West Ham United could climb to seventh in the Premier League table, a possible UEFA Europa League position at the end of the season, with three points this afternoon. If Leicester City and Watford fail to win their Saturday matches.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers opponents in their first away encounter of 2019 are an out-of-sorts AFC Bournemouth team at the Vitality Stadium, yet to win this calendar year. In ‘Stats Pack,’ we provide you with a purely statistical preview of the intriguing mid-table matchup which kicks off in a matter of hours. Join us.
We will start with the teams’ head-to-head record, how they’ve fared against each other historically in the 12 meetings between the Hammers and the Cherries. West Ham have met no current Premier League team fewer times in their history.
It is the Hammers who have the slight edge on the overall record with five victories to the Cherries’ three, meanwhile, there have been four draws in the fixture. However, this counts for very little for Pellegrini’s men as their last victory over today’s opponents came two-and-a-half years ago, in the first-ever Premier League game at London Stadium in August 2016.
Trying to beat a 17/18 record
If the incentive of ending the recent hoodoo against the team promoted to the PL for the very first time in their 2014/2015 Championship-winning campaign isn’t enough. There is another big incentive for West Ham’s players to win the three points today.
Should they come away from Bournemouth having triumphed, the East Londoners will have already claimed 17 points on their league travels this term. In the 2017/2018 season, they were only able to win 15, and therefore, have a chance to surpass their entire total for last campaign with just over half of 2018/2019 gone.
The last time these two teams met came in the middle of August at London Stadium, in today’s visitors’ first home match of any kind of the season. They were looking to bounce back from an opening day 0-4 drubbing at Liverpool, meanwhile, the away side hoped to carry on their form having defeated Cardiff City in their opening clash.
As the Pellegrini era officially began at home, Marko Arnautovic put the hosts one to the good from the penalty spot before half-time, he will miss out this afternoon having withdrawn from the squad over his future. But Howe’s men came roaring back in the second half and turned the game on its head to snatch all three points through Steve Cook and Callum Wilson. The Irons are out for revenge.
Much like that last meeting back at the start of the season, the two teams enter this match in contrasting form. Though this time, things are the other way around, it’s West Ham who go into this one with sky-high confidence and Bournemouth desperate for a win to stop the rot.
The Cherries have collected a measly seven points from the last 36 on offer, winning just two out of the last 13 in all competitions. Things couldn’t be more different for the East London club, they’ve won seven of their last 11 in all competitions and picked up the third most points in the league since the start of December. The run has also included three victories in the previous four away matches.
Last five matches in all competitions:
AFC Bournemouth: LLDLL
West Ham United: WLDWW.
A tricky trip
There is some hope for today’s home team, however, and this is despite the fabulous recent away form of their opponents, when we look at the record of this fixture at Dean Court. Or the Vitality Stadium as it is now known for sponsorship reasons.
While West Ham have never failed to score in a competitive away match against Bournemouth, they have only ever won once in six attempts. Their only ever away victory over the south coast side came just over three years ago in January 2016, when a Dimitri Payet free-kick and Enner Valencia double handed Slaven Bilic’s men a comeback win. A tricky trip, indeed.
Goals, goals, goals
As you may have guessed from our statistics so far, this is a matchup that never fails to disappoint in terms of goals scored. It’s quite often goals galore when the two sides face each other, evidenced in part by the fact that there has never been a clean sheet in almost 90 years of this fixture.
Just the 12 encounters have thrown up a whopping 43 goals, that’s almost an average of four per game, with West Ham contributing 25 of those having never failed to score in this fixture and Bournemouth contributing 18. An indication that this particular meeting will be no different comes in the stat that no PL defence has conceded more goals (14) since Christmas than the Cherries’. And the Hammers are still missing regular centre-back Fabian Balbuena through injury, weakening their backline.
Cherries looking to make it five
It may seem like most of these stats point to a triumph for the away team today, but should they avoid victory on what promises to be a chilly day in the seaside town. The home side will have made it five matches unbeaten against them.
Yes, the last four fixtures, all of which, along with the three before that, have come in the Premier League have either resulted in a share of the points or a Cherries win. In fact, the split is even between the two, the last matchup being won by AFC, as aforementioned, the one before that being drawn as well as the one before that, and Bournemouth taking all three points in the one before that, in March 2017. In a game of five goals.
Expect late drama
It’s fitting that the stats we would leave until the last minute in this ‘Stats Pack’ are the ones concerning the number of late goals and drama, whether they’ve been last-gasp winners or equalisers, that this fixture has thrown up in the PL era.
It started in August 2015 when Bournemouth scored the definitive goal in a 3-4 win at Upton Park in the 79th minute and continued months later when West Ham rallied with three goals in the final 30 minutes to win. At the start of the following season, the Irons defeated the Cherries with an 85th-minute Michail Antonio header, succumbing to a winner from Josh King in the 90th minute in the next fixture. The mysterious habit would show up once again on Boxing Day 2018 when Wilson made it 3-3 in injury time with a controversial goal, but the last goal in the previous two meetings has not come later than the 73rd minute. Still, five of the last seven clashes have featured definitive late strikes.
So, now that you’ve well and truly been given your fair share of pre-match stats ahead of AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham United in the Premier League at 3pm this afternoon. If that wasn’t enough for you, stay close to @WestHamMatters_ on Twitter for more stats, build-up, updates and reaction throughout the day.
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