Two clubs with similar objectives will lock horns with each other when Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth host David Moyes’ West Ham at the Vitality Stadium on Boxing Day in the Premier League on Tuesday.
While their campaigns have been rather disappointing for both the sides, they weren't supposed to be relegation candidates, especially at this point of the season.
Bournemouth and West Ham are separated by a single point, with the Cherries at 18th and the Hammers at 17th in the table, despite having done well under new manager Moyes so far.
Bournemouth aim to recover
Bournemouth have slipped inside the bottom three following their 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday. What is worse is that they have failed to win a single game in their last three outings and apart from the hammering at the Etihad, the Cherries have also lost heavily against Liverpool and lost 1-0 at Old Trafford.
The last time they won a game was in mid-November and that was an astounding 4-0 win over David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town.
The problem before they conceded nine in three games hasn’t been about defending, it has been more down a lack of goals. Callum Wilson did score an impressive treble against the Terriers, but Bournemouth have scored only four goals since then, drawing two games.
The South Coast club have scored the fourth least number of goals this season, finding the back of the net only 15 times in 19 matches.
They have though, conceded the seventh-most number of goals and they had the eighth best defensive record in the league before they faced the three big clubs.
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Moyes looks for further resurgence
Since Moyes was appointed as boss, West Ham have had a mixed bag of results. They have beaten Chelsea and Stoke, drawing with Arsenal, but losing to Watford, Man City and Newcastle. It can well be said that they can beat the best sides in the league on their day.
The Hammers have looked a much better and a more hard-working side under Moyes, as compared to how they were under Slaven Bilić, but they need more points on the board to prove that in a more tangible sense. There has been more organisation and the players have covered more distance on the pitch.
They have the second-worst defensive record in the league, letting in 35 goals, only behind Stoke. The inability to find the right combination up front has let them down in an attacking sense, with Chicharito struggling for consistency. The Hammers have scored only 19 times.
Defoe injury a trouble for Howe
Bournemouth seem to have the most number of injury problems right now, with Jermain Defoe now out for 8-to-10 weeks due to a fracture on his ankle.
Apart from the former Tottenham man, Josh King, Junior Stanislas and Harry Arter are big doubts for the game on Boxing Day. Charlie Daniels, who missed the trip to the Etihad, could still be out.
The Hammers have considerably low number of injury concerns. Mark Noble will face a late fitness test to determine his availability for the trip to the Vitality Stadium. Sam Byram and Edimilson Fernandes though, remain out.