norm these days, buses replace trains between Shenfield and Southend Victoria /Southminster on that line. Thinking of using the other line in from Southend? Have another think - buses replace trains between Shoeburyness and Southend Central, and between Grays and Upminster and Grays and Pitsea.

For the visitors there are extended journey times between Croydon South and Coulsdon, so you'll have plenty of time to practice that extraordinary fake accent you sing in. I have no idea where you can buy those wretched half and half scarves from though

So Manchester United then. It's been a bit of a bitty start to the season for them. An opening day thrashing of Chelsea proved to say more about Chelsea at that point than it did about Manchester United. Pogba - who appears to be so sulky at present Arnautovic is looking for royalties - missed a spot kick against Wolves in a 1-1 draw. The spot-kick missing duties were handed over to Rashford for the Palace match and he duly obliged by hitting the metalwork. A late equaliser looked to have given them a point until Van Arnholt's even later winner saw a third of those who had travelled from Croydon go home happy.

They picked up another point on the road at Southampton who spent the latter part of the game with 10 men. Their second win of the season came last week as Rashford finally worked out the instruction manual for penalty kicks, his 8th minute "kick from the penalty mark" marking the difference between the two sides. Bournemouth's win at Southampton leaves them in 5th at the time of writing (before the Saturday games) on 8 points, with goal difference the only thing separating them from Leicester, Chelsea, Arsenal and our goodselves, though no doubt that will have changed by the time some of you read this.

Their last outing saw them turning out in the Thursday Night League, prevailing 1-0 against a team so obscure that I just had to look it up. And by the time I got back to this page I'd forgotten them.

Unlike our last opponents, who signed so many players that Daisy, the full time personal assistant with the beautiful smile, had to go for a lie down and a massage after doing last week's research, this lot only brought in 3 new players with most of the pre-season speculation revolving around the potential departure of Pogba. A rumoured ?15m plus possible add-ons was rumoured to have been paid to Swansea for the services of Welsh international winger Daniel James. He's had a bright start to his career in Salford, scoring three times in his first four games and getting their "player of the month" award for August.

They paid a bit more for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, whose name probably provides a highly amusing anagram or two if only I could be bothered to work one out. The fee for the full-back was reported to be ?45m with a further ?5m in add-ons potentially being payable. Fair old wad for a player who hasn't yet played for the full England side. He was selected for the squad for the recent brace of Euro qualifiers but, showing all of the sort of respect for his new club's traditions that you would expect from someone from Croydon, he pulled out of the squad citing injury. Equally respecting of the club's traditions is the fact that the player doesn't seem to appear on any of the usual lists of those not available for club duty this weekend.

If the Wan-Bissaka fee raised an eyebrow or two, that paid for Harry Maguire gave rise to facelifts of supermodel proportions. Somewhere between ?80-90m depending on your source arrived in used notes in Leicester in return for the player, making him the world's most expensive defender. His start to life in the North West has been as patchy as that of the team as a whole and he was given some stick for his part in England's, er, interesting defeat of Kosovo the other evening. I guess that it just goes to highlight the unofficial premium that gets applied to transfer fees when an England-qualified player is involved.

And that was it for the new arrivals. Which, given the fact that this is boss Solksjaer's first full season in charge, might be thought of as unusual. I mean when a manager takes over part way through a season they are, by and large, stuck with what they have got subject to being able to do something in the winter window. So the summer window might have been seen as an opportunity for the 12-year-old Norwegian to shape things.

Ok they spent the thick end of ?150m but the bulk of that went on two defenders whist notwithstanding his decent start to the season, James tends to occupy a position that is not one that you would tend to build your team around. All of which suggests that either Solksjaer was, by and large, happy with most of the squad he inherited or there wasn't enough money for any root and branch transformation that he might have wanted. Or, possibly, he has not as much say in transfers as one might have thought.

One of his big issues is, of course, the Pogba poser. The parallels with Arnautovic don't just end with the general moody demeanour each player has displayed. In both cases the players' agents haven't been slow to stir the pot. In Pogba's case his Mr 10% (or whatever he is on) went public on the fact that he was trying to set up a move for his client, though he did go to pains to point out that this was at Pogba's own behest.

His willingness to stay in Cheshire beyond next January won't have been improved any by the moronic social-media abuse dished out to him for missing the spot-kick against Wolves and, whenever I have seen him on the box this season, he has carried himself with all the bearing of a teenager who has been told that he can't go out with his mates because it's time to go to visit grandma. In a major break with standard MUFC practice, having missed the French matches in the international break, he was actually missing from the team that beat Leicester, and he is out for this one, his ankle injury apparently being genuine. Who'd have thought?

Pogba joins Bailly, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah and Martial on the sicklist, whilst James is rated as 50-50 over an ankle injury, treatment on Saturday and a fitness test on Sunday being the order of the day.

Lets turn to our regular look at the wild and wacky world of association football then. And, close to home it seems that the short one who comes along to pick up these words of wisdom each week has been told that because he's a nice guy he is more than welcome to pop into the press room pre and post-match he won't be allowed to report on the proceedings for this website. This is wrong on so many levels it's difficult to know where to start.

