17th v 16th, another 6 pointer. Can West Ham reap the benefit of the arrival of an old acquaintance when Bournemouth visit the London Stadium to begin the New Year?

So, at last action was taken. I won’t need to write about my perception of Mr Pellegrini’s shortcomings any more. Minutes after the final whistle following the disappointing defeat to Leicester Reserves on Saturday, he was summoned to face Ms Brady, who, having seen Lord Sugar perform the act on numerous occasions, extended the index digit on her left hand and added the words “With regret, you’re fired.” Relief at last for the majority of West Ham fans who couldn’t wait for him to go, but this was tempered by news that David Moyes was odds on to replace him, an appointment that was confirmed by late Sunday evening.

If you want to see what West Ham fans think of the appointment just head to the appropriate social media sites which give a whole variety of opinions on the new manager. There are literally thousands of them, mostly negative I would say on balance, but many saying wait and see. This is my stance too. I saw his interview on West Ham TV as well as his press conference and he was certainly saying all the right things. You wouldn’t think that based on his track record after leaving Everton he would be the person to “take us to the next level”, but having said that, the immediate next level for our club at the moment is movement away from the relegation zone, and he does have previous in that respect. In my opinion his record as manager at Goodison Park was largely impressive, and though he didn’t pull up any trees at Old Trafford, no manager has really been able to replace Alex Ferguson, have they?

Many have pilloried the board for the appointment, but then again Messrs. Sullivan, and Gold and Ms Brady are so disliked by so many, that I doubt there was little they could possibly do in the circumstances mid- season that would satisfy a majority of fans. It was interesting to read the views of fans on social media as to who they actually wanted to manage the club. Such a diverse list of possibilities but nobody knows who would want to come here or who was available. I really hope that David Moyes is a success because I am a supporter of over 60 years who wants to see the club move forward. Whether or not it will happen I don’t know. Personally I am just glad that they didn’t turn to Allardyce or Pulis, I rate David Moyes much higher than those two. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll make my views known on the appointment in a few weeks’ time in this blog. For now I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Bournemouth haven’t been in the Premier League for long (this is their fifth season), but in the short time that they have been they have a good record against us. We have only beaten them twice in nine meetings, and only once in the four home games, when we won the very first league game that we played at London Stadium with a late headed goal from the Snowman. So head-to- head recent history is not in our favour.

Both teams go into the game with very poor recent form and that is why they are 17th and 16th in the Premier League table. We have the worst home form of all the teams in the Premier League, and as we all know, we have lost the last four home league games. The most consecutive home games that we have ever lost in our entire history is five, and that happened in 1931! There aren’t many of us who remember then! That is one record that we don’t wish to equal.

Even conceding a solitary goal can be a problem for us this season. In the 15 games we have conceded at least one goal we have only won one of them. That happened in August when we beat Watford 3-1. Even the day itself has been a problem in the past as we have lost seven of the eleven Premier League games played on January 1st, which is more than any other team, apart from Everton.

Bournemouth have been equally poor, losing seven of their last nine league games, and winning only one of them. In the last four and a half seasons they have lost more Premier League games away from home than any other team, apart from Watford. Two things in particular worry me though. Bournemouth are second only to Liverpool when it comes to scoring set-piece goals in the Premier League this season, and you know how good we are at defending set pieces! And Callum Wilson has not scored for 12 games. He has never gone 13 games without scoring!

It will be interesting to see our new manager’s team selection and the way we set up. I reckon he may try three at the back (Balbuena, Diop and Ogbonna) and then use two wing backs (Fredericks and Masuaku or Cresswell). But who knows? He hasn’t really had the chance to assess very much in a couple of days, but our fans will be on his back if it doesn’t go well.

There has never been a 0-0 draw in a West Ham v Bournemouth game in history. In just 14 games that have been played there has been between 1 and 7 goals in every game, including every number in between. Who can possibly predict what we can expect today? We are fractionally odds-on to win the game despite our recent poor form, probably as a result of the new manager effect. West Ham to win and both teams to score is 23/10, and if you want to predict a score, my forecast would be a 2-1 win at 15/2. I’d settle for that.

2 thoughts on “17th v 16th, another 6 pointer. Can West Ham reap the benefit of the arrival of an old acquaintance when Bournemouth visit the London Stadium to begin the New Year?”

  1. Morning Richard & Geoff – and a very Happy New Year to you both !
    Think we can only judge David Moyes next season, after he has had a Summer and full pre-season under his belt and hopefully, a few new signings !
    He has his work cut out this season to keep us up.
    Again, the board dithered and the decision to sack Pellegrini should have happened a couple of months back -appointment may have come too late.
    So, again, David Moyes has been asked to come in and sort out somebody else’s squad
    of whose players can barely stand up, let alone play football.
    I rate David Moyes – but as you say, the proof is in the pudding.
    At Man Utd he was a Christian thrown to the Lions – ageing squad on a downward spiral. Think people forget that Sir Alex had four years at Man Utd, spent a lot of money and won nothing, and was about to be sacked but cup win saved him.
    I know one thing, he will sort the fitness out – he has already complained the fitness levels have gone back to when he first arrived after the Bilic era.
    I would imagine Pellegrini training was like a kickabout over the park with your kids !
    Had 10 days off before Pakace game, but the players looked like they had just got off a flight from Sydney.
    Lots of work for Mr.Moyes and let’s hope he can get 3 or 4 in this window, even loans, as midfield has to be addressed as priority.
    I’m not sure he has the time to keep us up this season – let’s hope so.
    If he does, I think we will see a major improvement in performances next season.

    All the very best
    Ken.

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    1. Hi Ken,

      Happy New Year to you as well.

      I think we need to get behind Moyes. It will be a tough job (as it was for him last time) and it will need a pragmatic approach to getting results. It is impossible to judge a manager on one season or less (as either good or bad) as much of the groundwork was done by the predecessor. Whatever happens I think he will get his 18 months this time to show what he can do.

      It will be interesting to see what type of players are brought in – and who is going to be picking them. Lots of names being mentioned but not worth speculating as most rumours come to nothing.

      Fingers crossed for a performance and result today.

      Geoff

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