This time last year, little known Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, or Chicharito, was nothing more than an exciting young prospect brought from C.D. Guadalajara before the World Cup.
Although his performances in South Africa left the £7 million transfer fee looking like another great bargain by manager Alex Ferguson, what was to come was beyond all expectations.
The youngster was expected to be a mere backup option to an already established striking partnership between Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney; but he impressed in preseason to become a key player and scored crucial goals throughout the season.
Although he wasn’t even the highest scoring player on his team, he will improve this season to the extent that he will be the Premier League top scorer.
The first reason is obvious—he has proven himself in the Premier League.
The step up from the Mexican League to the top division in England isn’t an easy one, but Hernandez has proved that he can be dangerous—impressing with his pace, movement off the ball, and more importantly his goal scoring ability, which made him one of the most feared strikers in Europe.
Consequently, Ferguson will utilise him more throughout the season, evidenced by the fact that the Mexican got the nod in the Champions League final over Berbatov. Although Hernandez, like United, struggled against Barcelona, Ferguson’s selection was a sign that the Mexican has wriggled his way into the starting lineup.
This has even left the future of Berbatov in question, especially after reported interest from French side PSG.
This will mean that Hernandez will be given the opportunity to score 20-plus goals—something that he didn’t have last season, having only started 15 games in league play.
Also, Hernandez has plenty of service from both wings, and of course Wayne Rooney. Nani got more assists than any other player in the Premier League season with 18, while new signing Ashley Young and Rooney both got 11, which is promising for the EPL's top goal scoring team last season.
The return of Tom Cleverly and Danny Welbeck from loan spells also give United other attacking options to provide assists for Hernandez.
If the team plays with Nani and Young on both wings, and Rooney playing just behind Hernandez, then there is no doubt that one of the best poachers in the league will have more than enough supply this season to win the Golden Boot.
Although Hernandez won’t be available until late-August and faces competition from the likes of Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Sergio Aguero, and of course, his United teammates, there is no doubt that he will make up for lost time and win the Golden Boot.