“The lads see Carroll up top and become lazy!”


leroylogoI’ve said many times since joining this site there is room for three top strikers at this club!

It was great to see Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho back together against Manchester United on Sunday and we saw a brilliant team performance.

But let’s not fall into the error of believing that was solely because an injury to Andy Carroll threw the deadly duo back together again.

This discussion has dominated much of the season and I’m not doubting the pair’s superb input whenever they are together but to try brushing Andy aside – as some have been doing – is wrong.

What happens when Diafra and Enner come together is that the rest of the team has to play far better and cleverer football to feed the ball into the front pair.

The manager said on Sunday after the game the strength of our performance was in getting the ball into their feet from midfield and the same has to happen when AC is up top.

I think the rest of the lads can get lazier and tend to lump it when he’s playing. This is not a Carroll problem. It’s a team thing because Andy has great feet and the ball can be played into him as well as the other two.

The problem is when you see a big striker up front there’s a natural tendency to lump it towards him – and that has to stop!

Every game demands a different approach and it was clear that the pace and mobility of Diafra and Enner was ideal for the demands of the United game. They moved the defence around and looked pretty special.

I’d keep them together for the game at Southampton – there’s no point or reason to break up a pairing that is so in form.

But please let’s stop all the talk about Andy Carroll now being the third best striker – it’s not about who is best, second or third best.

It’s about developing a system that works, picking the players to suit it and demanding they play real football as they did on Sunday regardless of who is up top.

And it’s up to the manager to Sam Allardyce to develop it and preach that message.

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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


  • bubs says:

    Leyroy you say they become lazy I don’t agree this is a team that is led by a dictator BFS and if you want to be part of this team and not end up like Zarate or Morrinson you do as you are told,only one person tells them to lump it up top to AC,the players like Noble,Valencia,Downing,Alfitano,Song,Tomkins,Cresswell Ect Ect are taught at academys to play proper football from a very early age,it like Sunday only one person brought on There bean pole and told the rest of the team to lump it up to him and that got them a point,
    But ask players like Rooney how long he will stay at there club if that happened every week,you play to your teams ability and in the past few years we have not had the quality we have this year,we now know and so does BFS which style we shoul play and if we have to grab a point or win late on then we result to the lump and jump style it’s not so bad ( not for me even to get points ) if AC wants to be part of England’s and our team he has to adapt
    To this style of play and I am sure he can but until then BFS must keep him as back up and that goes for Nolan as well.

  • rads45 says:

    Absolutely spot on article by Leroy,but i still prefer to see Sakho & Valencia as our strikers.Carroll might be good with his feet but he isnt going to drag the defenses all over the place with pace like the other two.Yes we have three good strikers but its Enner & Diafra for me whenever possible if they are both available.When they play together we get the type of football we all pray for each week but dont always get delivered when they dont play.Carroll is a beast on his day but i would still rather pay to see Sakho & Valencia together all day long.They really do excite me,its a pairing you dream of having as a manager & i hope Sam can see this too,no matter how stubborn he can be.You can feel the extra buzz in the ground when they are up front.They bring that little bit extra for everyone,both the team & us the supporters.

  • ammeral says:

    I can see what you’re saying Leroy but I’m surprised that a proper premiership team would be allowed to adopt such a lazy approach. I remember Mourinho subbing Joe Cole early in a match in what looked like a potential man of the match performance because what he was doing was not what the manager had asked of him. Are you saying that Sam lacks that control? I’d tended to think that, as Sam has always been a big fan of getting the ball forward early (lumping it, to you and I), the players were following his instructions.
    I think we’re really fortunate to have 3 top strikers that each bring something very different to the game – comparison isn’t really relevant. Competition must be good for all and a level playing field is critical to this. On that basis Sakho and Valencia retain their places for the next game.

  • mattefumi69 says:

    Sorry, but I don’t agree with this article; in my personal opinion Carroll has different characteristics than Sakho and Valencia. You can’t play the same football using Carroll together with one of the two. You write “The problem is when you see a big striker up front there‚Äôs a natural tendency to lump it towards him”, in part probably you are right. But starting from the same football system (no long balls) you’ll never get the same result using Sakho and Valencia together in place of Carroll with Valencia or Sakho. Carroll is slower, less explosive (structural limits) and when he plays we become more predictable, on the contrary Sakho and Valencia together don’t give points of reference to opposing defenses and the playing style becomes faster and more fluent. Sometimes one plus one is not two.

  • Michael Miller says:

    Whatever, the fact is the Team play better without Carroll.

    I think this is probably down to tha Manager and Coaches trying to use Carroll’s natural abilities, the fact that it’s limiting the rest of the play is neither here nor there!

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    The team play more attractive football when playing with Valencia and Sakho because they are hitting the ball diagonally over the top and or into the corners making the defenders move about a lot. When Carroll plays there is a lot less of that as often he is found within the width of the 18 yard box. and the defence can more or less hold it’s shape and focus on the second ball. One thing that is missing the way that Sakho and Valencia are playing is a midfielder prepared to run from deeper positions beyond defenders or onto balls from them (a la Lampard) if they put Amalfitano through the middle or downing also at the tip of the diamond we will score even more goals and create more opportunities.

  • philtheiron says:

    You are spot on mate!
    You have summed the problem up sucsinty! I just wish now we could now put all the carroll nonsense to bed once and for all!

    It has got nothing to do with AC being anybodies favourite but everything to do with the three strikers, the manager and the coaching team working out a system where all three can play as a partnership without loosing their effectiveness.

    As well as our front two played sunday(and they played very well), valencia though much improved, running himself into the ground, he still looked a little out of sorts. Where as Sakho if match fit would have probably scored.

    They both tired late on and if carroll had come on for either we would probably seen the game out. His aireal ability would have come in especially handy at the end when the manc’s were reduced to desperately lumping the ball forward aimlessly.
    So leroy you are spot with what you say and the three need to learn to play Together. Especially if you consider that Sakho and Valencia can’t play every game and can’t keep running themselves into the ground each game without risking serious injury.

    Players need rest and squads have to be rotated Otherwise the injuries just pile up. COYI!

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