Why Andy Carroll failed at Anfield and shouldn’t go back

Andy Carroll has started his career at West Ham with an almost perfect debut against Fulham but will this only be a short stay at the club?

It is now believed that Liverpool have the opportunity to recall Carroll in January if they want and it would make sense if they did because they didn’t bring anyone in to replace him. They tried but unfortunately could not get Clint Dempsey on deadline day and are now only left with Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez as recognised experienced strikers. Borini, is new to the Premier League and may take time to settle and for some reason has been played over on the right wing in the last few games instead of down the middle where he will surely get more chances to open his Premier League account. Then they have Suarez who misses a lot of chances, there is no doubting his ability when he isn’t complaining and is focused on his own performance rather than arguing with officials and diving around. So, Liverpool will definitely need another striker in January even if they do sign Michael Owen who is still a free agent and in the last few days has been linked with a move back to Merseyside. But will Andy Carroll be the right option?

In my opinion, no I think they should just cut their losses and get rid of Carroll permanently as sometimes a player just doesn’t work out a club and this is exactly what has happened here. He has a lot of talent and when he is used properly as the main point of an attack then he will create chances and cause problems for the opposing defence like he did against Fulham. He will never succeed at Liverpool because I believe he will never be used right. Firstly, it is because the fans will demand the ball to be played around, instead of hoofed forward and they will want to see their better passers involved in the play such as Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Luis Suarez so even though the fans supported him, they were never wanting to see their team play to his strengths. Another reason he won’t succeed in the future is because of current manager Brendan Rodgers who I think would have given him the chance but he also does not want to see players pumping the ball into the box from the fullback positions as West Ham and Newcastle United were willing to do in the past. Rodgers would rather see his left back and right back pass it back to the centre back if there is no other option on.

I can’t see him playing in a Liverpool shirt again and West Ham will definitely profit from his signing and he could lead their front line for a number of years. Kevin Nolan will also be thankful for this signing and he will score more goals now as he seems to just know how to play with Carroll. Also, Matt Jarvis’ signing makes a lot more sense now and I can see him getting a lot of assists this year.

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Game, Team and Player of the Weekend

The Premier League kicked off this weekend and there is a lot to talk about but as from now after every weekend, I am going to decide on my game, team and player of the weekend. It will be difficult to narrow it down but I will try.

So onto the first thing, team of the weekend. This could go quite a few ways, should I give it to Swansea City under new manager Michael Laudrup, who destroyed QPR away from home 5-0 after being tipped as one of the teams to struggle this year (although it has only been one game and that may still be the case). Maybe, Fulham deserve it as they also won 5-0 against Norwich City, under difficult circumstances with their main man from last season Clint Dempsey not wanting to play. Although impressive, I have decided to go with Everton as they performed wonderfully and beat Manchester United 1-0. Everyone in their team played their part with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin phenomenal at the back, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini causing problems from midfield and up front Nikica Jelavic worked his socks off. They may not have scored as many as the others but they certainly created a lot of chances and even hit the bar a couple of times. Defensively they didn’t put a foot wrong and each one of them, Jagielka, Distin, Baines and Hibbert all get at least nine out of 10 from me. It is a great start to the season for them but they must play like this in every game if they want to finish in the top six.

Player of the weekend is another tough one to choose as all of the teams that were in contention for team of the weekend obviously had stand out players. Michu obviously grabbed the headlines for Swansea and rightfully so, I don’t even think in his or his manager’s dreams his debut would have went that well. He grabbed two goals, one with a little assistance from QPR goalkeeper Robert Green and the other a fantastic finish. Mladen Petric also had a debut to remember by also scoring two goals but one of these took a massive deflection, however he has opened his account for the team so that will give him the confidence to push on and get more. He showed nice touches round the edge of the box and looks like he can create goals for others too. Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle United deserves a mention because he won the game for his team by winning and scoring a penalty, but he offered a lot more than just that with many mazy runs and great skills which forced the Tottenham players to bring him down. Yet another Premier League debutant is also a contender in Eden Hazard who in the first seven minutes of Chelsea’s game with Wigan Athletic showed why most clubs in Europe wanted him. Hopefully, he will show a lot more of that in the future. But, the winner for me has to be Marouane Fellaini who scored the winner for Everton, as I have already mentioned the whole of the backline got 9’s but this guy got a 10 and was fantastic from start to finish. He won everything in the air against both Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic, and was simply unplayable at times and he is definitely looking like he could have his best season yet in an Everton shirt. I prefer him to play in a more attacking role so he can do exactly what he did against Manchester United.

