The emergence of Danny Welbeck this season has given Sir Alex Ferguson a selection headache when the time to choose who partners Wayne Rooney up front arrives. When Javier Hernandez was diagnosed with concussion during Pre-Season and was ruled out for up to 4 weeks, Welbeck saw his chance to impress in the opening games of the season and he did just that, scoring against Tottenham and Arsenal and his general energetic style of play caught they eye of many United fans, unfortunately during the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal, Welbeck pulled up with a torn hamstring and would be ruled out for up to a month.
The following game, ‘Chicharito’ made his first start of the campaign and went on to score two goals against Bolton Wanderers, the Mexican showing his incredible ability to poach goals off the last man, however when Welbeck returned vs Norwich at Old Trafford he scored again to further enhance his claim to lead the line with Rooney. Since then, Hernandez has scored three vital away goals against Liverpool, Everton and Swansea; all of the goals were scored within 6 yards in typical Hernandez fashion.
Now to look at the two players in greater detail:
As a born and bred Mancunian, Welbeck was released by Manchester City at the age of 8, he was quickly signed up by United and he progressed from there, making his way into the Reserves and starring in some Carling Cup fixtures before having an unsuccessful loan spell at Preston North End in the 2009/2010 where he suffered from injuries. For the 2010/2011 season, Welbeck went on a season long loan to Sunderland where he was impressive for the black cats, playing 26 games in the league and scoring 6 goals. Welbeck is much more of an all round striker than Hernandez, he is physically strong and good in the air, add that to the pace that he possesses and you have all the ingredients for an excellent striker.
For Manchester United, Danny Welbeck has featured 36 times scoring 10 goals in that period; bear in mind that several of those appearances will have been from the substitute’s bench, but a goal every 3.6 games is a respectable record for someone at the age of 20.
‘Chicharito’ was signed by Manchester United in the summer of 2010 for £6m, many accused United of lacking the funds and bottle to sign a well known, world class striker and Hernandez was seen as a cheap back up to Berbatov and Rooney.
Oh how they were wrong, Hernandez got his United career off to a thrilling start; scoring a unorthodox goal in the Community Shield against Chelsea, the ball eventually going in off his face. Goals against Stoke secured a vital win at the Britannia, and he went on to score against Valencia in the Champions League and also a winner at West Brom on New Years Day.
It was becoming clear that Rooney-Hernandez was now the first choice striking pair; the way that Chicharito plays as a striker is to play off the last man all game and hope that with the right service he can poach a goal as the predator in the box, this sort of player means Wayne Rooney can play as a ‘false 10’ behind Hernandez and influence the game himself.
As United went on to clinch a record breaking 19th league title, the little Mexican continued to come up with essential goals such as the ones against Everton and Chelsea that meant the Reds went onto win the league in emphatic fashion.
For Manchester United, Javier Hernandez has featured 60 times, scoring 25 goals at a rate of a goal every 2.4 games, a better ratio than Welbeck has, but like Welbeck, ‘Chicharito’ has made a large percentage of those 60 appearances from the bench.
So after reading the analysis and breakdown of both players, it is now decision time, who should partner Wayne Rooney up front?
Danny Welbeck? or Javier Hernandez?