Not exactly the day I had envisaged. I was about to leave the house when I couldn’t find my season tickets. They weren’t in the drawer I assumed they were in. Anyway, I emailed a contact at the club who kindly arranged for two tickets for me to be collected at the ticket office between J and K entrances. So far so good. Heavy traffic at the Blackwall tunnel meant that we arrived very late and took ages to find anywhere to park. So we didn’t get to the ticket office until 2.15. We queued, and we queued and we queued. And then we queued some more. There were five ticket windows. One allocated to Bournemouth fans and the others for people with surnames beginning with A-I, J-R and S-Z. Surprise, surprise that the A-I one was double the length of the others. Who’d have thunk. As three o’clock neared I seriously thought about going home given the queue showed no sign of moving at all. 3.15 came and went. Then 3.30. Only when the Bournemouth queue had finished were we allowd to switch over. Quite how I didn’t lose it, I do not know, but we took our seats at 3.42 having heard the penalty go in.
And things took a turn for the worse.
Obviously I can’t say what happened in the first 45 minutes, but if the second half was anything to go by there is an awful lot to worry us. There were only three new outfield players in the starting line-up – Balbuena, Wishere and Anderson, so it’s difficult to blame everything on them or the fact that they need time to gel. Pellegrini blamed it more on the players already at the club saying there was an overhang of nervousness from last season. Who knows what it was, but it doesn’t bode well.
We had nothing up front, although it was a surprise for Hernandez to be taken off so early. He and Arnautovic had skant little service in the second half. Snodgrass seemed to have lost all his pre-season initiative and guile, while on the other side Felipe Anderson did little to give us any confidence at all that he was worth £4 million, let alone £40 million. His final ball rarely hit its target and invariably went to a Bournemouth player. An utterly underwhelming performance.
The only bright spot of the match was the performance of Andrij Yarmolenko. I’m not sure he’s fully fit but he showed commitment, ingenuity and skill. I’d love him to start the next few games.
At the back, we didn’t look too bad, apart from the two goals, neither of which would have been conceded by a back four with any degree of concentration. The first goal was a total abomination. Calum Wilson is a half decent player, but he beat five West Ham defenders plus the goalkeeper. That simply should not happen. Ogbonna gave the foul away and then let his marker get away. 2-0. For that alone, he deserves to lose his place next week. Zabaleta had his worst game for us. All over the place, lethargic and lacking concentration. Masuaku was better than last week, but that’s a pretty low bar.
In central midfield, well, there’s not much to report. Noble passed backwards again, while Wilshere played the odd interesting ball in. And then nearly got himself sent off for a stupid challenge.
I’m now writing this in an Edinburgh hotel room, having flown up here from Heathrow straight after the game. And don’t get me started on British Airways…
Anyway, I imagine you’re all as depressed as I am, so maybe I should just go to bed. Night.
Following last week’s incredibly disappointing start to the season we are all wondering how many changes the manager will make to the team for this afternoon’s match against Bournemouth.
Let’s start at the back. Fabianski was man of the match so despite conceding four goals I can’t imagine his place is under threat. You could make an argument for replacing the entire back four but I doubt that will happen. Arthur Masuaku is most under threat with a fit again Aaron Cresswell ready to return. It would be most unfair if Fredericks were dropped on the basis of a highly dodgy Premier League debut, but it’s possible Zabaleta may return to provide defensive stability. In central defence Diop will be pushing for a start, but I have to say I hope Balbuena continues, as he looks to have something and will only get better.
In midfield Declan Rice will be the main casualty. Obiang is the most obvious replacement, but I wonder whether we will swtich to a 4-4-2, with Hernandez coming in up front. This would mean Wilshere playing a more defensive midfield role and Anderson on one wing with, presumably Yarmolenko on the other if he’s fit. That would be quite a tasty midfield.
Whatever the final team actually is, there are going to be at least two, and possibly more, very unhappy players who will feel they ar being scapegoated for what happened last week. It’s at moments like these they have to realise it’s a squad game now and their time will come again.
This weekend West Ham welcome AFC Bournemouth to the London Stadium for our first home outing. The less said about last week’s thrashing against Liverpool the better! La plus ca change…… Ahead of the game I spoke to Peter Bell, the editor of Bournemouth online fanzine “CherryChimes”:https://afcbchimes.blogspot.com to chat about the game and the season ahead.
Hi Peter, you’ve already got three points under your belt, are you feeling confident that you’ll double this on Saturday?
Well, just because Bournemouth have one win under their belt doesn’t mean they have the answers they need to beat West Ham. I am sure the players will be more confident than had they lost last week, but the Hammers will be tough opponents and extremely keen to get their season up and running in front of a big home crowd I’d imagine. Cardiff didn’t really test Bournemouth but we know West Ham will.
You’re now beginning your 4th season in the Premier League, you must be feeling quite established now?
