Carroll/Valencia joy but things need to change


Carroll-West-Ham-team-news-541122A perhaps overlooked feature of the Everton replay was the sheer joy that passed between Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia as the pair combined for the Ecuador international to score his first Upton Park goal.

It had become clear to most people that previously they simply hadn’t worked as a pair. I wrote as much – but on Tuesday evening it was clear that Teddy Sheringham had earned his money and that the two strikers had put in some hard work together.

Valencia appeared to spend much of his time in advance of Carroll and thus when AC provided the assist he was perfectly placed to slide his shot past Toffees keeper Joel Robles.

ValenciaactionThe celebration that followed between the pair was a sight to behold and an indication of the time the pair have spent on sorting things out.

It can’t have been easy for Valencia speaks not a word of English but obviously the international language of the game has taken over and things now look better than they have since the pair came together in Diafra Sakho’s absence.

Carroll commented: “There’s been a few changes in the way the way the system has been working and I feel we can only get only get stronger the more me and Enner play up top. I thought he was brilliant.”

Having got that sorted – or at the least seeing it developing properly – we can be more hopeful of things happening up top while Sakho is injured.

They are gonna need to for the simple fact is that we are still six games without a win in normal time and the best way I have found of finding out why is to speak with neutrals.

I’ve spoken to eight in the last 24 hours who all say much the same thing – that we didn’t play well and that it wasn’t a case of Everton stepping up their game as us defending deeper and deeper.

One – a Bolton fan – said: “Sam was the same here. He has the team attack in little bursts and if they get a lead he is more interested in defending it than extending it.”

I didn’t see enough of Bolton to make any kind of judgement but the observation makes sense on the strength of what we are seeing right now.

The excitement and drama of Tuesday evening still can’t disguise the fact that we are now six games without a “proper” win.

We must hope that Carroll and Valencia can start to change that but the real problem may lie in defending a lead rather than going all out to extend it.

And that becomes a managerial problem.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • BrookingtoDevonshire says:

    Your so right.
    But Allardyce doesn’t seem to want to attack anymore when we are 1-0 up (4 games in a row).
    He put’s it down to not enough clean sheets. But the simple fact is we haven’t conceded that many. We have only conceded 3 in one game and that was at the start of the season when we didn’t have a strongest 11 playing. We have the 6th best defence.
    We beat Man City because we were 2-0 up before City came into their own . A 2 margin is easier to defend than 1-0.
    Against Hull we need to go out and attack from the start and with gusto.They are struggling,have several players missing so will be going out to stop us and grab a point.
    Our midfield should be Song,Amalfitano,Noble and Downing the best passers available.

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Hi Hugh, I have watched all Sam’s team at all the clubs bar the Irish one and the format is the same, the only time it was different at Bolton was when Djorkaeff, Hierro etc were there and I think they pretty much ignored his desire to defend and did their own thing. The game then was also different , it was a lot more physical and now it has changed but Sams overall philosophy hasn’t changed. Go 1 – 0 up and do no worse than draw it is boring and predictable, then when it gets to 1 – 1 it opens up again, it’s poor management. Smart attacking is always the best form of defence and every top team now play this way even Mourinho’s who are more defensive than most. I listened to the Everton game on the radio because I couldn’t attend but the radio commentators said when Everton were down to 10 men that our team instead of creating width and making Everton run, the wide players tucked in making it easy for their midfield to hunt the ball down and regain it. If thats true and based on past performances of his team I would think it probably is, then it’s shocking management. We should have looked to put them away 3 or 4 nil. Main thing is we are in the next round, hopefully Valencia can now go on a run of scoring ad we can push upwards but lets watch the space and see what happens COYI!

  • Paolo The Hammer says:

    From what I saw of Sams Bolton team, I remember thinking he was the luckiest manager in the league. Bolton seemed to “nick” a lot of results when they sat back on a lead and the other team would bombard their goal hitting the woodwork left, right and centre, and Jussi was absolutely outstanding for them. He most definitely had his fair share of luck and IMO Bolton were in a false position. Having said that he made the best of what he had available, and played as he does now, in a direct and organised fashion. My problem is he now has a few more creative players available to him, but seems to favour certain players and reverts back to his Bolton ways for big games or when things get difficult. This is fine if the extent of our ambition is just to survive in the PL, but if we are to move forward things must change.

  • BJNamibia says:

    All this clean sheet stuff is rubbish. If you win 2-1 or 3-1 you have won and have a positive goal difference and picked up 3 points. If you try to protect a 1-0 lead and are obsessive about clean sheets, then go the laundry, don’t try to defend a slender lead, particularly against top clubs. It’s more than likely you will let one in if not two.

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