West Ham United v Burnley: match preview

We wondered what Preview Percy was doing looking up local traffic accident sites on the internet the other day. His explanation was that it’s Mother’s Day this weeend and, well, have you seen the price of flowers these days? So, Daisy, if you were wondering about the flowers you received on Valentine’s Day... Meanwhile here’s the old skinflint’s look at the weekend’s visit of Burnley.

Next up we play host to Burnley at the Olympic. Kick-off is 2pm and it’s one of those "played-on- Sunday-thanks-to-Europe-but-not-on-the-box" matches. And, apart from stuff going on out towards Clacton, if that’s your parish, there’s no engineering work to mess up your journey. Saints be praised.

So Burnley then. Well it’s not been the most spectacular of seasons for them it’s fair to say. Their results list is plastered with red ink to the extent that they have won just the three all season, away at Luton (2-1), home to Sheffield United (5-0) and, possibly surprisingly, 2-0 at Fulham.

They managed to eke out a few draws, away at Forest and Brighton and at home to Fulham and Luton. Other than that it’s been losses all the way. Too numerous to mention individually.

Unsurprisingly they’ve lost seven of their last nine, leaving them second from bottom above Sheffield United who, hilariously, have a goal difference of -50 to Burnley’s -35. Both have 13 points from 27 played, which is seven points behind Luton and 11 points Nottingham Forest, who currently occupy the safety position of 17th.

So at this point one would normally suggest that both Burnley and the Yorkshire Hypocrites were, to all intents and purposes down. However, with Everton only a point clear of Forest, you can add Lancashire and Yorkshire to the list of places that will be keeping an anxious eye on the results of the next round of Profit & Sustainability hearings.

It's been another quietish week for Daisy on the player front. Whilst they did bring in four players on permanent deals, they were all Under 21 squad signings. They did, however, bring in a couple of loan signings.

Central defender Maxime Esteve came in on a deal with an option to buy from Montpelier. He’s been capped at French Under 20 and once at Under 21 level. On arrival he was quoted as saying something along the lines of "Vincent Kompany spoke positively about the project here and I want to be a part of it" - which suggests they removed all the pages showing the league tables from the newspapers in the Turf Moor reception area that day.

The other loan signing was right-back Lorenz Assignon, who arrived from Rennes, the deal again coming with an option to buy. I haven’t come across any quotes from the player himself but if he mentions qualifying for Europe, Kompany will have turned out to be out to have been a better snake oil salesman than I gave him credit for. He’s yet to be capped at any level by anyone.

Team news is that they will be without long-term absentees Ramsey, Redmond, Foster, Koleosho and Beyer, though the squad will be augmented by the return of Brownhill from suspension after a recent red card.

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I think that’s enough of them don’t you, so we will move on to the Wild And Wacky World of Association Football. And there has been even weirder stuff coming out of Anfield ahead of their match against Man City this weekend.

Terence Trent D’arby who, according to Klopp, is the "best full back in the entire universe, honest" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, made an ill-judged attempt to engage Man City in a spot of mind games. Despite being ill-equipped for such stuff intellectually speaking.

Alexander-Arnold stated that Liverpool’s trophies mean more than those won by Man City. Halland’s response was something along the lines of "how would he know?" and "meh, whatever".

Meanwhile, over at Spurs, Postegoglu came up with one of the quotes of the season in pointing out that a top four finish wasn’t a "Willy Wonka Golden Ticket". Rumours that the Spurs board have been out purchasing as many chocolate bars as possible to try and get something shiny for the trophy room are very silly. And probably accurate.

And so to us. Well disappointing though Thursday was, there’s no need to panic. The worst thing about the result will be the knowledge amongst the players that Freiburg were there for the taking.

The cautious approach resulted perhaps from the team overthinking the complexities of European football, the mindset clearly being that we needed to travel back to Blighty still in the tie. That we are, but it seems not to have occurred to anyone that we could equally have achieved that result by going out there and winning – if you win both legs you go through.

