Sam Allardyce hopes to receive a date for the return of Andy Carroll on Monday. All he knows right now is it cannot come quick enough.
In Carroll’s continued absence against Manchester City, Allardyce deployed the same 4-6-0 strikerless formation that had won 3-0 at Tottenham. This time West Ham did not commit grand larceny, instead they were well beaten with the 3-1 scoreline flattering them.
The Hammers had only two shots on target, including Ricardo Vaz Te’s athletic overhead-kick goal, and only looked dangerous when City eased up at 2-0 thinking the match was already won.
“Having got strikers who were not scoring was the only reason we played that system against Tottenham,” said Allardyce. “Andy won’t play in it. We bought him to be our leader of the front line. Once he gets fit and up and running, he will not only score goals but he will create opportunities for lots of other players to score goals.”
After a reasonably successful, if injury-hit, loan period last year, Carroll signed in the summer for £15m. But having injured his heel in the final game of last season, he damaged the same heel on his first day back training at West Ham. Each time Carroll tore a tendon in his right foot, albeit different tendons.
He was sent to work with Belgian Lieven Maesschalck, a physiotherapist who counts Kaka and Andrei Shevchenko as previous patients, and spends six days a week at his Move to Cure centre in Antwerp. He returns to London at weekends and was at Saturday’s match.
“I will be speaking to the specialist over there on Monday to see whether he can give us at least a date when he thinks [Carroll] will be able to come back to us,” said Allardyce. “He is still improving week by week and is probably due back with us I would hope. It is very important we get him back as quickly as we can as I don’t want to be continuing to play with no front man.”
Manuel Pellegrini began with two, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero, and they combined cleverly for the latter’s opening goal. David Silva set up Aguero’s second before they exchanged roles for City’s third. Allardyce could only look on enviously.
“The players tried their best but their best wasn’t good enough against that team and that quality,” he said. “Man City spent another £100m this summer. I have got five free transfers on the pitch. That is the difference at the end of the day.”