You may be thinking, what is this title? What does this have to do with Chelsea Football Club? Well, I want you to take all of those painful reoccurring moments you’ve ever felt whilst watching us and let them loose. That’s the purpose of this article and it’s what I personally intend to do. There are moments of pain, like the 2008 Champions League Final defeat or the moment Iniesta scored in the final minute to send us crashing out the Champions League semi finals. What I wish to fixate on is a player who wounded us with regularity. So, saddle up get comfortable. Self inflicted pain is on the way.
JAVIER HERNANDEZ (MANCHESTER UNITED, WEST HAM)
We talk about Drogba’s dominance over Arsenal, and to a more insignificant degree but still painful nonetheless, Javier Hernandez was Chelsea’s Kryptonite. An unstoppable force that could not be contained nor controlled. Whatever the occasion, whatever the defensive structure. Javier Hernandez would come out on top. Chicharito’s number 14 sends shivers down any Chelsea fan’s spine. Nine goals in 15 games is not only a lethal return, but it was the weight and type of goal scored that would make it all the more gut wrenching. So, hold your loved ones close, grab the nearest box of tissues. I’m about to have you relive hell.
Chelsea 1-3 Manchester United (Community Shield 8th August 2010)
Starting with Javier announcing his arrival into English Football at Manchester United. No better way to do so then against Chelsea right? A goal at the new Wembley in the Community Shield. A glorified friendly if you lose, a great kick-start to the competitive season if you win. For me, a glorified friendly. However,on that day a low cross came in from the right-hand side, and Antonio Valencia delivered with Chicharito kicking the ball into his head, to bumble the ball into the back of the net. Well, I knew from that moment the little Mexican would be the scrappy annoying pest to our defence. A willingness to score any type of goal, pace and work rate was evident from his fist cameo. A highly productive player with a one track mind, and that mind was focused on goals.
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea (Champions League QF 2nd leg 12th April 2011)
A similar goal from the right-flank, the service coming from Ryan Giggs would create an almost identical goal in April 2011 in the Champions League, yet this time with a cleaner finish. Just a couple months later he’d score again, but it was inside the first minute at Old Trafford. A 2-1 win for Manchester United, and a pattern was emerging. His partnership with Wayne Rooney was becoming incredibly efficient. With Rooney naturally dropping into the Number 10 role to create, this allowed Chicharito to cause chaos in-behind and play on the last shoulder of Chelsea’s defence. Taking into account being 1-0 down from the first leg, a side chasing the game, a game really made for Hernandez. He was a pest all night long. John Terry and Alex weren’t excatly blessed with pace and it showed.
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea (Premier League 8th May 2011)
The threat in-behind I spoke of earlier would be replicated once again in this titanic clash at Old Trafford. As a Chelsea fan these were the worst times I remember travelling to Old Trafford up against Sir Alex Ferguson. It felt like the impossible task, once again Chicharito beyond our defensive line serviced by a Ji Sung Park through ball and one-on-one with Petr Cech. You know what happens next. A nightmare replayed. David Luiz, Chelsea’s newest defender to face the pace and fail miserably. It always felt like his goals were defining. This one came in the first minute and many came in the last.
Chicharito takes aim at Stamford Bridge.
Javier Hernandez was no stranger to doing the business at Stamford Bridge also. In fact, perhaps these were the goals that hurt us the most. A fortress created by Jose Mourinho was soon unraveling. I recall a thrilling game at Stamford Bridge. In February 2012, we led 3-2, a much needed win on the horizon in a season full of hardship. Well, at least until a certain Di Matteo arrived. With just minutes on the clock remaining, Ryan Giggs would prove the provider yet again. This time from the left-flank, whilst a disorientated Chelsea defence attempted to restructure, the inevitable occurred. A Chicharito header from close range, unstoppable for Petr Cech once again. I often wondered how he found so much space so close to our goal. I’d yell: “He’s practically on our goal line!” My throat couldn’t take it anymore. I promised myself that the next time he scored, I’d sit in silence. Rest in peace, I was mentally fatigued.
October that year, would mark the most infuriating goal scored by Chicharito. Off the back of Champions League success, Chelsea were struggling, and a much needed point at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League wouldn’t have gone a miss. However with 15 minutes to go, coming back into play from the netting, Hernandez would score an offside goal to present us a 3-2 defeat. Goal line technology couldn’t get here any sooner. Looking back, he really did have his own corner in our stadium, with constant celebrations in front of Chelsea fans time and time again. A cup hand formation to mark his dominance, up until the 31st October, 2012 we hadn’t managed to record a win in a game he’d scored in. A 5-4 win in the Carabao Cup changed that stat and gave me a glimmer of hope, that there was a chance up against this unlikely antagonist.
Manchester United 2-2 Chelsea (FA Cup Sixth Round 2013)
An FA cup draw marked an aspect within Chicharito’s game that I had eluded to at the beginning of this article. A striker who would score by any means necessary. It was perhaps the first time I wanted to file harassment charges on a footballer. Now he was starting to ruin my quality of life; I didn’t feel safe in my own home. How is that a cross field ball from Carrick could land on a striker’s head standing at 5’9″ over the likes of David Luiz and Cahill. He was defying logic. A darting vertical run had fooled our experienced centre halves, but there was still work to do. With Petr Cech closing in, Chicharito managed to head the ball from a 40 yard pass and send it looping over the keeper. The commentator: “He just can’t help but score against Chelsea.” Me: “I’ve truly had enough of this guy.”
Chelsea 1-1 West Ham (Premier League 2018)
Finally, before I could be put to rest from my ongoing nightmare, the little Mexican forward would strike one last time. This time in the colours of London rivals West Ham. A much expected win at Stamford Bridge ended in a draw and points dropped, once again due to the persistence of Chicharito.A goal in the 73rd minute, was an all too familiar feeling. In conclusion, Chicharito only lost on two occasions when he scored against us, winning on 4 occasions. He certainly took a large enough chunk of my happiness during his time in English Football. Maybe not the enemy you were expecting, but an enemy you won’t forget…
Edited by: Dan