Brad Smith thriving with regular football in MLS

Very few mid-season signings are able to seamlessly slot into their new sides starting lineup but Brad Smith looks completely at home in a Seattle Sounders shirt despite only arriving at the beginning of August. The left-back who joined the club on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth has hit the ground running on the West Coast and has already made a big impression at CenturyLink Field.

Smith needed some convincing to leave the south coast of England and head coach Brian Schmetzer personally phoned the 24-year-old in order to help sell the opportunity. Following the chat, the Perth-born full-back didn’t take long to make his mind up and it would appear that he made the right decision.

His immigration paperwork came through swiftly and he made his debut earlier than expected. His first appearance helped the Sounders beat high-flying FC Dallas 2-1 as they made it eight games unbeaten. At the time of writing, Smith is yet to taste defeat for his new club and has played an integral part in each of those four successes. His superb crossing set up a goal for Raul Ruidiaz on September 1st as Schmetzer’s side came from a goal down to beat Sporting Kansas City 3-1 in a potentially decisive Western Conference clash.

Smith’s cross also led to a penalty for the home side and his attacking style of play has impressed the passionate Sounders fans. His pace is a huge attribute and although his defensive play is a potential area of improvement, his penchant for getting forward tends to disguise those shortcomings.

Most importantly, Smith looks happy to be at the club. He appears to have bonded with the current squad and seems to be taking it all in his stride. He admits that he almost rejected the opportunity due to becoming a father for the first time. But despite the significant upheaval, he’s delighted that he snapped up the chance to play in MLS.

His opportunities have been extremely limited at Bournemouth as he has rarely featured for Eddie Howe’s side since joining from Liverpool. Across four seasons in the Premier League, he has made just nine appearances and admits that he is now “focusing on football” but remains philosophical about the future. His parent club have made a decent start to the 2018-19 season despite many pundits tipping the Cherries to struggle this season. Next year Premier League predictions from Betting.Betfair have them at 7/1 after picking up seven points from a possible 12. Cardiff remain the 4/11 favourites to drop straight back down to the Championship.

Smith’s future remains uncertain but he appears to be relishing the chance to play regular football and he’s helped the Sounders continue their quest for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. He has taken a gamble in a bid to get his stalling career back on track and it appears to be paying off. The attack-minded left-back could have a big say in the MLS playoffs at the end of this season and that experience is likely to be invaluable for the Aussie. His move to the US appears to have benefited both parties and Bournemouth fans will be delighted to see their loanee excelling at CenturyLink Field.

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Premier League Predictions: Liverpool set for derby glory, City to pile misery on Arsenal

The international break is over. Premier League football is back and what a weekend we have in store, starting with the Merseyside Derby on Saturday lunchtime and ending with a huge game at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

There are also crucial clashes at the bottom of the table, with Swansea hosting Middlesbrough on Sunday after Watford face struggling Sunderland on Saturday afternoon. It should be another thrilling weekend of action so read on for all our Gameweek 30 predictions…

Liverpool 3-2 Everton 

The Merseyside Derby is always a big occasion and that will be no different on Saturday. Liverpool need to win this to keep their top four hopes alive and should be able to edge past an Everton team who have only won one of their last five away games in the Premier League. The Toffees are unlikely to end their 18-year winless run at Anfield here.

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Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace 

Premier League leaders Chelsea are ten points clear of the chasing pack. They face a Crystal Palace side who are looking to grind out results to ensure their survival. The Blues know what they need to do to win the league from here on it and Antonio Conte will expect nothing less than a win.

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Burnley 0-1 Tottenham 

Burnley have made Turf Moor a fortress this season. They have the fifth-best home record in the top flight but are facing a Spurs side that are still fighting for Champions League football. Tottenham haven’t been great away from home, winning just two of their last ten on the road in the Premier League but should be able to win by the odd goal here.

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Hull 2-2 West Ham 

Hull City come into this tie off the back of a 4-0 thumping before the international break. West Ham are going through a difficult patch so Hull will see this as a game they have to pick up points in. Unless The Tigers can put a string a positive results together they look set for the drop. Score draw.

