Monday, 25 October 2010

Hero Hernandez ends testing week for United

For any United fan, the last week will have felt like a roller coaster ride. The week began with Wayne Rooney seemingly ending all ties to Manchester United and United looked destined to lose a star name to footballs big spenders once more. Fortunately, after a little bickering between Rooney and United, the Evertonian saw sense and before the end of the week, Rooney secured another five years at Old Trafford.

On Sunday, the noise going into United's visit to Stoke City was still all about Wayne Rooney and his contractual U-turn. Fortunately, once the game commenced all the talk was about a certain Mexican filling the void in Rooney's absence.

Javier Hernandez is proving a popular character among the United faithful and his brace against Stoke will have done his growing reputation the World of good. Hernandez has been free-scoring of late, scoring the winner against Valencia in the Champions League and the Mexican scored in United's recent draw with West Brom.

Yesterday whilst playing against Stoke City, Hernandez almost defied physics as he headed home possibly the most unorthodox header you are ever likely to see. From a corner Nani played the ball short to Patrice Evra, who gave the ball back to the Portuguese winger who aimed a left-footed cross to the far post. Nemanja Vidic rose highest and headed the ball back to the near post where Hernandez jumped unchallenged with his back to goal. As the ball flashed across behind Hernandez's head, the Mexican cleverly threw his head backwards and met the ball with purpose, steering the ball powerfully past Tomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal, extraordinarily with the back of his head.

United's number 14, who wears the name Chicharito on his back, reeled away in celebration kissing the United badge and giving the watching United crowd a reason to believe that United are still very much in the hunt for honours.

With ten minutes of the game remaining Stoke levelled through a superb solo goal from substitute Sanli Tuncay, setting up a nervous climax for United, who looked set to draw their fourth consecutive away match.

But, with five minutes remaining Hernandez was on target again. Intricate build-up play commenced on the edge of the Stoke City penalty area. Nani moved the ball to Berbatov who passed to Darren Fletcher and received an instant return. The Bulgarian chipped in a hopeful ball into the penalty area which eventually fell to Patrice Evra at the far post. Evra turned quickly and drove a half volley across the face of goal. Hernandez met the ball and finished with a right foot effort from inside the six yard box. Sorensen in the Stoke goal and two covering defenders were unable to keep the ball out and the Mexican ran off once again to celebrate with the United fans.

Hernandez came close on a couple of other occasions during the match. A right foot volley fizzed past the post after Dimitar Berbatov acutely picked the Mexican out and Hernandez was unlucky when he charged a Sorensen clearance, which bounced harmlessly over the crossbar.

If there was a single player on Sunday that captured United's ambitious guile it was Javier Hernandez. During a time where United's ability to capture footballs brightest talent has come into question by one of United's brightest talents, perhaps Hernandez's arrival at Stoke was well timed and will certainly shut Mr.Rooney up for a while. Especially if Hernandez continues to impress, he may even leave Rooney out of the side!?!?! Okay, probably not, but Hernandez's performance was encouraging nonetheless.

In Tevez-style, Hernandez always looked busy and was hungry to be involved, he possesses raw pace and he took his brace with confidence whilst playing with a smile on his face. A present day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Given his similarities to the popular Norwegian, I don't see why Hernandez can't have the same impact and success at United as Ole and become United's present day baby-faced assassin.

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