Date:Sunday November 23 2008
Dimitar Berbatov has still not won over many United fans, despite his obvious contribution to our best attacking moves. The Bulgarian frontman hasn't scored many goals so far - two in the league, four in the Champions League - but provided plenty of assist and generally linked the midfield and the attacked brilliantly.
Yesterday's dire stalemate at Villa Park showed how much we started to rely on him to provide a distraction for defenders. Rooney and Tevez were buzzing around all afternoon but were unable to make any breakthrough; they were hopelessly isolated from each other.
Neither is such a fine passer of the ball like Berbatov and there is one more thing. The Bulgarian's exquisite first touch could have made the difference as Villa's half was incredibly crowded. Tevez committed a host of technical blunders and Rooney also looked less than sharp and their sluggish control often cost us possession.
Now you may say that Berba has not exactly set the world on fire in our away games in the league but the fact is that we looked easily more dangerous when he was on the pitch. At Everton our problem was taking the chances we created; at Arsenal, defending and taking the chances; at Celtic, we were poor until half-time when Berbatov was brought on then we just failed to put away our numerous chances as our attacking football improved immeasurably.
Of course it would be stupidly simplistic that it's only down to Berbatov that we hardly even created chances yesterday. Giggs' poor performance, Villa's great defending, Ronaldo's isolation all played a part but I'm convinced that we would have done much better if the lanky Bulgarian had been leading the line.
Thing is, this is rather dangerous for the team, we cannot expect Berba to be available all time. A frontline of Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez should be able to cope without Berbatov. And they proved that they can. Time to rediscover that form which made them Europe's most feared attacking trio.
Date:Sunday November 23 2008
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