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Leicester 3-0 Stoke

Leicester have been resurgent since Craig Shakespeare took over from Claudio Ranieri and the Foxes don’t look set to slow down here. They have won four in a row in all competitions and have rediscovered their goalscoring form. Stoke on the other hand can’t seem to score on the road, having failed to do so in their last three away games. Should be a routine home victory.

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Manchester United 2-0 West Brom 

Jose Mourinho knows his side have to win this game. West Brom shocked everyone before the international break with a stunning 3-1 win over Arsenal but a winning two on the bounce is a big ask. United are still pushing hard for a top four finish and they look capable of doing so.

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Watford 1-1 Sunderland 

This is a massive game for Sunderland if they are to keep their survival hopes intact. They need to start winning games to have any chance of pulling off another great escape but they haven’t scored in four games and are taking on a Watford side that have only lost one of their last five at home. It should be tense and we can’t see either side leaving with all three points.

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Southampton 3-1 Bournemouth 

Southampton host Bournemouth in a south-coast derby on Saturday evening and will be looking to keep their unbeaten home record against the Cherries going. Bournemouth have lost four of their last five away games but having been scoring goals. The Saints won the reverse fixture 3-1 and the same scoreline could well be on the cards here.

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Swansea 2-0 Middlesbrough 

This is a huge game at the bottom of the league. Swansea are working their way towards safety under the guidance of Paul Clement but there is still plenty of work to be done as they are just three points above the drop zone. Middlesbrough look destined for a return to the Championship unless they can turn their fortunes around. They’ve won the least amount of games in the league this season, just four.

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Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City 

The pressure is on Arsene Wenger to deliver in this one. His Arsenal side have lost four of their last five Premier League games and face a continually improving Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are 12 points off the top and will be looking to keep chasing with a win here. They haven’t conceded in their last three away league outings.

Premier League Predictions: Liverpool revenge over Burnley, six-pointer between Hull and Swansea

It’s a quiet weekend in terms of Premier League action, with just the four games to savour over Saturday and Sunday as a result of FA Cup quarter-finals taking place. But that doesn’t mean the top-flight action will be any less important to the eight teams involved, particularly for Hull and Swansea who go head-to-head in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday afternoon. Liverpool host Burnley in Sunday’s only game and will be looking for revenge over the Clarets from their shock early-season loss at Turf Moor back in August.

The other two fixtures come on Saturday as Everton host West Brom, while West Ham travel to Bournemouth. Read on for all of our Gameweek 28 predictions…

Everton 3-0 West Brom

Everton lost their first Premier League game of 2017 at Tottenham last Sunday and will be desperate to bounce back in front of their own fans after a surprisingly lacklustre performance. Ronald Koeman’s side sit one place above West Brom but are four points clear of the Baggies, who themselves look to be in a bit of limbo. They appear to be guaranteed a top-half finish but don’t seem to have much to play for. That was proven with last week’s 2-0 home loss to Crystal Palace. Tony Pulis needs his players to turn up to stand a chance, but they look like they’re already on the proverbial beach so it could be a long afternoon on Merseyside…

Hull 1-1 Swansea

This is an absolute must-win game for Hull City. They are 19th in the table, four points from safety and need to win this to reignite their faint survival hopes. Marco Silva’s men looked to be on a resurgent run of form a month ago, but they’ve now taken one point from their last three games and are missing defensive leaders Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson. Swansea have picked up since Paul Clement took over. They are now five points clear of the drop zone but must avoid defeat here to stay on the survival path ahead of winnable fixtures against Bournemouth and Middlesbrough next.

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Bournemouth 0-2 West Ham

This is a tough one to call because neither side is in any kind of good form and both look like they have very little to play for over the final 11 games. Bournemouth haven’t won in eight PL games and are sliding down the table at a rate of knots. They aren’t yet in major relegation trouble but will be if they can’t pick up. West Ham fell 2-1 at home to Chelsea on Monday night and have now gone three games without a win themselves. They are still a better side than Bournemouth though, and look much more likely to take all three points here.

