Written by Neil Dawson
Callum Wilson, the subject of much transfer speculation in recent weeks proved none of it had gone to his head at the Vitality this drizzly afternoon. His decisive searing volley put West Ham to bed and stuck another £5m onto his price! West Ham were one of his rumoured suitors and their fans, if they missed his wonder goal in the Smoke earlier this year, now will understand why!
Eddie rang a surprise change before the match with Boruc regaining his league place after 20 months out and Begovic paying the price for a couple of shots he could maybe have got down better to in recent weeks. Wilson returned for Stanislas and the team returned to the 4-4-2 that Eddie likes when in a rut.
The game was evenly matched throughout with defences largely on top. Fabianski would have been the more worried of the two ‘Poles in the Goal’ as more action was at his end. Brooks headed wide when he could have done better then Ake scored a far-post header only to be ruled offside. Bournemouths’ football was neat but very left side dominated with Fraser and Smith with Clyne’s runs not being picked up. Brooks started cleverly and remained at that level throughout the game.
Boruc was enjoying an untroubled afternoon but did have to throw himself full length at a Nasri shot that was inches away from a Hammer’s lead after the defence had a little spell of messing about and suicidal tendency passing.
The rest was two sides playing very similar attacking football but finding a defence on top of the final cross or pass. An enterprising half and reassuring to see our defence so solid following recent weeks.
HT Bournemouth 0 West Ham 0
The second half saw Bournemouth come out of the traps flying in front of an expectant North stand. A little purple patch saw Fabianski spectacularly deny Cook the opener from a corner. Ake’s turn back was just too high for Wilson and King.
Eddie spoke afterwards about how pivotal moments went against us in the recent run but today one went for us. Andy Carroll was having a clumsy afternoon with his second touch normally a tackle and when the ball fell at his feet a yard out at the far post his blaze over brought much merriment from 90% of those present. It was a gift – but it had gone. Not long after Fraser broke, the ball spun off a challenge and sat up 20 yards out in the path of WILSON. The England striker smashed a boot through it and it careered into the top corner past a stationary Fabianski at an incredible lick. One of those goals we will show our grandchildren – probably standing next to Wilson in a virtual stadium.
There was a wonderful break just after to seal the match but King lacked composure with the final ball to Fraser and the moment disappeared. This heralded the obligatory spell of everyone back in the box for Bournemouth, looking to break whenever possible. Those breaks were normally entertaining with Brooks at the heart of most and Fraser and King’s pace providing the outlet. From one of these King fed Wilson but his first time left foot shot smashed back off the foot of the post.
Back to West Ham pressure……….and Boruc stopping the first shot at him with a nasty bounce just before it reached him then reacting well to punch clear and flatten Diop at the same time. You just knew a break was coming though and when substitute Stanislas fed Brooks cleverly in the box the lynch-pin in the victory astutely delayed and waited for KING squaring the ball into the Norwegians path for him to do the easy rest.
Relief all round!
FT Bournemouth 2 West Ham 0
Boruc 7 – Not much to do but did it well.
Clyne 7 – Tidy if unspectacular home league debut. The team not spotting runs always.
Cook 7 – Dealt with Carroll well and saw him off. Some misplaced passing.
Ake 7 – Back to his normal calm watchful athletic best.
Smith 8 – Excellent energy, linking with wee-man and defending.
Fraser 8 – Immense effort, movement and thought.
Gosling 8 – Put a hell of a shift in – harried, tackled and passed better.
Lerma 7 – Nice calm influence the odd weird pass aside. Protected excellently.
Brooks 9 – Another outstanding display of vision and trickery.
King 7 – Worked hard but some poor decisions finished strongly and good running.
Wilson 8 – Troubled West Ham all day and a finish to be the talk of many a pint.
An important game in so many ways. A return to a clean sheet. A return to creating and finishing good chances. An end to personal errors. Most importantly the 30 point target reached and a monkey off our backs with Liverpool and Chelsea to come in the next three games.
This was an excellent display as well because the tempo was so strong, it was vintage Bournemouth, relentless in movement and quick to the tackle. It’s a funny game football because today you would think the ability to play like this had never gone away but in some recent games, you would have been pushed to remember it existed!
Great to see Brooks now starting to play more consistently brilliantly rather than one game in three and also Wilson’s game has moved on so much with different goals and better hold up-play. Hopefully, this goal will bring King back on to his game as well as one run he made was excellent.
The back four were very disciplined and I liked Boruc’s quick distribution which set up our breaks more than Begovic’s more deliberate approach.
All in all a cracking afternoon and one which will do so much good for the squad in so many ways.
Gosling a bit of an unsung hero today for me – he managed to cut out silly errors and that leaves a very combative player who helps win the midfield battle. Lerma is so calm on the ball too – an easy player to like.
A fourth season without major relegation worries – let’s push for a record points haul now. – Join the conversation, click here.