Tag Archives: Andy Carroll

Carlton Cole

Goodbye Carlton, hello Rat

So, the silly season has really kicked off big style with West Ham being linked to a multitude of players. Some of the rumours seem plausible, some are just so stupid it beggars belief.

Anyway, back to the real world for a moment and a word about someone we actually have signed, Razvan Rat. This seems a great bit of business by Big Sam. He is captian of his country and incredibly experienced, and is sure to make the left back position his own. Joey O’Brien has done an admirable job filling in on the left while George McCartney has been injured, but he is primarily a right back and should be competing with Guy Demel for the starting spot next season.

The Andy Carroll saga continues with the clubs agreeing a fee, leaving it down to Mr Carroll himself to have the final word. It does seem that Liverpool was his first choice, but now that he has finally been told that he can go and Newcastle has pulled out of any deal, it must be a toss-up between the Hammers and any other club that can offer him Champion League opportunities next season. I know he has got to look after number one, but it does rankle a little that he hasn’t committed himself to West Ham already. Hey ho.

Talking of Liverpool, it appears that we are now interested in Jonjo Shelvey, according to media reports. I know Liverpool need the money to bolster their squad and it is the silly season as I said, but I just hope this is a daft rumour and nothing more. Shelvey has shown himself to be mediocre at best, and is not the sort of player that West Ham need if they are to challenge for Europe next season. My fingers are firmly crossed!

Other rumours include Lukaku on loan from Chelsea (a very good idea, but I think he will want to go elsewhere – maybe abroad), Wilfried Bony of Vitesse Arnhem (surely will only be pursued if Carroll turns us down), and Loic Remy from QPR. I liked Remy a lot last season and I doubt he would want to play in the Championship, so that one is a possibility.

Finally, a word about Carlton Cole who is leaving us after his contract was not renewed. I like Carlton. He is a diamond geezer, and you could not wish to meet a nicer bloke (apparently). He would have been a half-decent squad player if he had stayed, but maybe would have only got 2 or 3 games a season. When push comes to shove he is not good enough to lead the front line, but he has been loyal to us and for that he will always be welcomed warmly at Upton Park. David Gold even tweeted that he was actually offered a new contract but turned it down. So it’s off to pastures new, and I really hope he does well wherever he goes – he deserves it.

And now, the end is near…

After last week’s miserable performance against Everton, we go into the final game of the season against Reading on Sunday expecting a much improved performance and maybe a little entertainment along the way. Maybe the occasion got to the players last week, but they were simply woeful, apart from James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen who prevented the score getting into double figures. With the last game being at home, I’m sure that Big Sam will get the lads juiced up for this one, and a home win is confidently expected. I had expected Sam to change things around a bit last week with Diame having a rest and Noble and Joe Cole starting, but he stuck with the same team as the week before. I think that was a mistake and I feel that at times he needs to use his whole squad more to keep people fresh.

As we drift over the finishing line, most peoples’ thoughts are with the impending and unending transfer sagas that will fill the summer months. It is clear that the manager and chairmen need to resolve the Andy Carroll issue one way or the other as early as possible, and at the same time try to tie down Mo Diame too, as I feel both signings will be vital. After that it will be all hands to the pumps to try to strengthen the side from the very long list of potential signings in Sam’s little black book. One interesting development is a news item that West Ham are interested in AC Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini. The 35 year old midfielder is the type of player that Big Sam likes to buy, as was evident back in his Bolton days when the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff graced the pitch. Whether it will come off remains to be seen, but you can guarantee that over the next few months we will be linked with just about every player under the sun. It’s going to be a very long summer!

COYI

whu-everton

Everton v West Ham : Time to blood the youngsters?

West Ham visit Goodison Park today aware that the main focus of the match will be the farewell and celebration of David Moyes in his last home game before his move to Manchester United.

