It’s no secret that West Ham United have struggled mightily since their move to the London Stadium two years ago. Blame has been throw at so many things and people it’s hard to keep track of it all.
With the departure of David Moyes West Ham have a chance to start anew and begin the journey to the next level we all thought we’d take after our magical last season at Upton Park.
There are sure to be some transfer moves made the summer and the squad does need an injection of new talent. However, one move needs to happen for the hammers to truly be able to move to the next level.
That move has to be letting Andy Carroll go. On his day he is a top class striker, capable of scoring incredible goals. The issue is that his day isn’t very often and when healthy the temptation is there to make sure he’s starting. That friends is exactly the problem.
Managers get enamored by the talent of Andy Carroll and build a team to suit his style. Powerful wingers and fullbacks that bomb in crosses to the big man who puts them on goal or knocks down for someone to sweep in. Andy is great at this and does a good job when he’s on the pitch.
However, for all his talent and skill there is a more sinister air that surround the big man. I like to call it “The Andy Carroll vortex of doom”. To put it simply the vortex of doom is the single reason for West Ham’s struggles over the past five years. The definition of the vortex of doom is as follows,
“The enigma that Andy Carroll can ever be healthy enough to be an everyday striker. The skill and talent pull all managers around him into a cycle of thinking after this injury he’ll finally be healthy and ready to start every game. This thinking leads to a squad built around the big man that fails to live up to expectations.”
Every manager since Carroll signed has built their team around him and his style of play. There are multiple issues with this roster building and strategy. The first is the fact that Andy Carroll is hurt more than he’s available. Since joining West Ham the big man has been unavailable for 117 out of the 228 Premier League games, or nearly 51% of the time he’s injured.
You can’t build a squad around a guy that’s injured 51% percent of the time. Which leads to the next issue building your roster around Andy Carroll it creates inconsistency.
We’ve seen it every single year that Carroll has been here. He gets on the field, it takes two or three games for everyone to adjust to his style, he starts scoring, then he gets injured. Then the squad which is built to get down the wings quickly and bomb crosses in has to adjust to playing without a lone hold-up big striker. In comes, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia, Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio, and others to try and play in the Andy Carroll role. None of them are built to play that style, arguably Sakho was the most like for like replacement but he had his own injury issues.
This constant shuffle at the front doesn’t allow for the attackers to form a consistent strategy and flow. When they’re bombing in crosses for a month it takes a while to adjust to playing the ball on the ground and move it through the middle and vice versa.
We saw the perfect example of this situation in 2018. Chicharito is more than capable of playing as a lone striker, his production at Bayer Leverkusen proves that. Yet, Slaven Bilic in his infinte wisdom decided that Chicharito should get crosses bombed into him. Slaven mate, the guy is 5’9” HE ISN’T GOING TO BEAT ANYONE IN THE AIR! David Moyes also fell into the Andy Carroll vortex of doom, leaving Chichartio on the bench for much of his tenure, despite the fact that Chicha was scoring goals when he was on the pitch.
Mark Arnautovic did well as an Andy Carroll replacement but he too isn’t the kind of guy that wants crosses bombed into him. The link up play between Joao Mario, Manuel Lanzini, and Arnautovic was beautiful toward the end of the season. Imagine throwing Chicharito into that mix could be deadly. However, Moyes’ doesn’t rate Mexico striker so we were never going to get to see that.
Don’t get me wrong. I do like Andy Carroll. For all of his off the field misdeeds and his injuries I think he provides a good presence at the training ground and he’s very talented. However, he is not someone that we can build our squad around anymore.
I think it would be best for the club, the new manager, and Andy to ship him off to someone else. I think he could be an excellent super sub that comes on the last 20 minutes when we need a goal to draw level or win. The issue is though, that the manager will fall into the vortex of doom and think that Andy can be an everyday starter, which of course means he’ll promptly get hurt.
By sending Andy Carroll off to another team, West Ham can get the truly new start we’ve all been craving. A new manager can come in build a new squad with a new style that so many fans want. Again I have nothing against Andy, but mate, it’s been fun but it’s time to move on.