West Ham have been having a fair to middling season in truth. At times criticised for poor performances, the Hammers have nonetheless staved off any threat of a relegation scrap thus far and find themselves ninth in the Premier League table. While they sit quite a distance from the European places – indeed, points-wise they are closer to the drop zone – they have managed to pull some decent results out of the bag, and this past weekend’s thriller at home against Huddersfield could be labeled many things, but never boring! Manuel Pellegrini has used his experience and past success in English football (one Premier League title and two League Cup trophies) to instill a sense of purpose throughout the side.
It is perhaps fitting, then, that this week’s best player in the Premier League was none other than their Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who managed to bag a brace in that 4-3 win. Goals from Angelo Ogbonna and Mark Noble gave West Ham their four, while strikes from Juninho Bacuna and Karlan Grant (two) ensured the visiting Huddersfield were well in contention until very late on. Hernandez, however, has shown what a quality player he really can be with his recent performances. First arriving in English football in 2010 when he became the first ever Mexican player to sign for Manchester United, Hernandez has spent time in La Liga (Real Madrid) and the Bundesliga (Bayern Munich) before departing the Allianz Arena for the London Stadium two years ago.
His initial transfer to Man Utd had been done completely in secret, with friends believing he was on a trip to Atlanta when he actually left to sign for the Red Devils. He showed in his early days at Old Trafford how deadly a forward he could be, his skill and pace delighting the club’s following. That has transferred over now, and despite a relatively slow start to life at West Ham he is proving just how essential he is to the club these days. His fantasy points return is far from the highest of course, but the ability to put in a performance such as he did against Huddersfield and keep battling until the end – his first goal came on 84 minutes before scoring the winner in injury time – is an attribute West Ham have sorely lacked at times in recent seasons.
He actually sits atop this weekend’s Premier League strikers charts with eight points alongside Bournemouth forward Joshua King, another former Man Utd player (though King never played a competitive game for the club). Hernandez’s value of 7.5m arguably shows that he would be expected to accrue more than 28 points by this stage of the season, but a player as important to his side’s plans as the 30-year-old seems to be for Pellegrini means he should rack a fair few more up by the time the curtain lowers on the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
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