Can Berbatov rise to the occasion and lead United to glory?
No such surprise here. Dimitar Berbatov misses a great chance and suddenly the hacks of Britain rush to write off Manchester United’s season. Certainly you wouldn’t expect things to be easy against Bayern Munich tonight (Rooney-less), anything but, although you feel this crunch game is the perfect stage for the Bulgarian to prove his ever-growing list of doubters wrong.
I’ve always been a big fan of Dimitar Berbatov. However, it seems his fanbase decreases every time he has a bad game. His five league goals in his last seven games have been valuable, to say the least. The forward has been superb this season, and although his appearances in the team have been limited he is nearly always inspirational. Twelve goals in twenty overall this season is more than respectable, too.
In a way, you can’t blame fans for turning their backs on him. You expect a lot from a £30m player, and most would think he should be getting twenty goals a season. I don’t class Berbatov as a goalscorer, and that has shown. He seems more suited to the second striker role which is why he may struggle against Bayern unless he is partnering a recognisable forward. He may struggle, but Berbatov has undoubted quality and he tends to be inspirational one week, not so the other. The 4-0 win over Bolton a fortnight ago and the Carling Cup victory are examples of the good Berbatov, but the Chelsea game not so much. That said, Berbatov positioning was fantastic but he may have just lacked the final finish.
And Kiko Macheda could be the player he’s looking for. His knack for scoring crucial goals may play an important role in this tie. I’ve already said that Berba looks better when he’s playing behind the striker and although Macheda’s no Rooney, it may just suit him better having a partner. Bayern will be tough, but United can draw on previous experiences for inspiration. We all remember the events of ’99, but we can draw parallels to that famous night in Old Trafford against Roma. 2-1 down in the first leg, United had to respond. And they did, in perfect fashion. 7-1 was the result in Manchester in the second leg. Maybe the game won’t be as easy, but the deficit is only one. If there is a team for the comeback, it is Manchester United.