- Mark Noble says Andy Carroll's return against Chelsea would be 'massive' for West Ham United
- Centre forward fit again after a two-match absence with a groin injury
- Blues go into the weekend ten points clear at the top of the Premier League table
Mark Noble says Andy Carroll would give West Ham United a huge boost going into Monday’s Premier League derby with Chelsea.
The Hammers hope to welcome their talismanic No9 back for the visit of the leaders to London Stadium after a two-game absence with a groin injury.
Captain Noble says the whole squad will be lifted if the England centre forward, who scored home and away against the Blues in the Premier League last season, is passed fit to face Antonio Conte’s men.
Carroll netted six goals in eleven appearances over Christmas and New Year, helping the Hammers to rise up the table, and the skipper says his physical presence and all-round qualities would give Chelsea something extra to think about at London Stadium.
“Andy is massive for us whenever he is fit and everyone knows it,” said Noble. “He was fit for eleven matches over Christmas and New Year and scored six goals, so we need to keep him available. I don’t know how to do that, to be honest, but when he is fit he is a massive plus for us.
“Andy knows how important he is to our team and he hates not being involved with the lads on the training pitch. Having a fit Andy Carroll is a massive boost for us.”
Andy is massive for us whenever he is fit and everyone knows it
Whether Carroll is ready to start the game or not, Noble says West Ham will need to be at their very best to beat Chelsea for the second time this season, having already done so in the EFL Cup fourth round back in October.
As one of only four sides to have defeated Conte’s high-fliers this term, the No16 says the Hammers can take inspiration from their knockout victory, but knows they will need all their ducks in a row if they are to repeat that result.
“We face a top, top Chelsea team,” he observed. “Anyone who can go ten points clear at the top of the Premier League at this stage is having an incredible season and we’re going to need to be at 100 per cent to beat them on Monday night.
“They are a great team – you’ve got to say that. They’ve taken this league by storm, are great at scoring goals, are great at defending and are strong in midfield, so we have to be at our best and, if they’re not quite on it, we can get a result.
“I must admit I enjoy watching Chelsea play because they go to places which are really hard and get a result. They play fantastic football, but they can also mix it up and grind it out when they need to with a ball over the top to Diego Costa. They can win in different ways and they know how to win.
“That said, we need to believe that we can win. We’re at home, we know it’s going to be a tough game, but we’re playing well at the moment and we can prove something.”