Betway Insider's View of the Opposition: Bournemouth
A thumping win in the Premier League and safe passage into the Emirates FA Cup fourth round have given West Ham United reasons to be cheerful.
The 4-1 victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend saw the Hammers’ leapfrog their opponents and climb to eleventh in the table.
The midweek win over Shrewsbury, meanwhile, extended the club’s unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.
David Moyes’ side are a good bet to extend that sequence – and possibly move into the top ten.
It was against Saturday’s opponents Bournemouth on Boxing Day that the current run began.
West Ham claimed a point that day, although it would have been three were it not for the Cherries’ controversial 93rd minute equaliser.
And while the visitors beat Arsenal last weekend to extend their own unbeaten run to five games, they are winless in six on the road.
West Ham’s display at Huddersfield was their most exciting of the season, and today’s match should be another thriller.
The sides shared six goals at the Vitality Stadium last month, while Bournemouth have netted two or more in their last five outings.
Eddie Howe’s side are not as impressive in defence, however, having not kept a clean sheet in any of their previous ten league games.
While that run has included fixtures against five of the top six, they have also shipped two against Crystal Palace, Burnley and Brighton.
West Ham’s reinvigorated attack, who have scored 15 in six, should therefore be able to expose their opponents’ defensive frailties.
Expect top scorer Marko Arnautovic to be among the goals again.
The in-form Austrian hit two against Bournemouth in that Boxing Day encounter and has scored six in his last seven league games.