West Ham striker is a pariah after red-card but that is an unfair portrayal
PUBLISHED: 12:30 17 October 2017
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Hammer Carroll castigated for costing the team victory at Burnley
If you were to check social media at the weekend then you would reach the conclusion that Andy Carroll is an enemy of the club who should never play for them again.
Some said that he had always been rubbish; another suggested he had got himself deliberately sent off as he had played too many games without getting injured!
Let us put this into perspective. Carroll was over-enthusiastic with his first challenge which got a yellow card. He was angry at a smack he had received from James Tarkowski moments earlier.
He was still steaming at the yellow card when he made a naïve, ill-considered challenge on Ben Mee and the rest was history.
Simple as that? Well, not quite. Carroll made a mistake and made a challenge when he should have been counting to 10 and regaining his composure.
But both referee Stuart Attwell and the Burnley home support played their part.
Attwell often loses control of games and he did in this match. And he was clearly swayed by a vociferous crowd to whom every tackle on a Burnley player was a red card and every foul on a West Ham player was a dive.
That is not excusing Carroll. He would not have got that second booking at the London Stadium, but he really should know better at his age how to play when on his travels.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was not a happy man afterwards. His team would almost certainly have won with 11 men and he knew it.
“I am very frustrated and very angry,” he admitted after the 1-1 draw. “It wasn’t deliberate, but you can’t do that very early in a game and that was, of course, a big blow for us.”
It was. By that time West Ham led through a route-one goal as Joe Hart’s clearance saw Michail Antonio sprint on to it, round the keeper and slot home his first goal of the season.
Antonio looked back to his best. He had four attempts on goal, which is outstanding for a winger, and looked fit and raring to go.
But it was the Carroll rush of blood that was to undo all that effort and be the only talking point.
“I said that I’m very disappointed. Not with the ref because he was correct,” said Bilic. “The first one can happen, but the second one cannot happen, especially when you play away, then you are asking for trouble.”
He is right of course, but the other side of this story is the late goal that West Ham let in.
There were two at Manchester United in the last 10 minutes, the winner against Southampton and one at Newcastle before this late, late leveller.
Both this and the Southampton game have come with 10 men and with the Hammers still only two points clear of the drop zone, it must be cut out and quickly.
As for Carroll, he is unlikely to change his game. As Sam Allardyce said on TV on Sunday morning, the way the game is refereed these days does not suit someone with the style and power of Carroll.
Change his style and he is not half the player.
How West Ham do without him, we will see on Friday night against Brighton & Hove Albion at the London Stadium.