He’s now into his third season at Old Trafford after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid a club record transfer fee of £30.75 million to get him from Tottenham Hotspur – a fee which incidentally Dimitar Berbatov had absolutely nothing to do with. Now, after 103 appearances, the Bulgarian may finally be accepted by United fans after taking his goal tally to 38 with a five goal haul against Blackburn Rovers. Among many other complaints about his game, critics accuse Berba of being lazy, inconsistent and does not score as many times as an expensive striker should. The statistics show an entirely different story.
When compared with United legend Eric Cantona and England striker Wayne Rooney, Berbatov stacks up favourably when it comes to hitting the net. Only Premier League matches were used for this exercise because of the common practice of weakened lineups being fielded in most Carling, some FA Cup and even in the less high profile Champion League opponents.
As was to be expected, the most prolific scorer is Rooney with 92 goals in 196 Premier League matches, an average of .47 goals per game. Cantona was not far behind, finding the net 64 times in 143 appearances for .45 per game while Berbatov’s 32 in 77 gives him an average of .42. They’re all within a fraction of a percentage point from getting a goal every two games which is deemed to be more than acceptable.
Another complaint aimed at Berbatov is that he does not score enough ‘BIG GOALS’. Granted, some games are more high pressure than others but the winner Berba put away earlier this season after Liverpool came back from two goals down to equalise was as ‘BIG’ a goal as you can get.
There’s no denying that Berbatov does not have the same Cantona charisma and he certainly does not show the same passion as Rooney. When it comes to his valuable contribution to United however, you only have to ask his team mates…or his manager.
Is it time for fans to appreciate Berbatov more than they have done in the past?