Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is becoming quite the cult hero at West Ham United, just a few weeks after admitting he wanted to leave the east London club in January.
Hernandez, 29, scored West Ham’s opening goal in their 2-0 win against Watford last weekend, had another disallowed and was a constant pest as the Hammers continued to ease their relegation fears considerably since David Moyes arrived to take charge in November.
The all-time leading goalscorer for Mexico’s national team has now scored three goals in his last four games in the Premier League, which is his best run of form since returning to England last summer following two years in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen.
Many fans of El Tri feared that Moyes’ arrival at West Ham (he benched Hernandez often during his time in charge of Manchester United) would spark a sharp downturn in playing time for Hernandez and although initially that seemed to be the case due to an injury of his own, injuries and outgoings involving other strikers in January suddenly handed him the chance to stake his claim as their first-choice striker.
“Chicharito is a top striker. I’ve got a great relationship with him and he deserves his goals because he is a hard worker. I’m really happy for him and for the team,” West Ham’s goalkeeper Adrian said after the game.
Hernandez has turned things around very quickly with the Hammers and although the fans have always appreciated his predatory instincts, it appeared he may not fit into their system under Slaven Bilic and then his successor Moyes.
With seven goals in 15 PL starts (plus six appearances off the bench) in his debut season at the London Stadium, Hernandez is West Ham’s second top goalscorer and the move has done his reputation as a serial scorer no harm at all.
Whether or not he remains at West Ham beyond this season remains to be seen but he will have plenty of suitors and, more importantly for Mexico, he is in form and scoring goals ahead of the 2018 World Cup this summer.