The HamburgHammer Column

Picking some cherries in Bournemouth while Hamburg is slowly turning into Stratford

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Welcome back, everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted my column, but on Saturday I had the opportunity to watch our encounter against Bournemouth in my accustomed seat in front of the telly, so I finally feel in a position again to cobble a few thoughts and sentences together for my fellow inmates of the WHTID madhouse.

Let me start with a confession: In theory I should have a soft spot for the Cherries because a) I like cherries.

And b) Their home shirt colour combination is the same I root for every other weekend when my beloved Concordia are playing a home fixture.
As for Bournemouth as a town I haven’t got a Scooby if the place is nice, beautiful or boring, never been there, probably will never get to visit.

On the other hand though I really don’t fancy that club crest – I know it’s supposed to be the silhouette of one of their former star player’s Loaf, pictured heading a ball, apparently representing progress, I suppose because the eyes of the player and the ball are directed upwards. I still think it looks a bit daft. It’s reminding me of a crest which a school team might come up with in arts and crafts class. And most importantly, of course, they are a very tricky side to play against.

Well organised, tough in the tackle and usually well up for it, especially at home. Very hard to even nick a point from. And so it proved.

We came out of the blocks surprisingly quickly though, with plenty of attacking intent and a very early goal by a very productive Yarmolenko, scoring another trademark curler with his favourite left foot.
Of course Yarmo has been a goal machine throughout his career, especially for the Ukrainian national side and I would hazard a guess most of his goals scored for them were of similar ilk rather than ordinary tap-ins or close-range headers.

But I had an inkling that the hosts would be coming back into this one somehow and unfortunately I was right.

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Was their equaliser marginally offside, maybe by the proverbial armpit ? Maybe, but looking at the VAR replays I reckon that I would have wanted that goal to stand if it had been us scoring it. I always thought that with tight decisions such as this the benefit of the doubt should always go to the striker. So while I was unhappy with them scoring I couldn’t really argue the case for the goal to be chalked off. VAR did its job and was right.

Then a most bizarre thing happened: Our much revered custodian, Lukasz Fabianski, went down after kicking the ball. Goalkeepers do that quite often during a game of course, in the shape of goalkicks, clearances etc.

Only this time Fabianski went down straight away and took what seemed like an eternity to get back on his feet, having to leave the field with the help of two physios. Only at West Ham! I’d like to take the opportunity to wish Fab a speedy recovery by way of my column. Come back soon and come back strong!

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Backup Roberto entered the pitch to replace Fabianski and I have to admit I didn’t think this would actually increase our chances of getting anything from this game in terms of points.

In truth Roberto is a decent enough keeper (I see him on a par with Adrian or at least close to that level), but the Spaniard clearly was feeling the pressure that comes with having to get in goal without much notice or time to warm up properly. His initial goalkicks went all over the place which earned him mocking cheers from the home crowd (and maybe some of the travelling West Ham fans too) for the rest of the game.

He actually made some very good saves in the second half and as for Bournemouth’s second goal I ain’t too sure if Fabianski would have saved that one. Unfortunately our entire team looked like they were still busy sipping their halftime isotonic beverage in the dressing room as the Cherries scored within the first 60 seconds of the second half. Offside trap gone pear shaped.

Those lapses of concentration can happen, but they shouldn’t. Thankfully, not long after that, VAR was kind to us, ruling out another goal of theirs which would have most probably put the game out of reach for us.

And then something lovely happened: Aaron Cresswell SCORED!!! As is quite often the case on matchdays for me, I was wearing my #3 West Ham shirt, bearing Cresswell’s name. His calendar poster was back on my living room wall for the occasion (yes, I’m actually older than 12 years, would you believe it ?) and he thundered in a wonderful shot to get us level. Crowning yet another very solid league performance until he got away with one very late.

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He was blatantly grabbing his opponent’s shirt in his own penalty box. Not just for a split second, but really holding on tightly. For me a textbook penalty. When the referee was pausing for what I was certain would be a merciless VAR review my heart sank as surely there could only be one outcome.
Why and how VAR didn’t award Bournemouth a penalty there, I will never know! Lucky escape right there!

Down the other end though we had enough opportunities upfront to win two games, but once again we just weren’t clinical enough. Still, I was happy with the performance of our team after the shambles at Oxford in the League Cup earlier in the week. I thought everyone put a shift in, especially Cresswell, Fredericks, Rice and Yarmolenko. A point was probably a fair result, all things considered.

