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The return of Michail Antonio can get West Ham back to winning ways

The return of Michail Antonio can get West Ham back to winning ways

West Ham fans will have come away from Monday night’s 2-1 defeat to London rivals Chelsea after a couple of defensive slip ups cost Slaven Bilic’s side on the night.

Some slow, sloppy play, well in the Chelsea half cost the Hammers possession in the first half, before they were hit by a lethal counter attack. Into the second half and the inexcusable offence of losing Diego Costa in the box lead to a second for Antonio Conte’s side.

Other than that, the runaway Premier League leaders rarely threatened the Hammers at the London Stadium. However, Bilic’s side laboured to break down the Blues back line, and were forced to cross into Andy Carroll from tight areas, with the former Liverpool and Newcastle man surrounded by Chelsea defenders.

The Hammers rarely ran at their opponents, although an impressive defensive display rarely afforded them the opportunity, but on the one notable occasion substitute Andre Ayew did, the former Swansea man teed up Manuel Lanzini for his late goal.

Going forward, there was a sense that Bilic’s side lacked the urgency needed to beat a side of Chelsea’s calibre, or most Premier League sides for that matter. There was little movement from messrs Snodgrass, Carroll and Feghouli, an issue which was tempered a little with the introduction of Ayew, leaving the likes of Lanzini having to drop deep and pick up the ball, giving N’Golo Kante & Co. plenty of time to find their shape.

Next up for Bilic and his players is a trip to the south coast to play Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth who, despite having not won since the turn of the year, put in an incredible showing against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to come away from Old Trafford with a point, having had captain Andrew Surman sent off in the first half.

The Cherries have been leaking goals at a unprecedented level in 2017 and, with stand in centre-half Tyrone Mings looking like he’ll be facing a lengthy ban, as well as question marks remaining over first choice Simon Francis’ fitness, they should be prime for taking three points from.

However, if they are to succeed at Dean Court, Bilic’s side must turn on the style up top. One factor which could speed things up significantly going forward is the return of the suspended Michail Antonio.

The Hammers top scorer missed the Chelsea clash having been sent off at Watford the week before, however, will once again be available for the trip to Dorset.

The return to the fold of the England international, coupled with another week’s recovery for Andy Carroll, who looked well off 100% on Monday night, should make for a comfortable ride come Saturday.