Back with a bang: Three things to expect from West Ham in clash v Bournemouth
By Danny Wright
West Ham travel to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth in their next Premier League fixture on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic will be hoping that his side can break into the top half of the league table by picking up three points on the south coast against a side that has failed to win a league game in 2017.
Eddie Howe will want to arrest his side’s slump which has seen them slip to just five points clear of the relegation zone after a relatively successful first half of the campaign.
Their spirited 10-man display against Manchester United last Saturday earned them a point which could prove to be crucial ahead of their meeting with the Hammers.
Saturday’s meeting between the two clubs is not one that is easy to predict, but here are the three things that we can expect to happen:
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Antonio back with a bang
The 26-year-old is free to return to Bilic’s squad after serving his one match suspension in the 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Monday.
With Andy Carroll back to fitness, Michail Antonio could start in his favoured right-wing position and wreak havoc on the Cherries’ defence.
The former Nottingham Forest man has started his last three league games in more advanced roles without much luck in front of the goal.
However, Antonio’s last three league matches on the right flank have seen him provide four assists as well as his last goal for the club when he scored against Swansea on Boxing Day – proving that he is at his best when playing that role.
History dictates a West Ham win
History suggests that the Hammers may have the upper hand in this tie and although the two clubs have only met on eight occasions in football history, West Ham have only ever lost once to the Cherries.
Adding to that, the Irons have been the victor five times in the tie since the two sides first met in the FA Cup in 1929.
The east London club romped to a 3-1 victory in their trip to the south coast last season with second half goals from Dimitri Payet and two from Enner Valencia completing a comeback after Harry Arter put his side ahead early on.
The last times the two clubs drew was back in 1989 when they met for a Division Two match which ended 1-1.
West Ham have also been one of the better Premier League sides on the road this season and have picked up 15 points on their travels so far, which is better than a number of clubs above them in the league including Southampton, West Brom and Stoke.
Goals, goals and more goals
The two sides have not been two of the best defensively this season, and have conceded 98 goals between them.
Neither side have found it too hard to find the net this season when compared with other clubs around them in the league standings.
So it’s fair to expect a few goals from the game as both sides have a decent attack force but frail defences.
The Hammers have not kept a clean sheet in the league since their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in mid-January while Howe’s men have not shut out the opposition at all in 2017.
Both sides have the potential to score goals from all areas of the pitch with goalscoring defenders, set-piece wizards and lethal strikers all ready to take to the pitch at the Vitality Stadium – there’s no way this will be a goalless draw.
- Football Insider prediction: Bournemouth 2-3 West Ham
In other West Ham news, David Gold has delivered his Twitter verdict on the London Stadium.