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Liverpool 2-0 Burnley

Liverpool’s 2-0 defeat to Burnley back in August came as a real shock, especially considering Liverpool had beaten Arsenal 4-3 the weekend beforehand. Jurgen Klopp’s men have continued to struggle against the so-called ‘smaller’ sides in the league this season, while coming out on top against their top six rivals. They are a much better side at home though and look poised to get revenge over the Clarets, who have still not won an away game in the league this season. Sean Dyche’s men have been excellent at Turf Moor, with their home form the reason for their 12-placed position in the table. But they are the league’s worst away side and are unlikely to find any joy at a ground they haven’t won at since 1974.

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What does Ibrahimovic’s three-game ban mean for Manchester United?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Manchester United have today been handed a potentially major blow to their top four hopes, following the FA’s decision to hand the striker a three-game ban for an elbow on Tyrone Mings during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Ibrahimovic is facing the suspension for an elbow on Mings late in the first half of Saturday’s game. The Bournemouth defender is facing an even lengthier ban for a stamp on the United star a minute earlier, which prompted the aggressive response from Ibrahimovic.

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Both players have until Tuesday evening to respond to the charges, but there is very little chance of that, with both now facing at least three games out for violent conduct.

Ibrahimovic will miss next Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea, followed by Premier League games against Middlesbrough on March 19 and West Brom on April 1. However, the Swedish forward would still be available for Europa League matches in that time. United face Russian side FC Rostov away this Thursday, before the return leg at Old Trafford next week.

No United player has made more appearances this season than the age-defying Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals in his debut season in English football. He has proven his doubters wrong by inspiring Jose Mourinho’s side over the course of the season and his absence could prove to be hugely costly come the end of the season.

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United are still stuck in sixth place in the Premier League, but are just three points off Liverpool in fourth, with a game in hand too. They will expect to take six points from the upcoming league fixtures against Middlesbrough and West Brom, but the loss of Ibrahimovic could throw their chances into doubt.

The frontman has scored or assisted almost half of United’s goals in the top flight this season, which highlights exactly how influential he’s been for the Red Devils.

United are unbeaten in 17 Premier League games and it’s no coincidence that Ibrahimovic has hit form during that time, scoring 11 of his 15 league goals during that stretch.He’s only missed five games in total so far this term, but none of those have been away from home. The only league game he missed saw United draw 1-1 at home to Arsenal.

It’s been over a year since Anthony Martial started a game up front, while Wayne Rooney’s days as an out-and-out striker appear to have ended a long time ago. That means Mourinho will more than likely look to Marcus Rashford in the upcoming games that Ibrahimovic will miss.

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Rashford has only scored three league goals so far this season, although he has only been handed 10 starts, coming off the bench in 11 more and often out on the left-wing.

United have not only lost their best goalscorer in Ibrahimovic, but also the man who links midfield to attack with his world-class hold up play.

As it stands, United are still in three competitions and only three points off the top four. If they are in the same – or an even better position – this time next month, then they’ll have done remarkably well without this year’s talisman.

How do you think Manchester United will cope without Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Does he deserve a three-game ban?

Premier League Predictions: Chelsea to extend lead at the top, Bournemouth’s woes to continue

The Premier League returns this weekend after a two-week break for European and FA Cup commitments for a number of top flight clubs. Others have had two full weeks to recover and will hope some warm-weather training will help inspire them to three points this weekend.

Sunday will also see Manchester United and Southampton go head-to-head at Wembley in the EFL Cup Final. Arsenal and Manchester City will not be in action, as a result of Sunday’s final, but read on for all of our Gameweek 26 predictions…

Chelsea 3-1 Swansea

Chelsea face a Swansea side who have dramatically improved since the appointment of Paul Clement. The reverse fixture was filled with controversy as Chelsea felt hard-done by to not come away with all three points. They’ll be looking to make amends here and extend their lead at the top with both Manchester United and Arsenal not playing in the league this weekend.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Middlesbrough

Crystal Palace in are in trouble. They need to get a positive result out of this one otherwise Middlesbrough will open the gap between themselves and the bottom three. A win for Sam Allardyce’s side could potentially take them up to 16th and could help to inspire them to get on a run. Middlesbrough know they have to avoid defeat to risk potentially being dragged into the relegation zone, so a draw looks likely.

