West Ham United’s victory over Sean Dyche’s Burnley on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League at London Stadium showed members of the Claret & Blue Army and the rest of the footballing world many things.
Just one of them is the fact that striker Javier Hernandez still has a future at the club following a run of games out with glandular fever, two sub-par performances that led to much criticism and constant speculation surrounding his future. Today, we are going to carry out a statistics-driven tactical analysis on Chicharito’s contribution at the weekend, his disrupted 2018/2019 season so far and the future he does have in East London.
We will start by analysing the Mexican striker’s biggest contribution to a vital win for the Hammers on home soil that took them up to just five points off the top half, an injury-time goal after his 61st-minute introduction, that sealed the deal on the 4-2 triumph.
It was a trademark Hernandez goal and one similar to most in such a late stage of the game, when the match becomes stretched and big gaps start to appear in defences, the kind of thing ‘The Little Pea’ thrives on. In the below image, provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com, like all the other images in this analysis, we see the start of the counter-attack with Felipe Anderson switching the play in the wake of a short Robert Snodgrass pass, we see Chicharito on the right, about to make his run.
Anderson, the match-winner and Man-of-the-Match on the afternoon, picks out Michail Antonio perfectly with a long ball and he, spotting the clever movement of Hernandez to advance beyond his man, chests the ball into his path.
Like he has done for the whole of his esteemed career in these situations, the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star takes the ball in his stride perfectly and sets up a shooting opportunity. He is aiming to beat former Hammers teammate Joe Hart in goal for his second of the season and first in the league.
Despite being on his weaker foot and slightly off-balance due to close pressure from Burnley defender Ben Mee, history has taught us that there was only ever going to be one result. Yes, the No17 managed to find a way of converting, putting the ball into the left-hand top corner and sending a hush of relief across London Stadium.
For the second primary phase of this tactical analysis, we will be taking an in-depth look at how the Mexico International has performed so far this term under new management at London Stadium for the second time in his short West Ham career.
The above statistics, the basis on which we will be analysing his season so far, are taken from his Premier League and Carabao Cup appearances since the start of the campaign in early-August and are his general figures for his attacking stats.
While the graphic contains the numbers for each and every game individually, it’s just the averages column at the very top that we are going to be focussing on, which is per 90 minutes for this term.
The first stat we are drawn to, beside a mini heatmap displaying the centre-forward role he has mostly been deployed in by Pellegrini, is goals as he has averaged a respectable 0.4 goals per full game, given his limited playing time under his new manager.
Not assisting once this season accounts for his average of zero but he does manage over two shots each time he steps onto the field for the whole match, something he has rarely done of late, getting over 50 per cent of them on target to match his career-wide excellent accuracy.
Chicharito’s expected goals rating of 0.53 is up there with the best frontmen in English football and despite the lack of assists, he has still been something of a creator as the twilight years of his illustrious life as a footballer begin at 30, totting up 1.01 shot assists.
Unlike the start of his time in Claret & Blue when he was played in wide areas by Slaven Bilic, the Mexico man rarely finds himself on the wing these days, hence his poor crossing stats of 2.01 crosses and 19.9% accuracy.
His dribbling figures are not much better in terms of frequency, but there has been an improvement with his success rate, completing over 80%. The South American and national icon hasn’t shied away from getting stuck in up front, being embroiled in 6.85 offensive duels but he has won only 44.1%.
Hernandez is constantly making a nuisance of himself in the opposition area with his average 4.03 touches in there, along with 0.4 progressive runs. As you can see, he has been found offside 0.6 times on average and drawn an eye-catching 2.21 fouls.
For a player who has mostly been an outsider for the Irons in the last few months, many will agree that these stats aren’t the worst, but they are far from flattering. The fox in the box has produced these numbers by starting four and coming off the bench in five of these nine appearances.
The Role He Has To Settle For From Now
The poor stats that we have analysed have come from Chicharito making his fair share of starts, all things considered, and his best performances have undoubtedly come off the substitutes’ bench this campaign.
To have a potentially successful future at the club and he may not like it, but the Mexican star must realise that he is most useful as an impact sub, not being 20 years old anymore and indeed, 30. After all, he does have the third most goals as a substitute in Premier League history.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that Hernandez has, backed up by the sub-standard stats, not had the best season of his jewel-encrusted career thus far, with fitness issues, form issues and non-selection issues plaguing him.
But now back to full fitness, Saturday’s triumph was yet another flash of something he has proved over and over again in West Ham colours, that he makes more of an impact as a late addition to the game, an impact sub. Chicharito’s starts this campaign have been met by turgid reviews and should he and the club come to a stark realisation, things could still work out for him in the capital, in contrast to a frustrating 16 months as of yet, back in England.