Yes, we could have won this, but a point away from home in the Premier League is always a point gained and we have thus cemented our position near the top of the league table for the time being. Fingers crossed, Fabianski won’t be out for too long. We are still very hard to beat (unless you’re a League One side of course!) which bodes well for our upcoming games in the PL. COYI!!!

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In local news from my neck of the woods (and slightly related to West Ham) I was surprised to read in a recent article in Germany’s equivalent of The Observer that there were certain interesting developments currently taking shape in the Hafen City area of Hamburg which is bascially our belated local version of London’s Docklands regeneration project on Hamburg’s waterfront.

The news is (and I nearly spat my tea out when I read it) that WESTFIELD, yep, the retail fellas most West Ham fans will be all too familiar with as they have to pass through or alongside their massive Stratford based shopping centre on their way to or from London Stadium on any given matchday when we’re playing at home, will be setting up shop in Hamburg, literally!

Their plan is to essentially build an entire borough/district of their own in the finest part of the Hamburg Docklands area including the biggest shopping centre Hamburg has ever seen, housing 200 shops and food outlets, a state-of-the-art cinema with ten giant screens, an adjacent cruise ship terminal, big enough to host at the same time two of those gigantic cruise liners arriving on the river Elbe almost every single day of the week, three new hotels with more than 800 rooms combined plus an additional helping of posh flats and apartments plus a few modern office buildings to boot (housing workspace for 4000 employees).

In close neighbourhood of the shopping centre you will also find around 40 shiny new upmarket restaurants, cafes and bars. You get quite a thirst and an appetite when buying stuff, things and trinkets all day, you know…

In short: A generous whiff of Stratford is coming to Hamburg, likely to be completed by 2022.

I understand the Hamburg version of Westfield, the shopping centre, will be just about half the size of its Stratford counterpart, but don’t forget that the entire city of Hamburg has a population of “only“ 1.8 million people.
And we have plenty of shops, department stores and shopping centres already. More than enough to be frank, actually.

Still, we’re getting another one anyway. And not just one like the many others but the biggest, poshest and bestest (apparently) of them all. What’s that sound I’m hearing ?

Ka-ching!

I’m not sure I like the sound of that (in fact I think Hamburg needs another shopping centre as urgently as Antonio needs another torn hamstring) but it just seems to be a sign of the times, with the focus being on consuming and buying more and more (needless) goods unfortunately.

Of course they’re intending to especially milk the wealthy cruise liner passengers when they briefly come ashore (at least those that don’t hurry off to spend a few hours or half a day away in Berlin, 200 miles further east), but they also will aim to drive shoppers away from the established city centre shopping district and the locals from the outskirts of town too, trying to make a quick quid or two (thousand) while the opportunity is there.

On a personal level it’s going to be pretty weird, seeing that familiar Westfield logo in my own neck of the woods all of a sudden – yet I somehow don’t expect they will have a WHSmith in there.

Nor a Tesco, Nando’s or a good old Pie&Mash shop (well, there isn’t one of the latter at Westfield Stratford either, is there ?). Not to mention a proper pub with Real Ale on tap. That’d be bloody nice, but it’ll probably be Hamburg’s 77th wine bar instead…

And as for the local equivalent of London Stadium ? That would be St.Pauli’s Millerntor ground, as proper a cauldron of footballing madness as you’ll find anywhere on the planet, approximately 3 miles away from the Hamburg Docklands which is slightly further away than the distance between London Stadium and Westfield Stratford, innit ?

Be that as it may: Once it’s open for business I will probably shop at Westfield Hamburg as often as I do at Westfield Stratford – two or three times a year – at most. I simply prefer the local shops and shopping centre in my Wandsbek neighbourhood in Hamburg’s East End. They are probably not as posh and shiny as that new place is going to be, but who needs posh anyway ?

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Hamburg football update: Starting with Hamburg SV who managed a worthy 2:2 draw at bogey team Regensburg which keeps them in hot pursuit of table toppers Stuttgart. St.Pauli beat Sandhausen 2:0 on Sunday to get within touching distance of several promotion hopefuls just behind Stuttgart and HSV.

