Will Chicharito Start Against Chelsea? Giovani Dos Santos Fires-Up Racing Santander

A weekly recap of how Mexican internationals fared over the weekend.

Chicharito struck for a brace and the Dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan, made key contributions to their respective teams in Spain this past weekend.

Javier Hernandez continued to put his best feet forward and a rather convincing argument to manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he should be starting for Manchester United.

Chicharito made the most of a rare start by scoring a goal in each half to spark Manchester United to a 4-0 away triumph over Wigan
in an English Premier League encounter on Saturday.

Whether his spectacular performance can convince Ferguson that the Mexican international strikes deserves to be in the starting XI against Chelsea on Tuesday is another thing.

Hernandez certainly understands that.

“I’m enjoying myself at the moment and I work hard,” he told MUTV. “But [whether I play against Chelsea] is a decision the manager has to make. If he gives me one minute or 90 minutes I want to do my best.

“Chelsea’s a really big game and we want to win. We’ll go there with a lot of confidence.”

Chicharito has been trying to break into a forward line that includes a pair of high-scoring international strikers -- Bulgarian Ditimar Berbatov and England's Wayne Rooney. There was speculation in England that Hernandez received the starting nod against Wigan so Berbatov could be rested for the important confrontation.

In a less than fulltime role for United, Hernandez has scored nine goals off of only 13 shots in EPL action and 13 goals in all competitions.

Hernandez connected in the 17th and 74th minutes before he was replaced by Berbatov in the 77th minute. Usually, it has been Hernandez coming on late in the match when ManU has been in desperate need for a goal.

He put home Nani's left-wing cross with a spectacular back heel shot in front of the net to lift United into a 1-0 lead.

"We know we need to score first because we know that we'll play very well," he told reporters. "It was a good ball by Nani."

Before he was taken off, Hernandez doubled the margin on a nice combination with Rooney. Hernandez won an air ball and shuffled off a quick pass to Rooney, who returned the ball to the onrushing Mexican. Hernandez broke in on goalkeeper Ali al Habsi and the Mexican star handily finished.

"It was a wonderful pass from Wayne Rooney," Hernandez told MUTV. "When I received the ball I only wanted to score. That was the first thing that went through my mind.

“In both halves, Wigan put us under pressure. We know they play very well. They like to play with the ball on the ground and we knew they’d be very motivated because they were playing Manchester United.

“I’m very happy today but I’m happiest for the team. We’re on top of the league and we’re still in the Champions League and FA Cup. We want to win all three competitions.”

Giovani Dos Santos

Dos Santos, 21, came off the bench and scored for the first time for Racing Santander, helping the Spanish La Liga side to a 2-2 tie with Villarreal. Only two minutes after Villarreal equalized at 1-1, Dos Santos boosted Racing back into the lead in the 68th minute. Pedro Munitis gave Dos Santos a perfect ball and he fired a low shot past goalkeeper Diego Lopez

Jonathan Dos Santos
Dos Santos, 20, did not score in Barcelona B's wild, 6-4 away triumph over Numancia in the Spanish Second Division, but the midfielder's free kick started the Barcas' scoring binge. Jonathan Soriano headed home dos Santos' free kick to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute.

Andres Guardado

Guardado made his first La Liga appearance after missing two months with a leg injury to help Deportivo Coruna play Real Madrid to a scoreless draw. Guardado started and played the opening 56 minutes at right midfield before he was replaced by Pablo Álvarez in the 56th minute. His last match was against Sporting Gijon on Dec. 18, when Guardado lasted only a half hour before he was injured.

Carlos Salcido

Salcido started at left fullback and helped Fulham to a well-deserved point, playing to a 1-1 draw at Manchester City. Salcido did not figure in the scoring. But his first attacking run of the match, when he raced past Jerome Boateng in the 20th minute, started some sustained pressure for Fulham.

Carlos Vela

Vela, on loan from Arsenal, did not know if he was going to start for West Bromwich Albion's EPL encounter against Stoke on Monday. But manager Roy Hodgson felt the Mexican international could step in anytime.

"Carlos is ready to start games," Hodgson said. "He has started games for the Arsenal, so he's more than ready. He's 21, so he's not that young. He's not being left out due to his age but because people have preferred other players. But he certainly showed enough in his 20-minute spell against Wolves htat I'm to take him seriously and it's good that he took his chance well."

Hector Moreno

Moreno played the entire 90 minutes at central defender for Alkmaar Zaanstreek in its 2-1 win over FC Twente in the Dutch First Division.

Efrain Juarez

Juarez replaced Anthony Stokes in the 52nd minute of Celtic's 2-0 road defeat at Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.

Rafa Marquez

Marquez was called for a penalty kick in the Red Bulls' 1-1 MLS pre-season tie with the Chicago Fire last Wednesday. Marquez fouled Nyarko in the penalty area, but goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul denied Marco Pappa on the ensuing spot kick in the 71st minute to preserve the draw. Marquez played the opening 45 minutes in the Red Bulls' 2-0 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday.

Francisco Javier Rodriguez

Rodriguez did not play for PSV Eindhoven in its scoreless tie with Ajax Amsterdam in a Dutch First Division encounter.

Pablo Barrera

The midfielder did not dress West Ham United in its stunning 3-1 EPL defeat of Liverpool. However, he did play in the Hammers' 5-1 win over Burnley in the English F.A. Cup fifth round last week.

Michael Lewis has covered international soccer for more than three decades. He can be reached atSoccerWriter516@aol.com.

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