West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says Saturday’s (August 22) match against newly promoted Bournemouth will be no easy task as the Hammers look to recover from last week’s 2-1 loss at the hands of Leicester City.
The Cherries have failed to gain a single point or score a goal in the first two games of their new life in the Premier League – but that disguises their threat.
Eddie Howe’s men were narrowly beaten by Aston Villa 1-0 on the opening day before a poor refereeing performance cost them an unexpected result away at Liverpool.
Bilic says Bournemouth were unlucky not to have points on the board based on their performances.
Bilic said: “I watched both of their games against Aston Villa and Liverpool and they were unfortunate. They deserved something – especially at Liverpool where the game was very even. The quality of passing was what impressed me the most.”
Whatever happens, the Hammers will have to play without Argentine striker Mauro Zarate, who scored the second goal in the 2-0 away win against Arsenal a fortnight ago, as he picked up a hamstring injury in training yesterday.
It also looks likely the east Londoners’ second string shot stopper Darren Randolph will deputise for the suspended Adrian – despite bad memories of his south coast rivals. The last time the Irish Republic international played against Bournemouth in his Birmingham City days he conceded 12 goals in two games.
Bilic was disappointed with the FA’s decision to turn down West Ham’s appeal against a three match ban for Adrian, but has every confidence in Randolph.
“I was hoping our appeal would be a positive one,” said the 46-year-old. “For me, the red card decision was harsh and the three game punishment unbelievable – it’s too big. But when I saw the rules afterwards, I knew we had no chance.”
“Darren [Randolph] is an experienced goalkeeper. He’s an international player and I’m expecting him to be in goal. The likelihood he concedes the same number of goals again is almost impossible.
“What happened when he played Bournemouth previously could have happened to anyone and against any other team.”