Javier Chicharito Hernandez’s 2017-18 season at West Ham has, for several reasons, been troubling. The Mexican striker didn’t exactly suit Slaven Bilic’s incoherent system, nor has he been a consistent starter for David Moyes. He has often been either isolated or ineffective throughout a tumultuous season at the London club. He hasn’t been a great fit for West Ham, and West Ham – especially in a World Cup year – hasn’t been a great fit for him.
But on Sunday, with the Hammers trailing 1-0 at Chelsea in the thick of a relegation battle, Chicharito came off the bench and did what he does best: Score goals – specifically in that supersub role, and specifically against the Blues.
He earned a 1-1 draw that reaffirmed West Ham’s position above the drop zone and Chelsea’s outside the top four. He pounced on a clever pull-back from Marko Arnautovic and picked out the bottom corner of Thibaut Courtois’ net.
Joe Hart was also immense as West Ham held on for a point. It took the Hammers six points clear of the bottom three. And in a still-tight Premier League relegation battle, every point can be crucial.
Hernandez’s goal was therefore crucial. It was, incredibly, the sixth goal he’s scored off the bench against Chelsea in his career. It was his eighth goal of the season for West Ham, and second equalizer as a substitute.
The Blues, meanwhile, dropped two points, and are surely out of the race for the top four. That means they’re surely out of next season’s Champions League. And a season that has been as turbulent as West Ham’s, albeit for different reasons, looks set to end in disappointment.
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