Game of the weekend isn’t quite as tough I don’t think, because 5-0’s are good but I would like a game to be less one sided and as I have said Everton played fantastically but Manchester United definitely weren’t great and couldn’t get out of first gear. So, my game of the weekend is Manchester City versus Southampton. The away side almost came away with a very unlikely win never mind just a point, after going 2-1 up but unfortunately couldn’t hold onto their lead and ended up losing 3-2. Both teams played the game in the right way and kept the ball on the floor and tried to pass through the opposition. When Carlos Tevez was brought down in the box for a penalty, I thought that was it for Southampton but Kelvin Davis managed to save David Siva’s penalty and there was renewed optimism, however, this didn’t last long as Tevez then did put City ahead. Game over? Not quite as sub Rickie Lambert scored with a fantastic finish and all of a sudden the momentum switched, and when fellow sub Steven Davis put them 2-1 up with an equally good finish, there was a feeling of worry growing round the stadium. But, just as he did against QPR on the last day of last season Edin Dzeko managed to get an equaliser, leaving enough time for Samir Nasri to fire home the winner. Good start from both teams but I think Nigel Adkins will be the happier of the two managers.

Which teams, players and games impressed you this weekend? How did your team do, were there any standout players?

Will Clint Dempsey leave Fulham this summer?

The Clint Dempsey transfer saga could run and run for the whole of the summer and come down to the last day.

Dempsey has scored 50 Premier League goals

Fulham will definitely not want to lose one of their main players and it seems like the player is very happy at the club but money talks in football and I am sure he is a very ambitious man and will want to have a better chance of challenging for trophies. Also, he seemed to thrive under the pressure of playing in Europe so he will want to have another go in the Europa League as well seen as though he got so close to winning it a few years ago. Dempsey scored 23 goals in 46 appearances last year and this has made him hot property with a number of clubs keeping tabs on the situation. With 17 goals in the Premier League he has just proved his quality finally as I believe he has been one of the most underrated players in the league for a number of years now. If he was slightly younger then he would go for a much bigger price but he is 29 and can be a star for a while to come.

Liverpool have been the team chasing his signature all summer so far with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming the club have had contact with Fulham over the player and they have been reported several times to be close to signing him. However, not everything you read in the papers is true and they may not have bid for him as they may not want to pay the price Fulham want for him. He is a very good player and can fit into many different systems which is obviously very beneficial to any side and he will provide a goal scoring threat from either one of the front three or even one of the three midfielders.

The American international would be a very good fit in my opinion at Arsenal as they seem to lack a goal scoring midfielder these days and with the expected departure of Robin Van Persie they need to try and replace his goals with someone experienced in the Premier League. For too long Arsene Wenger has tried to bring players through or sign younger players but now they could be dropping out of the top four and something needs to change if they want to keep up with the top teams. If they could get him for £10 million then it would be an absolute steal.

Finally and a little surprisingly Newcastle United are linked with him and as much as this would be a good move for all parties, I just cannot see it happening with Newcastle seemingly focused on other players and them targeting younger players so they have a better resale value in years to come. It is a possibility as he would add a lot of quality to the squad and take a bit of the goal scoring pressure off Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, plus they are playing in Europe this year so he probably would be willing to join. But I really just don’t see it happening at all.

Who will Steven Naismith sign for?

Steven Naismith has left Rangers on a free transfer and will be looking for a move to the Premier League.