This mindset was best exemplified by the worrying substitution of Phillips for Ward-Prowse shortly after we went behind, as if to say "we’ll take 1-0 all day".

The other comment made was the replacement of Paqueta by Antonio, which the commentary team reckoned happened about 20 minutes too late. I disagree. I made it half-an-hour. The one bit of homework Freiburg had done was to target the Brazilian so every time he got the ball he was surrounded. This was frustrating and a frustrated Paqueta equals an inevitable yellow.

Following the card he wandered about the place with the body language of Kevin the Teenager, the only bit missing being the half-broken voice proclaiming to the world that "it’s so unfair". Antonio would have given them a completely new set of circumstances to deal with had he not has fewer than five minutes in which to do his stuff.

Which brings us to the ref. Until about 10 minutes to go, I thought that he had had a reasonably decent game. Yes there was a touch of the arrogant 'Mike Deans' about him, but, unlike the obnoxious self-publicising fraud, Hernandez did at least adhere to the laws of the game – for a while.

The warning signs were there when Bowen got taken out midway through a dangerous run on goal, only for Hernandez to turn a blind eye to the clear and obvious assault. And the penalty? Well I thought it was a penalty. Everyone in the ground thought it was a penalty. VAR definitely thought it was a penalty.

Unfortunately Hernandez decided that THIS was his chance to make a name for himself and decided to uphold his original decision, making up some imaginary push from Tomas Soucek as justification. It was embarrassing nonsense which shows that, despite being streets ahead of us in refereeing standards, the rest of UEFA are not immune to the actions of a rogue official acting with his own agenda as a priority.

Team news is that Maxwel Cornet will not be available to face his old club, whilst Nayef Aguerd was missing on Thursday due to some unknown issue for which details at the time of writing have not been forthcoming. Emerson’s groin saw his withdrawal on Thursday so he is a doubt. Other than that it’s a full squad to select from.

I would prefer us to go out on Sunday with a strong team, but some rotation may occur with one eye on next Thursday. Maybe a rare start for Antonio perhaps?

So to the prediction. Well this is the ideal game to play between European fixtures but, like Brentford the other week, much will depend on the start. Start on the front foot and we should win.

So, on that basis, I will be placing the £2.50 I was going to spend on chocolate bars for Tottenham, on a wager that we will prevail with a home win. Let’s call it 3-1 to us please Mr Winstone and I’ll send Daisy round with the money later on.

Enjoy the game!

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When we last met at the Olympic: Drew 1-1 (Premier League April 2022)

We came out of the blocks like Usain Bolt for the first 10 minutes or so until an innocuous coming together between Vlasic and Westwood saw the latter pick up a nasty ankle injury. The seriousness of the knock was apparent to all within the ground and the incident seemed to affect us more than them.

Rodriguez opened the scoring, putting a way a header after the ball came back off the bar. Then Cornet, yes that Cornet, found himself one on one with Fabianski, going down after a minimal spot of contact having played the ball a bit to far ahead.

Cornet himself took the resulting spot-kick and, after one of those weird stuttering run-ups that nobody other than players like, he promptly pulled his shot two yards wide. We regained composure in the second half and Souceck forced a free-kick home. After that it was one way traffic as Pope in the visitors’ goal made save after save after save.

Danger Man: Wilfred Odobert

Difficult to pick this week but he looked their likeliest bet against Bournemouth last week.

Referee: Darren England

Seriously? After his performance in the Cup match at Bristol City which wavered between incompetence and downright fraud he should be sitting in a jobcentre being threatened with withdrawal of benefits for incorrect completion of forms. Disgusting official.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser

Last time out we asked you what was no. 10 on the Bleacher Report list of 10 things you never knew about Everton.

Well done to Mrs Samantha Krakatoa-Meningitis of Maldon who knew that the answer was "They were good once"

This week it’s back to the good old missing words round with this Chris Morris-esque gem from the Lancashire Telegraph:

Hospital’s Trust "sorry" after XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX incident on baby ward

Good luck everyone.

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