Javier Hernandez Should Not Be Used in the United Starting XI
This weekend saw Manchester United's fantastic run of form come to a somewhat tragic end at the hands of Chris Hughton's high-flying Norwich City, with the Canaries running out 1-0 winners at Carrow Road.
To say that the men in yellow didn't deserve the victory would be doing them a great disservice. They looked sharper, more awake and—perhaps most importantly, from a United fan's point of view this season—far more defensively solid than United did.
In what was probably his worst game of the season so far, United front-man Robin van Persie looked totally devoid of ideas and took a wild swing at the ball, only to completely miss making contact, on no less than three occasions.
Let's face it, this isn't the first time this season that United have struggled at the start of a match. The difference between those games and this one was that the standard "United comeback," that we have come to expect from the Red Devils almost every week now, didn't materialise.
So what was the key difference between those fixtures and this one? For me, it was the crucial error in starting Mexican superstar Javier Hernandez ahead of England's Danny Welbeck.
With Rooney sidelined through an injury picked up on international duty, the burden fell to the man who has been United's greatest hero this season during their fight backs.
Last week it was Hernandez's brace (and an own goal that was effectively also his) that led to the 3-2 victory at Villa Park after going 2-0 down.
Since he arrived at Old Trafford in 2010, Hernandez has made a name for himself for being a player that has a huge impact coming off of the substitutes bench.
Comparisons were made almost straight away into his United career to former fan favourite and former super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who, like Chicharito, earned a place in the United fan's heart's with his dramatic last-minute winners.
It's an incomprehendable phenomenon in football that some players seem to be almost twice as good when coming off of the bench than they do when gifted with a place in their side's first team.
Javier Hernandez is one of these players who seems to thrive on the pressure of being brought on to have a real impact in a match. This weekend, that should have been the case once again, with the not-so-shabby Danny Welbeck starting upfront with RVP.
A similar example of such a player comes as close to home as the other side of Manchester. Eden Dzeko is another footballer who has a far better record coming on with roughly 20 minutes of a match left than he does when he earns a spot in the Manchester City first team ahead of Tevez or Aguero.
Roberto Mancini recognises this and, as such, almost always keeps the big Bosnian on the sidelines until his presence is needed.
It's understandable why Fergie made the decision to start Chicharito against Norwich. After all, his performances this year have been out of this world, and on paper he has more than earned the right to start upfront for the tablecloth army.
But from a tactical perspective, one cannot help but feel this was a glaring error on Sir Alex's part—worryingly one of many made during the match when it came to formation and substitutes.
When Rooney returns this will not be an issue, with Hernandez hopefully dropping back down to his best position, the bench.
It sounds tremendously harsh to the young Mexican, but if Manchester United want to get the best out of the 24-year-old, he needs to lose his place in the starting lineup.
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