West Ham United striker Javier Hernandez is currently in the midst of a scintillating three-game hot streak, finding form at the right time as Manuel Pellegrini’s men have made it three Premier League victories in succession in the space of seven days.
Today, through a statistics-driven tactical analysis, we are going to be analysing the excellent run of form of the Mexican over the club’s last three matches, four days after the third match in the run, Saturday’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at London Stadium. Join us.
The three games
The three games Chicharito, formerly of Manchester United and Real Madrid among other clubs, has found form in have included a trip to face a team he was formerly linked with in Newcastle United and home clashes with Cardiff City and the Eagles.
In this time, ‘The Little Pea,’ who has the second-most goals in Premier League history from inside the penalty area and the most from the substitutes’ bench, has found the back of the net three times.
Two of those strikes came in the North East, where he notched the opening two goals in a 0-3 win for the East Londoners, failing to trouble the scorers in the 3-1 home beating of Neil Warnock’s Cardiff, before putting the Irons 2-1 to the good with his one goal on Saturday afternoon.
The superb form of Hernandez has been matched by his teammates as a whole, with them, as aforementioned, winning three times in the space of seven days last week. Nine points from a possible nine has allowed West Ham to climb the table, even occupying a spot in the top half for the first time this season for a period, before dropping back down to 11th from 10th on Sunday evening.
Next in this tactical analysis, we are going to be temporarily looking beyond the goals and at Chicharito’s key attacking statistics for the trio of outings, provided by wyscout.com in the below graphic.
As you can see, the image contains the striker’s attacking figures for the three games and a column at the very top detailing his career average per 90 minutes for these stats. It’s just the last three encounters we’re going to be focussing on today, although it does make for an intriguing comparison.
The first stat we are drawn to from the graphic, alongside a column telling us his centre-forward positioning on all three occasions within Pellegrini’s 4-4-2, twice alongside Marko Arnautovic and once alongside Lucas Perez, and his minutes played in the three starts, is goals scored.
As we’ve touched on, the renowned fox in the box managed a brace at St. James’ Park and a single strike at home to the Eagles, all of which we’re going to analyse in great detail a little later. They were Hernandez’s respective third, fourth and fifth strikes of the campaign in all competitions.
While he has been productive in front of goal for himself, the Mexico national team’s all-time leading goalscorer has failed to assist in the last three matches, with six shots and four on target displaying how many more he could have bagged for himself during crucial wins for his side of 18 months.
A highly-impressive expected goals rating of 1.47 three days ago was the highest recorded out of the three matches, which were only his fifth, sixth and seventh starts under Pellegrini in all competitions.
The theme of the Mexico man struggling to create much for any other player than himself continues with just one shot assist and zero crosses registered for the three matches. But who can complain when you score as frequently as the 30-year-old, the man with the second-most goals (5) in Claret & Blue in 2018/2019, one behind Felipe Anderson (6).
Incredibly, all three of his dribbles attempted in the one away match and two home matches were completed successfully, also winning an eye-catching high percentage of his busy 19 offensive duels.
Whilst Hernandez failed to touch the ball in the Cardiff box last Tuesday, it was something he managed readily at Newcastle and on the same ground four days later. The only two times he’s been found offside in this run came on Saturday afternoon in East London.
Chicharito will be disappointed to have not recorded more progressive runs in three successful outings for the East Londoners, but he more than made up for it by drawing a total of four free-kicks in the seven days, and at least one per match in his longest run in the starting Xl all term thus far.
For a striker making his return to the starting team amidst a season of injury, non-selection and poor form up until that stage, even without the goals, these figures are excellent. They prove that, despite being into his 30s, Hernandez is still able to overcome a range of mitigating factors to deliver consistently on the big stage.
For the final phase of our analysis, there’s time to take an in-depth look at the trio of goals scored by Hernandez in his scintillating three-game hot streak, with the help of the below three Wyscout images.
As we can see, the first came in the 11th minute at St. James’ Park, after Hernandez had been given his first start since the last day of October. He took full advantage of the opportunity, quite literally, getting a well-steered volley on the end of an excellent Robert Snodgrass to break the deadlock in the three-goal triumph.
Later in the same match, Chicharito was able to convert one of his many chances to score his fourth of the season and his second of the afternoon. The former Premier League winner was slipped clean through by a Marko Arnautovic knock-on and with only goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to beat, slipped the ball under him and into the back of the net to lay the foundations for Anderson to round off the scoring with a third in stoppage-time.
Having failed to score or impress in the midweek win over stragglers the Bluebirds, Pellegrini kept his faith in Chicharito for the following Saturday’s visit of the London rivals Palace. The frontman rewarded this faith by putting the Hammers ahead in the 62nd minute, converting from inside the box once again (all 49 of his PL strikes have come inside the area) and high into the roof of Wayne Hennessey’s net after Anderson’s free-kick was parried into his path.
Hernandez’s scintillating three-game West Ham hot streak has not only been about the goals, as we’ve discovered in our statistical tactical analysis today, but the overall quality of his superb performances, which have been detrimental in the Irons securing a trio of crucial victories.
After an uncertain start to life at London Stadium, Hernandez may finally be finding his feet back in English football under a manager in Pellegrini that clearly sees him as part of his long-term plans, perhaps unlike Slaven Bilic and David Moyes did before him. By continuing to start matches, everyone associated with the club will desperately be hoping that Chicharito can extend this hot streak beyond just the three matches.
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