Last season was quite precarious for us. We only got the points we need to stay up in the penultimate game against Swansea. We can say that the players and Eddie Howe know what the Premier League is all about and the performances they need to put in to stay up, but it is also about trying to progress and enjoy the league. I think the club is just starting to wonder what it can do in this league. If that means established, then so be it. But we also know we are one bad season from being back in the Championship.
The transfer window is finally closed, are you happy with the business you have done. Who is going to help move Bournemouth up to the next level?
At first I was a bit frustrated as not a lot was happening. Then we got to see David brooks who is only 21 and joined from Sheffield United. He is a very exciting talent and links play with the forwards extremely well – he’ll be a hit. Deigo Rico was next in a left full back from Leganes but he is suspended for two more games and we have only seen him in one friendly against Real Betis. He did okay and put in lots of crosses, so hopefully he can challenge for the left back position. The club’s transfer record went with Jefferson Lerma signing from Levante for 25m. He played at the World Cup for Colombia and is a powerful midfielder who will tackle hard. Whether the Spanish experiment works out, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Who are you most pleased to see still pulling on the Cherries shirt each week? Josh King is a player I think it was important to keep hold of. he had been linked with Spurs last summer and Newcastle in this latest window. He has been asked to play wide a bit more often than I think he’d like and when he plays as an out and out striker he gets the goals. he likes the responsibility so I’m hoping Howe let’s him have the chance to be the main goalscorer, because he can do it.
Who’s going to win the league? Man City are still too good for the rest.
Which teams will you look forward to playing against this season?
I get excited about playing Liverpool as we have had some great tussles and I’ll be pleased to visit Craven Cottage again as it is a great day out. I’ll also be quietly pleased if we shut the Wolves fans up as they are constantly bragging!
Conversely which team would you most likely give up your seat to avoid watching?
Good question. I think most of the teams try to entertain. In past seasons I would have said Stoke, but I don’t see a dull team in the Premier League this season – they all have something to offer.
Early days yet, but who are your favourites for relegation?
My head tells me Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle Utd. It’s a lottery though, let’s just hope the positions don’t include Bournemouth or West Ham Utd.
Where do you see Bournemouth ending the season?
It could be anywhere from 7th to 20th. I’m settling on 14th as it’s roughly in the middle of that.
Where will West Ham finish?
This depends on a million and one questions – How good is Pellegrini? How quickly can the new signings gel? Will West Ham fans kick off against the club’s owners again? Well, I don’t know the answers but my boss is a West ham fan so I’ll say 13th, one place above Bournemouth, just to keep him happy!
You already have Junior playing for you: which other West Ham player would you like to see playing for you, and why?
Junior Stanislas is great for us and I hope he avoids the injuries this season. I like Michail Antonio as he seems a genuine kind of guy who just loves to play football and has made his way up from the lower leagues.
How do you expect Bournemouth to setup against West Ham on Saturday/team/formation prediction?
I don’t expect Eddie Howe to change a winning team just yet so expect the same starting 11 that took on Cardiff City. It is probably going to be a 4-4-1-1 set up.
Begovic, A Smith, S Cook, Aké, Daniels, Brooks, Gosling, Surman, Fraser, King, Wilson
Who is going to create the most problems for us this weekend?
Ryan Fraser is bang on form and was miles better than everyone last Saturday. Josh King though is not usually quiet for two games in a row and he won’t like being behind in the goal charts to Fraser and Callum Wilson.
Prediction for score?
I think it will be a goal frenzy: 3-3. But I’d like Bournemouth to win 1-3 just to stay in the top three for a bit longer!
*Good luck for the season, except when you’re playing us! *
Same to you ha, ha.
Well thanks to Peter for his time. I’m going to be wildly optimistic and go for 3 – 1 to West Ham. COYI
In today’s preview, we travel back to 21st August 2016; Major Lazer’s ‘Cold Water’ featuring Justin Bieber and MO topped the charts, Finding Dory topped the UK box office and Team GB finished competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, finishing second in the medal table with 27 golds, 23 silvers and 17 bronze medals, their best Olympic result in over a century.
Slaven Bilic’s Hammers ran out 1-0 winners against Bournemouth in the first Premier League encounter at London Stadium in front of a club record 56,977. Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc saved well from Enner Valencia in the first half, while Adrian denied Joshua King. Bournemouth’s Harry Arter was sent off for a second bookable offence after 77 minutes, his first yellow card for dissent towards the assistant referee and second for dragging back Cheikhou Kouyate – eight minutes later, Michail Antonio rose highest at the back post to head in Gokhan Tore’s left-wing cross to score the Hammers’ first goal at their new stadium and claim all three points.
The Hammers would end the 2016/17 campaign in 11th place in the Premier League, one point and two places below Bournemouth. Chelsea won the title and Arsenal won the FA Cup. Antonio was voted Hammer of the Year and ended the campaign as the club’s leading scorer with nine goals from 37 appearances.
