Sam Baldock, Nicky Maynard, Modibo Maiga, Wellington Paulista and Marouane Chamakh have all got something in common. First of all, at some stage, they have been signed by Sam Allardyce, for West Ham United. They are all strikers, and they are all strikers who have not been given a chance to show what they can do in the First Team.
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It’s fair to say that Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole are our main two strikers, but Cole knows that as long as Carroll is fit, he will not be playing. Obviously, Baldock and Maynard are no longer at the club, having only stayed for the whole or part of last season, and our promotion push. But there was certainly bags of potential between the two of them. Baldock was unfortunate to pick up a bad injury early in the campaign, and he never really got a look in after what seemed a promising start. Maynard joined in the January transfer window last year, but again, was rarely given the opportunity to show us what he could do. There was no doubting his finishing ability, you only have to look at his strike against Cardiff in the second leg of the Playoffs to see that. Both were sold in the summer to help fund the transfer for Carroll. During the summer, we signed Modibo Maiga from Sochaux in France. He came with a good reputation in Ligue 1, Newcastle tried to sign him in the January transfer window last season, but a knee injury prevented him joining the Magpies, and Harry Redknapp also said that he was scouting him whilst at Spurs. To be fair to Maiga, in the appearances he has made, he has scored goals. However, rumours in the press surround his attitude around the training ground, and Big Sam has not played him much this season, despite looking a danger. Chamakh and Wellington joined in the January transfer window, Chamakh has had two games and looked promising, but again, as soon as Carroll returned, Chamakh has been dropped again. Wellington hasn’t even appeared for the first team yet, not even as a sub!
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So why is Sam Allardyce signing these players if he has no intention of using them? I can’t answer that, but to me, they are not players in the mould of Carroll and Cole. The big centre forward who will win headers and hold the ball up. However, is that the problem? It’s all well and good having an Andy Carroll in your side, but you also need someone to finish off the knock downs, and the rebounds in the 6 yard box. Is Big Sam just playing it safe and then when survival secure, will he tinker with the formations in an attempt to plan for next season? Maiga certainly deserves a chance, he is impressive when playing on the shoulder of the last man, and as we saw against Chelsea, is the striker who will pick up the rebounds in the box. Sam won’t ever play 2 strikers, but we don’t necessarily have to play with one big man up front. Barcelona and Real Madrid can prove that. Messi or Benzema are hardly big lumps are they? It’s just about changing the style of play to accommodate them, something we haven’t done this season. Its my only criticism of Allardyce, we are too predictable. If we played Maiga or Wellington as the lone striker, it would mean we have to play on the floor. I say give it a go Sam, you might be pleasantly surprised! COME ON YOU IRONS!! By ChelmoHammer