West Ham United v Manchester United: match preview

Preview Percy hasn't got the bug that has been running through the squad at present. So he was available to give us a look at the visit of Man United. More’s the pity...

Next up we return to home soil where we will play host to the tourist attraction masquerading as a football club that is Manchester United. Kick-off at the Olympic is at 7pm, a daft time occasioned by the fact that earlier in the day there will be a celebratory picnic in the park in honour of the Coronation.

The late kick-off will be help with the traffic as thousands of Chelsea supporters remember who it was they followed before Abramovich turned up just before the Royal Bank Of Scotland went to put them into administration.

The main point of interest up there these days is the sale of the club. The highest bidder for the whole club is Qatari Sheikh Jassim. He’s up against Sir Jim Ratcliffe who has bid more for a smaller stake, an arrangement that could see the Glazers retain an interest.

Now I’m no tree-hugger by any stretch of the imagination, but the advent of Cold Nuclear Fusion can’t come quickly enough given the planet’s dependence on fossil fuels. Overnight we would see Man City, Newcastle and now, possibly Manchester United slide down the rich list, as the countries that own them realise that their countries are little more than sand and dead dinosaur juice and the juice is now worthless.

Of course by that time Man Utd, having dived into the whole so-called superleague thing, will probably have persuaded UEFA that they deserve free entry to the So-Called Champions League irrespective of league position. As things stand, it’s a pass that they may will need sooner than they think.

Their late-but-deserved defeat to Brighton the other night has left them four points clear of the Scousers, though they do have a game in hand over their fellow self-entitled muppets. They were on a semi decent run following the hilarious 7-0 defeat by the scousers and a subsequent 2-0 reverse up on Tyneside. Since then they’ve beaten Brentford, Everton, Forest and Villa and, incredibly drawing at Spurs, even managing to throw away a two-goal lead in the process.

In between that they got through to the Cup Final with hugely fortunate penalty win against Brighton, thus qualifying to be the club that hands their neighbours from Manchester the double. They are out of Europe having been given the bum’s rush by Sevilla, just going to show that you need some sort of class to beat them.

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Daisy tells me that the only permanent deal signed during the January window involved them pinching a 16-year-old striker from Cardiff so it is to the loan market to which we turn for any meaningful action. Goalkeeping cover arrived in the form of Palace ‘keeper Jack Butland. He replaced Newcastle custodian Dubravka who had been charged with bench-warming duties during the first half of the season.

The arrival of Burnley striker Wout Weghorst on loan from Burnley was a weird one, to be sure. He joined Burnley a couple of seasons ago but was farmed out on loan to Besiktas after the Turf Moor lot got relegated. He seemed to find his level in Turkey, averaging a goal every other game out there.

This was enough to convince the Salford mob that there might be something to work with, especially since he was considered good enough to form part of the Netherlands squad in the World Cup – he currently has 21 Dutch caps. A bung of £2.5m to Burnley was enough to have the Besiktas loan cut short. However, 2 goals in 26 is not particularly awe-inspiring and reports today have suggested that there will be no plans to make the deal permanent.

The final arrival was Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. And I defy anyone of a certain age not to mentally say “one for the money” after hearing his surname. And if you didn’t before you probably will now. Sabitzer has arrived on an end of season deal from Bayern, though he is trying to talk himself into a permanent deal by bigging up his temporary employers at every opportunity. He bagged a brace in the first leg against Sevilla, which turned out to be their only goals of the tie.

On we move to the Wild and Wacky World of Association Football. And the player that Ronaldo would like to be, Lionel Messi, has had his knuckles rapped by PSG over an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia. I’m sure the club were at great pains to point out that the disciplinary action was the result of the player going despite being refused permission, and in no way anything to do with PSG’s Qatari ownership.

Over at Leeds they have appointed Allardyce as their manager where he was quick to suggest that he was a better boss than Guardiola, Arteta and Klopp. The world of football was rocking with laughter at that one, though there is an argument to suggest that he may be on a par with Klopp. And that’s not a compliment.

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And on to us. Well the result up at City was what I predicted last week but the manner of the defeat was completely different. I was ready to revise my 3-0 prediction upwards when I saw the team which had been hit by a bug. Seven subs on the bench with two of them goalkeepers told its own story. However, one couldn’t fault the work rate so it was somewhat disappointing that we succumbed to individual errors.

3-0 was a bit harsh in the end. I thought. We did see one particular spot of refereeing bias in the game however. Downes picked up a yellow which was for the third such challenge in the game. The perpetrators were Diaz and Walker, neither of whom were booked. Which on one level seemed odd but on another seemed entirely predictable.

Rice, Aguerd and Souceck are all rated as 75% likely to be fit but Zouma and Scamacca are definitely out. The other big miss will be Coufal who has been in good form of late. Hands up who else’s heart sunk when he hobbled off.

So on to the prediction. Now I’m not as pessimistic as many others about this one. They most definitely are not all that as their results have occasionally shown. But for the key nature of two of the three players on our injury list I might even have been tempted to go for a home win.

However, the injuries and the traditional refereeing assistance they can usually rely on, has reduced my expectations somewhat. So the £2.50 that I was going to chip in to assist with the research into Cold Fusion will instead be going on a draw. Please Mr Winstone if you are still accepting bets on matches in which PGMOL are involved place it on a 2-2 please.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the Olympic Lost1-2 (Premier League September 2021)

Benrhama’s deflected effort gave us a lead which lasted all of five minutes as Ronaldo stayed on hos feet long enough to tap home a shot that Fabianski should never have spilled. Ronaldo was a complete embarrassment, his ridiculous diving throughout plumbing new depths even for a Man Utd player. Lingard gave them the lead and ref Atkinson eventually gave us a penalty during stoppage time after turning down some pretty obvious shouts. Unfortunately, Mr Moyes elected to bring on Mark Noble who, having been summoned from the bench specifically for the purpose of taking the spot-kick made a rare mess of it, denying us the point we ought to have got. And probably would have but for, yes, you guessed it, a VAR foul-up. At penalties the man in the box is charged with checking the keeper. De Gea was well off his line as the kick was taken but, mysteriously, VAR didn’t bother to alert the ref to the infringement. Odd that.

Referee/VAR: Peter Bankes/Stuart Atwell

Bankes famously handed Southampton a goal against us down at their place a couple of years ago by blocking off Bowen’s attempted tackle on the player in possession. We got an FA charge for complaining. Bankes is still in a job. As is Atwell for whom it is harder to find a game in which he didn’t make a game changing howler. Look out for a purple sign saying VAR Out Of Order – Coffee Spilt over console.

Danger Man: Marcus Rashford

Not as dangerous as he might have been in the past but still a threat.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser-Type Thing

Last time out we pinched some missing words from the following Manchester Evening News headline:

Staff suspended by school following XXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX”

Well done to Mrs Letitia Bollinger-Cortisone of Stock who correctly identified the missing words as “naked bicycle prank”. Well done Letitia.

Another missing words from the same source today. Originating firmly in the “shouldn’t laugh but….” File we give you this:

Sleep deprived lorry driver gave a cockerel called Eddy XXXXX XXXXXX because XX XXXX XXXXXX XXX XX

Good luck everyone!

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