BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson believes West Ham can only manage a draw on their away trip to the South coast on Boxing day.
Lawro told the BBC website: “Bournemouth have gone seven league games without a win and I do find it amazing that their boss Eddie Howe gets such an easy ride when his team are struggling.
Any other Premier League manager would be getting panned if their team was in the relegation zone now, including the promoted clubs.
I am not saying I think Howe should be getting criticism – just that I am surprised he is not, based on what we see happen with almost every other top-flight club. He has done a really good job there, winning promotion, keeping them up in 2015-16 and then finishing ninth last season – but even he and his players are saying they are in a relegation battle now.
Premier League – bottom six snapshot: Newcastle in 15th, Crystal Palace in 16th, West Ham in 17th, Bournemouth in 18th, West Brom in 19th and Swansea in 20th. West Ham are only one place above them, after their defeat at home to Newcastle on Saturday in what was a very strange game.
I think it will only be a blip after the Hammers’ recent good run, but it is a little bit concerning when teams who have been down at the bottom lose games you expect them to win because it can be a case of ‘here we go again’.
It probably helps a bit that they are playing Bournemouth next, though. Neither side are great defensively, so I am going to go for a draw.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1″