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A Case called Dimitar Berbatov

Editor's Pick 17 Jul 2011, 12:51 IST

It’s quite baffling to think that a striker at Manchester United could score 21 goals in a season And still face critics. Dimitar Berbatov falls into that category, but when you look closely, it becomes a little more apparent. No other name causes such a divided opinion among footballing world as much as Dimitar Berbatov. A player who scored 5 goals against Blackburn and was benched the very next game. Not many managers would bench a player who has scored 5 goals. This raises many questions from all corners about Sir Alex’s trust in Berbatov. Is it because fergie doesn’t have faith in Berbatov’s ability to step up in bigger games? Or is it because he doesn’t show enough commitment and work rate?

I have always been taught to make any biases clear before launching too far into an argument, so I’ll make it clear that I am a fan of Dimitar Berbatov. That is not to say I do not acknowledge his obvious shortcomings, of which there are a few, but I have always seen the good he brings to the side, as I do with ever player who pulls on the Manchester United shirt. I regard Berbatov as a footballer, as a person and as a professional, but they will also know that he is a player who I feel frustrates as much as he inspires.

Players like Dimitar Berbatov come once in a generation. Dimitar berbatov is an example that a striker need not necessarily be 6.5 ft tall and run like a headless horse chasing after the ball. He has shown the world that every striker has unique attributes and should play the way they know to play and not to alter themselves according to their critics.

Although berbatov’s skill was never a question to any football fan, his commitment and work rate is often questioned. you just cant help admire a man who brings down a 40 yard diagonal ball as is if it were plucking apples out of a tree but then again u just cant help denigrate him when he misses a chance where a player of his quality would put that behind the net in his sleep.

Dimitar Berbatov, a fan favourite at Totenham until he made the controversial 30 million move to Man Utd. He benefited a lot from Robbie Keane who appreciated and understood Berbatovs uniqueness and the type of player he was. Man Utd fans felt there is no way they are going to lose the EPL. Just the thought of Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov would have defeated the opposition. The arrival of Berbatov meant that Tevez had to make way. The criticisms in the first seasons were not much as Ronaldo was firing in all cylinders so Berbatov not being consistent was overlooked. Without a number of game changing/winning contributions throughout 08/09 such as winners against Middlesbrough and Bolton, assists at vital points such as against Stoke, United would never have won number 18, just as his Premier League haul this season was pivotal to setting up the base from which United could capture title number 19. I’ve made this argument before, to be met with ridiculous rebuttal such as, “someone else could have made those contributions”.

The departure of Tevez and Ronaldo meant there was a lot of pressure on Berbatov to step up and fill the void. it is hard not to criticize when u pay 30 million for a striker and he doesn’t provide you with the goods. But we often overlook the fact that Dimitar Berbatov is not the kind of player who will not score 30 goals a season. In fact he has never scored 30 goals in a season in his entire footballing career, but then again 30 million and Man Utd were enough reason  for the fans to expect a hat-trick every game. Comparisons to Tevez were inevitable. Where Tevez would chase the ball all day long Berbatov would just stand and watch his teammates do the work. Of course at the end of the day not every striker is the same. Where Tevez has the legs and the hard working mentality Berbatov compensates it with his finesse up front. There is no ceiling to Dimitar Berbatovs talent . But the fans often tend see only the goal tally.

Dimitar Berbatov is often the playmaker of the team or “second striker”. He likes to drop deep and pick up the ball and link midfield and attack . His vision and techniques is unmatched and Wayne Rooney benefited from this last season where he banged in 34 goals. It is probably because of this he has more assists to his name than goals. Every striker has faults and so does Berbatov. He doesn’t believe in himself as much as he can. he is sometimes wanted in the penalty box but he seems content on just assisting which is probably one of the reasons he doesn’t score enough goals. his level of consistency is another area which is a problem this season he has scored 21 goals Berbatov’s 21-goal haul includes the five he scored against Blackburn, trebles against Liverpool and Birmingham and two against both Blackpooland Sunderland. But He hasn’t scored in 27 of his 39 appearances last season which probably adds fuel to the fire.

Sir Alex often overlooks him in the marquee games as he prefers an extra midfielder and Wayne Rooney who is no less talented and provides the work rate upfront. But this doesn’t mean Fergie doesn’t trust him. If Sir Alex didn’t have faith him he would have shown the boot a long time back. It is because of his faith in Berbatov that he has scored 21 goals this season and has repaid the faith with some stellar performances. Berbatov might still be the same languid player in the eyes of some but he has sure won the hearts of many more with his performances this season. Berbatov will not transform into a player who will dismantle the best sides in the country, or lead United to glory in Europe, but he still provides Sir Alex with an experienced, quality and unorthodox option. His goal hauls this season is indicative of a player who is getting better at Manchester United, who is making the necessary adaptations to better fit into the United ethos. All in all, Berbatov has a real role to play over the course of the coming season. He is committed to United, willing to fight for his spot and provides fantastic depth in the forward line, which would undoubtedly look quite thin on experience without him.

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