By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Andy Carroll is the best player in the world at attacking crosses in the penalty box, TV pundit Dean Ashton told BT Sport.
The West Ham striker scored a hat-trick in a 3-3 thriller against Arsenal at Upton Park on Saturday as the home side came from two goals down to claim a point in their quest for a top-four finish.
Carroll caused the Arsenal defence endless problems with his aerial power, scoring only the second hat-trick of his professional career.
The West Ham spearhead scored his three goals in an extraordinary eight-minute spell either side of half-time, two of which were bullet headers from wide crosses, as Slaven Bilic’s side came from two goals down to go 3-2 ahead.
Laurent Koscielny, who had been bullied in the air by Carroll, pulled one back for the visitors, who ended the match 10 points adrift of leaders Leicester in the Premier League title race.
Watching clips of Carroll’s goals and all-round dominance in the air, former Hammers striker Ashton told host broadcaster BT Sport: “He is the best in the world at this, attacking crosses in the opposition penalty box. No one else does it as well as him. No defenders around Europe play against a player like him.”
Carroll’s hat-trick lifts his league goal tally for the season to seven from 22 matches, only eight of which he has started.
The West Ham news after the match is that Bilic’s side remained sixth in the Premier League table, two points behind Manchester City in fourth.