Everton 3-1 Sunderland

Everton are on an eight game unbeaten run in the Premier League. They’re still in the mix for a European placed finish so have to fight hard to cause the sides above them problems. Sunderland’s so-called revival looks more like a one-game wonder as they were thumped 4-0 having dished out their own four-goal haul the game week before. This looks like a foregone conclusion but you can’t rule Sunderland out of scoring with Jermain Defoe leading the line.

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Hull 2-2 Burnley

Hull City look capable of staying up this season but they have to make their home form count. Burnley cannot buy a win on their travels and despite their commanding position over their opponents here it looks like that unwanted run will continue. Hull have managed to pick up seven points from the last 15 on offer, so a draw here wouldn’t be the worst result.

West Brom 2-0 Bournemouth

West Brom are unbeaten in four and looking as solid as usual ahead of what looks a very winnable fixture against a Bournemouth team that are seemingly in freefall. The Cherries have lost three in a row and conceded six in their most recent away game at Everton. Eddie Howe’s men are out of form but will hope they are clear enough of the bottom three to be fully dragged into a relegation scrap.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

Both these sides have had two full weeks to prepare for what is a big game for both sets of players. Watford have only lost two of their last 11 at home and are a tough unit to break down, but West Ham have been playing with more belief of late and goals are to be expected in what should be an entertaining game.

Spurs 2-1 Stoke

This is a massive game for Tottenham after their disappointing midweek Europa League exit to Gent at Wembley. Mauricio Pochettino knows his players need to bounce back straightaway, but the fact that his first-team played on Thursday night could play a major role in the outcome of the game. Stoke have been inconsistent all season but will fancy their chances after an extended break. They don’t do well in London though, having only won one of their last 20 trips to the capital…

EFL Cup Final – Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

Jose Mourinho loves playing cup finals at Wembley. He’s only lost one of 11 finals during his managerial career and has his United team firing on all cylinders ahead of Sunday’s clash. It’s a huge game for the Saints, who have never won the League Cup in their history, but they are up against it and it’s tough to see any other outcome than a United win.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Sunday, December 4 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 16/5 – Draw 29/10 – Liverpool 3/4

Match Preview

Bournemouth welcome Liverpool to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game that has the makings of one-way traffic.

Eddie Howe’s side are in a respectable 12th position, they’ve picked up 15 points already this season but have struggled over the last five games.

Bournemouth come into this one having played another title contender last weekend. Their 3-1 loss against Arsenal had plenty of talking points and the result may have been very different on another day.

The Cherries need to get back to picking up points on a regular basis. They’ve only taken four points from the last 15 on offer to them and despite being six places above the relegation zone, the gap is just four points.

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Liverpool have been on a superb run of form of late. They trail top spot by just one point and will be hoping results go in their favour this weekend so they can force their way into first place.

Jurgen Klopp has a selection headache ahead of this tie. His squad has been hit by an injury crisis, but he is not phased, and believes in any players he is selecting.

Liverpool come into this tie having progressed to the semifinal of the League Cup with their midweek win over Leeds.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 league games and have picked up 13 points from the last 15 on offer. This is a winnable game for Liverpool, but they will be worked hard by an energetic Bournemouth side.

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Team News

Howe is expecting to be without Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman, while both Artur Boruc and Charlie Daniels are doubts for the visit of Liverpool.

Klopp’s side has been hit with an unenviable injury list. Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are all out, while Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip are all doubts.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten Premier League games.

Key Player: James Milner – Liverpool will be looking for Milner to bring a calming presence to the side as they head into the Christmas period with a squad riddled with injuries. The Englishman has plenty of experience and he will be a key figure once again this weekend.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – Bournemouth to become the latest victim of an impressive display from Klopp’s Liverpool. If history is anything to go by Bournemouth will struggle here, they have lost their last five games against Liverpool in all competitions.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal  vs. Bournemouth

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, November 27 – 14:15 GMT (09:15 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/5 – Draw 19/5 – Bournemouth 6/1

Match Preview

Arsenal welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium for an important Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners come into the game after a 2-2 draw at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night – their last two Premier League games have also ended in draws.

Arsene Wenger has called upon his side to start turning those draws into wins and they can’t afford a slip up here if they have any serious aspirations of challenging for the title.

