West Ham United have splashed £16 million on Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez. West Ham has, at least in the last few years, signed an array of strikers, none of whom have really struck in any meaningful way. So, will the Mexican, nicknamed Chicharito, or Little Pea because of his diminutive stature, finally secure the Hammers some much-needed goals?
How Good Javier Hernandez Will be for West Ham | Facts and Stats
At Bayer, Javier Hernandez scored 11 in the league, two more than West Ham’s highest scorer Michail Antonio. In fact, Chicharito was the joint 10th highest scorer in the Bundesliga last season and the only Bayer Leverkusen player to break double figures for goals, scoring almost one fifth of the team’s total. Antonio scored a similar proportion of the Hammers’ goals.
The table for West Ham’s main strikers and main goal scorers shows Javier Hernandez tops both for total goals and tied with Andy Carroll, who scored seven, for goals per 90. Of this group, from which Ashley Fletcher was excluded due to a small number of appearances, Chicharito also weighs in comparatively well with assists, despite being tagged as a predatory, box-orientated striker. Chicharito was also less wasteful with his shooting than many of West Ham’s players last season. The Mexican striker scored 0.5 goals per 90 while taking 2.6 shots per 90, of which a high proportion was in the box.
Only Manuel Lanzini and Andre Ayew, with 2.3 shots per 90 and 2.1 respectively, shot less often than Chicharito, but as we saw above, only Carroll could match him for goals per 90. Chicharito doesn’t waste as many shooting opportunities as others did for the Hammers last season. It’s also worth noting that the two most box-orientated strikers in West Ham’s squad in terms of shooting, Zaza and Valencia, who shot inside the box as often or only slightly less often than Chicharito did, failed to net at all in the league.
Lastly, how often did the Mexican lose possession? Well, not very often comparatively – while there could be defensive system discrepancies between the Bundesliga and the Premier League, it’s probably not enough to account for the difference. The Mexican striker had fewer unsuccessful touches per 90 than any West Ham striker or main goal scorer and lost the ball less than them too.
So, West Ham has bought a striker who scores more, shots more efficiently and from in the box more, and loses the ball less, than the strikers they had last season. Chicharito might be 29 and only have two or three more seasons at the top of his game left. But he is absolutely an upgrade on what West Ham had at their disposal last season. Whether he plays in tandem with the aerial threat of Carroll, perhaps in a 3-5-2, or works off the shoulder as a lone striker, West Ham might finally have, in Chicharito, a striker who can actually get goals.