Sakho/Valencia pace can undo Chelsea


CarrollsakhoIrons fans are looking ahead to the Boxing Day clash at Stamford Bridge with more optimism than they have done for several years – and justifiably so.

But this is a game which should throw up a big dilemma for manager Sam Allardyce according to several leaving messages on the ClaretandHugh forum.

It’s difficult to disagree with one – SillyolDuffer – who wrote this morning “Just watched the Stoke/Chelsea game. Peter Crouch was ineffective against the Chelski centre-backs.

I think we should play Valencia and Sakho for pace. If Carroll does get a start it should be with Zarate who can feed off him. Can see a few yellow cards in this one!!

Such has been the chorus of applause for Carroll’s last couple of performances that it’s all too easy to overlook the fact that our very best performances came earlier in the season when Diafra was partnered by Enner Valencia.

The pairing produced pace and power – stretching defenders and taking them where they really didn’t want to go whereas of late we have tended to go longer at times which may not be the best option against the former England captain and partner Gary Cahill.

As another forum contributor – West Ham Fan No 32 – comments, in agreeing with the first that Carroll should remain on the bench: ” I think Sam will still play Carroll.

“Lets hope Noble is fit and we can put our first team out. He has been missed around that midfield area and this will be a tough match, Fabregas, Hazard, Oscar… no room for passengers to keep them contained.”

The major point though is whether AC starts or we go with the Senegal and Ecuador internationals which is my personal preference having noted the slowing John Terry point and remembering that aerial balls are meat and drink to him.

We’d be interested to see your teams…here’s mine assuming Mark Noble is fit: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell; Song, Downing, Noble, Kouyate, Sakho, Valencia. 

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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


  • conkerpot says:

    I would go valencia sakho simply because big andy needs a rest before he gets injury crocked again. Valencia and sakho have only been playing half games and going into such a busy period we need to rotate a bit more effectively. If Downing looks tired or Not as effective as usual I would sub him for zarate at the tip of the diamond. Plus big andy off the bench in the later stages when their defence is tired or if either sakho or valencia are ineffective would be a great option.

  • eastendexile says:

    This is our best team by a country mile, and if Noble out then Amalfitano/Zarate mix up instead.
    Is Sam brave enough to use this formation instead of going for the big hammer to crack a nut approach he normally adopts ?

    Whilst Andy is good for impact and scares defenders we are playing too much to him to the detriment of everyone else. Give Valencia and Sakho the nod and let them get in behind them and then bring AC on when they are tiring.

  • bubs says:

    I stii think we can play a diamond up front of Carroll ,Sakho,Valencia and Downing, with Song and Kouyte in front of the back 4, and give a real go, if we push them back it will take away there push to over man the middle, they only play 1 up front and use the quick small midfielders to run at you,I spend a lot of time in Spain and this is the only way Big Head plays that is why the Real fans hated him boring but affective,you can’t keep control of Hazard ,Oscar ,Frabragasand William without going totally defencive,let them chase us because these 4 can’t defend only dive .

  • WhuG says:

    Vrs Chelsea; Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Collins, Cresswell; Song, Downing, Noble, Kouyate, Sakho, Valencia.

    Vrs Arsenal; Adrian, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell; Song, Downing, Noble, Kouyate, Sakho, Carroll

    I would then mix in Zarate, Nolan and Almanfitano during the matches as circumstances require. Winning formula. Boom!

  • rugbyirons says:

    There isn’t a hope of the Genius dropping Carroll or Nolan .he isn’t a good enough manager to make the big decisions.

    • PennsylvaniaHammer says:

      You’re never happy are you? Why even give yourself the stress of supporting West Ham? I’ll bet if we were to win the league and FA Cup you’d still be moaning!

      Merry Xmas anyway.

  • el martillo says:

    With the possible exception of Carroll your selection is certainly our best team and on any other day I would agree with your line up. But we have two games in three days and clearly will have to rotate to some extent. In my opinion we have a better chance of success against Arsenal than Chelsea and I would select accordingly. Song got kicked all over the pitch on Saturday and I would reserve him for the Arsenal game which I imagine he will be more than up for. Likewise Tomkins came off with a tweak and is unlikely to play in both games, Collins is unlucky not to have been playing and deserves a chance. So: Adrian: Kouyate Noble Amalfitano Downing: Valencia Sakho.

  • el martillo says:

    For some reason the server seems to think we should play without any defence at all!
    Jenks Collins Reid Cresswell could perhaps do a turn.

  • philtheiron says:

    I think the key points here are the fitness of noble and squad rotation.

    My biggest worry for the next two games is that noble might not be fit. If this is the case then nolan is likely to play. The trouble then is we loose that vital half yard of pace which could be fatal against quality teams.

    I would like to see Amilfitano ahead of nolan and I really like the idea of Sakho-valencia against chelski and carroll-Sakho/valencia for the arse. I also see ginge playing a part along the way as well.
    The good thing is we now have an excellent squad with excellent options that if used correctly should see us gain four points from arguably the two most important games of the season thus far. COYI!

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