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Friday, October 24, 2008

Berbatov Should Not Be In The Manchester United Team Ahead of Tevez!

I know he scored two goals this week but…

As a Manchester United fan, I have never been totally comfortable with the signing of Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian is undoubtedly an extremely talented player with that rare gift of having both flair and a good scoring record – but over the summer I became convinced that he was not the player that United needed to maintain or better the standards set over season 2007-2008. Although it is still early days, I remain to be convinced by him especially as it seems like it means that Carlos Tevez does not get regular football.

Last season, United’s success was built on fluid attacking football. With Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez roaming across the front line in front of a solid midfield three, United were pacey, skilful, energetic and, most importantly very unpredictable to play against. To me it was clear that we were successful not despite the fact that we had no central target-man type striker but because we had no such player in the team.

I obviously understand the fact that we needed to sign a fourth striker who could come off the bench or who could rotate with the “holy trinity”, but I envisaged a player who could effectively replace Louis Saha – someone who could make a difference with aerial ability and a physical presence but not demand a starting place. Eidur Gudjohnsen or Roman Pavlyuchenko or someone similar perhaps. What I did not think United needed was someone like Berbatov who would cost a cool £32 million and negate the fluidity and dynamism of the team. I was therefore very surprised that Ferguson saw his signing as an absolute priority

Ferguson has stated in recent press conferences that he does not feel that it is possible for him to accommodate Tevez, Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov in the same team and of all these players Ferguson appears to be of the view that Berbatov is the first name on the team sheet. This is disappointing for me because United with Berbatov remind me of United with Ruud van Nistelrooy. Still a great attacking team, but more predictable and one dimensional because of the existence of an attacking focal point in the form of Berbatov; and less energetic and skilful because of the omission of one of our most potent players– Tevez.

Tevez had a sensational first year with us last season. He plays every game as if his life depended on it and he has pace, power and no little skill. His link up play with team mates is special and he also has the happy knack of scoring crucial goals; witness his late goals against Spurs, Lyon and Blackburn – the latter being the most important goal of the whole of United’s season in my opinion.

Berbatov is frequently anonymous when things do not go his way –his efforts during lots of games with Spurs last season, and against Chelsea and Liverpool this campaign prove this for me. That is never an accusation you can level at Tevez – who I believe is a better player and more importantly better for the team. On top of that, by all accounts, he is top guy on a personal level.

We have still not signed Tevez on a permanent deal and it is worrying that Ferguson now says he is only "quite confident" the deal would happen. It would be a mistake in my view to under utilise Tevez this season at the expense of Berbatov and I would hate to lose Tevez in the summer.

I genuinely believe that Tevez has all the attributes to become a United legend. In short, I would take Tevez over Berbatov any day!


Anonymous Neville said...

I don't quite agree with your point of view. Having Berbatov does not make united predictable. Rooney has in fact stepped up his act and with Ronaldo, Tevez, Nani as available options besides other midfielders makes United very unpredicable. SAF can start a game with an attacking option and end it completely different.
What I think is happening is that Berbatov is being played regularly so that he can build an understanding with the rest of the team. Tevez, who is on a low at the moment is rightly being left out. But I think once Berbatov gels into the team, more rotation will take place and there will be much more time for Tevez to play. Sometimes when a player is left out, he will get that boost to step up his act and deliver more.
The season is still very long and I am sure that come the end of this season, all players would have got their time on the field.

10/24/2008 8:52 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree what the neville have sadi.. having berbatov in the team make man utd stronger and better. the Eidur Gudjohnsen or Roman Pavlyuchenko are definitely not good enough for man utd.

10/24/2008 9:42 am

Blogger T said...

Nice article Abdul.

For me it is clear that Tevez and Berbatov could not be more different in their energy output with the Argentinian definitely bringing more drive to the Man Utd game.

However, Berbatov is a player I really enjoy watching and I recall vividly his performance at the Emirates last season. He would often come deep to get the ball and when he did his first touch was immaculate and he was nearly untouchable. He also scored an audacious goal flicking the ball nearly the touchline and then volleying it unstoppably high over Almunia.

It was a performance that convinced me that Berbatov really was a sublime player - not only a guy who regularly scores twenty plus goals a season but a guy with great touch and lay-off reminiscent of a Bergkamp or a Zidane.

Abdul, I think that Man Utd will profit with either Tevez or Berbatov in the team. Both will complement the play of Rooney and Ronaldo - albeit in different ways.

