1. Reincarnation of Ole

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.

Click here for the second part of the 5 things we noticed

4 responses to “‘Return Of The Baby-Faced Assassin’ 5 Things I Noticed – Wigan v United”

  1. Ryan says:

    enjoyable article. Totally agree on VDS. he is so steady, was massive today. Will really miss how confident he is on the ball.. Interesting point on the Nani/rooney relationship, something to monitor for sure. The thing now that is obvious to me is that Nani is now our most important player going into the future (Vidic a very close second). He has the creative talent that he could be a top 3 player in the world. A player who can always get by the opposition is so important, and just like Ronaldo, he will learn as he goes on as to when to distribute the ball. He was too selfish today, but with a player like Nani, you have to be willing to take some of the bad with the great. Just look at the development weve seen since his breakout (the arsenal away match last year to me,,). I still need therapy to explain to me why Nani didnt start last year at home match vs Chelsea.. With no rooney, we needed Nani to start.. the key fuck up last season i keep thinking about. To me that proved that nani is the key man in the side. We need his superior talent in the side to win more than anyone. Lets go Reds!

  2. Rohit says:

    Wayne was completely stupid in the elbow incident..I mean wtf was he thinking, not even 10 min on the clock and with massive away games looming..For most periods of the games he looked frustrated and irritating to be honest..None of his one touch passing came off and his first touch was generally piss poor..No wonder saf was completely pissed and gave him a right bollocking..
    Nani for all the stick he gets is probably the only player on our team who can produce moments of absolute magic, both in terms of goals and his final crosses..His productivity has gone up ten fold and though he’s not the most consistent with his end product,what he does usually ends up as gold..He clearly deserved a goal yesterday, the one that hit the post was as close as they come..I for one have no complaints on him taking the most shots..Its not as if providing wayne has a better end product..
    The central defense was again pretty unbeatable..Vida was too good, but along with him smalling again looked business..Won everything in the air and generally looked untroubled in possession..Totally agree everything on chico, another ole on the rise..Gibson with a fine pass to berba who in turn was absolutely unselfish in providing wayne one on the plate..Fabio with a fine goal to cap..All in all a very satisfactory result..

  3. Redrae7 says:

    Agreed with both posts, a good win all in all and it was an entertaining game if a little helter skelter, but I’d rather experience a typical United game like that rather than nick a boring 1-0.

  4. jonathan says:

    I don’t know if we need to worry seeing Hernandez in the preferred starting 11. As with many similarities he shares with Ole, if he remains a viable alternate and/or super-sub, than that may be just as valuable.
    I’d agree about the parts of his game to be improved apart from building strength. Muscle is weight and it’s unlikely he can keep the same pace if he gains a few pounds. So many of his goals have been scored when he was only a split second ahead of the his defender. Even a marginal affect on his speed may have a greater detrimental effect than initially thought.

    I agree regarding Nani. In a perfect world he’d know when it would be better to pass than try something on his own. But I can live with a few shakes of the head if it means we have such a gifted player going at full confidence. Tactially, the fact that he has less tendency to pass makes him more difficult to defend as he is that much more unpredictable. You can literally see the uncertainly and even fear from his defenders’ because they have no idea what he’ll do.
    Even if he keeps up his goal/assist ratio, I’m not sure he’ll win the PFA POTY – though he deserves it. Culturally in the EPL, it seems there’s a lot of people who view what he does simply as showboating regardless of whether it’s true or not. It will take an absolutely exceptional year, similarily to Ronaldo’s last couple seasons where the proof is too irrefutable.