Berbatov Gets Fergie Out Of Jail Once Again…
For the second Barclays Premier League game in a row, Dimitar Berbatov’s introduction inspired Manchester United to another victory. Down two goals against West Ham United, Sir Alex Ferguson had no option but to introduce Berbatov for the last 25 minutes, and he showed no ill-effects of being overlooked for the last month of the season.
However, it was not only Berbatov who was rested against the Irons, because the Bulgarian was joined by Javier Hernandez and Nani on the substitutes’ bench, and all three of those players currently reside in the top five scorers in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Berbatov is not only the club’s top scorer by a landslide, but he is also the Premier League’s leading goal man with 20 goals, but he also showed his unselfish class and composure with a patient and persistent performance against West Ham. Nani and Hernandez, who have combined for 20 goals and 16 assists this season in the Premier League, can also feel a little begrudged for also being left out.
With that said though, these players are being the ultimate professionals by not only understanding, but respecting, that the manager has tough decisions to make every week trying to keep everyone fit and fresh for the rest of the season. Fair common knowledge would tell anyone that listens to Sir Alex that his main goal is to win the UEFA Champions League again and again, which could have very easily crippled the club’s objective to win the league.
A defeat to West Ham would have seen their advantage at the top of the league standings vanish with Arsenal being down only five points with two matches in hand, but the character showed through and United pushed their lead to eight points. To state the least, United is patched up at the back, but it was two experience players on left side of the United defense that were the biggest culprits on the day.
Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, who serve as the club’s captain and vice captain, have made the most appearances for United this season, conceded both of penalties, which looked to have sealed United’s fate if it were not for the dramatic four-goal comeback.
After looking completely out of sorts, Evra only played 45 minutes after being replaced by Hernandez at the interval, which came as a surprise to many since Ferguson did not have any other viable defensive options on the bench. However, Vidic’s day was nearly cut short as well, because already on a yellow card, he put in a poorly-timed challenge, but, thankfully, Lee Mason sided with common sense and allowed the United skipper to stay on the pitch.
Even though the elder statesmen in the United defense did not play up to their potential, the emergency right-back played his heart out.
With his first three options at right-back out injured, Sir Alex was forced to shift Fabio to the opposite of his favorite side of pitch. Over the last month or so, the young Brazilian has resurrected his United career by showing amazing versatility playing all over the pitch for Sir Alex. After suffering from various injuries and playing behind Evra, who has been United’s most capped player over the last two seasons, Fabio has been the forgotten youngster at the club.
A couple of attributes that could help Fabio overcome being the odd man out are his enthusiasm and determination to add flair to the United attack, which will, ultimately, put pressure on his teammates to perform at high level.
Following the vital victory over the Irons, there were pundits, as well as rival fans, that stated that United was the beneficiaries of some skeptical referee decisions. One could have predicted that this assessment was going to come following Ferguson becoming the Life President of the Referees’ Association, but there instances that disproved that biased theory.
Lee Mason, who cost United two points against Birmingham City back in December, made debatable decisions that went against the Reds, which two happened in a minute span. First, Ji-Sung Park was about to break through the West Ham midfield, but he was purposely chopped down – from behind – by Thomas Hitzlsperger, but Mason only warned the German midfielder.
Moments later, the referee had a tough, 50/50 decision to make when Vidic was caught on his heels by Carlton Cole, and he pointed to the spot rather than thinking about, correctly, awarding a free-kick on the edge of the area. To further prove that the referee did not gift United the victory, is that the Reds had a shout for their own penalty in the first half, but Mason waved away the appeals that Matthew Upson unfairly used his arm.
In the end, the performance that Manchester United put in against West Ham United was full value of all three points at Upton Park, and this could very well be the match that the 2010/11 Barclays Premier League season is remembered for.
Submitted by The United Religion
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