To begin with he's not a nice guy at all, he's a pain in the backside who edits all the best bits out of this column quoting "libel laws" or some such nonsense. More importantly the club seems fine in allowing in employees of the national press who have been infinitely more critical of the club over the years. And that's before one considers the two herberts whose lies on the subject of Tevez before that kangaroo court actually threatened the very existence of the club.

No doubt the representative of the country's best-selling tabloid, which recently added Ben Stokes to Hillsborough as part of an ever-growing list of disgusting "stories", will be welcomed with open arms, possibly bringing along the latest cheque instalment for the increasingly embarrassing column penned by our vice-chairman. With that little lot in attendance each week it seems an odd sense of priorities for the club to have the moral hump with a website simply for failing to toe the party line.

Elsewhere two people have been found guilty of illegally accessing footage of the post-mortem of Emiliano Sala. They await sentencing on Monday and a job offer from the country's best-selling tabloid on Tuesday no doubt.

In lighter news, Spurs blew a 2-0 lead in the so-called Champions League and across the water, League Of Ireland outfit Bohemians gave a debut to 14 year-old Evan Ferguson in their 0-0 draw with Derry City. The kid came on in the 90th minute of the match, presumably his mum putting the block on him appearing any earlier until he'd finished his maths homework.

And what of Monday night? Mike ****ing Dean, that's what. Again. You might think it odd that one individual can, over the course of the last 20 years, continually flout the laws of the game for his own ends. You might think it odd that this behaviour can continue over such a length of time with nobody from the media noticing enough to enquire why such a state of affairs might have been allowed to develop. Clearly the hacks from the country's biggest selling tabloid are too busy trying to ruin peoples' private lives so maybe one of our broadsheets might like to have a go?

The match proved my original theory that putting VAR in the hands of the same bunch of incompetents and backside protectors as prove to be such an embarrassment on the pitch every week is about as good an idea as giving Piers Morgan a twitter account. Whilst the contretemps between El Ghazi and Mings wasn't the hardest thing I've ever seen - you should see Matron in the Swan & Superinjunction at closing time - there was a clear motion of head towards head of the sort that referees are required to punish with a red card. If Mings had been opponent rather than team-mate the card would have been forthcoming and the laws refer to "violent conduct" not "violent conduct towards an opponent". Is it too much to ask for referees both on and off the pitch to a) know the laws of the game; and b) to apply them honestly?

It was a game in which oddly, we looked more promising going forward after the ludicrous dismissal of Masuaku, as if spurred on by yet another Dean disaster. At the end of the day any point from a game with that arrogant idiot in charge is probably worth 3 from a match handled by the other incompetents so we should move on.

On the injury front there is a doubt about Lanzini who has what the manager described as "a little problem". Around these parts "a little problem" is the accepted euphemism for one of those ailments caught from "a friend" for which Matron usually prescribes penicillin. Or so I am told. I don't suppose that's Lanzini's problem though. Whatever it is they will be looking at it over the course of Saturday.

Antonio's op went well by all accounts and he now starts the rehabilitation slog. Reid is looking at a runout for the U23s over the next couple of weeks. Masuaku of course will miss out because a weasel-faced git wanted him to..

And so on to the prediction. Well we outplayed them at home and away last season and would have had all 6 points but for more bent refereeing up at their place. On our side there's the slight beginnings of a tingle about the place and we seem to be going out with an air of expectation rather than of hope. I'm firmly of the opinion that three points are on offer here and for that reason the ?2.50 that was going on postage for me to send PGMOL my copy of the Laws Of The Game (clearly they don't own a copy) will go on a home win once I've been able to open the Winstone Turf Accountancy app. Let's say 2-1 to us then.

Enjoy the game!

When last we met at the Olympic: Won 3-1 (Premier League September 2018)

We'd lost four on the spin at the start of the season but a fine win at Goodison and "an unlucky not to make it all three" goalless draw at home to Chelsea had steadied the ship somewhat. Anderson's beautiful flick opened the scoring. Yarmolenko's deflected effort was harshly credited as an own goal to give us a deserved 2-0 lead at the interval. Rashford pulled one back with 20 minutes left but we barely had time to get the jitters as Arnautovic added the third a few minutes later. It could have been more.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Our 2nd time this season for this fool whose main saving grace is that he isn't Mike Dean. We will still cling to the good omen that he was in charge at the Toilet Bowl for our defeat of Spurs last season.


Danger Man: Marcus Rashford

Thankfully Lukaku has gone so I will plump for the England man on this occasion. HAsn't a goal in open play in 5 games. Which usually means one thing.


Percy's Poser

Last week we looked at Villa's local rag, the Birmingham Mail, who in a public-spirited announcement have alerted the West Midlands that the local constabulary are trying to reunite a package left at an M6 Service Area with its (presumably unhappy) owner. All you had to do guess the mystery object!

Congratulations to Mrs Jemima Breakfast-Cereal of Dunton who correctly identified the mystery item as "a bag of cocaine". Somewhat unsurprisingly West Midlands Police's advert in the digital equivalent of the old lost and found ads remains unanswered at the time of writing.

This week we visit the pages of the Manchester Evening News. The underlying story for this one is fairly serious, but the headline was such that I couldn't resist it. So all you have to do is identify the missing words from this story:

Furious dad storms into house and has 'XXXX-XXXX' after thinking man in his underpants was giving his daughters XXX XXXXXXX

Good luck everyone!

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