Before the season started, perhaps fed up with the continual harsh criticism (I’ve written several articles regarding this so I’m wary of repeating myself) directed towards Berbatov, I predicted on the Stretford End Arising forum that the Bulgarian would score 15 goals in all competitions before the 1 January 2011. A brave suggestion considering his highest goal tally (for Manchester United) was 14 during the 2008-09 season. As we approach the final 90 minutes of 2010 Berbatov requires one more goal to reach the 15 goal mark.
Where Have The Goals Come From?
The answer is quite simple in my opinion. Berbatov has switched roles with Rooney and therefore, plays closer to an opponent’s penalty area. His touch, awareness and link up play is no different compared to his first two seasons. Goals have breathed confidence and as consequence he appears to have accepted the expectations placed on Man United players, evident by the joke he shared with Sir Alex when replaced against Sunderland.
Berbatov’s Goals 2010-11 Season
1. vs Chelsea (8 August 2010)
2. vs Newcastle United (16 August 2010)
3. vs West Ham United (28 August 2010)
4. vs Everton (11 September 2010)
5. vs Liverpool (19 September 2010)
6. vs Liverpool (19 September 2010)
7. vs Liverpool (19 September 2010)
8. vs Blackburn Rovers (27 November 2010)
9. vs Blackburn Rovers (27 November 2010)
10. vs Blackburn Rovers (27 Novembers 2010)
11. vs Blackburn Rovers (27 November 2010)
12. vs Blackburn Rovers (27 November 2010)
13. vs Sunderland (26 December 2010)
14. vs Sunderland (26 December 2010)
Of the fourteen goals only two have been scored away from Old Trafford. He will obviously have to add to this tally at St. Andrews if he is to achieve the feat. Even if Berbatov fails to score against Birmingham his overall performance levels have been to an acceptable standard, even during the ten game barren spell. His severest critics would struggle to argue against his importance.
Sir Alex has recently set Berbatov a target of 25 goals for the season. Fergie’s preference to play a lone striker may hamper his chances, but if he is capable of maintaining the form shown throughout the season I see no reason why he cannot match the expectation of his manager.
If you wish to discuss this issue further with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Stretford End Arising forum