Mixed results for my local side Concordia. The first team lost a rain-soaked game in unlucky fashion 2:3 at home to Barmbek. The U23s only managed a 1:1 draw away, however, the women’s team did Cordi really proud, winning their home game at a canter in an impressive 11:0 showcase against out-of-towners Tornesch. Well worth getting soaked to the bone for, watching that goalfest from the touchline. The girls are among the promotion pacemakers already, despite only getting promoted to the league earlier in the summer.
It’s pretty satisfying to witness their progression up the league system.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Bournemouth 2, West Ham 2. A Truly Respectable Point.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning I woke up and grabbed one of my West Ham coffee mugs to start my day. A West Ham t-shirt or jersey was the selected attire. Cloud nine through and through. Thursday, Friday, and today was a different tune. Basic, plain mug followed by whatever clothing had no claret or blue to be found. I didn’t even want to think about the club, football, even sport in general. That was my reaction to the perverse performance put forth on Wednesday evening. It killed all the positivity and momentum of the opening six matches. It reignited all of the doubts, self or otherwise, that are the hallmarks of West Ham United Football Club. Fortunes Always Hiding indeed. From a performance perspective, however, today helped stem the tide of those doubts.

When did Sweet Caroline become an anthem for so many sports teams? I don’t much care about the Boston Red Sox, but it’s theirs as far as I’m concerned. Bournemouth need to find a tune of their own. Rant over.

Despite some being critical of Fornals, I like what I have seen so far. Having said that, for the second time this season he decided not to have a go at goal when he clearly should have. In the third minute he got the ball twenty yards from goal, at the edge of the area, and chose to put the ball wide for Yarmolenko. West Ham eventually won a corner, but it amounted to nothing. Shoot, Pablo. Shoot.

The opening ten minutes were positive for West Ham, with good spells of possession. In the tenth minute, Anderson sent a looping pass to Haller in the Bournemouth eighteen yard box. The skill Haller showed to control the pass with the outside of his right foot, bring it down, and then lay it off for Yarmolenko was a thing of beauty. Once Yarmolenko rolled Ake off of him and got space on his left foot, the rest was almost predictable. That’s how good he is in such a spot.

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Bournemouth 0
West Ham 1

The Cherries had their first corner of the match in the 17th minute when Fredericks played it very, very safe by putting a low cross out with Solanke not that close. The set piece was played short, and Rico sent a cross into the box. Ake pushed it on, and King was there to put it past Fabianski. The offside flag went up, as did the call for VAR. The little electric lines were drawn, and after a minute or so Atwell pointed at the center circle.

Bournemouth 1
West Ham 1

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West Ham responded to the equalizer with some good ball movement forward, especially between Anderson and Haller. Fornals and Noble worked a give and go on the right side of the Bournemouth box to win a corner that eventually ended up calmly in the arms of Ramsdale. Minutes later Anderson sent Fredericks on the run with a rolling pass down the right side. The right back sent the ball into the box and Cook took no chances and tapped it out for another Hammers corner. Again, the visitors didn’t manage an attempt on target, but the attacking intent was there.

The 32nd minute brought what should have been good news when a wonderfully weighted pass from Noble sent Yarmolenko in on goal. He was pulled from behind by Rico, winning a free kick from a dangerous spot and a yellow card. But then the camera showed Fabianski lying on the ground after sending the ball downfield. He immediately waved to be taken off. I tweeted after the lineups were announced that I would have put Martin on the bench instead of Roberto. Oxford, I thought, made that obvious. In my mind, the match was likely lost at that point.

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In the 35th minute, West Ham went on the attack. Anderson rolled a pass towards Haller at the top of the box, but the Frenchman let it roll past him and onto the right foot of Noble. A pass across the box would have been a good option there with Haller waiting, but the Captain went for goal and hit the side netting.

The half moved to it’s conclusion without much fanfare until added time when West Ham came oh so close to retaking the lead. Yarmolenko rolled the ball to Fredericks on the right side of the box, who found Fornals in front of goal. He couldn’t quite sort out his feet, and his eventual attempt was blocked by Ake. The ball went to Anderson, but his scissor kick was palmed over the bar by Ramsdale. The corner that followed found Ogbonna but his header went off Solanke and out for another corner. That set piece was handled by the home side, and the opening forty-five minutes were in the books.

Halftime
Bournemouth 1
West Ham 1

The second half had barely started before the afternoon well and truly looked to be going downhill for West Ham. 29 seconds in, Wilson did his Lukaku imitation by scoring his seventh goal against us. Solanke was fouled, but Atwell let the action continue and Bournemouth took full advantage. King got the ball at the top of the box, tapped it to Wilson, and the forward rifled it past Romero. At least he dove this time. More than we can say about his performance the other night.

