Mexican striker scores both goals as Wayne Rooney’s stand-in as Man Utd get first away win in English Premier League.
|Hernandez has put in some vital performances for United as they try to keep Chelsea in sight [GALLO/GETTY]|
Javier Hernandez’s strong start at Manchester United is increasing the weight of expectation on him as Wayne Rooney struggles with fitness and form.
The 22-year-old Mexico striker has scored three goals in his last two games to help earn victories over Stoke in the English Premier League and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup.
But the close-season recruit could face his toughest domestic test yet against Tottenham on Saturday – the first time he has faced one of last season’s top four in a league encounter.
United signed Hernandez, who wears his nickname ‘Chicarito’ on his shirt, from Mexican club Guadalajara before seeing him impress for Mexico at the World Cup.
“It’s obviously early days for him but he’s made a really good impression at the club,” said fellow striker Michael Owen, who is out with a hamstring injury.
“He’s young, sharp and a good finisher. He seems to be thriving.”
United are five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, with the 18-time champions tied on 17 points with Arsenal and Manchester City.
Saturday October 30
Arsenal v West Ham
Sunday October 31
Aston Villa v Birmingham
Monday November 1
Blackpool v West Brom
Tottenham, who are a further two points behind in fifth, have not won at United since 1989.
But playmaker Luka Modric was encouraged by the way his team scored three second-half goals in the 4-3 defeat to Inter Milan in the European Champions League last week.
“We showed against Inter in the second half that we can compete with the best teams in the world and United is certainly one of the best teams in the world,” Modric said.
“I know Tottenham haven’t won at Old Trafford for a long time, so why not now?”
The top five teams are all in action on Saturday, with Arsenal hosting West Ham United, Manchester City going to Wolves and Chelsea at Blackburn.
Chelsea captain John Terry preparing for a physical contest at Ewood Park.
“We’ve got to go there and have a fight with them,” Terry said.
“We have to be prepared for a scrap.”
Man City, who are looking to rebound from a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, will be hoping that Wolves are exhausted from their losses to Chelsea and United over the last week.
“We just need to forget about this game,” City defender Kolo Toure said.
“It’s been a difficult week – it’s always hard against a team like Arsenal.”
Not only did that win raise Arsenal’s title hopes, but the Londoners were then boosted by the return of Theo Walcott from an ankle injury.
The England winger returned after almost two months out by scoring twice in a 4-0 League Cup win over Newcastle.