West Ham were missing their entire first-choice front three, so instead their makeshift right back for the first few games of the season moved on to the wing and leapt to head a late winner in their first Premier League match at the London Stadium.
Michail Antonio has had some poor games at full back and the club’s own sponsors Betway described him as an ‘accident waiting to happen’ on Twitter when he played in that position against Chelsea a week ago and gave away a penalty that evening.
But Antonio is also a goal waiting to happen when he is played in his more comfortable position further up the field.
Bereft of key players, West Ham needed someone to deliver. They have the new stadium and they clearly have the fans to fill it — even if not all of them got a seat — but they also need the star players out on the pitch and the mounting injuries are denying them that.
With all the crosses going into the box from right and left they needed a big man like Andy Carroll to head one of them in. He is out for up to six weeks with a knee injury.
They could have done with Dimitri Payet, too, constantly finding new angles and ways to break down the opposition defence. He was missing, after picking up a knock against Chelsea. Bilic is, however, expecting him back against Astra Giurgiu on Thursday or Manchester City on Sunday.
Enner Valencia looked light in the middle up front by himself, so where is your club record £20.5million signing when you need him? Andre Ayew is out for four months.
It made for a bitty, frustrating game and fans from both clubs took their time coming back to their seats after the break. There had not been much to make them hurry.
When Antonio went to take a quick thrown-in on the right and the ball slipped out of his hands and dropped behind him, rolling away, there were some jeers from the Bournemouth supporters. It summed up the first half; plenty of good intention, little execution.
Valencia finally registered a testing shot on target five minutes before the break, but Artur Boruc pushed it away.
Eddie Howe’s side had one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes and that was off target. But they rectified that within the first 10 minutes of the second.
Adam Smith ran with the ball and shot low, but Adrian saved and held. Jordon Ibe, the £15m signing from Liverpool, got in behind West Ham’s defence but tried to square the ball to Callum Wilson instead of shooting and the ball was blocked.
Joshua King came closest, striking the ball from 25 yards and forcing Adrian to tip it over. But when Harry Arter was sent off in the 78th minute for a second yellow card, West Ham finally got the advantage they needed to clinch it.
Arter’s first booking was for dissent when referee Craig Pawson awarded a free-kick against him for handball in the first half, the second when he pulled back Cheikhou Kouyate on the break.
It got worse when Gokhan Tore dug out a cross from the left after 85 minutes, all the way over the Bournemouth goalkeeper and Antonio leapt at the back post, above everyone, to head in and become the new stadium’s new hero.