Bournemouth 2
West Ham 1

Bournemouth were back on the attack in the 54th minute when the Wilson’s combined. Harry passed to Callum near the top of the box, who tried to find an onrushing Billing. His shot was deflected out for a corner. The set piece came to Ake ten yards from goal, and he put a bouncing shot through the wickets of Romero. But a late flag and no VAR come to West Ham’s rescue. Minutes later Rice fouled Billing, giving the Cherries a free kick 25 yards from goal. The delivery found Callum Wilson, but his header went over the bar.

I’ll say this much about our club. In the 28 years I’ve supported West Ham, I have rarely seen us capable of holding the ball as well as we do now. At around the hour mark, we must have completed close to fifty passes before the ball was finally aimed at goal by Yarmolenko. His curling effort didn’t curl quite enough and went wide for a goal kick. Moments later it was Bournemouth on the attack. Two long passes and Callum Wilson was on the ball at the top of the West Ham box. His shot went right at Roberto, but the backup keeper didn’t even seem to try to catch the ball. He crossed his arms….you couldn’t make it up if you tried…and blocked it out for a corner that West Ham was able to clear.

West Ham came very close to leveling in the 70th minute. Lanzini, who had just come on for Fornals, did very well to win the ball in the Bournemouth half. He passed to Yarmolenko on the right, who then sent a cross to the far post that Anderson got to. But his bouncing header was saved by Ramsdale and cleared off the line.

How Bournemouth didn’t score a third in the 73rd minute I may never know. Solanke played a lovely touch pass to Harry Wilson, who then fed Callum Wilson in on goal alone. Maybe he couldn’t decide whether to go through Romero’s legs or around him. In the end he put it into the keepers chest. West Ham used that Get Out Of Jail Free Card to launch an attack of their own, and once again it started with Yarmolenko. He sent another cross to Anderson at the far post, only this time the midfielder headed it back to Cresswell in the box and for the second time in two league matches he put it where it needed to go.

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Bournemouth 2
West Ham 2

West Ham, to their credit, looked for a third. Good possession and ball movement led to a decent effort on goal by Rice that Ramsdale pushed away for a West Ham throw. Haller won the ball in the Bournemouth half but had no options, and then Lanzini went on a run but chose the passing route too early when a little more possession might have led to a chance.

Final Score
Bournemouth 2
West Ham 2

The Vitality Stadium has not been a very kind place for West Ham in recent times. When the injury to Fabianski occurred, I was 100% convinced there was no way back for us. The early second half goal by Wilson solidified those feelings. Yet from a possession and attacking point of view, West Ham were the better side throughout. Perhaps Fabianski would have made that save. We will never know. Nigel Kahn always says a point away from home in the Premier League is a good point.

Today he couldn’t be more correct.


Match Thread

Match Thread: AFC Bournemouth v West Ham

AFC Bournemouth v West Ham
FA Premier League
Vitality Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: None
Radio: WHUFC.com

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.


Match Report

Behind Enemy Lines

Guest post by Irons1959

Oxford United v West Ham United Carabao Cup September 25th 2019

With the previous round being held in Newport just a few miles from where my West Ham ST holding sister now lives it almost seemed destiny that the next round was held somewhere equally convenient for me as an away fixture. I was brought up in Oxford living close enough to the old Manor ground to walk there in half hour and my mother still lives there. The laughably incomplete Kassam stadium has a whole side missing as well as a corner. From my seat I could see across the end where there is no stand to a local Vue Cinema. By half way through the second half the doubtful attractions of “Rambo, Last Blood” might have called me away from what was happening on the pitch.

My first matches were at the Manor ground when Oxford were a lower league side and I remember a league cup match against the Wolves of the Derek Dougan era. (Derek; now there’s a name you don’t see in schools alongside the endless Harrys!)

I also saw the testimonial of George Eastham (Stoke), which was, bizarrely, held at Oxford under the pretext that Stoke’s opponents were an Oxford “All Stars” team. Believe me, Oxford had no stars in those days. In my teenage years I completely lost interest in football, otherwise I might have become an Oxford supporter. Instead my money went on albums and many Reading festivals starting in 1974. In the early 80s I occasionally went to a match there plus a couple of aways including Millwall away in 1983 and Spuds away in 1985. By then I was living in Ilford, as I do now, but Oxford friends were coming up and I joined them to watch a 0-5 rout when Hoddle was in his pomp. For those of you who are younger it was very easy to go to the poorly attended matches of that era. I drove to Liverpool Street, picked up my friends and drove up Bishopsgate which eventually becomes Tottenham high road, before parking close to the ground and buying away tickets at the turnstiles with no problem. As the 80s went on I got more and more into West Ham, seeing my first match in 1983 and getting my ST in the second division years of Macari and Bonds as the 80s became the 90s.

