West Ham will be looking to bounce back from their opening day hammering at Liverpool with a victory against Bournemouth in what will be Manuel Pellegrini’s first at the London Stadium. Huge investment has gone into the Hammers this summer, with the former Manchester City boss significantly backed in the window, bringing in the likes of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko providing them with top-class pedigree in the final third.
Those signings really raised the expectations around the Irons, and whilst an opening day defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s men gave them a reality check, they know games against the elite won’t define their season. However, a home fixture against Bournemouth will be crucial and everyone connecte to the club will expect a positive display against the Cherries. The style of play is also crucial to how Pellegrini’s time at West Ham will be defined. The summer spending was not just about bringing results, there is a call for an attacking approach that sees the side taking the game to the opposition.
Yet, they know it won’t be easy. Bournemouth comfortably beat newly-promoted Cardiff City on the opening day and have a squad that is well-drilled and can cause problems with their pace and running power on the break. That should ensure this is a very exciting game, with two sides who like to keep the ball, control play and create chances. It will be intriguing to see who comes out on top, with Eddie Howe knowing that the pressure will all be on the hosts who are sure to be backed by a demanding home crowd.
West Ham United vs Bournemouth Prediction: West Ham United 2-1 Bournemouth
Given the approach that both sides take, this should be a very entertaining game. The pressure will be on the Hammers to take the initiative and they will also want to put the defeat at Anfield behind them. The crowd will roar them on initially and Howe’s game plan will be to turn the support against the hosts.
However, the Cherries are not reliable enough defensively and have struggled over the years, so they could seriously struggle to deal with the quality that West Ham have in the final third. The fact it’s the first game at home means it’s a big occasion for several of the new-boys and that could motivate and inspire the likes of Anderson and Yarmolenko who have played on the biggest stage over the years. If they click, West Ham could be devastating going forward.
Yet, the way they defended at Liverpool will be a massive concern and Bournemouth will want to exploit that high line. Ultimately, it should be a game of goals, but home advantage and West Ham’s quality should make them confident.
Our recommended tip: Over 2.5 goals
Even though we think West Ham will edge this encounter, there’s no doubt that the safer bet for punters is to back goals. The way Pellegrini’s men set up last week suggests they will be a great team to watch for this campaign. They looked to press high, close the spaces and defend aggressively. Obviously, it went completely wrong against Liverpool however Bournemouth, along with most, don’t possess that quality.
Therefore, the aggressive approach could be more beneficial against mid-table sides and it should make for an entertaining game. We’ve mentioned the quality that West Ham have in the final third, whilst Bournemouth are more than capable of scoring themselves, as they’ve shown over the years. They are fast on the break, look to play through the lines and will give it a go even away from home. All in all, it makes for an exciting clash that should produce goals.
With Bournemouth having only really established themselves as a top-flight side in recent years, it means they don’t have a long history with most sides they play and that’s the case with West Ham. The clash at the London Stadium is just the 12th meeting between the sides, with the majority of them coming in the past three years. It’s a fixture that the Hammers have had the better of historically, winning five and losing just two of the previous 11 games. One of those defeats was a 4-3 thriller in the capital which was a memorable victory for the Cherries.
As for their recent games, as mentioned, West Ham suffered a heavy opening day defeat at Liverpool, when they went down by four goals, whereas Bournemouth secured a relatively routine victory over Cardiff on their own patch.
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Players to watch: Felipe Anderson & Callum Wilson
The Brazilian attacking midfielder joined the Hammers for a club-record fee that was over £40m. Given he cost such a fee, there will be enourmous expectation surrounding the player and he will have to deliver, he is unlikely to be afforded a settling in period. The former Lazio man boasts great pace, has superb technique and skill and does have the ability to flourish in England, whilst he’s also a player that Hammers fans have historically appreciated. Anderson will want to make his mark as quickly as possible and will see this game as the ideal opportunity to get off the mark and help his new side to all three points.
Most strikers will have been watching West Ham defend last week with real excitement, as they pushed up and left a lot of space for forwards to run into. And, Bournemouth’s Wilson will be no different. The former Coventry man has great pace and always plays on the shoulder, so it could see him get plenty of chances in behind. He was a constant problem for Cardiff last week and whilst he may have to be patient if his side don’t have the ball for spells at the London Stadium, he has the abilities to be a threat on the break. Bournemouth’s game plan will focus on his pace and how Wilson gets on will be key to deciding the outcome.