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First team

Match pack: West Ham (H)

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth welcome West Ham United to Vitality Stadium for this weekend’s Premier League game.

AFC BOURNEMOUTH V WEST HAM
SATURDAY 19th JANUARY
PREMIER LEAGUE, 3PM
VITALITY STADIUM

GATHERING MOMENTUM

Following a 13th-place finish under David Moyes in 2017/18, the Hammers sought to take the club one step further with the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini ahead of this season.

The former Manchester City manager endured an unforgiving start to the campaign, with West Ham tasting defeat in their first four league games. Bournemouth played their part in that spell of poor form, as the Cherries snatched a 2-1 win at London Stadium back in August thanks to a fantastic solo effort from Callum Wilson and a header from Steve Cook.

That miserable start to the season left the Hammers at the foot of the table without any points, but since then Pellegrini’s side have turned their season around, climbing into the top half of the table ahead of this weekend.

West Ham have only lost five of their last 18 league games, with December proving a fruitful month for the club, as they went on a four-game winning streak and scooped up 15 points out of a possible 21 in the final month of 2018.

The Hammers are now unbeaten in the league in 2019, with a 2-2 draw at home to Brighton and a 1-0 home win over Arsenal making for a decent start to the new year.

LAST TIME OUT

WEST HAM 1-0 ARSENAL

It was a day to remember for young Declan Rice, as the 20-year-old’s first senior goal for West Ham proved to be the decisive one in last weekend’s shock 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Post-match, Manuel Pellegrini sang Rice’s praises, saying that the goal scorer has the potential to become “a top, top player.”

Arsenal failed to find the back of the net for the first time since the opening weekend of the season, but it wasn’t for a want of trying. Alexandre Lacazette saw a shot excellently saved by former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski, while Alex Iwobi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also went close.

The home side held on for another three points, taking them to ninth in the standings and seven points adrift of the top six.

2018-19 top scorers: Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson (eight goals in all competitions)

THE MANAGER

Former Chile international Pellegrini has been quite the globetrotter in his coveted career, managing teams in Spain, England, Argentina, Chile, China, and Ecuador since hanging up his boots in 1986.

Perhaps his most prestigious stint was at Real Madrid, where he boasted an impressive 75 percent win percentage in 48 matches in charge of Los Blancos between 2009 and 2010.

The Chilean then swapped the capital for the south coast, arriving at Malaga in November 2010. He took his new side to unexpected heights in the league, leading the club to fourth in La Liga and subsequently the spectacle of the Champions League.

Not about to rest on his laurels, Pellegrini proved his Premier League pedigree for the first time with Manchester City in the 2013/14 season. Winning the league title at the first time of asking wasn’t a bad way to impress his new employers, but a failure to do so in the two years that followed saw City end Pellegrini’s contract.

He then spent two relatively difficult years at Hebei China Fortune, before returning to England to take on a new challenge at London Stadium.

KEY STATS

  1. Since gaining promotion to the Premier League, AFC Bournemouth have had one win, one draw, and one defeat at home to West Ham.
  2. However, the overall record bodes well for the Cherries, as Eddie Howe’s side have earned three wins, two draws, and two defeats home and away from the seven times they’ve met in the Premier League.
  3. Bournemouth have won two and drawn two of their last four league meetings with the Hammers.
  4. Across the seven Premier League games between the sides, Callum Wilson is the top scorer with five goals for Bournemouth, closely followed by Joshua King with three goals.
  5. Ahead of the game, Bournemouth are four points adrift of West Ham, but the Cherries have scored one more goal so far this season.
  6. Current form for the Cherries is patchy at best, who have only managed to pick up four points from a possible 15 in their last five league games, while West Ham have accrued seven.

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