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Opinion

If Andy Carroll is the answer, what’s the question?

4 months ago
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Why Carroll isn’t the answer

After the last few matches, it’s clear that we are short on clinical goalscorers, but seeing people cry out for Andy Carroll to start just doesn’t make sense to me.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia, maybe it’s simple dislike of the current options that start, or people just want change for changes sake.

Obviously a lot of changes I’d be very happy to see at the club (new owner/manager, perhaps?) but sticking Andy Carroll back in the spotlight isn’t one of them.

Here’s why.

Lack of goals

Easiest reason of the lot, he doesn’t score goals!

As much as he’s a local lad, or brings back the sense of an out and out striker, he’s clearly past it and he only got an extension for this season because it was cheaper than finding another bench option.

Looking back at his Premier League goal stats, he has scored only once these past 35 months!

Prior to that consolation goal for Newcastle against Leicester on 3 January 2021, you have to go back to the 2017/18 season where he got three goals in 16 PL appearances. I don’t think he’s improved since then.

So with an admittedly already goal-shy frontline, why add someone who is ‘rusty’ to say the least when it comes to scoring goals and doesn’t fit in our current system? Which brings me to…

Doesn’t fit the system

I’m sure this will be a popular opinion, but why, after seeing a formation shift that adds notable positive progress to playing style, aggression and individual performances for most players (not you, Shelvey), would you want to throw it away and plonk everything back on 4-4-2, or one hold up man up top?

Sure, Joelinton isn’t an amazing goalscorer, and I would never defend the amount we paid for him, but arguably the Villa match was a stand out performance for him. If Villa didn’t have such a rock solid backline, I think he would have come out of the match with a few well deserved plaudits.

Could you imagine trying to play against free-flowing Brighton with a five man midfield and Andy Carroll up top on his own?

Put simply, he simply doesn’t have the legs to last a full game any more and we’ve proved at several points over the last couple of seasons, that the lump it up to the big man style just doesn’t work for us.

Better as an impact player

As we saw in his cameo against Aston Villa, Andy Carroll does still have an impact coming off the bench.

He didn’t get much time, but having that presence in the box coupled with not having dealt with that sort of presence all game, threw off the Villa backline.

Obviously, if Bruce didn’t have the tactical nous of a root vegetable, he may have given him a bit longer, maybe 20 mins or so, but it’s better than the 30 seconds he got at West Brom, which was utterly pointless given that he came on for the best crosser of the ball on the pitch.

In my opinion, forcing the opposition to make a change in defence after they’ve been used to defending against one playing style all match, would be a better move than plugging away the same way all game, though it would mean switching to a 4-3-3 or something like that to get supporting players in the box or whipping crosses in. Maybe Murphy-Carroll- Fraser for the last 15 mins or so?

Granted this would involve rapid tactical switches in game time, so don’t hold your breath on this one.

All in all, please don’t start Andy Carroll, use him as a useful option off the bench yes, but don’t start him.

If Carroll starts against Brighton over Gayle (anonymous and out of position) and Murphy doesn’t, I’ll be very nervous for the outcome.

(All stats above via premierleague.com)

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