Are The Bashers Backing Berbatov Now?
In one of the tightest Barclays Premier League title races, Manchester United will need all of their players to step up if the Reds are to win their 19th top-flight title. There is no questioning that United definitely put in a five-star performance against Birmingham City, but it would not have been possible without the fabulous contribution of Dimitar Berbatov – again.
Amazingly, the Bulgarian bagged his third hat-trick of the season, which raises a major question to the United supporters that needs to be answered: Will the fans who did not welcome Berbatov’s arrival be willing to sing his praises now?
A lot of the criticism that been dished out Berbatov’s way was because they said that he was not contributing enough goals to help the United’s attack see off their opponents, but that argument has lost all of its steam as he is the club’s leading goal scorer by a country mile. Berbatov’s treble of goals against Birmingham has seen him join a very exclusive list of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer as the only players in the history of the Premier League to notch three hat-tricks in a season.
The three goals takes his season total to 17 goals, which has relieved the pressure on his strike partner, Wayne Rooney, but has also put him ahead of the man he replaced. Even though the Bulgarian has confessed his admiration for the club on multiple occasions and has always wanted to be at Old Trafford, amazingly some of the supporters would still rather have Carlos Tevez than Berbatov.
Berba’s 18 goals overall is six more than he scored the all of last season – and they have come in 18 fewer appearances as well. The Bulgarian 17 league goals equals the totals of United’s next three leading goal scorers at the club – Nani (7), Javier Hernandez (6) and Ji-Sung Park (4) – and is also good for over 35% of the club’s goals in their first 22 matches.
After being unjustly criticized for having a very poor goals-to-game scoring ratio for United, Berbatov now boasts 0.45 per game average, which is just shy of Wayne Rooney’s 0.46.
If United did not have his goal total, there is no question that they would not be sitting in the pole position in the Premier League, because his strike partner cannot even buy a goal at the moment. After scoring an amazing 34 goals in the 2009/10 season, Rooney has done nothing to show that he has the capability of reaching those heights again.
The United No. 10 has only scored twice this season – once from the penalty spot – has missed more golden chances to score than Berbatov has scored. Against Birmingham, Rooney showed that he still does not have the same appetite to score after he put a header wide of the goal from less than a yard out.
To be fair on Rooney, he did register a further two assists and played a key part in another – all scored by Berbatov – so there are certain aspects of his performances that are beneficial to United.
After supplying the ball for Rooney’s golden chance, there was a 15 to 20 minute spell during the second-half when Nani should have either set up, or scored five goals. Yes, United scored five goals, but, to be honest and selfish, they should have scored seven or eight, because of the amount of opportunities that Nani spurned.
The Portuguese winger finally got his calculations right and added his name to the score sheet, but Nani had no fewer than five very good chances, which were more than any other United player to score. Nani’s constant misplaced crosses were starting to raise the frustration levels of the United front men, but it is good to see that he, and other players, want to contribute goals, which could be a deciding factor in the title race.
To confound all of the critics thoughts and beliefs that United have a very lofty, almost undeserving league position, the Reds are dominating the statistics categories that should see the title come back to Old Trafford. Goal differential almost came into play last season, but in the end Chelsea squeaked a one point advantage over United for the title, and this season’s race is even tighter.
As of right now, United and Arsenal are level on goals scored with 48, but the Gunners have played one more game, which United will make up on Tuesday away to Bloomfield Road against Blackpool. Before Chelsea plays Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, the Blues are currently level with United for the fewest goals conceded (19).
Even though they have not fired on all cylinders, Manchester United was not as ruthless as they could have been, they still did quite well to hammer five past Birmingham City to inject some fear into their Barclays Premier League title rivals.
Submitted by The United Religion
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