Three years ago today David Moyes took his West Ham side to Stamford Bridge and came away with a point after an entertaining 1-1 draw.
The hosts took the lead in the first half through a scrappy Cesar Azpilicueta tap in. It was cancelled out in the second half thanks to a brilliant finish from Javier Hernandez. The Mexican levelled the game with his first touch and we took a point back to east London.
It was the first match in 18 in which Chelsea had failed to win at the bridge under Conte having led the game at half time. The point was huge for the Hammers and a reminder of how much quality Chicharito possesses.
What could have been
Hernandez was everything that West Ham supporters were crying out for in 2017. Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer arrived in east London to an ecstatic fanbase.
Supporters were exhilarated by his signing, having just been through the pain of Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri. This was the signing that was going to solve all of our issues in the London Stadium and turn it into a fortress.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Hernandez scored 17 goals in just 63 Hammers appearances before joining Sevilla in 2018. He showed glimpses of his brilliance, but nothing more.
Standout performances include his brace at St James’ Park and the heroics in our 4-3 thriller with Huddersfield. Ultimately he was signed under Slaven Bilic, but when the Croatian was replaced by Moyes things changed.
As we’ve become accustomed to now, Moyes demands a lot of his frontman. He asks that the striker defends from the front, pressing and closing down high up the pitch. This is the opposite of Hernandez’s style – he likes to float around the 18-year-box like an old fashioned poacher.
In fairness, it’s how he’s been so successful in his career. But it was never going to work under Moyes. Manuel Pellegrini didn’t appear to get much out of him either. Hernandez played 1,424 of a possible 3,420 Premier League minutes in their only season together [WyScout].
It’s a shame things never worked out with Chicharito. Had he still been around, he’d have thrived in our current squad with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma around him creating chances.
In other West Ham news, could the Hammers turn to this man to fill the void left by Michail Antonio?