West Ham vs Bournemouth Preview: London Stadium to make Premier League bow
Image: VAVEL UK / Jonny Walsh & Harry Robinson

West Ham vs Bournemouth Preview: London Stadium to make Premier League bow

Eddie Howe's Cherries are the first Premier League visitors to the Hammers' new stadium but the game has much more at stake than just a the opportunity for curtain raiser for the shiny ground

Sam Smith

The London Stadium makes its Premier League debut on Sunday afternoon as West Ham United host AFC Bournemouth at their brand new Stratford home.

The Hammers will want to make their new ground a fortress if they stand any chance of retaining European football next season and will hope to get off to a positive start against the Cherries.

Both sides lost on the opening weekend, albeit to two strong title contenders, and need victories to provide some momentum.

West Ham players training at their new London Stadium | Photo: Reuters / Andrew Couldridge
West Ham players training at their new London Stadium | Photo: Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

Defeats on opening day, chance for redemption

Slaven Bilic’s side were cruelly beaten 2-1 by Chelsea on Monday night. Eden Hazard opened the scoring from the penalty spot, only for James Collins to equalise soon after. However, Diego Costa netted as the clock ticked into injury time to give Antonio Conte his first win as Blues boss. Chelsea were particularly lucky not to have Costa sent off before he eventually scored for a foul on Adrian

West Ham also had to travel to Astra Guirgiu on Thursday night where their Europa League progress stalled, drawing 1-1 in Romania.

Bournemouth had an even tougher start to their second successive top-flight campaign, losing 3-1 to Manchester United in Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League game in charge. The Red Devils took a three-goal lead courtesy of Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, although full-back Adam Smith managed to restore some pride with a thumping late effort.

Plenty of new signings could be on show

Both clubs have invested heavily in their respective squads during the transfer window and we could potentially see many of them on Sunday afternoon. However, West Ham’s record signing Andre Ayew, who cost £20.5 million from Swansea City, is already facing up to four months out thanks to a thigh injury he suffered at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Aron Cresswell’s injury means new left-back Arthur Masuaku will continue on the left side of defence following his debut against Chelsea.

West Ham's other signings include Sofiane Feghouli, Harvard Nordtveit, Jonathan Calleri, Gokhan Tore and Ashley Fletcher.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth have made seven signings so far, including winger Jordon Ibe from Liverpool for a club-record £15 million. Manager Eddie Howe has made sure he has strengthened his squad in all areas, such as defenders Marc Wilson, Nathan Ake and Brad Smith, midfielders Lewis Cook and Emerson Hyndman, and forward Lys Mousset.

Only Cook and Ibe featured against Man United, although former Stoke City defender Wilson signed just this week so could potentially go straight into the starting eleven.

Team news

West Ham will be hopeful that their talisman, Dimitri Payet, will be match fit and ready to return to the starting eleven. However, Nordtveit and Cheikhou Kouyate are both doubts with minor knocks.

The Hammers will definitely be without Ayew, Cresswell, Feghouli, Doneil Henry, Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho who are all injured.

Sam Byram could come play right-back instead of Michail Antonio, who will hope to start in a more familiar wide role having suffered a torrid time at full-back in his last two games. Tore could also come in for the injured Feghouli.

Bournemouth are without Junior Stanislas and long-term absentee Tyrone Mings, who is still yet to make his Cherries debut having suffered a knee injury soon after signing last summer.

Bournemouth are expected to go with a similar side to the one that started against Manchester United last weekend.

Predicted West Ham line-up: Adrian; Byram, Collins, Reid, Masuaku; Noble, Obiang; Tore, Payet, Antonio; Carroll.

Predicted Bournemouth line-up: Boruc; Smith, Francis, S. Cook, Daniels; Ibe, Arter, L. Cook, Surman, Pugh; C. Wilson.