Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck: How Do Manchester United Choose?

Christopher Heathman@@CHeathmanCorrespondent IIJanuary 22, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck share a joke during the Manchester United training ahead of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match against Ajax session at the Carrington Training Ground on February 22, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The signing of Robin van Persie gave Sir Alex Ferguson the chance to play Wayne Rooney in an attacking midfield role behind the strikers but also meant he was left with a choice between England striker Danny Welbeck and Mexican poacher Javier Hernandez as van Persie's partner on the front line.

The choice between Welbeck and Hernandez seems also to be a choice between efficiency in front of goal, which is what Hernandez brings, and good, old-fashioned hard work, which is used by Welbeck to make up for his apparent lack of composure. 

The Manchester-born Welbeck seems to have gained an edge in the eyes of Ferguson recently, despite the impressive goal record of "Chicharito" racked up in this campaign.

In terms of goals scored, it is not even a competition. Welbeck has only managed one goal in his 17 Premier league appearances. Hernandez, on the other hand, has scored eight goals in just 13 league games.

Despite the goals, Welbeck's work ethic has been rewarded by Ferguson, something which seemingly paid off when the 22-year-old forward put in a man-of-the-match performance in one of the biggest games of Man Utd's season against Liverpool.

In this game, where the home side dominated until Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge scored just minutes after Nemanja Vidic netted the Red Devil's second, Hernandez was an unused substitute. But Chicharito's efficiency in front of goal could have been the key to making the finish a bit more comfortable.

Welbeck had the chances in the first half, as did a number of other Man Utd players, to extend their lead, but they struggled to find the net.

In fact, Hernandez was also an unused substitute against Arsenal in their 2-1 win at Old Trafford and Man Utd's 3-2 victory over title-rivals Manchester City.

The Red Devil's had plenty of chances in their win over the Gunners, but like the Liverpool match, failed to make them count. Even though Santi Cazorla's late effort was a consolation, on another day Man Utd could have been punished.

At the weekend, Manchester United failed to hold off Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Unlike the games at home against Arsenal and Liverpool, United were second best. In games such as this, a team needs their most prolific goal scorers to take the few chances which come along.

Instead, Welbeck was given the nod. What he brings to the team is versatility, pace and the ability to attack and support the full-back. With attention on Gareth Bale, Welbeck was a much needed additional body.

The trouble Ferguson has is how he chooses who is best for the job at hand. Hernandez has scored vital goals this season, giving Man Utd three points in games instead of one or even no points, at all. Their five-point lead over Man City can arguably be attributed to what he has contributed on the pitch in goals.

Welbeck does not have much to show in terms of stats for what he has given Man Utd on the pitch this season. However, there is no doubt sometimes his pace, which has caused the likes of Martin Skrtel problems, can open up opportunities for Robin van Persie, Rooney etc.

Man Utd, and by extension Ferguson, have in recent years always used players who make them dangerous on the counter attack. With van Persie bagging the goals, Ferguson can afford to favour a player like Welbeck at the expense of Hernandez.