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Can Chicharito Become The Second Season Saint?

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When Chicharito was given centre stage at Old Trafford last season, he made sure to make it a lasting impression. Blistering speed, undying hunger, finishing abillties that had the best in the world tremble at his gaze. Fairly unknown, Chicharito went from zero to hero in no time, scaring of defenders with his awareness inside the box, his will to win and his finishing abilities.

Now, he faces his second season at Old Trafford and in the Premier League. Now, defenders will know his strengths, his weaknesses and know his style of play. This season will prove vital for the young Mexican. Will he be just another “flash in the pan” or can he prove to be the real deal?

His debut season spoke for itself: 20 goals with 13 of those in the League. That’s an astonishing for a player who had never stepped foot on a Premier League-arena before the start of  last season. He still ended up with silencing those who dared to doubt him and proved himself as a valuable asset to the Manchester United-faithful. A man of humbleness, respect and strict morals, Chicharito worked his way up from being left out of Chivas de Guadalajara’s first team squad to a regular first teamer at the biggest club in the world. All within a period of a year.

 That’s quite alot to handle for a boy who later admitted to having considered giving up on football, who was about to start college life in his hometown of Jalisco. Still, with his star steadily rising within football his family are the ones to hold him down to earth.

His parents, as well as his grandparents, have all moved with him to Manchester in order to keep hold of the boy and keep him out of trouble. His parents’ ethics and morals, along with his grandparents’ knowledge and wisdom has seemingly stuck with the Mexican hitman as his smartness, goodwill on the pitch, and football insticts show themselves time and time again during game-time.

With Great Power..

However, with a great season comes a great expectation. Manchester United fans, as well as the football world in general, will expect more from Chicharito this season. A known entity within the game, Chicharito faces his greatest challenge within football as he has to develop his game further, and still keep defenders questioning themselves when they see him on the other side of the pitch.

A man known for his speed and smart movements inside the box, Chicharito is not really a modern striker in the mould of players such as Wayne Rooney or Sergio Aguero. He’s a master within the goal area, a fox in the box if you will. That ability has proven itself to be a gold mine for United, who are laughing their way to the bank having used a cool £6million on bringing the prolific striker.

By my estimates, given what players go for nowadays, that sum has quadrupled, if not quintupled, itself over the last twelve months. During the 2009/10 season Manchester United fans screamed for someone to relieve Rooney of his duties from time to time. When Rooney got injured at the Allianz Arena versus Bayern Munich, you could easily see the necessity he was to the team. When Chicharito entered the season after, you quickly saw that perhaps Rooney wasn’t the only answer to United’s striking problem. Remember, even though Dimitar Berbatov had a wonderful season as well, Rooney was out for a huge part of last season due to injury and problems in his personal life.

 Now, Chicharito will face defenders that know him. Defenders, who know they need to trap him in offside, lure him away from his comfort zone and get to the ball before him. It’s all about outsmarting the young Mexican who’s arsenal with the ball in his feet is still too limited for him ever to be rated as one of the best strikers on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion he’s the greatest finisher in the world bar none.

As a striker, he’s lacking. He’s no maestro with the ball. He likes to do things simple. He’s not proven to be a sound dribbler in England yet, he doesn’t have the drive in him that Rooney has and he can’t blast the ball from yards out and score. In other words, there’s no surprise element in his game anymore. He’s explosive, yes, but there it stops. Defenders trap him and his game is cut out.

He’s great inside the box and if he’s not marked tightly, he’s odds on to score every time the ball is played into the box. But what happens when the defender drops down, picks him up and blocks the ball from every getting to him? He’s limited, very limited. And there is Chicharito’s greatest challenge. He has surpassed a downgraded Berbatov, but he’s about to see himself being left in the shadow of one Danny Welbeck.

In comparison to Hernandez, Welbeck is much stronger, a much better passer, a better dribbler and he contributes to the attack in the way that he can build up an attack, play through other strikers or finish on his own. Chicharito needs someone to set him up. However, once he’s set up, there’s no way back for the opposing team. Welbeck is known to miss a few, Chicharito is not.


He may charm everyone with his smile his sympathetic behaviour and his love for the game. It’s truly an honour to watch someone with so much humbleness and so much love for football, however, a love for the game can’t win you the game alone. For Chicharito to become an apex predator in front of goal, he needs to become more ruthless and aggressive in front of gaoal.  People tend to forget all of the flaws in Chicharito’s game due to his charming personality. I’ll admit to have been one of those myself.

Yet, I’m not a part of those who label him ‘useless’ and don’t see the reason why he plays ahead of Berbatov for example. I have always been a fan of effectiveness ahead of beautiful football. Can you get them both, fine, but if you can’t the effectiveness should come first. Winning, but not looking good is still winning to me. Even though, Chicharito’s clear lack of a wider arsenal in terms of being a striker will cost him dearly in the years to come unless he manages to shake things up and create another dimension to his game.

If he manages to create a solid ability to set other players up, contribute to the building process of United’s attacks and perhaps create a long distance shot, he’ll became even more of a scare to defenders worldwide. Not only will he become a destructive force, he’ll be as close to perfection as a striker can come.

Even though he may stand at the brink of striking perfection, there’s a little saying that goes “it’s better to go with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”. Chicharito’s main area is the box. He’s a master inside the box. Inside the box, he’s almost unstoppable. Would it be smart for Chicharito to try and re-discover himself and “go back to the drawing board” when he already is well accomplished doing what he already does best?

In my opinion, Chicharito has two options:

Option A is to continue fighting for his spot, constantly showing what he can do and believe in his own abilities.

Option B is to expand his game more, but perhaps losing out on some of the abilities that he has already perfected.

Don’t get me wrong, class is imminent, but for a typical fox in the box, he needs to sharpen his abilities in training. Much like a knife, you need to sharpen it to be able to cut through a nice, juicy sunday steak. For Chicharito, he needs to sharpen up on his movements so he’s always fresh and knows exactly what to do at all times. Now, the choice is his. He offers something to the Manchester United side that hasn’t been seen since the glory days of one Ole Gunnar Solskjaer But much like Solskjr, Chicharito is not considered one of the world’s best strikers, but as one of the best finishers.

There was a saying I remember on a billboard in Mexico when he arrived at United. it said “Te vas como heroe, regresa como leyenda” (You leave as a hero, you return as a legend). As we all know, Solskjaer himself is a legend. However, Chicharito still has the ability to surpass legendary status among the United faithful. He’s already a cult figure and a hero to fans both in Mexico and around the world.

Nevertheless, Chicharito still has the chance to outdo legendary status, outdo his moniker as a “limited striker” or “just a fox in the box”. Chicharito still has the chance to become “the second season saint” and stake his claim in Manchester United folklore not only as a legend, but as one of the immortals.

By The Prawn Sandwich Brigade’s Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara