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Andy Carroll returns for West Ham

Jan 11, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League Getty Images

The lineups are in, and one of the biggest stories of today’s Premier League matchups is that Andy Carroll is back for West Ham, albeit as a substitute.

(READ MORE: FULL LINEUPS FOR CARDIFF – WEST HAM)

There’s no denying West Ham are in trouble. Currently sitting 19th, they’re just one point above bottom side Sunderland. Having spent much of the first part of the season playing without a true center forward, the Irons have scored less than one goal per match, and have seen nine games pass without scoring. While Sam Allardyce is known for function over entertainment, it’s clear that his tactics just aren’t working.

So Big Sam must be elated to have Andy Carroll back on his side. Carroll has yet to play a game this season, thanks to a foot injury, but Allardyce is taking a chance, bringing him back for the must-win match against Cardiff on Saturday. The West Ham manager stated, “Ideally we would like to progress it a little slower but based on where we are it may be a calculated risk we’re prepared to take.”

Three points against the Bluebirds could mean temporary safety for the Irons, provided Crystal Palace are unable to beat Tottenham. Carroll, who scored seven goals for West Ham last season while on loan from Liverpool, could be the difference maker coming off the bench at Cardiff. Will he prove himself worthy of his record £15m summer move? Or will Allardyce decide having him play isn’t worth the risk after all?

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