2 Feb 2012

Is Hernández Suffering Second Season Syndrome?

On the 28th of May last year at Wembley Stadium, Javier Hernández was one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson's team sheet for the biggest club game in the world against Barcelona in the Champions League Final.

Hernández made an instant and unforgettable impact in his first season following his move to Manchester United in 2010. His goals were a contributing factor in United winning a record 19th league title, but did he peak too early in his Old Trafford career? Or is he suffering the dreaded "Second Season Syndrome"?

In the defence of  Hernández, you could argue he has had an injury setback this season that has resulted in the Mexican being denied a run of games, But I actually think you can look into this deeper and it is not second season syndrome that he is suffering from, it's his style of play that is affecting his place in the United starting eleven.

Hernández is an out and out goal scorer, there is no doubting that he knows where the net is, he is your old fashioned centre forward, the "fox in the box", who can be anonymous for 89 minutes of a match and pop up to score the winning goal. Today's game has changed dramatically, teams no longer have a place in their team for a player who only offers goals, I know that sounds stupid, but Hernández currently finds himself fourth choice striker out of five, and the player under him is the injury prone Michael Owen.

So the players ahead of him in the striking department queue are? Well Rooney in the team is a not really a debate or argument when fully fit, so that leaves Danny Welbeck and Dimitar Berbatov ahead of Hernández when it comes to being picked in the starting eleven at this present moment of the season, and it's easy to see why. Welbeck has been in sensational form recently, and it's his all-round game that is so impressive and making him almost impossible to leave out of the team at the moment. Sir Alex can also call on Dimitar Bebatov who will offer him a better all-round game, so it seems it is Hernández's game and style of play that is letting him down.

If you wanted to be highly critical of the Mexican, you would say that Hernández does not have the greatest first touch, does not yet know how to time his runs properly, is not great with his hold up play and offers no effective defencive work when tracking back into his own half. Teams now require players who have the full package and have variety to their play, and this is something that Hernández is falling short on. 

In his first season It was said that Hernández had a very similar game to that of Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and if this is the case then the Mexican will find himself watching the majority of Uniteds game from the comfort of the dugout, assessing games and waiting to be called on when United need something out of a match, or to offer a rest for Rooney, Welbeck or Berbatov.

It's Hernández's all-round game that is letting him down, and the future partnership seems to be Rooney and Welbeck, but there is no doubting that when called on, Hernández will offer the team something different and maybe a goal out of nothing when United need it most, he will be our impact player.