Monday 1 December 2014

Andy Carroll Desperately Needs to Score

Get those shooting boots on lad!
The recent return of Andy Carroll from his unfortunate injury problems has been a real blessing for West Ham - especially with the absence of the prolific pairing of Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia. Moreover, it has given Carroll the chance to remind us all how much his presence impacts upon the flow of games. Carroll is so much more than a mere striker as his aerial prowess is a massive asset both in attack and, importantly in defending set pieces, where unlike many top strikers, Andy is more than happy to contribute to the defensive effort of the team.

However, with the news that Enner Valencia is back in training and that Sakho may be available again soon, Big Sam is likely to be faced with a selection conundrum as to whether the returning strikers should immediately displace Carroll. Of note, although Andy has made important contributions in the three games since returning, he still has not scored and remains stuck in single figures for goals scored for West Ham with a mere 9 goals in 43 appearances - only slightly better than the 11 he amassed during his 58 appearances for Liverpool and well short of the 33 goals in 91 appearances for Newcastle. With six in six, Diafra Sakho could go to sleep for season of appearances and still be well up there with Carroll in his strike rate. 

One alternative is for Sam to pair Carroll with either Sakho or Valencia - both of whom bring added pace as well as a physical presence to their goal scoring efforts. The thoughts of either feeding off the opportunities provided by Andy's mayhem is certainly an attractive idea indeed. Moreover, the availability of such exciting attacking options is likely to steer Big Sam away from the lone striker formation that underpins much of Carroll's modest strike rate as his main influence has been to create rather than feed off opportunities, and is thus frequently double marked by opposition defences.

Whatever the case, Carroll clearly needs to start to add some goals to his tally if he is to avoid being reduced to the status of mere impact substitute - a role that would surely precipitate his departure from the club to new pastures where he would serve as principal forward. Let's hope tomorrow night will signal the start of a run of goals for the big man.  

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