When Javier Hernandez signed for Manchester United in 2010, he was a relatively unknown Mexican striker. People quizzed about the diminutive striker and wondered if he was another investment signing given his popularity among Mexican fans. His heroics at Guadalajara made scouts from all around the world take notice of his talent, most notably his poaching ability.
Among those scouts was Jim Lawlor, a head scout at Manchester United who held a meeting with Sir Alex soon after; requesting him to sign the Mexican immediately. What followed can only be termed as a fairytale, the ‘Little Pea’ became one of the most feared strikers during his short stint in England. Dubbed as a super sub and the next Solksjaer, he helped himself to a number of important goals for the club becoming a fan favourite in the process.
As he prepares to face his former employers, let’s have a look at some of his top moments wearing the Red of Manchester.
1. Goal vs Chelsea – Community Shield
Talk about a better way of introducing yourself. A Valencia cross was put into the back of the net in the most comical way possible. Chicharito kicked the ball onto his face, before putting it past Hilario for the games second goal.
Not how he would have imagined opening his account for the club; but an important goal nonetheless. His celebration reel still stands afresh in the memory of United fans, as he kisses the United badge in front of the United end at Wembley.
2. Goal vs Stoke – back of his head
Chicharito is the definition of a poacher. He sniffs out half chances and buries them, a trait that is not very common in football. Gifted with this ability, it was on full display when Manchester United travelled to Stoke in 2010. Nani played a one-two with Evra from a corner before crossing it into the box. Vidic rose highest to nod the ball towards the back post, and being the ultimate opportunist that he is; Chicharito scored from a header that came from the back of his head. The sheer confidence to even think of attempting the half-chance, forget scoring it, shows the mastermind of Chicharito.
3. Scoring Manchester United’s winner against Newcastle, 2012/13.
This game had everything. Manchester United edged out Newcastle in this 7 goal-thriller. Having gone behind on 3 occasions, Manchester United came all guns blazing in the last 10 minutes, before finding the winner in stoppage time.
Michael Carrick looked up to find a gaping hole in the centre of Newcastle’s defence, and with one glance; produced a cutting pass that found Hernandez at the end of it. To produce that finish with so much at stake, it was Chicharito at his very best
4. Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United, 2012/13.
Another match that showcased Manchester United’s ‘Never say die’ attitude. Trailing Chelsea 3-0 down, Manchester United pegged them back to produce another scintillating comeback. The equalizer, however, was bagged by none other than Chicharito. Chelsea and Petr Cech, in particular, were victims of an array of goals from Chicharito. With 6 minutes to go on the clock, Ryan Giggs lobbed a hopeful ball into the box, prodded into the back of the net by Hernandez. Comeback complete!
5. Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United
This game was all about Chicharito. An Andreas Weimann brace put Aston Villa 2-0 up with 40 minutes to play.Javier Hernandez came on at half time and went into his super sub mode. He was involved in all the three goals, as Manchester United staged yet another comeback to win the game, an important win in the grand scheme of things.
Now up against his old club, the emotions will run high. While he has maintained that he holds no grudge against the club for selling him, he would love to prove a point to the club’s hierarchy by notching a goal or two.