The striker is just one of many players that will leave the club this summer but he could be the one that gets the most offers especially from Premier League clubs. After signing for Rangers in 2007 from Kilmarnock he hasn’t been a prolific scorer but has still won three SPL titles, one Scottish Cup and two League cups while at the club. Last season, he was having his best season but it was unfortunately cut short by injury which ended his season in October, but he still managed to get nine goals last season in just 15 games. It will be interesting to see if he can cope in the Premier League because he has got a lot of admirers, however, his stats don’t really show his talents, in his years at Rangers he only scored 33 goals in 140 games and when you play for a team that has won the league three times in that spell you do expect him to have scored more. Naismith, has also represented his country on 13 occasions and scored two goals against Spain and Lithuania. One thing that will make him a good signing is his versatility, as he has played on the wings a lot for Rangers and could easily play there in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.

Naismith has scored 68 goals in his career

So who would be interested in signing him? Everton are surely interested in him as they don’t have a lot of money and someone with Naismith’s talents on a free transfer will interest manager David Moyes a lot. Everton now have Nikica Jelavic who was scoring goals for fun at the end of last season and obviously him and Naismith have played together before so surely they will have a good understanding straight away and get the best out of each other. They do sometimes lack goals in their side but they do have a lot of good passers in their midfield and a lot of creativity so Naismith could thrive in that side and just add another little bit of quality upfront.

Fulham are another club that I believe should be taking a look at him because they have already lost Pavel Pogrebnyak and Andy Johnson this summer so they do need a replacement and also they didn’t get any money for these two so a cheap replacement may be needed. Also, a few players have been linked away, for example, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele so they are losing a lot of goals and talent and will need to replace them quickly. If Fulham do lose these players then they may be pulled into a relegation scrap with Orlando Sa and Bryan Ruiz in particular being very inconsistent so someone like Naismith could just get them the goals to make sure they are comfortably in midtable at least.

Finally, Newcastle United could be looking at him as he does fit into the way the club play as he can be a winger or a striker and with Demba Ba’s future uncertain at the minute, Mike Ashley may just be hoping that another free transfer can work out as well as the Senegalese striker. I think Newcastle may be looking for someone slightly better but if they can’t get their first choices then he wouldn’t be a bad backup player at least. With Peter Lovenkrands also leaving this summer they do need one more striker in my opinion especially with Leon Best linked with a move away.

Who will Andrew Johnson play for next season?

Andrew Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be not be a Fulham player next season.

Johnson has scored 147 goals in his career

Fulham rejected a bid for him in January from QPR which suggested that they wanted him to stay or maybe they just felt that QPR would come in with a better offer if they rejected it. He has played over 100 games for Fulham in all competitions in his four seasons at the club but has only scored 27 goals with a lot of them coming in the Europa League against opponents who Fulham should have beaten anyway especially in the earlier rounds of the competition. His 13 league goals have not been enough although he did suffer a serious injury in his second season at the club which may have hampered his progress. The transfer fee they bought him for was rumoured to be over £10 million and he certainly hasn’t lived up to that price tag.

But could he still do a good job in the Premier League for Fulham or should he be looking elsewhere? In my opinion he has to leave as Fulham have started to play a different way under Martin Jol and I can’t see where he would fit in. Also the form of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey has made it difficult for him to force his way into the team when he is fit.

So the next question is whether he is still good enough for the Premier League? This is a little harder to answer because he is getting towards the end of his career and he may not quite have the same attributes as he used to but it does also mean he has a lot more experience. He will have to adapt his game slightly as he does not have the pace he used to have, although he should still have his clever movement and will cause teams problems. At Everton, he wasn’t a consistent goal scorer but I thought that he showed enough quality to be a very good Premier League player. However, yet again the goals weren’t exactly flowing and 17 in two seasons in the league was possibly not good enough for the money they paid.

At Crystal Palace he got 21 league goals for a team that eventually got relegated which shows that he must have been a good player seen as though he almost kept them up on his own. This is why I believe one of the promoted teams should take a chance on him as he can score goals from few chances like at Palace and he might just give one of the teams a little bit more experience. Reading would be a good fit in my opinion and would be a slightly different option to Noel Hunt and Jason Roberts. Although he is quite similar to Adam Le Fondre.

I also think he could do well at Wigan as he would fit into their hardworking ethic and Johnson never stops running and works hard for the full 90 minutes and the one thing that is missing from the Wigan side is a clinical and proven goal scorer. Johnson could just be the man to take them from a battling relegation side to a mid table team.