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Recent performances have been below par for Arsenal, who’ve looked flat, albeit they’ve faced tough opposition in PSG, Manchester United and Tottenham, while still managing to remain undefeated since the opening day.

Bournemouth arrive in London in high spirits after their impressive 1-0 win away at Stoke last weekend ended a run of three games without a win in the league.

Eddie Howe is continuing to work his magic, steering his side to tenth in the table with 15 points at this early stage of the season – an excellent start.

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The Cherries have struggled for points on the road, so they’ll be hoping the first away win of the season at Stoke will give them confidence.

The only two previous league meetings between these two sides came last season with Arsenal winning 2-0 on both occasions.

Team News

Arsenal will be without the injured Santi Cazorla (heel) and Hector Bellerin (ankle), while Lucas Perez won’t be fit to make the squad despite returning to training this week following an ankle problem. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are long-term absentees.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc (back) is a doubt, as is Andrew Surman (hamstring). Loanee Jack Wilshere is ineligible to play against his parent club, but Adam Smith (ban) and Jordan Ibe (illness) should return to the squad.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/D/W/D/D

Bournemouth’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Dominance – Arsenal have a 100% winning record against Bournemouth in all competitions (P3, W3).

Key Player: Olivier Giroud – It would be a huge surprise if the Frenchman doesn’t feature at some point on Sunday afternoon. His goalscoring form has been incredible since his return from injury, with five goals in five games in all competitions.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth – The Gunners haven’t performed well recently, and they can’t allow the dip in form to go on any longer, although they’ve still managed to churn out results – it could be a similar story here. Bournemouth will provide tough opposition and Eddie Howe will set out his side to try and win the game, but home advantage could be the key.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Saturday, October 22 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 11/4 – Draw 13/5 – Tottenham 19/20

Match Preview

Bournemouth host unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur in this weekend’s early kickoff on Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League. Both sides will come into the game optimistic as Bournemouth picked up a 6-1 win last weekend, while Spurs are yet to lose in the league.

The Cherries started the season slowly with no win in their first three fixtures but have picked up recently, winning three of their last five. Each of those wins have come at home, which serves as a good omen heading into the weekend.

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Eddie Howe has added strength in depth to his squad and additions such as Jordon Ibe from Liverpool and Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal could see them challenging for a top half finish this year, especially with results such as last weekend’s.

Spurs on the other hand, have their sights firmly set on the title. With a win on Saturday they would climb to the summit, if only for a few hours.

Playing in the Champions League midweek may affect their performance at the weekend, as historically, Spurs have suffered in league games that follow a European game midweek.

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There is a feeling there is still more to come from this exciting side under Mauricio Pochettino and a solid start to their season puts them in good stead going forward as they look to go better than last year’s third-place finish.

Spurs beat Bournemouth in both of last season’s meetings and thumped the Cherries 5-1 on the South Coast last October, so they are favourites for victory here again.

Team News

Bournemouth are waiting on Marc Pugh’s availability as he tries to shake off a hamstring injury. Harry Arter, Brad Smith, Max Gradel and Lewis Cook are all out and will not feature.

Spurs are without three key men as it stands. However, Danny Rose is a doubt with a foot injury picked up in the midweek champions league trip to Leverkusen. Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane are out with knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: W/L/W/D/W

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: Dominance – Tottenham have been winning at both half time and full time in their last four matches against Bournemouth in all competitions.

Key Player: Dele Alli – The English attacking midfielder has become a hugely influential player for both club and country in the last year and his equaliser last weekend against West Brom illustrated that he can turn up when it matters. We expect him to be influential once again here.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-2 Tottenham – As mentioned, Bournemouth come into this one off the back of a 6-1 win last weekend and will take confidence into the game. However, this Spurs team should be too be too much for Bournemouth. They are unbeaten and have one of the most exciting teams in the country. Away win.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham United vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Bournemouth

Venue: London Stadium – Sunday, August 21 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 17/20 – Draw 13/5 – Bournemouth 3/1

Match Preview

West Ham United make their long awaited London Stadium Premier League debut this weekend as they welcome Bournemouth, this should be an exciting day for the Hammers.

