One of the few Premier League matches happening this weekend sees a lower mid-table clash between two sides struggling for consistency in the league at present – Bournemouth and West Ham United. Neither have any imminent relegation concerns at present, so it could be a chance to play out an open and exciting game of football.
Form? What form? The hosts have failed to win any of their last eight matches and have conceded at least twice in their last five home games – the sort of run you would expect from a side rooted to the bottom of the table. Bournemouth might’ve been considered unlucky not to get more away against Manchester United, but Eddie Howe must’ve been grateful that their depressing stream of losses has come to a halt.
West Ham’s form is marginally better but still isn’t up-to-scratch for a side looking to get themselves into the Europa League positions. A sole victory in their last five games would probably have been anticipated by Hammers fans who are well accustomed to the spring slump that has plagued the club for years. However, focusing just on away form alone, West Ham have only suffered one defeat in their last seven – one of the best spells in the division.
Former Hammer Junior Stanislas could be making a return to action following a second spell on the sidelines in three months – although it would be unlikely he would return straight to the first team. Simon Francis is also in line to make a comeback from a thigh injury that has seen him ruled out for the last couple of game weeks. Callum Wilson remains a long-term absentee unlikely to play another match this season.
Slaven Bilic will be sweating on the fitness of defensive duo Winston Reid and Jose Fonte ahead of tomorrow’s game. The former was subbed off with cramp in Monday’s defeat to Chelsea, whilst Fonte is suffering from a knock received in the same game. Both are only battling minor injuries and should be fit enough to start.
Bournemouth line-up West Ham line-up
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Andrew Surman and Tyrone Mings’s suspensions mean that Dan Gosling and Baily Cargill could come in for Bournemouth. With Wilshere available for selection, Benik Afobe may drop to the bench so that the on-loan Gunner can play a pivotal role behind the in-form Josh King in attack.
Sam Byram is fit for selection but Bilic doesn’t appear to have much faith in the English youngster, with rumours that Mark Noble could be making an appearance at right-back this weekend. It will be more likely that Chiekhou Kouyate fills the role.
Two sides in inconsistent form and leaky defences can only mean one thing: goalfest. The Hammers away form suggests that they have the edge, but only just. This one could very easily be a draw.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-3 West Ham United