West Ham’s dynamic duo are the secret to survival
09:19 04 February 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Hammers strike partners Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan seem to have an amazing understanding
Torvill and Dean; Lillee and Thompson; Redgrave and Pinsent, some of the great sporting partnerships of all time. For West Ham read McAvennie and Cottee and maybe now it is Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll.
Saturday saw the pair start their first home league game together since the final match of last season when Nolan grabbed a hat-trick.
Against Swansea he managed two and may have added to his tally if his team-mate and best buddy Carroll had not been sent off after his tussle with Chico Flores.
There is an almost telepathic understanding between the two players.
First Carroll met George McCartney’s cross to head down for Nolan instead of going for goal and the captain did the rest, rifling a shot into the corner.
The right on half time, Carroll arched his back to meet Stewart Downing’s corner to head back for Nolan to cleverly nod home West Ham’s first headed league goal of the campaign.
It is little wonder that Nolan was full of praise for his mate.
“Everyone has forgotten about our partnership because we haven’t been able to play together for a long time,” said Nolan after Saturday’s 2-0 win.
“We have been working hard on the training pitch together just to make sure we got it right and against Swansea we reaped the rewards.”
It doubled Nolan’s tally for the season, but he was disappointed that he didn’t add a third goal.
“I got a left-footer and a header and I was hoping for a right-footer for a perfect hat-trick again,” said the 31-year-old. “Andy is so good, he just keeps things alive and that is why we feed off each other so well.
“The stats are there to prove it, it has been my type of game to feed off a striker throughout my career. I have found it difficult in the last six months, there is no doubt about that.
“It just proves what we can do with almost a fully-fit squad. You can deal with a couple of injuries here and there, but we have had six or seven major players out for a long, long time. At one point we were playing with a defence of four full backs!”
West Ham make the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday, it the prospect of trying to win back to back games for the first time since the hammers return to the top flight rears its ugly head once more.
Is it a psychological thing now?
“I don’t know, maybe” reflected Nolan. “The fact is that we have got to do it and records are there to be broken.
“People thought we were going to get beaten by Chelsea by three or four, but we went out there, shut them out and upset Jose Mourinho too!
“We are hoping to do that again, but Villa have done really well, Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job getting a lot of the big earners out of the club, but we are going to go there full of confidence with four points from the last two games.”