West Ham’s Ayew reaches his goal but Carroll is the vital cog
PUBLISHED: 13:30 28 December 2016
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Hammers boss so happy to see Andre scoring for the team
We have sat through some dour, uninspired and downright awful performances watching West Ham this season.
It was the new stadium; the new players; the injuries or the second season syndrome for manager Slaven Bilic, but whatever it was, the tide has now turned.
Andre Ayew symbolises the Hammers revival. The club record signing was injured in the first Premier League game of the season at Chelsea and while he was on the treatment table, West Ham stuttered on the field and flirted with the relegation zone.
But Ayew completed his rehabilitation with the opening goal against Swansea City on Boxing Day in a 4-1 win that signalled the return of the old, confident, exuberant Hammers who terrified teams last season with their pace and power.
For Ayew, 27, it was the end of a long road.
“I think it was important to get the goal for the squad and to get my first goal here,” he said.
“I started the season in a very difficult way, but I’m trying to get back into my best shape.”
Just like West Ham, Ayew is improving. He linked up well with the superb Andy Carroll and it was significant that both players got on the scoresheet.
Ayew added: “Things are getting better now and the boys are helping me, pushing me every day and I’m getting my confidence back.
“I think it was an important goal for me, but collectively it was our third win and we’ve done really well in the last few games.”
He is right in terms of results, but after two uninspired and downright lucky home wins over Burnley and Hull City, this was the real deal at last – this was an impressive performance.
Ayew played his part, but Carroll’s contribution was the more significant. He gives the Hammers a focal point, he wins so many headers and he scares the life out of opposition defences.
When he doesn’t have to worry about defending Michail Antonio uses his pace and enthusiasm to hassle opponents, while Cheikhou Kouyate was superb in midfield and any threat Swansea posed was denied by Darren Randolph.
But Ayew epitomised West Ham’s win and Bilic was delighted to see it, saying: “It was hard for him because for West Ham it is a massive price tag and then he got a very bad injury straight away.
“To me it’s his performance but, of course, for any striker nothing boosts their confidence like scoring goals.
“If you had asked who I would love to score for the future, then I would say Andre, definitely.”
Ayew is back, Kouyate was superb, and even Sofiane Feghouli came on and set up Carroll for the fourth goal.
What a shame all three of them will be jetting off to play in the African Cup of Nations in a couple of weeks time.
You can’t have everything!