By CandH’s Allen Cummings
As form guides go, there’s not an awful lot to go on for our upcoming game at Bournemouth.
We’ve only matched up against the Cherries on a dozen occasions in league competition since 1929, winning five, drawing four and losing three times during that period. Just one of those victories have been recorded on the south coast – a 3-1 victory in 2016, with two goals from Enner Valencia and one from Dimitri Payet.
Despite the lack of encounters, there have been goals aplenty – 43 in total, with the ratio coming down 25 to 18 in our favour.
The last two visits to the Vitality Stadium have produced 11 goals. A 3-2 defeat in the 2016-17 season, followed by a 3-3 draw last season, Bournemouth’s late equaliser going in via Callum Wilson’s hand in the 90th minute.
Sadly referee Bobby Madley and his assistant contrived to miss what all travelling Hammers, myself included, managed to see clearly.
We travel south on Saturday in good heart and in encouraging form. We sit comfortably in 9th place while the Cherries have found life less than rosy in recent weeks.
After winning six of their first ten games, including a 2-1 victory at the London Stadium, they’ve gone off the boil recently, conceding 17 goals in their last 5 games. They’ll be further concerned by the fact top scorer Callum Wilson could well be missing through injury.
While there is continued speculation surrounding Marko Arnautovic’s future, we have shown there are others ready, willing and able to step up to the goal scoring plate. Felipe Anderson knows where the back of the net is, Michail Antonio appears to have found his mojo again and with Declan finally opening his account last week, who would bet against the brilliant youngster doing the same again this Saturday.
Manuel Pellegrini will have drummed it into the team the importance of treating all teams with the same respect. Our fabulous 1-0 win over Arsenal last week will count for little if we fail to take the game to the Cherries and secure all three points this weekend.
The Vitality Stadium is a tight little ground with the home support always fully behind their team. It will be a test that’s for sure, but one to we’re more than capable of rising.