In the shadow of all big transfers of last summer’s transfer window, there was Javier Hernández’ move from Manchester United to Real Madrid. Quite a big name and two big clubs, but I am sure there is a lot o football followers who still do not know Chicharito is playing at last season’s Champions League winner. But he might have woken up some people with his 2 goals against Deportivo la Coruña last weekend (20 sept). Although it concerned the 7-2 and the 8-2, his first goal for Los Merengues was a beautiful one: http://youtu.be/-Ww05EX1MZ8
From the minute that some obscure Twitter accounts brought the news of Hernández’ move my Mexican friend told me he would downgrade Madrid’s current striker Karim Benzema to the bench, arguing that Chicharito, when he finally plays, makes more goals than the French striker. Time to see the stats:
A graph of the goals / minutes of Chicharito and Benzema in the last 5 seasons:
Old version of the blog, not updated for the 2014/15 season:
Club statistics of last 4 seasons:
In order to compare both strikers I took the statistics of the last 4 seasons, that is since the start of the 2010/2011 season, when Javier Hernández arrived from Mexico to Manchester United.
See the following table for core statistics of both players at their respective clubs in that period:
In the table above the most basic statistics of the French and Mexican striker can be found. Benzema scored almost twice the amount of goals (102 versus 53) than that of Chicharito, but the Mexican played far less minutes as he was mainly used as a sub at Man United: 69 of his 145 (48%) games he came on as a substitute.
The core metric we can take from this table is the amount of goals both make when averaged per 90 minutes. Benzema scored on average 0.7 goals per 90 minutes at Real Madrid, and Javier Hernández 0.64 per 90 minutes at Manchester United. Hence, not a lot of difference between the two.
Over the last 4 seasons Benzema scored every 129 minutes for Real Madrid. Javier Hernández found the net every 140 minutes at Manchester United.
(Note: those stats include all club competitive club games: league, supercup(s), national cup(s) and european cup(s))
Another positive point for Benzema is that he settled the difference in goals in the Champions League, where he far outscores Hernández (0.8 versus 0.5 goal per 90 minutes):
Benzema holds his best scoring record in the Champions League, with an average of 0.80 goals per 90 minutes.
Adding international caps: all played games since july 2010
Things get more interesting for the Mexican when we add the same data for international appearances, where Chicharito sums a much higher amount of goals then Benzema:
The above table contains all international matches (games for their national teams) played by both players since august 2010. This was done in order to be fair in adding those stats to the totals we saw before (which were also taken as of 7/2010). When adding the games and goals for their national teams to a grand total, we see that Javier Hernández was more effective than Benzema over the last 4 years:
Considering all competitive games played since July 2010 Javier Hernández scored on average more goals per 90 minutes than Benzema: 0.67 versus 0.64.
Shot effectivity, assists and passing
To be a bit more complete with the statistics I selected all League(!) data from both players over the discussed seasons. Here you find an overview:
As told before the amount of goals both players score per 90 minute is, although slightly in the advantage of Hernández, more or less the same. When adding assists to their performance metric, Benzema wins it big to his new colleague. On average he directly participates in a goal every 90 minutes (0,9 times per 90 minutes).
Benzema directly participates in a goal every 90 minutes in La Liga
Both players sum over 3 shots per 90 minutes, which is very high amount but not absurd considering their positions and clubs (there were 6 other players with 3+ shots per game in La Liga last season: Messi, Ronaldo, Bale, Costa, Griezmann and Castro). Javier Hernández had a higher conversion rate of his shots in the Premier League (22%) than Benzema in La Liga (18%)
Javier Hernández scored a goal every 4.5 shots he took, compared to Benzema’s 5.5 shots per goal.
Comparing the amount of goals both players make there is not so much difference to be found. When considering all games played since july 2010 Chicharito (0.67) narrowly wins it to Benzema (0.64) but this is mainly the result of Hernández’ performance in the Mexican team (where he -unbelievably – still remains to be criticized by the local fans). Benzema has a much more impressive record in the Champions League (0.8 goals per 90 minutes) than his new co-star and adding his amount of assists he seems much more valuable.
But there is hope for Chicharito. Besides the fact that he truly is a great striker, as his statistics have proven, he will get chances this season. Real Madrid faces a long and busy season, with the World Cup for Clubs in december, and Hernández is going to become useful when Benzema is rested or out of form (or when Ancelotti decides to play both and leave Bale and/or Ronaldo out of the first XI or even starts playing a 4-2-4, why not!). In the near future it does not look like Hernández will be the first option for the striker position, but the moment when he does make it to the first team he will deliver for sure.
(Note: all raw data that has been used in this article comes from the websites of WhoScored.com and Soccerway.com)