Brentford v West Ham United: match preview

Preview Percy: is back. Sorry. Again.

Next up we make the trip across town to Brentford for one of the rare 3pm Saturday kick-offs. Engineering works all over the place and there may also be the result of the recent biblical weather to contend with so check before you leave and stay safe out there.

So Brentford then. It’s been a bit of a bitty start to the season and they’d probably be your first choice if you were sticking numbers down on the treble chance (ask your grandad). They drew four of their first eight, winning just the one – 3-0 at Fulham in the process.

Since then, they’ve won two on the spin, albeit those wins coming against Burnley and Chelsea, the comedy team that keeps on giving. All of this has left them on 13 points from the 10 played so far – a point and a place behind us.

They do have a sense of humour in west London. They have, of course, been playing without their talismanic striker Ivan Toney, currently serving a lengthy ban for a breach of FA Rule E8. Or, more accurately, over 200 breaches of said rule.

It is said that some clubs are interested in signing Toney in the January window. Brentford, for their part, want to hang on to him at least until the end of the season so they’ve slapped a price tag on the player. Of £100m. Or 95% of a Declan Rice! Oh, those wags!

Daisy tells me that, although on the face of it they signed a shedload of players, most of these went towards their 'B' squad. When the dust settled on those the new arrivals numbered but three. Dutch ‘keeper Mark Flekken arrived from Freiburg for £11m. He’s been first choice between the sticks this season and was in the Netherlands squad for the last World Cup having gained eight Dutch caps to date.

The next arrival was striker Kevin Schade who was there already having come in on loan from Freiburg back in January. His fee was £22m, but he’s injured so we won’t dwell on him.

They gave Freiburg a break for the third transfer, bringing in Irishman Nathan Collins from Wolves for what is a club record £23m. Collins’ career has included spells at Stoke and Burnley as well as Wolves but his youth career started with the delightfully-named Cherry Orchard FC which operates in the Leinster Senior League. He operates primarily as a defensive midfielder and has been capped 17 times by Ireland.

They also brought in Neil Maupay in on loan from Everton. He has yet to score since arriving, his career seemingly having stalled since leaving Brighton.

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In addition to Schade and Toney, they will also be missing Henry (knee), Dasilva (thigh) and Damsgaard (knee), whilst Lewis-Potter and Baptiste are also major doubts.

And so let’s move on to the wild and wacky world of Association Football. And, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, Saudi Arabia will host the 2034 World Cup.

The only other serious bidders would have been the Aussies, who, sensing that the Saudis would simply chuck more money in the direction of the decision-makers if they hung around, probably wisely elected not to waste money in the face of a decision that, to all intents and purposes, had already been taken a long time ago.

I’m sure Messrs Henderson and Gerrard will be over the moon and their part in bringing the tournament back to the Middle East will be a major comfort to them as they play yet another match in front of 600 spectators.

So Sunday then. That was one of the worst games of football it has ever been my misfortune to witness. We didn’t play football, Everton didn’t know how to play football, and Atwell didn’t know how to referee a game of football. Perfect combination.

It was another game where we simply weren’t good enough in any department. It was an awful watch not helped by the fact that the match was handled by a referee who has consistently turned in unacceptable performances at every single level at which he has taken charge of a game. It was as if someone had given Atwell a 50-50 chance with every decision and he had still got it wrong.

Back in my playing days, occasionally a referee wouldn’t turn up and we’d enlist the services of a bloke walking his dog in return for a few pints so we’d get a game in. We’d have been better off with the man with the dog on Wanstead Flats. Actually scrub that. We’d have been better off with the dog. The problem is that everyone knows how poor Atwell is and teams play him. Everton certainly did.

The game’s in a pretty poor state with diving, feigning injury, all sorts. It’s unacceptable, simple as that. It’s a poor state when players can feign injury and fall on the floor. Players going down then getting up and sprinting. That cannot be acceptable. I would just ban them and it would be out of football within a month.

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Now before you say – oh here we go again, another Percy rant, consider this. That whole last paragraph was taken from an interview with none other than Sean Dyche. (I’m sorry I couldn’t do the sore throat). Now either a lot of Everton players are going to be hit in the pocket with hefty fines, or Dyche’s so-called principles will go out of the window every time they are given a gullible referee in a match from which they need points.

My money is on the latter.

Moving on to Wednesday and what a difference. I guess that’s typical West Ham isn’t it. Lousy against Everton, superb against Arsenal. Go figure.

We had a bit of luck with the first one. Whilst Ramsdale had as much chance of getting to the ball as I do of being elected Pope, Souceck did pull his shirt and whilst the tug had zero impact on the scoring of the goal, it would have been disallowed. Though I’m sure if we looked hard enough we would have found a corresponding foul on a Hammer in the box as the corner was taken.

Kudus was magnificent throughout and the goal was a peach. Bowen’s wasn’t bad either and the deflection it took had the added benefit of making Ramsdale look very silly indeed. It was a fine second half performance which had you scratching your head when thinking about Sunday.

We will require changes at the weekend. Paqueta and Alvarez will both miss this one having picked up five yellows before Yuletide. However, at the time of writing there are no further injury concerns.

I feel good after Wednesday, so the £2.50 I was going to send to chip in towards the Everton players fines will go on a wager at Winstones on a 2-1 win.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the Vacuum Cleaner Ground Lost 2-0 (Premier League May 2023)

Two first half goals were enough to deal with what was effectively a 2nd XI selected with one eye on the 2nd leg of the Alkmaar semi-final. Hindsight suggests that the selection was merited.

Referee: Thomas Bramall

A new one to me. We can but hope that he is any good.

Danger Man: Youane Wissa

Three in ten this season and always seems to score against us.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser

Last time out we gave you the following missing words to consider:

H&M’s £28 soft knitted jumper dress in 3 colours hailed as “XX XXXXXXXXXX and XXX XXXXX”

Well done to Mrs Henrietta Knox-Spiggott of South Ockendon who spotted the missing words as “so flattering and not itchy”

This week My London gives us:

Londoners speechless as Texan tourist describes Hounslow as XXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX

Good luck everyone!

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