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Three things learnt from West Brom’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth

Rob Meech

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West Brom

New signing Ahmed Hegazy scored the only goal of the game as West Brom kicked-off their Premier League campaign with victory over Bournemouth.

Hegazy, on loan from Egyptian side Al Ahly, took advantage of ponderous defending to head the ball past Asmir Begovic just after the half-hour mark.

The Cherries, who have now lost all three of their opening-day top-flight fixtures, enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but fashioned too few goal scoring chances on what was a difficult afternoon for them.

Here are three things we learnt at The Hawthorns…

Tried and trusted method works again for Pulis

Tony Pulis is not exactly renowned as a revolutionary coach. His tactics are simple – to keep it tight at the back and try to dominate the aerial battles. The Baggies had just 29 per cent of possession against Bournemouth but still created 16 chances compared to the visitors’ nine.

In truth, Pulis’ side never looked under serious pressure and were able to contain the Cherries to speculative efforts which did not test keeper Ben Foster. Scoring the first goal is crucial for this game-plan to work and this fixture followed that script.

Against better teams there are obvious limitations and this is a constant source of complaint from supporters who would like to see a more expansive style.

However, three points was the ideal start to the Baggies’ season and gives them a platform upon which to build.

Bournemouth’s set-piece woes will concern Howe

Eddie Howe no doubt expected his players to be subjected to an aerial bombardment – but they were unable to counter-act it in what can only be described as a pedestrian performance. Bournemouth conceded from set-pieces in the corresponding fixture last season and in general have issues from dead-ball situations.

Pulis’ side ruthlessly exposed this weakness. In terms of height, the Cherries are one of the smaller teams in the Premier League, but seeing a couple of his players lose their men for the goal would have annoyed Howe. Another concern would be just how few chances his side created despite dominating the ball.

Jordon Ibe made an impression when he came on as a second-half substitute, but with the Cherries chasing the game in the latter stages, urgency seemed to be in short supply.

New signings give reason for optimism for both clubs

The transfer window is still open and more additions are expected, but both managers will have been encouraged by the displays of their debutants.

Hegazy grabbed the headlines thanks to his winning goal but striker Jay Rodriquez, signed from Premier League rivals Southampton, also impressed in a West Brom shirt.

For Bournemouth, Begovic made a couple of smart saves to limit the damage and Nathan Ake, who joined from Chelsea on a permanent basis after a loan spell last season, was arguably the stand-out performer for the visitors.

There was no place in the starting XI for Jermain Defoe, who has been suffering from a niggling injury, but he is sure to become a key player for Bournemouth.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Bournemouth

Bournemouth move may help to get Danny Ings’ career back on track

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Photo: Getty Images.

The past few seasons have been full of frustration for Liverpool centre-forward Danny Ings, with injury set-backs continually hampering his progress after derailing his Anfield career only months after it began. Now, it looks as though he may have a chance to revive it with a move to Bournemouth.

Football Whispers say that a deal could be in the pipeline for the former Burnley man to move to the south coast, though there is no indication of if it would be on loan or permanently.

The 25-year-old has made only three starts in 2017/18 and even in a campaign where Liverpool were overloaded with fixtures thanks to a Champions League cup run, he barely featured and at times was below even youngster Dominic Solanke in the pecking order, casting an unfavourable forecast for his Anfield career.

(during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 28, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

That could make a season, or more, at Dean Court an appealing proposition. Ings has shown that even when he is struggling for fitness and game time, he is still an efficient finisher.

With pace and strength, he certainly fits into the tactical mould that Eddie Howe likes of his strikers, much like Callum Wilson, Josh King and Jermaine Defoe.

Given that there are reports from The Scottish Sun saying that Defoe may well be on his way out after a single season back at the club, and a disappointing one too, there could be a spot in the Cherries’ squad for a player like Ings to get the game time he needs.

