Here's my issue:
I think he's been really good the last few games. Some of his touches have been back to his Newcastle level, and he's been a monster in the air (outside the box at least). He really has started to look more and more like a real reference point up front with each match.
There's an elephant in the room though - He's had about 3 chances over 3 games. If that. I mean the one where he had a battle to get infront of Ledley King tonight was hardly clear cut.
He scored against Wolves, he missed tonight. He probably should've done better. He's missed too many chances he should've scored this season, but I can deal with that because he wasn't on form at all. What's of more concern is that you rarely see him get more than two chances in a match. Maybe given time he'll become so dead-eye infront of goal it won't be an issue, and chances like the Downing pullback against Bolton, or the chance 2nd half tonight all end up going in the net. But at the moment they're not.
The thing I worry about is that his movement isn't really that aggressive. He doesn't really go looking for chances that could appear, he just kinda pulls to the back post over and over.
I could see Spearing's point tonight, when - after a pretty shit pass - Andy was having a go at him. It was poor from Spearing (who had a few brainfarts tonight, despite being pretty good in general), but at the same time - it was a ball hung up into the box that Carroll could've had a run and jump at. Carroll's so often on his toes in those situations though.
He's starting to look like the player I thought we signed outside of the box (after a lot of time), but unless he starts putting away every half chance that comes his way, I don't see how it's going to be enough. He doesn't really do enough to make chances. He doesn't run in behind, he doesn't make many runs across the front of defenders, he's slow to react to where the ball drops in the box. It's not enough to just drop deep and link play, regardless of how good he is at it.