Whether the occasion will affect Everton’s performance on the pitch remains to be seen, but it is clear that Big Sam wants to finish as high in the table as he can, given that he’ll need all the cash his chairmen can muster for the impending transfer window. With a sizeable fortune available for every place higher up in the Premiership trable, it is unlikely that Big Sam will use the fact that West Ham are now safe from relegation as an opportunity to blood some of the youngsters. It is a shame, but understandable, so we can therefore look forward to another largely unchanged side, playing the usual “away” tactics that we have seen all season. The team should therefore play in a defensive frame of mind with Carroll up front on his own. Everton will want to give Moyes a nice going away present, although their position in the table is unlikely to change now before the end of the season. They should have lion’s share of possession, and West Ham will try to strike on the counter attack. Although it is easy to criticise Mr Allardyce for employing such tactics, it is worth bearing in mind that without them, West Ham would surely not be safe right now, so not too many complaints from me.

As for the scoreline, I feel that Everton are going to nick this one by the odd goal, so I am going to go for 2-1 win to them. Here’s hoping I am wrong!

COYI

jussi jaaskelainen

Jussi – he’s a keeper!

Now West Ham are mathematically safe from the drop it’s time to turn one’s attention to next season, and the incessant transfer “rumours” that pervade the media from now onwards.

Of course, there is the Andy Carrol situation, and it is no secret that West Ham want him to stay. The obstacles, naturally, are the price on his head and his wage demands. I can just about see Liverpool slashing his price enough to make him worth buying, but the bigger stumbling block are his high wages. Although he seems to be happy at Upton Park, Carroll seems to be his own man, as Joe Cole recently pointed out. Whether he will follow the money, or go for a club that offers guaranteed European football, or stick with his mates remains to be seen.

One recent rumour in the media currently is news that West Ham are very interested in taking on Brad Guzan, Aston Villa’s keeper, with £5 million being bandied about. Now I find this one to be a tad strange. Villa are now safe from relegation, and Paul Lambert has a decent young side in the making. Guznan is now firmly established as the number one keeper at Villa after being given his chance by Lambert. I just cannot see why he would want to leave to join the Hammers. Sure, if Man Utd came along it might turn his head, but West Ham are not currently in a position to offer him a big step up from where he is now. Hopefully in a few years that will be different of course! Also, Jussi Jaaskelainen has had a storming season and is very high in most peoples’ Hammer of the Year list. True, he is getting on a bit, but now is not the time to replace him. Now is the time to maybe get a good young keeper with potential as his number two. So keep your 5 mill in your pocket Sam, or use it for the Andy Carroll fund. Because there is still life in old man Jussi yet, and long may it remain so.

westham-newcastle

West Ham 0 – 0 Newcastle : Match Report

What was anticipated to be a match full of passion, physicality and goals turned out to be a tame affair, and one that will not live long in the memory.

It was evident even before the kick-off that there was something missing from the atmosphere. Maybe it was the downpour that soaked the ground prior to the start of the match, but an out-take from Braveheart it certainly wasn’t. West Ham started slowly, happy to sit back and watch Newcastle play the ball around, a far cry from their usual positive home form. The return of Ben-Arfa for Newcastle gave them more scope, and Fabricio Coloccini was back giving the defence a well-needed boost. In terms of shots on goal, Cisse had an effort cleared off the line by Winston Reid, but the first half remained goalless, although Newcastle were ahead on points.

The Hammers improved after the break and Rob Elliot in goal for Newcastle had to make saves from Nolan, Jarvis and Carroll, and Nolan had a fair shout for a penalty. But the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion, and despite the obligatory positive noises from the management teams, it was definitely a day to forget. Wigan’s win means that Newcastle bums are getting progressively squeakier, and West Ham are still not mathematically safe. Let’s hope that the Hammers’s next game away at Everton will be a tad more entertaining.

westham-newcastle

West Ham vs Newcastle: Match Preview

Newcastle travel to Upton Park today in an intriguing encounter which could have a big say in this year’s relegation dog-fight. A win for West Ham would mean they are mathematically safe, while Newcastle are only 5 points ahead of Wigan having played a game more, and will be desperate for the points.

