Has Cole been treated unfairly?


Carlton Cole has recently been given bench warming duties following the January signings of Nicky Maynard and Ricardo Vaz Te. Cole has been dropped to the bench for the last three games (prior to the Watford match) after an impressive first half of the season and many fans have been wondering whether dropping Cole has been a fair decision, considering the amount of time both Vaz Te and Maynard have been at the club.

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Carlton signed for the Hammers back in July 2006 from Chelsea, but it was in the 08-09 season, under Gianfranco Zola, where Cole started to play to his real potential. He scored 12 goals in 32

games and helped the Hammers finish in 9th, on the same number of points as rivals Tottenham. In the 09-10 season, the Hammers just avoided relegation. However Cole was impressive, and scored

10 goals in 32 games and earned his first England cap in a friendly defeat to Spain.

At the beginning of this season, Cole stated that he would stay and fight to help the Hammers climb back into the Premier League despite reported interest from multiple Premier League clubs and

Galatasaray in Turkey. After coming off the bench in the first two league games, he started the next four, scoring four goals and at the Boxing Day fixture with Birmingham, he scored his 50th West Ham goal, in a 1-1 draw.

Cole statistics show that he has had a good season for the Hammers. He has played 28 games, scoring 9 goals and providing 2 assists. He has slotted well into Big Sam’s tactics, playing as a target man, receiving long balls from the back and bringing other players into attacks via flick-ons and holding up play. This was shown most effectively during the 2-1 win over Millwall with Faubert. It was no coincidence that Faubert had an impressive outing against Millwall, as much of it was to do with the hard work done by Cole. Cole also scored the opener, showing his power and presence in the box to hold off his man and power a header past Forde in the Millwall goal. He’s played well so

far this season alongside Baldock, in the classic ‘Big man, Little man’ strike partnership. His flick-ons have utilised Baldock’s pace and often allowed Baldock to get in behind defences, a position that he relishes.

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If you compare Cole’s statistics to those of Maynard and Vaz Te, you can see how remarkably similar they are. Maynard has played 31 games and scored 9 goals with 3 assists and Vaz Te has played in 27 games and scored 11 goals, with 2 assists. Stats wise, Vaz Te comes out on top, as he has the best goals per game ratio, but there is an interesting factor which comes into play with another stat.

Both Maynard and Vaz Te have had considerably more shots that Cole. Maynard has had 62 shots, and Vaz Te has had 51 shots, whereas Cole has had only 34 shots. There are two ways of viewing this stat. You can look at it in with the view that Carlton is a more clinical striker, as he has scored more goals with less shots, however you can also look to this statistic as proof that Cole’s impact on a game is often marginal. Also, Cole has been playing in a West Ham side who are front runners for promotion, whereas both Maynard and Vaz Te have been playing with Bristol City and Barnsley respectively, both clubs near the bottom of the table, so their goal scoring records are all the more impressive.

Could Sam’s decision to leave out Cole in the last three games suggest a change in Sam’s philosophy? In the Cardiff game, Sam played a 4-5-1, a formation that he has preferred to use this

season for the Hammers and he played Maynard as the lone striker upfront, with Vaz Te playing as a wide man on both wings during the game. The long balls throughout the game were very ineffective, as Maynard is a striker who lives off chances. We often lost possession through long balls from the wing backs, but looked much more dangerous when the ball was played through the midfield, and trying to work the ball into the box, rather than to play it long.

Another point to raise is that Sam has to play the new signings at some point and with a number of quality strikers in the squad, we still don’t know our most effective choice as front man, or front

men, depending on the formation that Sam decides to play. Also, Baldock has been left out in recent games, despite having a bright start to his West Ham career and I personally would like to see him involved more as the season progresses. What must be mentioned is that the owners have delved down the back of the sofa to raise some funds to buy both Maynard and Vaz Te, so Allardyce is almost obliged to play them, having spent a considerable amount in signing the coveted pair.


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Has Cole been treated unfairly? In my mind I don’t think so. However it would be a shame to see him confined to the bench, so I hope to see him in the next few games, perhaps partnering Maynard in a front two.

Have a different opinion? Tweet me @TollyCoburn

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  • Dave says:

    anyone who see him play today will know he is lucky to be on the bench

  • fred says:

    too many people get on his back because he is a bit clumsy. in my view hes still our best forward in terms of contribution. Hes strong and holds it up well and defenders dont like playing against him. I couldnt believe people were slagging him off today when the ball was just being lumped upto him with no support. what are you expecting him to do? centre forwards like him need service. we need to get it wide more often and try and send in decent some crosses, thats how he gets his goals.. hes not gonna run past 5 players n smash it in the top corner in a million years but that doesnt mean he shouldnt be in the team, because i cant name anyone in our squad capable of something genuinely special now.

  • Iron Goose says:

    Carlton Cole is a lightweight striker. He’s never been outstanding at any club he’s been at. The reason he is out supposed best striker is only because he’s the longest serving striker. Assuming he’s present when Sam names the team sheet, he knows he’s the only striker yet yesterday he repeatedly recieved the ball and then flicked it on when noone was there. And he has done that all season. Yes he may have scored a few goals but he’s only scored 9 goals this season. The same number as Kevin Nolan!! Yesterday he was even knocked of the ball. Look at the size of him for god sake. He’s meant to be strong enough to deal with the physical challenges. We missed a trick when Liverpool were talking about buying him for £20m. If anyone starts sniffing at that price this summer, I’ll drive him wherever it is myself. Drop him to the bench and start Maynard and Baldock until Vaz Te is fit again.

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