Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, center, celebrates with Shinji Kagawa, left, and Juan Mata during a productive outing in Manchester United's 4-0 win over Newcastle. (Scott Heppell/AP)
The first year of Manchester United's David Moyes era has not been too kind to Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, and his form and status with the Mexican national team has suffered as a result. Perhaps Saturday's 90-minute showing, on the heels of a goal off the bench last weekend, was just what the forward needed to climb back to his peak with the World Cup two months away.
With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie ailing, Chicharito earned a rare Premier League start, and he scored one goal and assisted on another in Manchester United's 4-0 victory over Newcastle at St. James' Park. Chicharito, who scored a stoppage-time insurance goal against Aston Villa last weekend, netted his fourth EPL goal of the season -- and ninth in all competitions -- to give United a 3-0 edge in the 65th minute.
As has been Chicharito's calling card, at least in past seasons, he made a sly run and scored from close range, sliding to one-time a Shinji Kagawa pass in by the near post.
That came 15 minutes after he set up Juan Mata for the Spaniard's second goal of the match with a cut-back pass inside the area. Chicharito, who has gone from shoo-in for Mexico's starting XI to much more of a question mark, played 90 minutes in an EPL game for just the second time this season -- the other time, also against Newcastle, was Dec. 7 -- and started for just the fifth time in league play.
With Rooney a question mark and van Persie ruled out, Chicharito's recent resurgence could propel him into a valuable role on Wednesday, when Manchester United heads to Bayern Munich looking to stun the reigning European and Bundesliga champions in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal series. Bayern holds a minor edge after tallying an away goal in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last Tuesday.
Watch Chicharito's goal from Saturday below: