West Ham United v Arsenal: match preview

Poor old Preview Percy’s been a bit under the weather. We’re sure he won’t mention it much though, during his look at this weekend’s visit of Arsenal...

Next up we return to home territory where we will play host to Arsenal. Kick off on Sunday is at 2pm. Pretty much everything through Stratford has engineering works, Greater Anglia, Elizabeth Line C2C you name it. Leave now. Or ten minutes ago to be sure.




So Arsenal then. They beat Liverpool last week. You may have heard. The BBC went on and on about them over celebrating as if it were some kind of treasonable offence. They seem to have forgotten the time that Klopp went up to the Kop end a few years back with all his players to give it large after they had rescued a point with a last minute equaliser – against West Brom.

Their 3-1 defeat of Team BBC last week made the race to finish behind Man City a little more interesting than it was, moving Arsenal to within five points of the Scousers with a game in hand.

I’d love to tell you how that match looked but basically I have been under the weather somewhat and I took to my bed at the conclusion of our match last weekend so I have no idea how it went other than hearing all the bellyaching about Arsenal celebrating.

Current form is that they have won their last three, those being Sunday’s 3-1 which The BBC would rather you didn’t mention, 2-1 away at Forest and 5-0 at home to Palace who seem intent on reuniting their ground with a league more appropriate to its grotty status, though this will have to be done one league at a time.

They lost the two prior to that, 2-1 at Fulham and 2-0 at home to us. Just before that it was a 1-1 draw at Anfield. All of this has left them with 49 points from 23 games leaving them in 3rd place – 13 points and five places above us.

Daisy is loving the latest transfer window what with the latest one having seen about as much activity as PGMOL’s education department. Arsenal have been no exception with precisely no new players coming in. Which meant that Daisy had precisely just enough time to mop my fevered brow before disappearing off to the shops with my Credit Card again.

Before she went she did have a quick look at their injury list. Bukayo Saka is a doubt having hobbled off during the win that nobody is supposed to talk about, though the indications are that he will be ok. They are less sure over Oleksandr Zivchenko, who has a calf problem, and Gabriel Jesus, whose knee caused him to miss the match that never happened last weekend. Late fitness tests are the order of the day.

And on to the wild and wacky world of association football. And it seems that after years of debate they have finally decided to trial a sin-bin system. The reason it has taken so long to come into existence is that nobody could agree on what colour the card should be.


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PGMOL were holding out for green to match their shirts but in the end they were promised a discount for the soft toys department at Hamleys if they would accept blue. Of course certain clubs are not happy with the proposals, which have recently been updated to include sanctions for the cynical tactical foul, their displeasure being incurred by the removal of one of their main tactical ploys.

Of course if referees did their jobs properly, a yellow each time would be enough but that would just upset the same people more.

Meanwhile those crazy Europeans were upping the ante with their protests. Unhappy at languishing in La Ligua’s relegation zone, Cadiz supporters started lobbing plastic ponchos on to the pitch after they went down 2-0 to Real Betis, the second of which had been scored by Pablo Fornals.

The protest was confirmed as a football protest rather than some form of fashion statement, though Palace supporters are considering doing something with their anoraks if things don’t improve sooner rather than later.

Over in Germany, they had tennis balls and chocolate coins in the Dortmund v Freiburg Bundesliga encounter, whilst one division down in the imaginatively-named Bundesliga 2, Hannover’s trip to Hamburg was enlivened by fans spending their interval chaining six padlocks to one of the goals, delaying the restart while someone found a hairpin or two.

The German protests were aimed at the DFB’s plans to change how clubs are financed.

And so to us. Well when I was writing this column last week the deals that saw the departures of Said Benrhama and Pablo Fornals had collapsed due to some IT foul up. Thankfully for all concerned they tried turning it off and back on again and the deals went through.

Fornals left with good grace whilst Benrahma just went on about how much better things are for him at Lyon, though his comment that training was more intense in France probably works best as an admission of how lazy he was in London.


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As for last week’s match, well as mentioned I had just developed a dose of flu. I sat on the sofa with a temperature approaching that on the surface of the sun. I ached all over and was not in a state to really take in what was going on so making any meaningful comment on the game would be difficult.

I guess I was in a state of mild delirium, after all I can’t see PGMOL’s highly trained officials allowing a Man Utd defender to throttle an opponent in the box so I must have imagined it. By all accounts the 3-0 scoreline was a bit harsh on us and had Emerson and Bowen took chances there might have been a different result.

Not that I was in much of a state to notice but Areola went off at half time as a precautionary measure as a result of a bang on the noggin. This shouldn’t preclude his participation this weekend - all of which leaves us with Antonio and Paqueta on the injured list.

Antonio is now into the fourth month of his “probably about six weeks or so” absence, whilst Paqueta isn’t going to be about until March, even if the investigation into his betting activities (if any), which is six months into its “probably just a few weeks” course, clears him of wrongdoing.

Apart from those two we have a full squad to choose from. Kalvin Phillips apparently did it again towards the end of the match – giving the ball away to lead to a goal once more. He needs to get match fit and fast.

So the prediction. Well, we are on an unlikely hat-trick with them this season. Much as I’d like to see that take place I’m afraid that even in my flu-addled state I can’t see it happening again the way we have been lately.

So with much regret – and in the hope I am very wrong, the £2.50 that was going to be spent on more Lemsip will instead be placed on an away win – a narrow 2-1 to them this time Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!


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When we last met at the Olympic: Won 3-1 – League Cup November 2023

White’s 15th minute og was followed by two in 10 glorious second half minutes from Kudus and Bowen. Odegaard pulled one back in the sixth minute of stoppage but it wasn’t enough to break the silence of their woodwork-inhabiting supporters.

Referee: Craig Pawson

Took charge of the VAR in the reverse fixture where despite trying ever so hard he couldn’t find enough evidence to show that the ball had gone out. This has probably bugged him so look forward to him trying to make amends.

Danger Man: Leandro Trossard

Not the obvious choice perhaps but he seems to have been involved a lot goal-wise oflate.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser

Last week we had a good old-fashioned missing words round from the Bournemouth Echo:

Council comments on missing Bournemouth XXX XXXXX

Last week’s “dumb crime of the week” missing words round was:

Crying Mum jailed for trying XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXX

Well done to Mrs Sharon Hydraulic-Juniper of Jaywick for spotting that the missing words were “Canteen Tray Trick”, referring to a mum visiting her little darling inside getting caught trying to hide a load of drugs on her canteen tray during visiting.

This week we look at the following Islington Gazette headline:

XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXX – how did XXXXXXXXX-XXXX Sheryl get on?

Good luck everybody!


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