August 20, 2015

West Ham United fans get their first taste of Premier League action at London's Olympic Stadium when they host Bournemouth in Stratford on Sunday.

The Hammers officially moved from their old Upton Park ground to the home of the 2012 London Olympics this summer. And while Slaven Bilic's side have already played two Europa League fixtures at what the club's owners optimistically expect to be called London Stadium, this will be the first league football match ever played at the ground.

"The best way to settle is to win," Bilic said. "A win on Sunday hopefully will make it really feel like a warm home. Victories are what makes settling in much easier.

"It's not intimidating until you make it intimidating with your quality. I felt and the guys felt that the atmosphere was really great in our two games there so far and you could feel the bond between the fans and the players."

The 2016-17 season started with a bang for the Hammers, with this contest coming at the end of a hard week. Bilic's team lost to Chelsea on Monday evening before facing the inconvenience of a Europa League qualifying fixture on Thursday night. But injury problems have further compounded the difficulty of that packed schedule.

Midfielders Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and Sofiane Feghouli are all struggling for full fitness, while Aaron Creswell is out until November. And there's been even worse news for Bilic, with his star summer signing Andre Ayew ruled out until 2017 with a serious knee ligament injury.

Bournemouth have had a busy summer, bringing in Liverpool's Jordan Ibe, Leeds' Lewis Cook and Le Havre forward Lys Mousset in particularly eye-catching deals. They also added experienced midfielder Marc Wilson, youngsters Brad Smith and Emerson Hyndman and loan-signing Nathan Ake from Chelsea.

It's an impressive series of signings by the Cherries.

Not least because they complement strikers Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban - who are entering their first full seasons at the club after January arrivals - and will be joined by the club's record defensive signing Tyrone Mings when he recovers from an injury that kept him out of action for much of his first year at Bournemouth.

"I do feel it's a stronger squad than last year, we have more numbers and a very good work ethic," manager Eddie Howe told the club's official website. "When you recruit you have to make sure you don't lose your identity and the pleasing thing for me is that everyone has had a great mentality towards their training.

"I'm satisfied that we're 99 percent of the way there. We don't want to add too many more to the squad, there's potentially one position we'll look at - a younger talent. Unless we did that deal we will stay as we are.

"I've gone on record to say it's difficult to attract Premier League players in their prime, we've gone down a younger route of recruitment, but we're delighted with the player we've brought in, they've got great character, attitude and will be very good players for us."

Bournemouth's fixtures with West Ham brought a flurry of goals last season. The Cherries lost 3-1 on their trip to east London, but ran out 4-3 winners in a classic on the south coast.

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