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First Team

Media view: Expert insight on West Ham


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth host Premier League rivals West Ham at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Ahead of the game, afcbTV caught up with Evening Standard writer and former Bournemouth University student Jack Rosser to get the lowdown on Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

afcb.co.uk: How have supporters taken to Manuel Pellegrini?

JR: Brilliantly. They were split over David Moyes at the end of last season. Some gave him credit for the job he did but others got a bit bored with his style of football.

Although they lost their first four Premier League games under Pellegrini and he was being asked about his future in press conferences, there wasn’t too much of that talk among the fan-base.

They were confident in the way he was doing things and that process has come through and the supporters have really taken to him. He likes that connection with the fans and has spoken about how he has experienced it at other clubs, especially Malaga.

afcb.co.uk: What’s your opinion on Declan Rice’s rise?

JR: He’s a superb player. He was given his debut by Slaven Bilic the season before last and played in and out at centre-half last season. Even Moyes spoke about pushing him forward and seeing him as a midfielder.

Pellegrini had the nous to do it and has always spoken about him needing to develop the tactical understanding of that position. We have really started to see that during the past couple of weeks.

He only turned 20 on Monday and it’s remarkable to see someone so young dominate the midfield. He can sit and shield everything and start moves going forward. He’s an excellent prospect.

afcb.co.uk: What are the supporters’ expectations for the rest of the season? 

JR: That’s a tough one. At times, Pellegrini has spoken about the top six and Europe but that’s a long-term ambition.

I think they are safe. For the rest of the season, the fans just want to see more exciting and attacking football.

They took a while to gel and there has been so much drama at the club over the past couple of years.

Supporters just want to see something they enjoy watching again. There’s no need to look over their shoulder and they are also hoping for a good run in the FA Cup.

I think supporters just want to see some enjoyable football and hope they can look to kick on to perhaps the Europa League next season.

afcb.co.uk: Who do you think will be West Ham’s dangerman?

JR: At the moment, it’s Felipe Anderson.

He had an inconsistent start to the season and there were question marks over whether he was strong enough or had the temperament to play in the Premier League.

But he was superb over the festive period and, if things weren’t quite going their way, he would turn a game on its head in a couple of moments. They had been looking for a replacement for Dimitri Payet for a couple of years and finally seem to have found one.

afcb.co.uk: What are supporters’ hopes and fears for the transfer window?

JR: I think most are scared of losing Marko Arnautovic and not having a replacement. Given all the club’s injuries, they really need another midfielder but the main fear is Arnautovic.

They are certainly considering Jonjo Shelvey. Pedro Obiang may be moving to Fiorentina for around £10million and Shelvey could be his replacement.

As a club, he is someone they have always looked at and admired. Whether Pellegrini sees that as well, we are yet to see. I’m yet to be convinced. But it’s something that could certainly happen if Obiang were to go through.

You can follow Jack on Twitter at @JackRosser_

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