Read SEA’s Special Champions League Preview (parts one and two of three) here.
By Jack Rawlinson.
So, the Premier League season has drawn to a close, with the Red Devils once again crowned champions of England; the number 19 isn’t lost on any United fans.
While each and every man in the squad played his part, it is the input Dimitar Berbatov has contributed that this article will analyse.
With 21 Premier League goals, Berbatov is the league’s joint top scorer, and his goals have no doubt gone a long way to helping Man United to silverware. It is his best goals return since joining the Reds, and it now seems that, after a rollercoaster start at Old Trafford, he has finally settled as a Manchester United player. However, this has not stopped the rumour mill churning out stories claiming he is possibly on his way out, with many reports suggesting Harry Redknapp is keen on him returning to North London.
It is baffling in a sense, to think that Berbatov has finally answered his critics who said things like his goal tally hasn’t justified his hefty price tag, after two seasons where he perhaps should have scored more, yet still there is the inclination in some quarters that he is not good enough for Manchester United.
Throughout the first half of the season in particular, when Rooney was having his off the field troubles, and Javier Hernandez was still finding his feet, Berbatov stood up to the plate, and scored key goals, earning valuable, early points that proved to be the basis of a title winning campaign. Furthermore, no United fan will ever forget his incredible hat trick against Liverpool way back in September. That second goal, the control on the knee and the acrobatic finish typifies the class, skill and finesse that lead to Sir Alex putting his faith in the Bulgarian.
As the season progressed, Berbatov continued his fine form, amassing an impressive number of goals along the way. However, the emergence of the partnership between Rooney and Hernandez has meant he has taken a back seat of late. This should not detract in any way, though, from the level of performance he has maintained.
He is a player of unique ability, with the control and first touch that is as good as any player in the world, and one who the manager clearly thinks is more than capable of leading our attack. Yet amazingly, there are still those who believe that he “isn’t a United player”, or “is too lazy”.
Admittedly, you will not see Dimitar tearing across the field to charge down a defender, but this never has been his style of play. It’s his intelligence with and without the ball, rather than an all-action approach that sets him apart from the rest; bringing a unique dimension to our front line. In addition to the lazy jibes too, his hat-trick goal against Blackburn should put that theory to bed. Starting the move down by the corner flag in his own half, he played passes with Evra, then Nani, before arriving in the box to coolly slot home, after covering the length of the field. Great feat for a lazy player…
I for one believe that having such a fine player at the club can only benefit the team, and the players around him, and it would be an absolute travesty if he were to move on in the summer. There aren’t many players who can offer more than he can, who would be available for United to acquire. Also, the understanding he has on the field with Rooney in particular can be just as devastating as that of Rooney and Hernandez.
With one more game to go this season, the big one at Wembley on Saturday, who is to say Dimitar Berbatov is finished contributing to the United cause this season? Whether from the bench or from the start, there is every chance of him having some kind of influence over the result against Barcelona. Let’s hope he can add a European Cup winner’s medal to his Premier League honours, and his Golden Boot.
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