West Ham not so handy without Andy

Injury to Andy Carroll has derailed West Ham United's promising season - despite fan division over his role.


It seems some time ago now but, back when West Ham were flying high in the Premier League - and Sam Allardyce could do no wrong - the Irons faithful was torn over the return to the first team of Andy Carroll, who had missed the first three months of the season with injury.

And, once the side had been rejigged to fit him in - would you expect anything less for a club record signing? - some pointed the finger at the big Geordie when results started to slide.

Since returning to the fray in November, Carroll scored five times in 14 games, a far from exhilarating return, but decent nonetheless, and one more league goal than the much heralded Enner Valencia has achieved in 11 matches more.

Fans were unconvinced by the former Newcastle man, though.

However, since suffering knee medial damage in the goalless draw with Southampton last month, his importance has become clear.

An out-ball, a nuisance, a threat - not every playing role is quantifiable by statistics.

Since his latest injury, West Ham haven't won a game, have shipped ten goals, and scored just three times in four matches.

In January, the Hammers' only defeat came away to Premier League form side Liverpool, and peaked with a 3-0 thumping of Hull City, where Carroll opened the scoring.

That game was their last Premier League victory. Then, they were eight points off the Champions League spots, now they are 14 adrift.

In terms of form, they are relegation fodder. 

Sympathies may not be vast for Carroll's injury plight since arriving at Upton Park - starting just 43.4% of games in that time - but the £15million man has become something of an undeserved scapegoat.

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