Why I’m tipping Petric to make an impact

Last week West Ham finally signed a decent back-up striker. No, it wasn't Carlton Cole, it was Croatian Mladen Petric.

Last week West Ham finally signed a decent back-up striker. No, it wasn’t Carlton Cole, it was Croatian Mladen Petric.

The 32-year-old had been without a club since leaving Fulham in the summer. He has signed a deal with the Hammers until the end of the season. He may be coming towards the end of his career but I believe Petric could make an impact once he gets back his match fitness. Petric had a blistering start at Fulham last season, scoring two goals and providing an assist in the opening day win over Norwich.

However, the rest of the season didn’t go to plan and he ended up with five goals in 23 Premier League appearances. That stat doesn’t sound great, but what has to be taken into consideration is he was behind Dimitar Berbatov in the Fulham pecking order, and of those 23 games, only around 10 were starts. Apart from his spell in West London, Petric has been prolific throughout his league career.

He scored 38 in 99 games for Hamburg, 13 in 29 for Borussia Dortmund and 38 in 72 for Basel. Plus, he’s netted 13 in 45 for Croatia. His most famous Croatian goal is without doubt the 25- yard stunner which beat England 3-2 at Wembley, meaning the Three Lions failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

After the match, he refused to swap his jersey, saying: “This is the proudest moment of my career. I didn’t want to swap this jersey for anything.” That goal against England showed fantastic technique, which he shows on a regular basis. After Pertic was signed by West Ham, Sky Sports News showed his goals from last season.

One goal away at Queens Park Rangers was better than his Croatia goal at Wembley. It whistled into the top corner from around the same distance. A top strike, and hopefully we’ll see a few more in his time at Upton Park. In terms of his goals to games ratio, he is better than a 1 in 3 forward, something that none of the strikers at West Ham possess.

When Andy Carroll finally makes his comeback from injury, he has the capacity to score 1 in 3, but he doesn’t have that record currently. Modibo Maïga had a good record at Sochaux, with 24 goals in 59 Ligue 1 games. But he must have either played with top players or played against rubbish defences because he has shown not even a glimpse of that kind of form in his Hammers career.

Ricardo Vaz Te was brilliant for West Ham in the Championship but unfortunately he’s not translated that form into the top flight. Yes, Vas Te was injured for part of last season and played out wide but you would still expect better than three in the league season. Petric might be in the twilight of his career, but his experience and eye for goal may prove vital for us.

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