Tuesday 12 January 2016

Vitality Teamsheets: Big Opportunity for Pedro

The starting lineups for the Hammers visit to Bournemouth's Vitality stadium are in. While the Cherries will be looking to build on their improved recent form, West Ham are unbeaten in eight and now pushing again for a European spot. The Cherries have boldly decided to start newboy and record signing Benik Afobe, but have left their two other new transfer window acquisitions on the bench (Juan Iturbe and Lewis Grabban).

With Cheikidh Kouyate still recovering from injury and Alex Song struggling to recover his optimal form, the Hammers have given a start to David Gold's MOTM against Wolves last weekend, Pedro Obiang. The positive signs are that Obiang is starting to fully acclimatise to the Premiership and tonight represents a big opportunity for him to impress.

Not so long ago!
Otherwise, the Cherries will hope that Hammer's Academy graduate Junior Stanislas can continue his good form against his old club. With 5 goals in 14 appearances so far this season he seems to be finally realising the potential he showed as a youth at West Ham.
Enner Valencia is fit, thus providing the Hammers with a variety of attacking options as he lines out alongside Payet, Antonio and Andy Carroll.

The Hammers will be looking to make a better start than in the Upton Park meeting in August when a series of laughable defensive gaffs left them chasing the game. Of note, their reconfigured defence has performed so well of late that there is no automatic starting spot for the returning Winston Reid. Similarly, a measure of Slav's perception of Carl Jenkinson's rehabilitation is evident in the continued use of James Tomkins as a makeshift right back.

Can Bournemouth cope with the pace and power of Valencia and Antonio, the physicality of Carroll and the craft of Payet?.....No. Unlike media footie expert Mark Lawrenson, who has predicted defeats for West ham in 14 of 16 games this season, We predict 3-1 to the visitors!

Starting XIs:

WEST HAM UNITED: Adrian, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble (c), Antonio, Payet, Valencia, Carroll. Substitutes: Darren Randolph, Carl Jenkinson, Reece Oxford, Winston Reid, Josh Cullen, Alexandre Song, Nikica Jelavic.

BOURNEMOUTH: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Gosling, Surman, Arter, Daniels, Smith, Stanislas, Afobe, Ritchie. Substitutes: Adam Federici, Sylvain Distin, Eunan O'Kane, Marc Pugh, Lewis Grabban, Juan Iturbe, Glenn Murray.

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