The hosts showed real determination to cling on to a point in their last league outing at Leicester City after having Simon Francis sent off for a foul which led to a disputed penalty kick, which was well saved by Artur Boruc. The Pole’s goal did occasionally lead a charmed life at the King Power Stadium, but at the same time his side did play with some adventure and fought hard to deny the high-flying Foxes, so the draw they achieved was very well deserved.
The return of Junior Stanislas – who takes on his former club here – certainly made Bournemouth look more of potent force in attack, and he set up their best chance for Josh King, who missed the target when well played. Despite that, the duo have shown that when they combine successfully they can hurt most defences in the Premier League, while as a team the Cherries have shown on countless occasions that they are not shy to commit players forward and they are now being rewarded for that in terms of their recent results.
It took a long time, but West Ham finally seem to have rediscovered their best form, especially if their win over Liverpool to begin 2016 is anything to go by. For the second game in a row goals from Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll inspired them to success, while the sight of their superb playmaker Dimitri Payet returning from injury earlier than expected was a delightful one for all concerned, and his influence may see the Hammers flourish over the coming weeks.
Antonio really announced himself as a West Ham player with his performance against Liverpool, making a challenge deep inside his own half before heading a fine opening goal just seconds later, and as a result of his run in the starting XI he is showing just why he has been among the Championship’s most coveted stars over the past few seasons. Meanwhile, in defence his side will look to settle a few scores with Bournemouth, who took them apart when the two clubs met back in August.
Bournemouth splashed the cash to sign striker Benik Afobe and he could make his debut here, but fellow new signing Juan Iturbe may not feature due to work permit issues.
Manuel Lanzini begins a spell of six weeks on the sidelines for West Ham, who will assess Cheikhou Kouyate and Enner Valencia.