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Javier Hernandez: is West Ham’s poacher returning to form?

After a torrid January transfer window in which Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez asked to leave the struggling Hammers, the Mexican forward has begun to repay the faith of West Ham manager David Moyes, as well as the transfer fee shelled out for him in the summer by the club’s owners.

His form prior to the January window was not justifying a starting berth, having scored just four goals in 21 games, hardly the star striker the Hammers had dreamt of when they signed Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen last summer.

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Chicharito was struggling for confidence and being wasted in a footballing system that did not suit the ‘fox in the box’. During Bilic’s tenure as manager he was deployed on the side of a front three which saw him unable to get in to the box as he was player more a winger role during most games. However, it was clear to see the potential in the player at times, as shown in his brace against Southampton and his goals against Tottenham and Crystal Palace. The common theme in all his goals was the fact he was in his usual position, about 5 yards in front of the goal. However, these chances were far and few apart for the Mexican to make a real impact.

But since injuries to some of West Ham’s key players, Chicharito has become a key player in the West Ham side himself. He has scored 3 goals in his last 4 Premier League games, and is finally been getting the chances that made him such a success at his previous clubs and earned him the title of a poacher.

Since Carroll’s injury, West Ham have had to play the ball to Hernandez directly and in the box in order to find success in games, and when they have he has rewarded them with some fine goals. Hernandez has also added a high work rate to his game as he has been running tirelessly across the Hammers front line, and he has reaped the rewards for his hard work. Most recently against Watford where Michail Antonio was able to pick him out on the six-yard box with a fine cross, which Chicharito headed home, passing Orestic Karnezis in the Watford goal. Not only that but he was voted the fans man of the match too showing his hard-work is being noticed.

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Unlike at the start of the season, his recent goals have been crucial too, having earned the Hammers four points in recent weeks, as they look to recover from their poor early season form and push up the Premier League table and away from the dreaded relegation zone. If Hernandez carries on this form he could well soon overtake Marko Arnautovic as West Ham’s top scorer, and the Mexican striker could be in with an outside chance of winning West Hams player of the year.

With West Ham’s injury worries starting to subside with Arnautovic, Antonio and Lanzini returning to action and with the added creativity of Joao Mario, Hernandez could start to get much better service then he was at the start of the season, meaning only good things for West Ham as their hunt for a 15 goal a season striker might finally be over.

Written by Henry Tomlinson.

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