In the 13th edition of our Classic Match Series, we dig deep in the archives once more to bring you a memorable and historic clash with Saturday’s visitors to the London Stadium in the form of Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth from a year and a half ago.
Cast your minds back to the hot summer of 2016, Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber & MØ were at the very summit of the British Music Charts with “Cold Water” and the first-ever Olympic Games to be held in South America, Brazil, were just drawing to a close.
Meanwhile, in the world of Football and more specifically the Premier League, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United were just beginning their 21st campaign of the PL era and their first at their new home, the London Stadium.
Heading into their second encounter of the season and first League outing at the former Olympic venue, the Hammers sat 15th in the Top-Flight Table after an opening defeat at Stamford Bridge and were fresh from a Europa League Qualifying Play-Off Round first-leg draw away in Romania to Astra Giurgiu.
Whereas, the first League visitors to Stratford were Bournemouth in their second campaign since Promotion to the PL for the first time, they occupied 20th place in the Division after a Sunday defeat to Manchester United at the Vitality Stadium.
At the announcement of the two starting Xls in East London, an hour ahead of kick-off on a Sunny Sunday afternoon, with the match being broadcast live as part of Sky Sports’ Super Sunday coverage, the danger men in both teams could be clearly spotted.
For an injury-ravaged home Xl, these were the likes of pacey attacker Michail Antonio and Senegal Skipper Cheikhou Kouyate in midfield, while visiting striker Callum Wilson netted a hat-trick away at West ham the season before, his partner Josh King was also going to prove a handful.
With the scene well and truly set for a momentous afternoon in the Queen Elizbeth Olympic Park, a tight-knit affair against the backdrop of an electric afternoon atmosphere was played out.
The hosts started on the front-foot, Gokhan Tore looking lively to have a penalty appeal turned down and lay-off Antonio for a wayward effort on another occasion, while Ryan Fraser couldn’t make the most of some promising openings at the other end.
But, neither Artur Boruc or Adrian San-Miguel had been tested out in any real way, although the second period was about to change this as the affair opened up.
Adrian soon had some work to do, pulling off a magnificent save to deny a long-range shot from King, moments after new signing Jordon Ibe had a great opportunity right of the box, spurning it.
However, the 77th minute brought with it a game-changing moment, Harry Arter bringing down Kouyate as he looked to break and Referee Craig Pawson producing a second yellow card.
Under ten minutes later, the inventible happened, some superb work from Tore on the left culminated in a crossing opportunity, his delivery picking out the head of Antonio to finish into a half-empty net and raise the roof on London Stadium.
Unsurprisingly, the future England International’s finish proved the winner as well as first PL goal in Stratford, despite substitute Jonathan Calleri missing a one-on-one on the dying embers.
A crucial three points moved the East Londoners up to 11th position, while the South Coast side remained bottom of the pile for another week, the worst possible start to 2016/2017 for them.
The Irons would go on to have a turbulent campaign, although Bilic was eventually able to steady the ship, guiding the London team to a comfortable 12thend.
Although Bournemouth’s fortunes dramatically improved after their slow start, Howe guiding AFC to the top-half eventually, closer to Europe than many would have predicted in ninth.
However, one question remains, can the Hammers, now under David Moyes, reign supreme when the Cherries journey to Stratford for a second time this Saturday afternoon? Find out here with a Live Blog, including live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction live from the London Stadium Press Box.