West Ham United completed back-to-back victories in the Premier League after an impressive 3-1 victory against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Andy Carroll’s two goals either side of a Cristhian Stuani strike gave the visitors the advantage at half-time, before a late Jonathan Calleri goal – his first for the Hammers – stretched the unbeaten record over Boro to nine games.
Carroll gave the Hammers an early lead through a trademark bullet header, whilst his second was nudged home when he reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box.
The third came from second-half substitute, Calleri, who rounded-off an excellent counter-attack to slot home from 18 yards.
West Ham’s third away victory of the season has lifted in them to tenth in the Premier League, their first visit to the top half since August, whilst Middlesbrough drop to 17th.
Despite coming off as a 67th minute substitute, Andy Carroll continued his recent fine form to put together another excellent display in West Ham shirt.
Carroll missed much of the first half of the season, but since his return, has now scored five goals in ten games and his performance yesterday was a perfect example of why he is so valuable to this Hammers side.
In the first half alone, he won five aerial battles – three more than anyone else on the field. After 67 minutes, he had made seven, which remained the most by any player by full time. Aerial duels were just a part of his impressive hold-up play though, as he also completed 27 passes and 43 touches during his time on the field. In fact, no West Ham player had made more touches of the ball at the 67-minute mark.
The three goals came from five shots on target, with Carroll’s two finishes his only attempts of the game – clinical!
Not just offensively was Andy influential, as he also made a total of six clearances. Only Winston Reid had made more when the big man went off. Eventually, a backs-to-the-wall closing 20 minutes meant the Hammers made an incredible 49 defensive clearances and 16 blocks yesterday.
Whilst the hosts controlled large portions of possession (61 percent), they failed to turn it into clear-cut chances with Darren Randolph tested only once after Stuani’s goal. Middlesbrough’s Adam Clayton completed the most passes (77) but his front-men, Negredo and Stuani, were rarely an option as West Ham gave no space in the middle of the park.
The Hammers are now not in action until 1 February when they welcome Manchester City to London Stadium. Bilic’s side will head into the game with confidence following these recent wins and can hopefully call on Andy Carroll to lead the line exactly as he did yesterday.