It is also intriguing for the number of sub-plots underpinning today’s game. Big Sam returns to the club that sacked him, a fact that clearly still rankles with the big man. Likewise Alan Pardew returns to his old club where he has many fond memories, but also where it all went horribly wrong. Add to all that both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll returning home, and you have a match that is not to be missed.

After Newcastle’s 6-0 drubbing by Liverpool last week, the Magpies are in serious trouble and their confidence is going to be shot. Pardew is sure to change the team around a bit, and Fabricio Coloccini may return to the centre of defence after injury. West Ham have no further injury problems with only James Tomkins and George McCartney on the treatment table.

Andy Carroll should have a large physical presence in the game today, and I fancy him to continue his good scoring run, although he is sure to have mixed feelings returning to his boyhood club. I thought that Big Sam would change the midfield around a bit last week, either bringing in Mark Noble or Joe Cole, but he persisted with the Vaz Te and Mo Diame combination. I can see Vaz Te dropping to the bench this week with Joe Cole starting, but Diame may continue in the middle if Sam doesn’t want to change things around. The defence is picking itself with Tomkins out, and the same can be said up front.

I can’t see any other result today other than a West Ham win with form so good at home. I reckon Jussi Jaaskelainen will provide another clean sheet today too, so I’ll plump for a 2-0 win with Carroll and Collins getting the goals.

If the Hammers do get the win, the club should announce a new contract for Mr Allardyce shortly after, and it is a contract much deserved after achieving the target of Premiership survival in a relatively comfortable manner. It should be an interesting summer too, with the necessity to improve from here and plenty of activity due in the transfer market.

COYI

mancity-westham

Man City 2 – 1 West Ham : Post match thoughts

West Ham’s 5 game unbeaten run came to an end against Manchester City on Saturday, when goals from Aguero and Yaya Toure were enough to seal the points, despite a late consolation goal from Andy Carroll.

It was another one of West Ham’s typical “away” performances, where solid defence was the priority and attacking options were limited. In truth, Manchester City could have had 5 or 6 were it not for some bad luck and some great saves from Jussi Jaaskelainen, who continued his fine run of form. City were by far the better attacking side, and maybe the best that can be said of West Ham is that they again proved hard to beat.

Carroll was again the Hammers best outlet, and if they fail to land his signature in the summer then they would be wise to have an alternative lined up as it is hard to see goals coming from anywhere else. Vitesse Arnhem’s Wilfried Bony would be a good choice, but now all sundry are after his services it is hard to see West Ham being his destination of choice.

At least it seems that there will be no sentiment getting in the way of hard-nosed business decisions, as Sam Allardyce was quoted today as saying that “To improve we just need to add better players, it’s a simple as that. If we get better players then we improve. If we can do that then we get better and we become an established Barclays Premier League side.” So hopefully there will be a sufficient transfer kitty available in the summer for Big Sam to get the players he needs. The Carroll situation will apparently be dealt with first, but things are looking a bit less optimistic on that front after reports in the Mirror that the striker has recently bought a house in Southport. It would be a shame to see him go as he has done a great job and is a firm favourite with the fans.

Finally, now the season is drawing to a close and survival is relatively assured, a lot people’s minds are focussing on the Hammer of the Year award. It’s going to be tough this year as there is no stand-out contender, but Diame, Reid, Collins, and Jaaskelainen have got to be contenders. In a year dominated by the defence, my two are Reid and Jaaskelainen, and at the moment I can’t decide between them. Both have been consistently outstanding, and I think I’ll have to flip a coin in the end! Please let me know who your HOTY is and why  🙂

whu-mancity

Manchester City v West Ham – Match preview

West Ham travel to Manchester City on Saturday in the hope of obtaining the points needed to make them mathematically safe from relegation. It would take a miracle for anyone to catch them now, however, so the team should be relaxed and confident. Manchester City have little to play for now that Manchester United have sealed the Premiership title, and it remains to be seen how the City players will respond to this relatively meaningless fixture. For Man City, James Milner, Sergio Agüero and David Silva are fit again and come into the reckoning, and for West Ham everyone is fit bar Tomkins and McCartney. In midfield, Big Sam may be tempted to rest either Diame or O’Neill with Mark Noble pressing for a recall. Up front Joe Cole could replace Vaz Te. The defence should remain unchanged.

