This weekend’s Premier League action saw the rise of the ‘super-sub’ but which players are the real game-changers?
1) Javier Hernandez scored, with some help of Ron Vlaar, a hat-trick after coming on in the 46th minute. Manchester United were 2-0 down to Aston Villa until ‘the little pea’ Chicharito turned converted points into three points. Hailed as ‘the new Solskjaer’, the Mexican has scored 8 goals, 4 in the league despite starting just one game.
Waiting in line for his place in the team behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney hasn’t appeared to have bothered him – he’s just 3 goals off equalling the Dutchman’s tally.
2) Across town at the Etihad, Manchester City’s reply is Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian has started just three of 11 games this season but that hasn’t dampened his spirits – he’s managed to net 7 goals so far this term and is City’s top scorer.
He gave the Citizen’s the lead at home against Tottenham Hotspur who Mancini’s champions had trailed to early in the first half. Sergio Aguero got them back on level terms but they struggled to find that unmistakable finish of a striker in top form.
Enter Dzeko in the 73rd minute – it took him just 15 minutes to find the winner. In a team that boast the strike-force of Aguero, Carlos Tevez, and Mario Balotelli, Dzeko found it tough to stake his claim over the position last season but he appears to be making up for it now.
3) In the capital, no one is firing in quite the manner of Arsenal’s Theo Walcott. The winger’s well-documented contract saga drags on and on and he’s subsequently spent the best part of the season on the bench.
But the wide-man who aspires to play as a central striker might just be in with a shout – he’s the Gunners’ highest scorer on 8 goals in all competitions, despite making just two starts in the league.
His hat-trick against Reading in their 5-7 Capital One Cup thriller will likely add value to the player as Arsenal prepare to sell him, should he continue to refuse a contract renewal at the Emirates.
4) He may have been first choice this season, up until the weekend at least, but this list would not be complete without Jermain Defoe. The Spurs striker has scored more goals from the bench, 20, than any other Premier League player. It is quite a record, but the striker would prefer not to have to add to it.
A manager’s decision to make a change of personnel in a game is at best an art in it’s own right. Formation changes, injuries, and fresh legs aside, sometimes it’s better to save your best weapons for later on in the game – when they can have the most impact.
Which of the four would you most like to see coming off the bench for your club?