Tactical Analysis: Does Javier Hernandez deserve to start in place of Robin van Persie?


Javier Hernandez has only featured three times this season under new manager David Moyes in the Premier League, one starts and two further sub appearance in which he has amassed just 87 minutes of playing time. Hernandez has resultantly suggested that he might need to look for a move away from Old Trafford in order to get more playing time. But, should Moyes place more faith in his goal poaching forward?

Hernandez versus Robin van Persie

Minutes per goal Chance conversion Shot accuracy Chances created per game Passes per game Pass accuracy
Hernandez 12/13 86.7 26.7% 63% 0.64 12.2 82%
Robin van Persie 139 18.2% 50% 0.1 19 79%

With Hernandez getting such little playing time this season it’s worth using his stats from last season to compare to Robin van Persie. Van Persie scored his first goal from open play since the opening day of the season at the weekend and generally speaking hasn’t been in the best form this year, despite netting four league goals. RvP’s chance conversion has decreased from 22% last year and he is struggling to create chances for his team-mates.

Hernandez’s minutes per goal rate is probably as good as anyone in the Premier League. We can see though that it is vastly better than van Persie’s and was likewise last season. We can also see that Hernandez’s chance conversion is pretty solid at 26.7% as is his shot accuracy, 13% higher than van Persie’s.

One issue is how involved Hernandez gets with all round play. As we can see above he only attempts 12 passes per game, which really is not a very significant contribution. Van Persie isn’t really getting that involved this season either though, being far less of a creative presence than he was last season. It’s worth noting that Hernandez has created one chance this season from just three appearances, the same number as Robin van Persie.

In spite of the few passes he played last season he was relatively well involved in the 56 minutes he had versus West Brom, a game in which he played 15 passes. He did however only have one effort on goal which was blocked. His other two efforts this season have both been on target. He was also ineffective playing against Real Sociedad, but perhaps he needs a prolonged run of games, rather than a few minutes here and a few minutes there, to truly impact on United’s fortunes.


It’s very unlikely that David Moyes, who is under a bit of pressure already, would drop his ‘star’ striker in favour of Javier Hernandez. That being said, it’s not something he should rule out, given the fact that van Persie has been relatively off colour this season.

All graphics as always from Squawka