By Chris Wilkerson, London24’s West Ham blogger
Friday, February 8, 2013
The big England striker played like an international, Andy Carroll winning headers, holding up the ball and scoring the crucial matchwinner to get West Ham three vital points and remove the fears of relegation.
Name: Chris Wilkerson
Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson
Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid
Most memorable game: Playoff Final
Predicted finish: 12th
It is funny how only one win pretty much puts relegation out of the mindset of the fans now, but with the table as it is it does not seem much more than a couple wins and draws will get us to a safe point tally.
The disappointment of our transfer window end was banished with the victory. It is still a problem, left back is an area we can be exposed at and Taylor did cause us some uncomforable moments when attacked against Swansea, but there is talent in the squad to cover the position for this season.
Joint Chairman David Sullivan revealed his own frustrations, as well as the threats of violence. It has become a sordid window, far more desperate than the summer.
Luckily, we do still have much depth. This is what will keep us away from the relegation battle.
Record signing Matt Jarvis was replaced at the weekend by Joe Cole. That’s not your usual West Ham substitution. With McCartney and Collins to return to the squad we have the cover elsewhere.
It was very heartening to see James Tomkins turn in a real performance at the weekend. He has been inconsistent this season, and used in roles he is not natural in, but a few games in the centre of defence has seen him find the player who was the best centre back in the Championship last season.
Now, it will be interesting to see how the team perform on the road again. Aston Villa are clearly suffering, but aspects of their performance against Everton show they are still very dangerous. There is no doubt there is the potential in their squad to burst back into life.
Kevin Nolan should see the goals of Fellaini against them and be excited at the space he found. Nolan can do exactly what Fellaini did, arriving in the right areas at the right times and is also strong in the air.
He has found a skip in his step in the past two games. The goal from Fulham was the sort that seemed to ricochet away in games gone by.
The partnership with Carroll was back in seconds against Swansea too. He moved into space and Carroll found him instinctively.
The goals are on the way back. Carroll got straight into the groove, if the two of them do the results will rocket straight back into the positive.