In the wake of the news that Stewart Downing is set to be missing for several weeks with an achilles injury, it got me thinking has Sam Allardyce had rotten luck this season, or has his third season in charge of the East end club been poorly thought out?
From day one it was fairly obvious the plan for the season, and it seemed a pretty good one. Sign Andy Carroll, sign a decent winger, and watch Carroll head and kick the Hammers to glory. Alas it wasn’t to be. Andy Carroll has yet to pull on the claret and blue shirt since signing on a permanent deal from Liverpool and the Hammers failed to think that maybe, just maybe they needed to sign a back-up.
It was obvious for everyone to see, especially with the news that Carroll was carrying a knock on arrival. Allardyce and the board are desperately trying to cover themselves with the stories coming out that they tried to sign a number of players but it wasn’t to be. What annoyed me about the whole summer fiasco was the way Sam and the board handled the back-up striker situation.
Whoever was to come in knew they would be second fiddle to Carroll and should Andy return they would rot on the bench. Salomon Kalou reportedly was happy to join should the Irons allow him to play through the centre rather than the wing. Allardyce said no and he declined any move. Now let me ask you this, who would you rather see leading your line, Kalou or Modibo Maiga? I know who I’d rather have and it isn’t dear old Modibo.
So, from that perspective, the Dudley born man Allardyce is 100 per cent at fault. To make it that abundantly obvious that any other striker that was interested in joining would be back-up, he immediately alienated the move. However, you could also argue that he has also been a tad unlucky, Carroll was due back in September, but as we all know he suffered a setback with his injury.
He then brought in a replacement on a free in Mladen Petric who impressed in his brief stint, before he picked up a knock, never to be seen or mentioned again. Then of course the equally impressive Ricardo Vaz Te, the only other recognisable striker who was scoring goals, tried to tackle a post and lost. The Hammers are now left with the returning Carlton Cole, who to me still looks woefully unfit, and Modibo Maiga, who hasn’t scored for a year.
It is easy to see why the goals have dried up. Allardyce must have been grateful to see AC return to training, surely now his plan will come together. With Carroll just weeks away from a return, the Jarvis, Downing and Carroll partnership would lift the Hammers away from danger. Cue two minutes into the contest at Anfield, West Ham’s best player by a mile in recent weeks collects the ball, only to be cynically hacked down by Jon Flanagan.
The former Villa man makes it to half time, only to see the true extent of the injury; he required 12 stitches to his achilles and is now set to miss several key weeks for the Hammers. The footballing gods really aren’t with Sam Allardyce and West Ham at the minute, and with rumours circulating we might soon see the end of Big Sam. Will Allardyce ever get to see his dream trio in action? Only time will tell.