People will say “ohh it’s Andy Carroll, he has done very well for us when he has played.” True statement, he has done very well and the team looks a lot better with him playing. But is that true? He has yet to score, although he has made a few assists.
For me Carroll is very important, he is a key link in the West Ham chain. The team plays a lot better when they have a target to hit in the box. The team has a direction to go for and a means of attack. But is that important? We smashed Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 with out him and again 2-1.
One of my old coaches said” “It doesn’t matter if we score three goals in a game, because if the opposition score four we still lose.” His point was that defenders often go missing in the scheme of things, and that a solid defence is the cornerstone of any team.
Jose Mourinho was quick to point out about how good our defence was when we held Chelsea to a 0-0, a few weeks ago. He was frustrated because he thought he had three points in the bag, only to be held to a draw when we showed a lot if fight and spirit.
Nemanja Vidic remains one of my favourite non-West Ham players. A general at the back he is everything a defender should be tough, demanding and disciplined.
All the success that Manchester United have had over the last eight years wouldn’t have been possible without him. Vidic and Ferdinand are/were two rocks in defence that the Red Devils were always able to rely on. Vidic remains, in my eyes, a leader on the field that was always bringing the players around him to a higher level.
So what did that have to do with West Ham and our most important player? Well it’s a example of what begins with any successful side, a strong defence.
Right now we have had more clean sheets than any other side in the league. And if we want to stay up we have to keep clean sheets while scoring goals. Toughness, discipline and the ability to lift others up around you is what we need more than anything else. That is why the most important player is Winston Reid.
Stats don’t lie, that is why I love them. Currently Squawka has James Tomkins as our best defender, however it’s only just and he has played more games than Reid.
We have kept three clean sheets over the last three games and while that is brilliant, I am sure if you were the manager you would pick Reid as your centre back every time.
I am sure that everyone is feeling a lot better with the last three games than when we were playing in January. Tomkins, Collins and the rest of the back line have got their act together and are playing well as a unit.
One only need to look at the final stat that tells us how vital Reid is to us this season. Before Reid injured his ankle in November, we had six cleansheets in 10 games. After that we managed three in 15 games and they all came against mediocre opposition. This is the most telling stat of all, the one that doesn’t lie.
People will wonder why I have picked Reid instead of Carroll. The answer is above you, “it doesn’t matter if we score 3 goals if they score 4 we still lose.” And my final quote the one that rings true no matter when: “strikers win you games, defenders win you championships.”
Come on you Irons!