A spectacular performance from Javier Hernandez against Newcastle reminded the Old Trafford Faithful that the Little Pea was very much alive. It was his first start in the Premier League since the 1st of January. A lack of game time however, is not something new to Chicharito as he was often used as a super-sub by Sir Alex.
Hernandez was usually called upon to nick United a goal using his poaching prowess, however under David Moyes his issue with lack of game time has only got worse and so has his form. In his 679 minutes played this season Hernandez has only bagged himself 4 goals in the Premier League. Comparing that to last season’s 10 goals in 944 minutes, it seems obvious that he is suffering from a huge dip in form. However his performance against Newcastle anything but this!
If we delve deeper into the matter and study Hernandez’s playing style it becomes obvious that it is not his form that has dipped significantly, it is his service that has.
Analysing Javier Hernandez’s Playing Style
Hernandez is widely praised for his movements off the ball in the build up to the goal. His sharp and clever movements tie up defenders in knots and confuse them. This allows Hernandez to gain that extra space even in a crowded box. This movement in the build up allows the winger who is crossing the ball in a clear target to aim for and a clear bit of space to put the ball into. If the delivery is good then it is dispatched by Hernandez 9 out of 10 times. Chicharito is a clinical finisher, one of the most clinical finishers in the Premiership.
The above image show how despite a relatively short player Hernandez manages to score a lot of goals from crosses. This movement is not only restricted to low crosses either Hernandez does similar movements for higher crosses, which he heads in. He is a true fox-in-the-box and provided the delivery is accurate enough Javier will guarantee Manchester United goals.
In more central positions Hernandez prefers the ball be played in front of him as a through ball. He is very quick and can out run most defenders. His short quick runs at the perfect time, to beat the offside trap are deadly, as many defenders will testify to.
Those are Hernandez’s strong suits. However like a classic #9 Hernandez is very reliant on his service. If the cross from the wings is not good enough or if the through ball from midfield is not accurate enough Hernandez will not be able to perform to the best of his abilities. This season while there has definitely not been a shortage of crosses, there has certainly been a shortage of quality and accurate crosses. The videos of Ashley Young blindly delivering the ball into the box without having a look to see if any one is in the box are by now famous.
It was thus no coincidence that when two of our finest no.10’s in Kagawa and Mata played behind him, he flourished. Kagawa’s through ball that set him up for his first real opportunity was perfectly timed.
Kagawa’s low cross, which Hernandez converted into a goal was exactly the type of cross he loves. From the no.9’s perspective it was the perfect cross. It was first time, which meant the defenders had minimal time to react. It was also accurate and right in front of him so all he had to do was get the timing of his run right.
It is lack of service to him like this that has resulted in his ‘dip in form’. If Hernandez is consistently provided with service similar to what Kagawa and Mata provided to him vs Newcastle then he will consistency score Manchester United goals. It is as simple as that.
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