Anyway, I digress so back to Wednesday night. No chance of a ticket in our end but I have kept up with many Oxford school friends so a mate from my late 1960s primary school days who is a ST holder there got one for me and another for my sister. A nice touch was not being searched even as an away fan. The bleak Kassam stadium area is sandwiched on a route between the old British Leyland car works and my old secondary school which is so rough that a former colleague who did teacher training in Oxford around 2000 and her friends prayed that it would not be their school for teaching practice. That area and where my mum lives both featured heavily on the national news during the plague of joy riding and burning stolen cars in the early 1990s. Time to get back to the football …

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I have made a point of not going on WHTID since before the match. The 11 selected to start were, similarly to the 11 who started v AFC Wimbledon earlier this year, certainly capable of beating their opponents 9/10 times IF THEY PLAYED TOGETHER REGULARLY. Personally I would have liked to see a stronger line up but with Anderson and Haller available as back ups I saw no great reason to be concerned. As the match got under way home fans around me were concerned how easily Wiltshire waltzed through the middle and HOW easily Fornals cut through on the left. When his crosses arrived we needed more than Ajeti to go for them and it would have been a night made for Antonio. When BSB called me for an update early on I thought we were having slightly the better of it but soon Oxford were getting more shots off, even though they were pretty wayward. Then a free kick from Oxford hit the bar and, as I said to BSB at half time the game was even. Despite all the wailing I assume went on our various forums it was very much up to what happened next, and there was no reason that we had to lose. Watching our attacks on the right hand side below was not pretty in the first half with no Fredericks or Yarmolenko. I thought this game would be made for Snodgrass but he chugged up the right with their defender ambling next to him for company. As everyone in football, including Oxford united, know he was never going to burst for the byline and cross it with his right so it was just a matter of shielding him towards the centre; Arjen Robben he ain’t …

Early on in the second half Roberto received a poorly hit back pass and sliced it horribly, though not quite as badly as Brian Deane for West Brom’s 4th goal in the 2003-4 season. Soon after Oxford scored, and as 35 minutes were left and Haller immediately came on I thought we would grind out a functional win as we did at Newport. Although Roberto flapped at times he also made two superb fingertip saves and I am not sure any of the goals were directly his fault. With four very decent defenders in front of him as well I would, despite the final score, look far more at the collective failings of our midfield and attack. We only had one meaningful shot in the first half and a decent headed chance late on when the game was long over. Snodgrass I have mentioned, Holland was so anonymous, and Wiltshire was subbed far too late when he had long run out of steam. Fornals played pretty well and Ajeti received little service, while lacking the hold up physicality of Haller. Some are writing him off already but he needs to be seen playing among a first eleven more often to make that call. (Haller’s arrival signified better hold up play but not much more threat on goal.) When Oxford were two up Anderson and then Noble came on but neither had enough time to make a significant impact. With men committed forward for obvious reasons an Oxford clearance left a one on one situation where our man (either Sanchez or Arthur, I think) fell over and the Oxford man only had the keeper to beat from just past the half way line.

First goals matter a lot psychologically, (would the Wimbledon FA cup match have ended up as it did if Hernandez had scored rather than hitting the post?!), and we just didn’t threaten the Oxford goal in a meaningful way. After being indifferent in the first half their early second half goal boosted their morale, improved their play and led to their deserved victory. Given that Sunderland are in the next round Oxford might be worth a small a bet for the quarter finals.


Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with The Cherries

This weekend West Ham travel to Bournemouth, who like West Ham were dumped out of the Caraboa Cup midweek, although not humiliated! With both teams in the top six at this early stage of the season we return to a Saturday afternoon kick-off. We will be hoping for a better display than the dreadful one served up during the week. Ahead of the game I spoke to Peter Bell of the Cherry Chimes Blogspot to discuss the game and the coming season.
Hi Peter, for a short while last weekend, Bournemouth were sitting 3rd in the table, after two great wins against Everton and your south coast rivals Southampton, you must be thinking that you’ve got this Premier League cracked?
Hardly! Bournemouth are notorious for finding difficulty where there was none and just because we have had a run of a couple of wins, it doesn’t guarantee you anything in this league. I am optimistic about the home form holding up, but as usual AFC Bournemouth have not kept a clean sheet in the league and it puts a lot of pressure on the team knowing they have to score at least two goals to win a match.

