Hernandez Match Statistics: (2 Goals/3 Shots, 18/19 Successful Passes)
Hernandez is simply put, the ready made successor to Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. He is electrifying and ice cold in equal measure in the box – a fantastic combination and one hopes for his sake that he makes his name as a starter rather being renowned as a super sub. The fact he has scored nine league goals in eight league starts for United means that might not end up being the case.
However we must remain remindful of the fact that Ole’s greatest goal total for one season was the 25 goals he scored in the 01/02 season and that number was more the exception rather than the norm during his 11 year career at United, his second best goalscoring season being his début season. So if Hernandez wishes to be a first team regular, clearly being a good finisher is simply not going to cut it.. he has to prove to the manager his general build up play is of a sufficient level to match the likes of Berbatov and Rooney, basically he needs to make himself undroppable, a player for all situations rather than the go to guy for when United need bailing out of a sticky situation.
Aspects of his game he can develop include his physical strength/hold up play, his dribbling in 1 v 1 situations both in terms of directness, agility, adding a few more tricks in his locker and perhaps even adding new weapons to his arsenal including set piece ability, a problem area where United are looking for someone to step up and solve. If he can do this and keep demonstrating his fantastic aerial prowess, one touch passing and clinical finishing ability then there is no reason why he can’t break into the side for the big games.
2. Rooney’s Attitude
Quite frankly it stank today and he was guilty on numerous occasions of placing his ego above the cause of the team, a pet hate of mine regardless of how good you are as a player. He had no concern with regards to how the side would fare if he got himself sent off and for what? Some unnecessary desire for retribution or perhaps a need to lash out to compensate for his frustration with the quality of his performance?
Statistically he didn’t have that bad a game, only 10 unsuccessful passes out of 45 but what cannot be revealed by stats is the frequency with which he is now prone to being caught on the ball when running at players and the predictability that plagues his dribbling when not a his best. His bottom level for a creative player is poor when you compare him to the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.. and that is incredibly frustrating for both him as a player and for us as fans because we know what he’s capable of and yet we are sometimes subjected to him being made to look no better than a drunk Sunday League player.
Finally another potential problem I envisage with Wayne is his relationship with Nani. I remember when Ruud Van Nistelrooy clashed with Cristiano Ronaldo on quite a few occasions and whilst it was never that apparent to the fans, clearly it had got to a point where Fergie felt the need to back his younger talent with superior potential and give him the room in which to showcase his talent and if Rooney continues to whinge at every little thing Nani does, it may get to the stage where Sir Alex feels that Nani is the horse he needs to back and that Rooney needs to go in order to allow Nani to flourish further. This is all hypothetical of course and even Berbatov has had problems with Nani and despite this all three have formed a fantastic partnership but it does bear thinking about.
3. The Good, The Bad & The Nani
Nani Match Statistics: (2/8 Shots on Target, 22/38 Successful Passes, 8/14 Tackles Made, 2 Clearances)
There is no doubting the importance of Nani to the United cause this season, he’s been an ever present whether it is on the right or the left, his versatility in conjunction with his indefatigability making him practically undroppable. How important though has been a point of debate, there were a few who believed that Berbatov was the main man responsible for us being on top, some have championed the cause of Vidic, keen to not be seen as favouring attacking players but in my opinion it is Nani who strikes fear into opponents regardless of their quality and I wouldn’t put it past him to win the PFA POTY Award ahead of Lionel Messi aka Gareth Bale and Samir Nasri.
Today he featured on the left which isn’t to my liking normally. I do think he is a better player at this moment in time in terms of his mental development on the right, as he is more likely to cross on that flank and retain possession rather than give into temptation and cut in to unleash a strike one time too many. On the left he can’t cross as well with his left and nor does he seem willing to and against strong intelligent defenders, he might be a tad more predictable on that side than he is on the right for now, though I might be underrating the speed of his development intelligence-wise and worrying for no reason.
He was a mixed bag today but still the most crucial forward player in the United side, constantly demanding the ball, getting past opponents and drawing attention away from our strikers. As we saw against Marseille, he seems to be our go to player now regardless of the situation and he rarely disappoints. I will forgive his ‘brain farts’ on the ball and greedy shot-taking, as long as he produces goals and assists at the rate he is doing at the moment and hopefully the fans and Mr Rooney are willing to do the same.