If, and it’s a big if, Newcastle United can keep Andy Carroll fit for the rest of the season, then they will have a real asset on their hands. The big Geordie is such a handful when he gets going, and he showed that again against Burnley on Saturday afternoon. This wasn’t an easy game for the Magpies, and they struggled to get going at all in their 1-0 loss at Turf Moor, but it was Carroll who looked the most likely to turn that around. His presence alone seems to be enough to get defenders panicking, and he is still pretty much unique in that regard. Per 90 minutes this season, he has won a colossal 15.1 aerial duels, as per Whoscored, and it’s hard to find any player whatsoever who can pose that threat. Of course, sometimes it goes too far, and he did run the risk of seeing red after a fairly excessive challenge on Ben Mee in the second half. But when he gets it right, Carroll is too hot to handle. He needs to add goals to his game, granted, but right now, the starting place up top is surely his to lose.
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