Can everyone now PLEASE get off Berba’s back?

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.

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?

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Frank Scicluna
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2 comments
  • Never ever got on the big mans back. I personally was over the moon when we signed him. The man is pure class. Last season everyone was on Valencia’s band wagon for all those assists and goals but what everyone chose to ignore was the pass master with the vision to release Valencia….more often than not Berba was the man. He see’s football in another light all together. The vision, imagination and execution is top notch. Yeah yeah he doesnt bust a gut like rooney but he doesn’t need to…minimum effort – maximum result. Saying this it doesnt mean he doesnt do his team work. i have seen him in the middle of the park, right back, in our penalty box and left back – as seen by the most against Rovers. Just because he isnt a typical english centre forward people put him down. The hacks are just not on his level. Love the guy

  • Goals average statistics do not the complete picture. While I am in no way suggesting that Berbatov is anything but a grade A player, 5 goals in a game does not mask the fact that he should never been bought by Utd. It’s goals CONSISTENCY that makes a great striker, something which Berbatov has not produced at United. It’s not his fault however. He was never meant to play for a team that has a very different footballing philosophy. The free-flowing football Utd was playing before Berbatov arrived was some of the best we had seen since 1999. Berbatov’s arrival signalled the departure of a player who played the Utd way…Carlos Tevez. The Rooney-Tevez-Ronaldo axis made us one of the scariest teams in the world to play against. Rooney and Tevez would have still made us a scary proposition. Rooney and Berbatov, I’m afraid not. Juan Sebastian Veron was another classy player, who, at the time Sir Alex signed him, was one of the top 5 midfielders in the world. However, like Tevez, he too should not have been brought into a team with a very different style of play. As much as I love Sir Alex, he has made many a player’s career, and ruined quite a few ones as well.

    So, in conclusion, you will get your odd 2-5 goals in a game from Berbatov every now and then, but that’s not what a team that wants to win the Premiership needs. We’re perfectly happy with a goal a game from a Solksjaer- type striker (given some time, I predict Chicharito will become just that) as that helps us win every game instead of drawing 7!

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Avatar Written by Frank Scicluna