Javier Hernández’s 2-goal man-of-the-match performance against Braga in the Champions League a few days ago was the perfect reminder to Sir Alex Ferguson that he should not be left out of the first team.
Prior to the match, there were rumours of the Mexican being unsettled at United, where the arrival of Robin Van Persie and the eye-catching performances of Danny Welbeck have limited his first team opportunities.
Since the performance against Braga provided such a timely indication of Hernández’s talents, should he be viewed as a key player and start more games from now on? Or will he continue to be a bit-part striker with the ‘super-sub’ title that would most likely push him closer to the exit door?
Have a look at Table 1. This season, Hernández has only started one game so far, scoring a goal (and missing a penalty). His other involvement reads four substitute appearances and no goals. Over the previous two seasons, he has a better rate of return for goals as a starter compared to substitute appearances. In the 2010/2011 season, he scored 0.53 goals per game as a starter whereas he scored only 0.42 goals per game when he came on as a sub. Similarly, in the 2011/2012 season, he enjoyed a higher goals-scored-per-game ratio when he made starts than when he came into games from the bench (0.44 vs 0.2). This simply goes to show that Hernández is more effective when used as a starting player than as a substitute. Contrary to popular belief, then, Hernández is in fact not such a ‘super-sub’ at all.
Table 2 and Table 3 show Hernández’s chance conversion rate. In his debut season in 2010/2011, he had the best chance conversion rate in the Premier League, scoring 30% of his chances. In the 2011/2012 season, where he struggled for form and first team opportunities, he did not produce the best chance conversion rate, but still maintained the highest outside the top three goalscorers for the season (Van Persie, Rooney, and Aguero), as seen from Table 3.
Next Page: Hernandez Right Place at the Right Time & his Defensive contribution stats…