Both Carroll’s headed goals furthered his reputation as a classically trained target man, whilst he also assisted Sakho with a flicked on header that set the Senegalese international free through the middle of the defence. It was an emphatic performance from the 25-year-old forward, and even more impressive considering he is yet to reach full fitness upon his return from injury.
The victory moved the Hammers into the top three of the Premier League, and, although it has been Sakho and strike partner Enner Valencia who have received all the plaudits in recent weeks, Carroll’s performance staked a starting claim for himself, and he has proven how vital he will be to Sam Allardyce if the coach intends to keep West Ham in with a chance at European qualification.
Speaking after the game, Allardyce praised the former Liverpool and Newcastle man, claiming that he is ‘on a par’ with Swansea star Bony.
When asked whether Carroll is the the best ‘big man’ in the Premier League, the 60-year-old coach replied: “Bony’s not bad. I think he’s on a par [with Carroll]. We saw his goalscoring ability today, not with his head but his foot.”
Both target men were impressive for their respective sides at the Boleyn Ground, but it is interesting to compare the duo across the season - with Carroll truly impressing despite his limited game time.
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Whilst Bony has five more goals to his name than Carroll - whose goals on Sunday were his first of the season - the Englishman has been far exceeding his Ivorian compatriot as a target man - despite playing almost 700 minutes fewer. He has had seven headed shots to Bony’s four, and both his goals have come from his head. He has won 15 more aerial duels than Bony, and only has one fewer assist.
Having gone from being the Sakho and Valencia show at the Boleyn Ground, Sunday showed that it can now be the Sakho and Carroll show, and Allardyce must be delighted that his entire squad is sending the Hammers up the Premier League table.