Andy Carroll struggled for Newcastle United last season, managing just four starts throughout the campaign, coming off the bench on a further 15 occasions.
The start of the new campaign has brought plenty of positivity, with Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser joining from AFC Bournemouth, while Jamal Lewis and Jeff Hendrick came in from Norwich City and Burnley respectively.
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While Carroll was already at St. James’ Park last term, it can be argued that now is the time for him to show the club his true worth, and he started that at London Stadium, his old stomping ground.
The big man was indomitable in the air throughout the match, winning a total of 12 aerial duels – seven more than any other player on the pitch recorded.
While that physical presence is most often used to get Newcastle up the pitch, offering the defence a clear out ball, it also proved to be useful in the Toon’s box as well.
This is because he ended up making five clearances – a number that was only exceeded by Federico Fernandez and Jamaal Lascelles, who recorded seven and six respectively.
The graph below also offers an indication of how he was able to use his aerial prowess across the pitch, winning duels in both boxes, near the centre circle, in the middle of the pitch and out wide.
Carroll is probably not going to be the sort of striker that is constantly scoring goals for Newcastle, but he is definitely a useful asset for the club to have at their disposal if he can stay fit.
With Wilson scoring on his debut, it is likely Steve Bruce will currently be feeling very excited about his new striker partnership after that performance.