After a hard-fought victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup, all of the Hammers’ attention must now turn back to the Premier League as a trip to the seaside is in order for Bilic’s team.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side have impressed this season, responding well to key injuries and picking up important results to keep them four points from the relegation zone.
One of the Cherries’ biggest strengths is teamwork. Howe’s side are serious runners and work tremendously hard in every game they play. Couple that work ethic with a keen eye for good football and you have Howe’s Bouremouth formula.
The Hammers struggled against the sea-siders at Upton Park, losing 3-4 in a game filled with defensive errors. Thankfully for Bilic, those errors have been eradicated in recent weeks and the Irons look like one of the most solid defensive units in the league. West Ham have not lost at home in the league since the defeat to Bournemouth way back in August and this typifies just how well the Hammers have done under Bilic so far this season.
The return of Dimitri Payet gets West Ham ticking once again and the bullishly direct approach of Michail Antonio has added a breath of fresh air to the Hammers’ attack. It is also worth noting that Andy Carroll has looked the real deal in recent weeks, relishing a run in the team and duly delivering with two goals in his last two games.
The Hammers are certainly capable of beating Bournemouth, who are without a win in three Premier League games. In contrast, Bilic is going for three wins on the bounce and he will not be afraid to attack a team which has the worst defensive record outside of the bottom three.
Bournemouth certainly pose a threat in attack with the likes of Matt Ritchie, former Hammer Junior Stanislas and young striker Joshua King providing pace and energy to the front line.
The additions of Juan Iturbe from Roma and Benik Afobe from Wolves are excellent buys. It remains to be seen whether Iturbe’s move will be registered in time for tomorrow’s fixture but Afobe could feature after his £9 million switch from Wolves was completed yesterday. The striker has bagged 9 goals in the Championship this season and will certainly pose a threat to the Hammers’ defence.
Although Bournemouth will fight for points tomorrow, the Hammers will be going into this fixture high in confidence. They have the added luxury of playing without pressure and if they produce anything similar to the Liverpool performance, there is a strong chance that they can make it three wins out of three in the Premier League.