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Utilising the big man

Filed: Saturday, 1st September 2012
By: Tom Kilbey

Finally, the longest West Ham transfer saga since, well, Scott Parker last year, has concluded. Unlike last year, it ended in a success and I'm sure every West Ham fan was delighted to read the announcement late on Thursday night that Andy Carroll is finally a West Ham player.

Without trying to spoil the party, I can't emphasise more that Andy Carroll isn't automatically going to be the solution to our problems; his addition to the squad does not turn us into a top half club overnight. In reality, that sort of thing will not happen unless we utilise him in the right way.

After all, anyone who watched the Swansea would agree that it would have been irrelevant if we had Carlton Cole, Andy Carroll, or anyone else up top for that matter, the service was, for the most part, atrocious. Carroll would have been isolated, and forced to drop deep, rarely getting involved in the final third of the pitch. So the question is, how can be best utilise our star man?

The answer, I believe is fairly simple. We've seen over the last 12 months, that long and aimless balls from the back, generally speaking, do not work. This is especially true when the team in question are playing with a lone striker. We would be wasting our time thinking that Carroll will get fifteen goals from such tactics, and I'm sure Sam Allardyce is fully aware of this fact.
Starting with our defenders, especially those who aren't as comfortable on the ball as others, we have to ensure the ball is worked out to wide areas. Allardyce has made it very clear that the signing of Matt Jarvis was intending to provide the service for Carroll, and we need to allow Jarvis to put in as many crosses as possible.

Let's not forget too, that we have people capable of providing for Carroll on the other wing. Taylor has shown time and time again that he has excellent delivery and he will be fighting for a starting spot with the likes of Modibo Maiga and Ricardo Vaz Te.

Since the sale of Matthew Etherington, we have had a chronic lack of width. With the absence of creativity in midfield, our attempts to play through the middle were rarely successful, which often made us look short of ideas. Now we have an excellent opportunity to change that.

The fact is, if we get the ball out wide to the likes of Jarvis, Andy Carroll will score goals. It really is as simple as that. Despite Carroll becoming the target of jokes from fans with his £35million transfer to Liverpool, his goal rate at Newcastle - a spell which he began as an 18-year-old - saw him score one every 2.7 games. If he hits this sort of form for us, it wouldn't be surprising to see him get well into double figures.

The arrival of Andy Carroll could hopefully provide a knock on efffect on the rest of the squad, and one man in particular. Carlton Cole has not had enough competition for a starting place in the last couple of years, and this will obviously change now. I hope that Carlton sees this arrival as a positive, and not as an obstacle to his first team chances. I think his work rate will rise, and when he is given chances, I think he will perform.

Finally, I think its very important for fans to realise that this signing will not be a quick fix. His time at Liverpool have shown that he is a confidence player. He will revel when playing at Upton Park with the crowd behind him, and I hope he gets his first taste of this against Fulham. He could well prove to be our most important signing for years, and with the right service from his team-mates, he could be a fantastic servant for our club.

Only time will tell.

Tom Kilbey may also be found on Twitter at twitter.com/tom29whu.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Roy
10:42AM 1st Sep 2012
''Good article mate. I agree with what you have posted but feel you have underplayed AC to some extent first he will be very dangerous from any kind of set piece. He is a good first line of defence when coming back to defend corners. Carroll is also adept at dealing with the odd hoof out from the back. In the past we have done that with Cole who is much better when the ball is played to feet. I feel he could score 20 goals for us this season given the right service.''

by Legend11
10:15AM 1st Sep 2012
''Spot on! Totally agree with these comments! Slight concern over our options on the right wing but Taylor could swing them in from the right, or Vaz Te could play wider. And very happy we have Yossi now! I would use him behind Carroll to slide balls through (something Noble isn't doing).''

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