Finally, a question for you - is it possible to say that the introduction of Berbatov as a focal-point striker is maximising the play of Rooney who benefits from the more organised team structure that the Bulgarian's presence brings?

10/24/2008 2:31 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

I don't know whether you can directly attribute Rooney's good form to Berbatov being in the United team. Rooney usually has a red hot patch during every season. But yes I agree that Berbatov has brought more order and stability to the United line up, but in my mind this is not necessarily a good thing.

10/26/2008 10:55 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree, Last season we had Ronaldo as the one and only attacking outlet and i really believe we were too fast for our own good, how many times did we see Ronaldo break forward and Rooney and Tevez still in midfield trying to catch up and get in the box (Where they should be!)

How can people not see what Berbatov does for the team there is Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more activity in the final third, more 1 and 2 touch passing, everybody is involved.

We create more chances than last season don't even try to dispute that, our problem is finishing and i can guarentee you the toothless Tevez isn't gonna bang in goals regularly.

NOT ONCE has Tevez scored 20 goals in a season, Berbatov has scored 20+ in each of his last 5 seasons.

Our attacking play is much more fluent now that Dimi is here, there is always an immediate option for the player in posession.

And just wait until Scholes is back threading passes through to Berbatov who in turn will link brilliantly with Rooney.

Tevez can't partner anyone if we play 4-42 and it's Tevez/Rooney up front, Tevez deserts him and plays too deep, what is the point in wasting a striker position on someone who spends most of his time chasing lost causes.

I love Tevez' attitude but in terms of ability and being a footballer,he is light years behind Berbatov.

We already have Rooney, Fletcher, Anderson and Park running around like headless chickens. The last thing we need is another one of those.

Berbatov adds composure to the final third.

12/07/2008 6:38 am

Blogger RedsMan said...

When you pay £30m+ for a striker, you expect him to blend in sharpish and providing goals. We have Keane within a totally different system and I think the pressure is on him to provide for a top club. Maybe. But I disagree with:

"We create more chances than last season don't even try to dispute that, our problem is finishing and i can guarentee you the toothless Tevez isn't gonna bang in goals regularly."

I despise when people say 'Dont try.' I would but I'm not that bothered about it. The number of chances created now and last season is immaterial, the feeling amongst Man Utd fans I know is that Berbatov is lazy, not spirited enough to move around up front (and Rooney is), and Tevez is more energetic to have who opens up defences with his tenacity and his vision. I repeat, that is the impression I have got from Man Utd fans I know.

12/07/2008 12:01 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Redsman, I see what you mean but I don't think an energetic approach is imperetive to being a good or even great player, Bergkamp for instance was a magical player but rarely would you see him charging down opponents.

Each player brings something different to the table, bot Tevez and Rooney are very similar and provide a similar amount of goals, but Rooney creates more and has very good vision, his range of passing is also good, not great I admit but his good vision helps strike a link with Berbatov.

Last season I felt we didn't have enough in attack, Ronaldo is a goal machine, I had doubts over whether he could repeat last years form but it seems he is capable of it. But him aside we had Rooney and Tevez and for me you must have a striker who gets more than 20 per season.

I think Berbatov will do this, Rooney might do it but I honestly can't see Tevez scoring anymore than last seasons total. He doesn't put enough emphasis on attacking and he is 90% of the time, an extremely erratic player.

Like Keane at Liverpool, you don't quite know what you will get (I see this everytime Ireland play)

I think the difference Berbatov has made is telling, the confidence in our play is something I haven't seen in years. in 06/07 we were pretty good but last year the football wasn't great, we were quite lucky Ronaldo had an incredible season to be honest.

12/08/2008 5:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to add that Tevez doesn't really have vision either and he has his head down most of the time, thats one of his biggest problems, his head needs to go up a bit more.

He is very tenacious but tenacity isn't going to open up defences, maybe it will allow teammates more space and put pressure on opponents but thats it.

Berbatov links up has a great touch, good passing and is capable of a moment of brilliance that bamboozles defenders.

Tevez can't do any of those things as he is a limited player, he makes up for it with effort though. effort though doesn't guarentee a place in Utd's team.

Tevez has never been regular, he had a purple patch with Rooney and the media brainwashed everyone into thinking they worked well together.

Obviously Ferguson doesn't think so as Tevez has been on the bench most times, even last season when Berbatov wasn't here.

12/08/2008 5:09 am


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