Andy Carroll has his uses, there’s no doubt about that.
Callum Wilson has spoken of how he enjoys playing alongside the towering Geordie who, unsurprisingly, has won the most aerial duels per 90 of any Toon player according to WhoScored. Indeed, there have also been crucial assists against the likes of Sheffield United and Southampton since returning to St. James’ Park in the summer of 2019, as well as his winning of the handball decision against Tottenham earlier this season.
Obviously, the fact he’s not scored since coming back is a concern but, given some of his contributions mentioned above, it’s not like he’s been a complete waste of time, either.
What is a waste of time, however, is bringing him on and not crossing to him.
Against Chelsea, the 31-year-old made a late cameo presumably to help get Newcastle up the pitch. Steve Bruce himself lamented how deeply his team were operating so it stands to reason that bringing someone so adept in the air on was an effort to cause Chelsea problems both as a target man and a viable option in the box.
Well, Newcastle produced just one accurate cross in the entire game. While Carroll did have a chance that was well blocked by Antonio Rudiger, the fact he got in-behind a Premier League defence is more of an anomaly than anything else. That is not his game. That has never been his game.
So, not to even trouble the opposition backline with a delivery for Carroll to at least attempt to work his salt-of-the-earth type magic from is unacceptable. Granted, Chelsea are a good team with an ever-improving defensive record but, even across the whole campaign so far, crossing has been a problem.
Should Andy Carroll be given a new deal?
Matt Ritchie leads the way with 3 per game and he’s not been available since late September with that statistic coming from just one appearance. Of the regular starters, only Jamal Lewis is averaging more than one (1.1), meaning Carroll is starved of the service from which he made his name.
At this stage of his career, what really is the point of having Carroll as a late sub if Newcastle aren’t capable of crossing to him?
Based on what we’ve seen from him in front of goal, very little appears to be the answer.