West Ham continued their long run without a win at the weekend as they went down 3-2 to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth in a thrilling encounter on the south coast.
The Hammers went ahead just 48 seconds after Cherries striker Joshua King had fired wide from the spot when Michail Antonio made the perfect return from suspension with a quick swivel and shot into the far corner.
However, Bournemouth levelled and took the lead either side of half time, with another penalty miss thrown in when Darren Randoplh stopped Benik Afobe’s effort, the visitors seemed to have wilted somewhat.
Looking for a way back into the clash manager Slaven Bilic introduced forwards Robert Snodgrass, Andre Ayew and Sam Byram to add some speed going forward.
With seven minutes of normal time to go, it looked as if the Croat’s decision had paid of when Pedro Obiang found Byram with a stunning through ball who cut back to fellow sub Ayew, who couldn’t miss.
With the game back at 2-2 Howe responded with the introduction of England international Jack Wilshere, who changed the game for his temporary side, as his one two with Marc Pugh lead to a shot, parried by Randolph, landed at the feet of King, who took his hat-trick and three points for the Cherries.
One notable downside for the travelling Irons fans was the showing of striker Andy Carroll. The former Liverpool and Newcastle man, who returned from injury against Chelsea last Monday – looking very lethargic in doing so, turned in performance to forget at Dean Court, with just one shot on target, in injury time at the end of the game.
Ayew, who has scored two and set up one from his last three appearances, all from the bench, will be wondering what he has to do to get a start having watched Carroll at the weekend.
If Bilic has the bottle to drop his main man in favour of the fitter, sharper and in form summer signing when they face Leicester City at the London Stadium this weekend, it could well pay dividends.
With Antoino looking sharp upon his return from suspension, a front line including the England man and the former Swan could well cause the Foxes’ slow back four plenty of problems, before introducing Carroll, desperately in need to prove himself again, from the bench to make a mark.
Carroll is, of course, a top striker and different to any other in the Premier League, however, when he is clearly far from fit and you have an in form Ayew on the bench, maybe it’s time to mix things up?