Berbatov a Flop?


By Ben Davies

Has Dimitar Berbatov been a flop at Manchester United? No, personally I don’t think so. Has Berbatov justified his £30 million price tag? Probably not. Berbatov hasn’t been outstanding nor has been a flop (which many have suggested). I would say Berbatov has done okay.

With United fans, there is a split in support of Berbatov, the pro-Berbatov camp and then the anti-Berbatov camp (seemingly Tevez fans). I’m definitely in the pro-Berbatov camp, he has a sublime first touch, has great awareness and can pick a pass (probably only behind Scholes in terms of passing ability at United).  I’m going to put a case forward in support of Berbatov.

Many people in my opinion are too hung up over Berbatov’s price tag, using the £30million transfer fee as a stick to beat Berbatov with at every opportunity. The transfer fee perhaps is slightly too high but Daniel Levy (Spurs chairmen) would not sell for less than £30million so it’s what United had to pay. The amount of money paid isn’t Berbatov’s fault, so I fail to understand why people continually harp on about his price tag?

On Berbatov’s arrival a number of supporters had their nose put of place. Carlos Tevez was correctly idolised for his first season at United and many people felt the Berbatov signing was unnecessary, so from the start fans already had the hump over his signature.

Berbatov admittedly started slowly in his first season. I believe the main reason for this was due to Berbatov being frozen out at Spurs after stating his desire to join United. Therefore Berbatov was unable to have a proper pre-season thereby lacked match fitness and had to play catch up compared to other players as a result. Having played sport to a decent level, I understand the need for proper match fitness and match sharpness. If I’d missed a few games through injury, I certainly noticed a difference in my speed of thought and reaction time on my return.

The work rate of Berbatov was also questioned. Compared to Rooney & Tevez, most strikers (including Berbatov) are going to look lazy but are Rooney & Tevez the norm or are they a rule to the exception? Certainly Berbatov’s languid style doesn’t help his cause. However, ProZone stats help to dismiss the lack of work rate theory. At one point in the season Berbatov was ranked ninth (which is poor) in terms of distance covered. By the end of season he was ranked fourth, which is quite acceptable.Fergie admitted playing Berbatov out of his preferred position; Berbatov was asked to play a much deeper position than he previously had at Spurs. At Spurs, Berbatov operated far closer to the opposition goal so scored and created more. Which is another valid point to look at…

In his second season Berbatov has played through with a knee injury, which should be applauded in my opinion. Tevez’ good form over Christmas has added extra pressure on Berbatov. Many pundits and experts suggested we had signed the wrong player.

This season in Premier League, if you look at Berbatov’s scoring record in terms of goals scored against appearances his record looks poor – 8 goals in 21 appearances. However, if we look further Berbatov has had less game time than other strikers in the league. This is illustrated below:

  • Rooney                has 21 goals,        a goal scored every 96 minutes.
  • Torres                   has 12 goals,       a goal every 100 minutes.
  • Drogba                  has 15 goals,       a goal every 103 minutes.
  • Defoe                     has 15 goals,       a goal every 119 minutes.
  • Van Persie          has 7 goals,         a goal every 136 minutes.
  • Tevez                    has 12 goals,       a goal every 148 minutes.
  • Bent                      has 14 goals,       a goal every 152 minutes.
  • Berbatov             has 8 goals,         a goal every 155 minutes.
  • Adebayor            has 8 goals,         a goal every 162 minutes.
  • Anelka                  has 8 goals,         a goal every 209 minutes.

Looking at Berbatov’s record in this manner shows him in a better light. Berbaotv has a better ratio than Adebayor & Anelka and is marginally worse off than Tevez and Bent. He has also scored in each of his four last premiership starts.

The problem Berbatov finds himself in now is he is not an automatic starter in big games due to the preferred 4-3-3 formation we play. Berbatov is probably more suited to a 4-4-2 formation. Berbatov needs to continue and improve on his form, make himself un-droppable and force Fergie to play a 4-4-2 formation.

I hope fans start to show greater support for Berbatov. After all he is a United player…

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  1. He hasn’t been a complete flop – but he is half the player he was at Tottenham. He would do better in a different system. I stumbled across your blog via twitter traffic.

    My team is Everton and maybe we will be able to do you a favour tonight.

  2. Stretford End Arising on

    Thank you Robert for your reaply. I agree, Berbatov hasnt reached the level as he did for Spurs. Perhaps this is due to Berbatov being asked to play a deeper role at United.

    And thank you, your team did do us a favour 🙂 great result for Everton. What do you think about Louis Saha?

  3. dont know hard hmm maybe i think people are saying tevez was better because of his workrate but thts unfair because they’ve got differen styles and i still think berba is a better striker n fergie was right to gt rid of tevez we dont need him what did you think of the whole tevez saga?

  4. Stretford End Arising on

    I thought Tevez was great for us in his first season. In his second season he seemed to be put out of place by the arrival of Berbatov – he didnt want to fight for his place.

    Since he signed for City though, he has been a bit out spoken… I think he was surprised by the reaction he received when he returned to Old Trafford for the 4-3 derby.

    I prefer Berba over Tevez as well.

  5. also stumbled on your blog, couldnt agree more, all this Berba slagging has got me irritated, been a hardcore United supporter for 25 years now, but do i want to be part of fans that have no idea of what a great player he is… its actually got me doubting my United support

  6. Stretford End Arising on

    Hello nic, welcome.

    Agree, the Berbatov slagging is way over the top and unjustified. Wouldnt go as far doubting my United support though ha ha

    For research purposes, how did you stumble across my blog?

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