West Ham lost their opening game of the season in controversial fashion against Chelsea as they conceded a late Costa strike, who should have been sent off for a second bookable offence earlier in the game.

The Hammers struggled offensively in that tie, only touching the ball seven times in the opposition penalty area.

This is a chance for West Ham to give their fans a day to remember and get off to a winning start at their new home in the league, there will be a huge buzz around the ground as they hope to make it a fortress.

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Bournemouth come into their first away game of the season having already conceded three goals. Their fans will be hoping their opening weekend loss to Manchester United isn’t a sign of what is to come.

Eddie Howe insists he is happy with his Bournemouth squad and isn’t planning to make anymore signings in the transfer window.

He will be hoping their ‘Sunday curse’ can come to an end here, as he has not yet seen his side win a Premier League game on a Sunday.

Bournemouth have work to do to improve, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since March, a run which has stretched to 11 games.

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Team News

West Ham United five injury concerns ahead of this tie. Record signing Andre Ayew requires surgery after suffering a thigh injury on his league debut for the Hammers, while Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Creswell, Diafra Sakho and Sofiane Fegholi remain out.

Bournemouth have four injury concerns heading into this one as Junior Stanislas, Tyrone Mings, Emerson Hyndman and Baily Cargill are still unavailable.

Key Points

West Ham’s form: L

Bournemouth’s form: L

Key Stat: West Ham have scored at least one goal in their last 14 Premier League outings.

Key Player: Mark Noble – The Hammers captain struggled to influence the game in their league opener, he will be hoping to provide good balance to the midfield in this one and supply his creative teammates with the ball throughout.

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Score Prediction

West Ham United 2-1 Bournemouth – West Ham to open their Premier League account at London Stadium with a win. Bournemouth will work them hard in this tie, but their Sunday struggles are set to continue.

Jordon Ibe completes £15m move to Bournemouth – but should Liverpool have sold?

Jordon Ibe has completed his move to AFC Bournemouth from Premier League rivals Liverpool, for a fee believed to be in the region of £15 million, according to Sky Sports.

The 20-year-old winger is regarded by many as one of English football’s brightest young prospects, so his departure from Anfield will have left some Liverpool fans slightly confused.

Bournemouth, on the other hand, will be delighted with the acquisition of the England Under-21 international, who becomes Eddie Howe’s fifth signing of the summer.

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“We’re delighted to bring Jordon to the football club,” AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said.

“He played plenty of football with Liverpool last season and we’re looking forward to seeing him to continue to grow now with us, he’s a huge prospect.”

Blake is not wrong. Ibe is a huge prospect. He penned a five-year contract at Liverpool as recently as last May and is a player with a really bright future ahead of him.

His growth slowed slightly under Jurgen Klopp last season, as he fell out of form following the German coach’s arrival, but he hasn’t necessarily played his last game in a Liverpool shirt.

The Reds have ensured that as part of the deal with Bournemouth, they retain a buy-back clause for the youngster, as well as a sell-on clause in case Ibe moves elsewhere.

That is a vital piece of information, as Liverpool aren’t simply allowing one of their best young stars to leave without making plans for the future.

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A loan move may have made more sense if Ibe remained a key part of the club’s plans moving forward, but at the same time it would have been impossible to turn down the money they have received from Bournemouth for a man who started just 20 of his 41 first-team appearances last term.

Ibe only played 90 minutes in six matches last season. He is a player with a lot of talent, but there were others ahead of him in the pecking order at Anfield.

A move to Bournemouth will give the Wycombe Wanderers academy product the chance to shine on a more regular basis under the guidance of Eddie Howe.

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Ibe is a versatile attacking player, but is best deployed as an out-and-out winger on the right side of midfield. Howe’s system at Bournemouth should allow him to play in exactly that role in a team with plenty of pace in the final third.

Cherries supporters will be eagerly anticipating seeing their new man in action once the new season begins next month. But fans on Merseyside will have good reason to keep one eye on the youngsters development, as they may not have seen the last of him yet…

How good a signing is Jordon Ibe for AFC Bournemouth? Should Liverpool have sold their young star?