Last season West Ham ended up 10th and Bournemouth 14th: this weekend we play each other sitting 5th and 6th respectively, where do you think Bournemouth and West Ham will both finish the season?
I was pretty conservative in my expectation for Bournemouth this season knowing in the summer that there were a lot of players still looking to get back from injury and that they wouldn’t even be in contention until October/November. So I predicted a 12th place finish for Bournemouth. I didn’t think about West Ham that much but I don’t see why they can’t improve on last season and finish about eight.

Talking of last season, what were the highlights for you?
It had to be the 4-0 home win against Chelsea. We were completely outplayed first half but got in 0-0 and then the counter-attacking football that was played in the second half was unbelievable, just about everything came off and we had a comfortable win over a top six club.

Conversely what were the moments of deep despair?
I suppose losing to Fulham 0-1 at home gave me pretty much an equal feeling of despair. But you couldn’t get much worse than a former player coming back to score against you in added time for Newcastle to earn a 2-2 draw against us – thanks Matt Ritchie!

How do you judge Eddie Howe’s signings of the summer? Do you think you are a better team? Although we are barely into the season, who looks like becoming a Bournemouth regular?
The jury is still out on some of the summer signings. Jack Stacey seems to be doing okay at right-back, but it is a big jump up for him from League One. Lloyd Kelly we have only seen in friendlies and we need him back fit to give us some left-back options. Arnaut Danjuma is a left-sided winger who again we saw in pre-season and then he got injured so he should be back soon. The star performers are obviously Philip Billing in centre-midfield who has been improving every game and Harry Wilson who has come in on loan from Liverpool. Harry has a fierce shot on him and whereas many of our players are slow to look up and shoot around the box, it always seems the first thing on Harry Wilson’s mind and he’s very accurate. I’d say we are stronger in that we have a solid crop of midfield players, but we are lacking top quality striker replacements on the bench and I don’’t see that the defence is much stronger than last season, because Adam Smith and Steve Cook and Nathan Aké are still starters if they are fit.

There is a lot of chat about Callum Wilson being a target for a bigger team, how do Bournemouth fans rate him, and how do you compare him to Josh King?
Callum does a lot of work in making runs and playing others in as well as getting on the end of moves. He has become a better finisher in the box and Bournemouth now rely on him to get the majority of goals. Josh King is playing on the wing at the moment and he is a bundle of energy when he puts his mind to it. When he has an off-game though you’ll struggle to find him on the pitch.

Already the Premier League looks like being a two horse race between Liverpool and Manchester City: can you see this changing? Which two other teams will join them to make up the top four come May?
Agreed, Liverpool and Man City are going to fight it out amongst themselves. I hope Liverpool do it this time. I did expect Leicester to be up there, but I had thought Wolves would be doing much better even with the burden of the Europa League. Still, it leaves room for teams like West Ham and Bournemouth to try and crash the party, but I don’t think Everton will be contenders for Europe this season. If I have to pick a to four I’ll say Chelsea third and Spurs fourth.

Who are your favourites for the drop at this early stage of the season?
I had said at the start of the season Brighton, Sheffield United and Aston Villa. I don’t see much reason to change my mind yet.

Which West Ham players, if any would you like to see turning out for Bournemouth, and why?
Andriy Yarmolenko has had a good impact for you already so I’m looking to see how good he is on the ball. But I suppose most of us will be very watchful of the big singing Haller who has made it difficult for defences.

Which two players of any clubs in the country do you most admire? Reasons?
That’s a tough one. I won’t include AFC Bournemouth players. I’d probably say Ashley Barnes at Burnley as he is an unfashionable striker who just has a habit of sticking the ball away with no fuss and I’ll go for a defender Van Arnaut at Crystal Palace who has great pace and a good left foot shot on him. There you go, I kept clear of Liverpool and Man City too!

How will Bournemouth line up against West Ham on Saturday? Team & Formation?
I expect an unchanged side even if Lewis Cook is going to be pushing for a start:
Ramsdale
Stacey S Cook Aké Rico
H Wilson Lerma Billing King
Wilson Solanke

You’ve had two wins on the bounce, are you confident that you can make it three out of three against West Ham? Prediction for score?
I’ll go for a 2-1 home win. We always concede at least one goal, but the team is going well with six goals in the last two games.

Many thanks again to Peter for his time. It seems a bit perverse to expect West Ham to win after shipping four against Oxford, but I’m praying that the rocket that was hopefully served up to the players after that game will lift them to get at least a draw, so I’m going for 2 – 2. COYI

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