AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham United
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Referee: Simon Hooper
Premier League action returns to the Vitality Stadium this weekend as AFC Bournemouth take on West Ham United.
The Cherries will be looking to bounce back after their disappointing 2-0 defeat to Everton last time out and will be searching for their first win in five games in all competitions. A win for Eddie Howe’s side would put them on 30 points and just outside the top 10 on goal difference – yet this is depending on results elsewhere. The Cherries got the better of the Hammers in the reverse fixture with a 2-1 win at the London Stadium and Howe will be hopeful of more of the same when Pellegrini’s side visit the South Coast on Saturday.
West Ham are currently unbeaten in their last three matches though and after their impressive 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday they will be heading to the Vitality full of confidence. This victory saw them cement themselves in the top ten for the time being – currently four points ahead of their hosts on Saturday. Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping to keep the Hammer’s good run going and pick up a win against the struggling Cherries. A win for West Ham could see them reach seventh place in the league if other results go their way.
Eddie Howe will be without new recruit Dominic Solanke as the Englishman is out with a hamstring injury. The club record signing just signed from Liverpool for £19 million yet will not play for his new side until at least February. The Cherries will also be without Simon Francis and Lewis Cook who are both currently suffering from ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries. Neither player has an expected return date yet.
The biggest news regarding Bournemouth is the ongoing transfer rumours around star striker Callum Wilson; with Chelsea and Saturday’s visitors both being linked with moves for the Englishman. Wilson’s position at the club remains to be seen and his past few fixtures have been hampered after suffering from a hamstring injury. He could potentially be fit for the visit of West Ham yet if he is absent, no doubt the transfer rumours will continue.
As for the visitors, Manuel Pellegrini has his own striker headache to worry about. A big bid from a Chinese side, believed to be Shanghai SIPG, has seemed to turn Marko Arnautovic’s head. Arnautovic however, has been in training and did play against Arsenal last weekend; due to his presence in training, the star striker will probably lead the line at the Vitality. The club has also taken a hard stance on his position at the club stating that they want Arnautovic to stay. For now, Arnautovic appears to be honouring that and has not gone on strike.
“To be honest Marko [Arnautovic] has been great – he’s trained great over the last few days”
Robert Snodgrass speaking to talkSPORT
But, along the same lines as Wilson, if he is not in the matchday squad then that could be that for the Austrians time at West Ham.
On the injury front for the Hammer’s, they continue to without key players such as Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Winston Reid, Fabian Balbuena, Manuel Lanzini and Carlos Sanchez. The injury list has shrunk however due to the return of Ryan Fredericks and Javier Hernandez in training, who will likely boost West Ham’s options off the bench on Saturday.
Pellegrini will also be boosted by the impressive showing from new signing Samir Nasri last time out – the Frenchmen was impressive against his former club and even assisted Declan Rice’s winning goal. Therefore, expect Nasri to become a regular in the West Ham line-up while players like Yarmolenko and Lanzini recover from injury.
Predicted Starting XIs
AFC Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Smith, Ake, Cook, Clyne; Fraser, Lerma, Gosling, Stanislas; Brooks; King
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Diop, Ogbonna, Zabaleta; Rice, Noble; Anderson, Nasri, Antonio; Arnautovic
Score Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 1 West Ham United 3
On current form it would be wise to back West Ham against a Bournemouth side that haven’t won in their last five. The Hammers, however, have a tendency to slip when expected to do well, this has shown throughout the season yet they should have learned from their mistakes.
The Hammers do possess a lot of threat in their team with Felipe Anderson and re-born Michail Antonio, their threat will be increased even more if Arnautovic leads the line. If not, Pellegrini does have options in the experienced Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez.
Regarding Bournemouth, if Wilson is not in the side, then the Cherries may struggle to break down West Ham’s defence. Ryan Fraser looks to be the Cherries most dangerous player and his pace could be a factor in Bournemouth getting something from the game.