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Happy travellers Bournemouth ready to start Premier League journey against West Ham

21 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Happy travellers Bournemouth ready to start Premier League journey against West Ham

After a frustrating start for both clubs, counter-attacking Cherries have the tools to hurt a depleted Hammers side at Upton Park on Saturday

Bournemouth have never beaten West Ham United. But then again, they have only ever played them five times.

As it happens, a 21-year-old Eddie Howe lined up for the Cherries on the most recent of these occasions – with a young Frank Lampard scoring the second in a 2-0 defeat in the 1999 League Cup.

Yet Howe is unlikely to carry any mental scars from the tie.

After all, at the time Bournemouth were a third-tier club – just like they have been for the majority of their history.

Given that the League Cup has had more title sponsors in the sixteen years since than the number of Bournemouth’s Premier League appearances to date, there seems little sense in paying much attention to statistics.

Taking on their first ever season in the top flight, these are very much steps into the unknown for perhaps the greatest underdog story to feature in the ever-developing narrative of the Premier League.

Whether the Dorset club turn out to be a mere footnote or go on to become a central character remains to be seen, with the disparity between their first two performances and results keeping people guessing.

So far Eddie Howe’s side have been cast in the role of gallant losers – dominating the game against Villa only to concede late on and seeing two crucial decisions go against them at Anfield in two 1-0 defeats.

Yet, as we all know, on such fine margins are Premier League matches decided – and the inexperienced Cherries are 15/2 to be picked off by the same scoreline on Saturday.

West Ham, however, will be missing Argentina striker Mauro Zarate – who scored in the 2-0 win against Arsenal – through a thigh injury.

Given Diafra Sakho’s struggles against Leicester as a lone striker and the limited impact from the bench of Modibo Maiga – the Hammers’ only other fit forward – this could mean that new signing Dimitri Payet is deployed in a more advanced role.

The Frenchman has been hugely impressive since arriving at Upton Park, and, after opening his account last weekend with a fine solo goal, is 14/1 to score first in a West Ham win.

Yet having seen how susceptible the Hammers can be to the counter-attack against Leicester, Bournemouth will be confident of announcing themselves to the Premier League with their first win on Saturday.

They picked up a total 44 points on their travels last season and scored a staggering 50 goals in doing so – with Monday’s narrow defeat at Anfield their first loss on the road in seven matches.

In Callum Wilson they also have a striker with the pace to stretch the Hammers’ defence in much the same way that Jamie Vardy did last weekend.

Bournemouth’s top scorer last season scored 13 of his 23 goals away from home – all but two of which helped to secure maximum points – and Wilson is 10/1 to score first in a Bournemouth win on Saturday.

Both sides require a positive result to avoid indifferent starts to the season turning into below par ones.

For West Ham, there is an added pressure in banking their first home points as they prepare to close the book on over one hundred years of history at Upton Park.

Bournemouth, on the other hand, are in the privileged position of being poised to get underway with their brand new chapter.

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