by MATT HACKENMILLER
For Javier Hernandez, the 2010-2011 season was one of the most unexpected seasons in the history of the Premier League. The little known striker came from Mexico with minimal fanfare and an even smaller transfer fee. But once the season started, Chicharito exploded onto the scene and showed an uncanny goal scoring ability. Overall, in his initial season in England, Hernandez netted over twenty goals. But heading into his sophomore campaign, what more can be expected from Chicharito? Can he possibly get better?
It didn’t take long for Hernandez to show that he wasn’t willing to rest on his laurels. During the Gold Cup competition, Chicharito dominated the tournament. Showing his pace and uncanny ability to time his runs off the line, Hernandez lead all players in goals scored with seven to carry the Mexico squad to ultimate victory. Not only was he by far the best player on the field, but he also shouldered the responsibility of being a leader for the young squad.
Hernandez is at his best when he is allowed to work as a poacher and drift around the box hunting for goals. But for Chicharito to take his game to another level, he will have to get better at working back to make it easier to link up with the midfielders. If Hernandez can develop into a playmaker with the ball at his feet not only will he become that much more difficult to defend, but Manchester United will become even more explosive as a team.
It may be difficult to have another season like last year simply because his first season was so spectacular. Plus, he won’t have the element of surprise next season. Opposing clubs will have an entire off-season to design schemes to take Hernandez out of a match. Teams can look at the way that Barcelona was able to cut off United’s midfield, which left Chicharito in a hapless position. The few times that Hernandez did receive the ball, the Barcelona center backs were able to push him off the ball and away from the goal. Granted, not all teams have the talent that Barcelona does, but that match gave the rest of Europe a plan on how to defend against Chicharito.
Javier Hernandez heads into the 2011-2012 season as a player in the spotlight. Not only will opposing clubs alter their defensive tactics for him, but Manchester United has greater expectations for him. He is already penciled in as a starting striker alongside Wayne Rooney and will be looked upon to provide much of the scoring punch for a squad that has dreams of European dominance. If Chicharito can exceed his production from last season, there just may be more hardware in store for United.