Andy Carroll injured his knee against Southampton and is expected to have surgery that will keep him out of the team for the remainder of the 2014/15 season. It’s the latest in a long line of injuries for the 26 year old striker, and is a frustrating setback for West Ham United.
At the time of writing, West Ham are just seven points from a European place.
While they probably won’t win the league this year, it’s a vast improvement from the relegation dogfight that consumed last season—but how will Andy Carroll’s season-ending injury impact a Hammers side who are still doing far better than expected in the Premier League?
As a forward, his contribution to the team this season is well noted.
In the 1,024 league minutes Carroll has played, he has scored five goals and set up two assists – giving him the second highest goals per minutes (and also goals and assists per minutes) ratio of the West Ham squad. He is second only to Diafra Sakho, who has scored seven league goals and set up three league assists in his respective 1168 minutes played.
His goal against Swansea a few short weeks ago was a thing of beauty, and it was a teasing glimpse into what the striker can deliver when he’s fully fit and functional.
He’s certainly an integral part of West Ham’s squad, but it remains to be seen how keenly West Ham will miss him.
According to Opta, West Ham have won 53 games with Andy Carroll and 46 without him – that’s a win rate of 36% with and 28% without Carroll in the squad. There isn’t a lot in it either way – although it should be noted that many of those games took place when West Ham were losing games left, right and centre – irrespective of who was on the pitch.
Reportedly, the Hammers take on average 1.3 points per game with Carroll, and 1.2 points without him. Again, the numbers are in Carroll’s favour – but not by vast margins.
The aforementioned numbers have left some West Ham fans not overly distraught at Carroll’s absence for the remainder of the season. After all, there are some reasons to still be optimistic.
The strike partnership of lively and aggressive Enner Valencia (three goals, five assists in 1267 minutes) and quick and skillful goal machine Diafra Sakho is often the preferred one, and on occasion the exclusion of one of those strikers in order to include Carroll – a more traditional holder of the ball and centre-forward – has not gone down well with some fans.
However, it must also be said that Andy Carroll is a very well-rounded player—especially considering his expertise in getting back to defend.
Carroll has repeatedly saved West Ham’s skin by heading off the line at crucial moments. In the Southampton game, when Carroll finished by being unable to even walk towards the ball, he had three crucial headers to keep the ball out of the West Ham net – which helped to secure a vital and impressive point at St. Mary’s.
I’m confident that Valencia and Sakho have what it takes to score enough goals to keep West Ham firmly in the top half of the table, but I’m also certain the Hammers will miss the strength, skill, defensive prowess and goals that Andy Carroll brings to the side. Get well soon, Mr. Carroll.
West Ham fans. How much will you miss Carroll? Will his absence cost you a place in Europe next season? Let us know your thoughts below, become a guest blogger or tweet us @LaFootyettes.