Stagnation is a real risk for Ings career after such a promising few years at Burnley before moving to Liverpool and picking up two serious knee injuries, but if he can find form whilst with Bournemouth it could be his ticket back to the top of the game.

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West Ham should bring Jermain Defoe back to East London

The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances in the league this season.

Josh Kerr

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Jermain Defoe
Photo: Getty Images

Despite a truly disappointing and underwhelming season for West Ham, the club managed to restore some pride when they finished the season with a 3-1 win over Everton at the London Stadium.

However, one result doesn’t shy away from a season of turmoil and rebellion from Hammers fans, as the club finished 13th with the toxic atmosphere in East London directed towards the owners.

The future is also uncertain for David Moyes but, if the Scotsman is to start thinking about potential transfers, the 55-year-old Scot should consider bringing former West Ham forward Jermain Defoe back to East London.

The 35-year-old hit 37 goals in 93 games for Sunderland before re-signing for Bournemouth on a free transfer last summer, a move that seemed a brilliant piece of business from the Cherries.

However, Defoe has been restricted to just 11 Premier League games this campaign, scoring just four goals. And, while the Englishman hasn’t hit the highs of last season, he is still a goalscoring threat to be reckoned with.

Despite Rangers being labelled the bookmaker’s favourites to sign the former Tottenham striker, according to Paddy Power, West Ham should definitely consider swooping for one of the Premier League’s ultimate poachers.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Premier League)

West Ham have struggled with their forward options this season with Javier Hernández becoming frustrated on the bench, whilst Andy Carroll has also failed to hit the mark having struggled with injuries.

Defoe scored 18 goals during his time at Upton Park, quickly becoming a fans favourite, so should the Hammers bring back one of their former club heroes?

Considering Bournemouth have the likes of Joshua King and Callum Wilson in their forward line, they may be interested in offers for the 132-time Premier League scorer.

West Ham struggled for attacking firepower this term, with Marko Arnautovic largely relied upon upfront. Therefore, reinforcements are likely to arrive at the London Stadium during the summer.

When a player like Jermain Defoe shows even a slight sign of being unhappy, in this case, due to a lack of game time, it should then become the club-in-need’s priority to swoop.

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Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season

Josh Kerr

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Afobe
Photo: Getty Images

Wolves have secured their promotion to the Premier League in emphatic style. Registering 99 points as champions is a fantastic achievement for the Midlands side.

However, there is still business that needs attending to before returning to the promise lands of England’s top division.

Wolves striker and Bournemouth loanee Benik Afobe’s future is still undecided and the Wanderers have to act fast if they are to make the deal permanent.

According to the Birmingham Live, there are terms of their loan agreement with Bournemouth that state the club have until May 31st to decide on whether they will make the deal permanent.

The Bournemouth Echo have also reported that Wolves will get first choice as to whether they sign the £12 million-rated striker on a permanent deal.

Despite not being a regular feature in the Championship all season, Afobe still boasts six league goals from nine appearances proving he could have more to offer next season.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Also, considering his experience in the Premier League, the 25-year-old would be a useful addition as they prepare for life in the top flight.

Afobe endured a successful first spell at the Molineux Stadium before his move to Bournemouth, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £10 million.

His initial two years at the club saw 23 goals in 48 appearances and the former England under-21’s star quickly became a fan favourite before leaving for the Cherries in 2016.

He rejoined Wolves in the January window, on loan, leaving the striker “crying in his car with happiness”, according to BBC Sport.

The 6ft striker has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt, and for £12 million it is surely worth the expenditure to have Afobe leading in the dressing room next season.

The move would be ideal for both parties as Afobe has failed to establish himself as Bournemouth’s first choice striker, falling behind the likes of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Jermaine Defoe in Eddie Howe’s side.

Wolves supporters were delighted to see their former hero return home, and with a full season ahead of him, Afobe could be the man to help fire the goals that could keep the Midlands outfit in the division next season.

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