Friday, September 13

Andy Carroll's plantar fascia

Big Sam's column in the Evening Standard details all the bad news on the injury front. Andy Carroll has not injured his achilles but his plantar fascia — which sounds like something Her Indoors would get from the garden centre. but is in fact the band of tissue which runs under the foot. Andy needs rest and one-to-one attention and Big Sam isn't putting a date on his return, though it might be quicker than from his previous heel injury.

Meanwhile Joe Cole has torn a hamstring and Stewart Downing's leg has ballooned while Diarra is it for the season. And to cap this, new signing Petric isn't match-fit having be training on his own and needs there weeks of intense work, so won't be playing at Southampton o presumably against Everton.

All of which leaves a big opportunity for Modibo Maiga. He had a terrible game against Stoke but I thought he did OK in the Cardiff and Newcastle games and had a decent pre-season. That solo goal he scored against Southampton last season proves he has potential. More than anything though we need to tweak Big Sam's rigid system. Petric is apparently a Berbatov-type player and Modibo isn't a target man so we surely need to stop aiming at a big man who isn't there and play a more refined game on the ground. James Collins will have to stop lofting every free-kick into the box and Matt Jarvis needs to play it in low. And in the absence of Carroll we need Nolan to keep chipping in with some goals and Vaz Te to get back to the form of two seasons ago. Big test at Southampton on Sunday, which could shape our season.

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