West Ham United: Adrian, Sam Byram, James Collins, Winston Reid, Arthur Masuaku, Cheikhou Kouyate, Havard Nordtveit (Ashley Fletcher), Michail Antonio, Mark Noble, Gokhan Tore (Pedro Obiang), Enner Valencia (Jonathan Calleri).
Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Jordon Ibe (Nathan Ake), Harry Arter, Andrew Surman, Ryan Fraser (Dan Gosling), Josh King, Callum Wilson (Lewis Grabban).
A decent number of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Bournemouth. Ex-Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere is now at West Ham. Jermain Defoe and Hammers Academy product Junior Stanislas are currently on Bournemouth’s books while Carl Fletcher played for both clubs and is currently youth team manager with the Cherries. Other players to have appeared for both clubs include:
Goalkeepers: David James, Stephen Henderson and Marek Stech.
Defenders: Everald La Ronde, Bill Kitchener, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Brignull, Reg Parker, Keith Rowland, Elliott Ward, Bobby Howe and Horace Glover.
Midfielders: Keith Miller, Ian Bishop, Trevor Hartley, Bobby Barnes, Tommy Southren, Jimmy Neighbour, Emmanuel Omoyinmi, Tony Scott, Anthony Edgar, Scott Mean, Matty Holmes, Dale Gordon, Jack Collison and Patsy Holland.
Strikers: Nicky Morgan, John Arnott, Mark Watson, Zavon Hines, Steve Jones and Ted MacDougall.
Harry Redknapp played for and managed both clubs. Former Hammers player John Bond went on to manage Bournemouth, while Jimmy Quinn played for both clubs and also managed the Cherries.
Today’s preview focuses on a midfielder who experienced limited playing time at West Ham United in between spells with Bournemouth. Paul Mitchell was born in Bournemouth on 20th October 1971. A pupil at the England School of Excellence at Lilleshall with plenty of England Youth caps to his name, Mitchell could play at right-back or in midfield. He made 16 appearances for Bournemouth between 1990 and 1993; he was given his debut by Harry Redknapp, but had undergone five operations by the time he was 20 – injuries were to play a significant part in Mitchell’s career.
After a difference of opinion with Tony Pulis, Redknapp’s replacement at Bournemouth, Mitchell (pictured) joined Billy Bonds’ West Ham United in the summer of 1993 in a joint deal with fellow Cherry Keith Rowland for a combined fee of £150,000 – Mitchell was valued at £40,000 in the deal. Redknapp, Bonds’ assistant, had previously had both players under his wing when he was manager at Dean Court. The 22-year-old Mitchell’s only appearance for the Irons came as an 84th-minute substitute for fellow former Cherry Matty Holmes in a 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn at the Boleyn Ground on 27th April 1994 – future Hammer Ian Pearce scored Rovers’ winner that night.
After one appearance for West Ham United, the 24-year-old Mitchell returned to the South Coast, signing for Mel Machin’s third tier Bournemouth in March 1996 on a free transfer. He played four consecutive games after arriving but moved to Torquay in the summer of 1996, where he enjoyed the most productive spell of his career during a two-and-a-half year stay before a hernia problem restricted him. Mitchell scored his only goal in league football while at Torquay in a 2-0 win over Macclesfield on 10th January 1998. After 41 appearances for Torquay, Mitchell moved to Barry Town in March 1998.
Mitchell played Champions League football while with Barry Town, playing home and away against a Dynamo Kiev side containing Oleg Luzhny, Andriy Shevchenko and future Hammer Sergei Rebrov. Spells at Salisbury and Wimborne followed and Mitchell has since turned out for West Ham at the ex-pros’ Masters tournaments, making more appearances for them than he made for the Hammers in the Premier League! Mitchell, now 46, is back at Bournemouth as a correspondent for Opta Sports.
The referee on Saturday will be Stuart Attwell. The Birmingham-based official will take charge of a West Ham game for only the fifth time – he has sent off a Hammers striker in two of his other four games officiating the Hammers. He refereed our 1-0 victory at Wigan in March 2009 and our 3-1 win at Blackpool in February 2011. The 35-year-old sent off the Latics’ Lee Cattermole for a shocking challenge on Scott Parker, while the Hammers’ Carlton Cole also received his marching orders during the aforementioned win at Wigan. Even Latics boss Steve Bruce criticised the decision to dismiss the Irons striker. Attwell also issued a first-half red card to Andy Carroll in our 1-1 draw at Burnley last October.
Attwell also awarded an infamous ‘phantom’ goal for Reading in a Championship match against Watford in September 2008. He was the youngest-ever Premier League referee but was demoted from the Select Group in 2012. He most recently refereed the Hammers in February in our 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.
The Hammers are without Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll, while Carlos Sanchez and Lucas Perez will only make the bench at best. Aaron Cresswell could return at left-back.
Bournemouth are set to be without the suspended Diego Rico and the injured Jefferson Lerma and Junior Stanislas.
Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Antonio, Wilshere, Anderson; Arnautovic.
Possible Bournemouth XI: Begovic; Smith, Steve Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Surman, Gosling, Fraser; King, Wilson.