Andy Carroll is one of the most “marmite” players around, you will either love his style or hate it and In Sam Allardyce’s case he loves him, and he was clearly happy with the signing when the club managed to beat his previous club (Newcastle United) to his loan signature on the transfer deadline day from Liverpool.
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Big Sam said on SkySports, “I think for all parties this is a great signing. Andy is an all-round footballer, but because he is 6’3″ and one of his strengths is his aerial power, everybody dismisses the ability he possesses on the floor.
“Hopefully he can score goals for us and we will be in a very good position at the end of the year in the Barclays Premier League.” So far the goals have not come, however his aerial dominance and all-round player is evident in every game he has played so far this year.
When Andy signed for us I was one of the sceptical, yet excited Hammers fans, I felt that he would offer us something different, some power and valid aerial threat (something I hoped Carlton Cole would do, for years!) however, not only did I think his presence would be great I also thought he would fire us up the table and keep us away from the relegation scrap. Don’t get me wrong we are doing great this season but it’s not because of the firepower of Andy but the reliability of others around him and to some extent that worries me.
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With Andy we have a player that when on-form, is capable of being a goal-scoring predator, but even when he is struggling to hit the back of the net, he offers us more than what your typical striker might be capable of, due to his sheer strength and dominance against even some of the Premier Leagues best centre-halves.
As everyone saw at Newcastle, Andy was often used as a target man, with plenty of balls delivered into the box from various avenues, this is once again being the route taken with West Ham and you can tell Andy thrives from it (especially with Kevin Nolan’s movement in search of his flick-ons) whereas at his parent club Liverpool you could tell their style just didn’t suit him, even more so when Brendan Rodgers took to the helm.
West Ham have played exceptional on a few occasions this season and the times we have all included having Andy Carroll as the main focal point upfront, this isn’t because of his goal-scoring ability but because of his work rate and sheer class at bringing the ball down under control whether it be with his chest, feet or head, but it’s without question his ability to bring others into the game, allowing us time in attack to get more players up in support.
The thing is, with goal-scorers they know how to finish and they know they are capable of finding the net, the problem is when you go so long without scoring a mental block occurs and doubt will often creep in, along with the pressure from fans, coaches, teammates and the media. Andy in my opinion just needs to hit the back of the net once in the next couple of games and he will be finding the net almost each week and overtake Nolan as our top goal-scorer.
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I know fans are getting frustrated with him, but put your faith behind him and eventually he will deliver and don’t only judge him on his goal return and remember he offers us more than that and we should be proud to have a player like him in our ranks.