That Man Berbatov


By Ben Davies

Dimitar Berbatov. Why more than any other player is he continually criticised, one poor performance and he is jumped on

The knives were once again out for the much maligned Berbatov after the 1-1 draw with Valencia. It was one of those nights for the Bulgarian… His overall performance was decent enough; he worked hard and at least found himself in positions to miss chances, both of which have been regular criticisms since his arrival. His finishing was woeful. Why? I’m not entirely sure.

In his third and what many consider his make or break season Berbatov has scored twelve goals in eighteen appearances, plus two assists. On face value his stats look impressive, though his critics would point to the fact he netted eight in only two matches. Considering three came against Liverpool in a 3-2 victory I find the criticism is a tad odd.  Not forgetting the hattrick was the first by a Man United player since 1946.

Berbatov must be the only player to receive criticism after scoring five goals, perhaps justified to an extent.  To go ten games without a goal is obviously a poor return. However, his overall performance levels have been decent and he remained an important figure, linking play between midfield and attack. Disappointing displays against Tottenham Hotspur, Bursaspor and Aston Villa lead to old tired comments resurfacing. Though he struggled, Man United won two of those games, which is surely the main consideration? Why is Berbatov not entitled the same leeway as other players?

There is little coincidence the return of Wayne Rooney has brought about an upturn in Berbatov’s form. In the absence of Rooney, the Bulgarian fulfilled the deep lying forward role, but his positioning has been rigid. With Rooney now available Berbatov has resumed leading the line – with glowing results; five against Blackburn and a hatful of opportunities wasted against Valencia. He may not have scored, but on another night…  Their link up play has been superb. With Berbatov leading the line the pair are more likely to interchange positions, offering greater flexibility and fluidity in attacking situations.

With Rooney in the deeper role, it will be interesting to note the comparison between him and Berbatov, in terms of efforts and goals scored. An exaggerated stat, but none the less highlights the point. Berbatov against Blackburn had a total of seven shots while Rooney had just two. Compare this to the 5-0 victory over Wigan last season; Berbatov had just three shots and Rooney had ten. The question is what is best for Manchester United – Rooney the provider or Rooney the goal scorer?

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

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  1. Berbatov never score in UC since his debut, never score in EPL from liverfools to B.burn and now he cease to fire again. Against valancia not only rooney but,anderson and carrick provide he never converted. May be against wigan who has weaker defenders he will score six. What kind of player is that? Can you relied on him? We all knew berba has some exceptional skills but if he is not scoring and he is a striker we dont need him. Foot ball is all about scoring. And if u dont score u’ll never win. Give hernandez a chance n see, he got the hunger, he is complete striker who can score with every part of his body. Berba is just a decoration to our team not a leader. Stop making some blogs n tell people the truth. We need berba but not in a game that goals is much required.

    • yes… Their partnership is proving good, Berba has only this season to proof,if he didn’t make it, i think we should not waste our time. We gotta move on. I like berba but the way he played make me irritable some times.

  2. the berba will score 29 goals this season and i have put bet on it yesterday. i think he could turn out like yorke years jiust have on great season and everyone will shut up

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