Javier Hernandez: Chicharito Proves Value in Rare Start for Manchester United

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Javier Hernandez of Manchester United scores his team's first goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third round match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In a bleak season marred by long stretches of inactivity and very few goals, Javier Hernandez got a rare start for Manchester United on Jan. 5 and it took him just 16 minutes to land an equalizing score.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, that was the only score they mustered on the day, and Swansea City prevailed at Old Trafford, 2-1, in Round 3 of the FA Cup.

This marks what is turning into a humbling season for Hernandez and his club. 

Just to give an idea of the Red Devils' struggles, this was the first time Swansea have ever won at Old Trafford and it was United's fifth home defeat already this season. 

At least the team was reminded of the seldom-used value it has in Hernandez.

David Moyes decided to dust off some lesser-used pieces like Chicharito and Shinji Kagawa. It didn't start off well. Swansea's Wayne Routledge opened scoring with a strike in the 12th minute. 

The Red Devils got a glimmer of hope moments later, however. 

It was just four minutes after Routledge's strike that Alexander Buttner delivered a gorgeous cross in front of the net and right to the left foot of the Mexican International striker. Chicharito did not disappoint. He one-timed it past goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel for the score. 

Starved for goals, Hernandez showed his appreciation for the score: 

It is easy to see why Chicharito was prompted to give a finger point to the heavens after this score, as it was his first goal in any competition for the Red Devils in more than two months: 

On Oct. 26, Chicharito added a goal against Stoke in a Premier League match. In his next game, he added a brace against Norwich in a Champions Cup contest. 

He then did not see the pitch in Manchester United's next contest, which began a stretch where he didn't get any playing time in three of the next five games.

At this stage of his career, the 25-year-old had to be planning for an increasing role with the Red Devils. Instead, he has seen his role shrink under the guidance of new manager Moyes.

With the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney providing their goal-scoring skills to Manchester United, it is understandable that Moyes could struggle to find minutes for Chicharito. With the team struggling and van Persie battling to stay healthy, however, it is surprising that Moyes hasn't found more of an opportunity for Chicharito to develop. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  David Moyes manager of Manchester United shakes hands with Robin van Persie as he is replaced by Javier Hernandez of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Pala
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Understandably, this has found Chicharito's name entering into transfer rumors. It remains to be seen how much validity there are to any rumors of Chicharito's departure from Old Trafford. What doesn't remain to be seen is that Chicharito needed a goal like this to remind everyone of the value he can bring to the pitch. 

His Sunday goal certainly seemed to remind former Premier League player Michael Owen of his value: 

Although Owen may be getting carried away a bit, or has forgotten about the existence of Luis Suarez, his comment does speak of the potential value Chicharito brings to the pitch. 

Chicharito reminded everyone on Sunday that he is too talented to be riding the bench.