If Manchester City were still vying for the title, I would have gone for a home win here, but the mercenary nature of the City squad and the greater team spirit and work ethic of the Hammers gives me hope that they could pull off a shock here and take all 3 points back to London. There is no doubting the quality of the Man City squad, but Sam Allardyce has got the defence very organised and solid, and I take them to repel the City front line that could include old boy Carlos Tevez who, if he plays, is sure to receive a adoring welcome from the away support. Andy Carroll should continue his fine form and is fancied to score again, and Winston Reid is also due another goal in what has been an outstanding season from him.

Look out for a round of applause tomorrow in memory of Marc-Vivien Foe who played for both Man City and West Ham, and who tragically died in 2003 playing for Cameroon. His shirt number for Man City was 23, and they retired the shirt after his death. The tribute to him is due to start on 23 minutes.

In other news, Barry Hearn has been defeated in his attempt to seek yet another judicial review of the process to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham. If true to his word, he should finally give up his battle to share the stadium with the Hammers. Despite his claims that he was fighting for the survival of his club Leyton Orient, his actions smack of those of an opportunist riding coattails on the back of the West Ham bid, hoping for a ride on the OS gravy train. The ironic thing is, because of his actions, West Ham now have to pay far less for the Olympic Stadium than they would have had to originally.

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Wigan, Nolan and Carroll

West Ham continued their recent run of good results with a 2-0 victory over Wigan on Saturday. After the exertions of the 2-2 draw the Wednesday before with Manchester United, the performance itself was relatively poor. Wigan had about 60% possession in the match and had a number of chances to secure the game, but Jussi Jaaskelainen was in fantastic form again and kept the Hammers in it. A largely defensive display by West Ham was punctuated with the occasional counter attack, and Wigan were to rue their number of missed chances when goals from Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan completed an unlikely victory. In seasons past West Ham would have lost games like this, and it says a lot about the quality and organisation that Big Sam has brought to the side that they were able to smash and grab the points here.

The goal from Kevin Nolan was the hundredth of his career, and now he has crossed that psychological barrier I expect him to get at least a couple more by the end of the season. Andy Carroll was instrumental in setting up his good friend’s goal, and now that the end of the seaon is approaching, the West Ham PR machine is in full flow with regard to his possible permanent transfer from Liverpool.

Big Sam has spoken about how the Hammers simply cannot afford to buy Carroll when the Financial Fair Play rules come into force next season, and all and sundry are saying how vital it is that West Ham manage to keep Carroll next season. Of course it all comes down to money. Will Liverpool drop their asking price low enough? After shelling out £35 million on Carroll they will want to recoup as much as possible, but their current asking price of £17 million will surely not be met by anyone. Brendan Rodgers has also made it clear that if Carroll stays with Liverpool he will likely be a bit-part player, coming off the bench as an impact sub. Although Carroll knows he still has a point to prove at Liverpool, I cannot see him forgoing a regular starting spot, and the likelihood is that he would want to move on. Newcastle have also announced their ambition in Carroll’s direction, but they are in a similar position to West Ham who hold all the cards in the shape of Big Sam, best buddy Nolan, a style of football that is tailor-made for him, and the fact that Carroll is supposedly very happy where he is right now. Carroll’s wages are an obvious stumbling block, so it remains to seen how that will be resolved, but my feeling is that he will take a cut to stay where he is. Big Sam knows that that would be the best move for West Ham and has intimated that it would be the best move for Carroll too. Let’s hope that he does stay. Hero status is just around the corner.