What goal drought? Dimitar Berbatov provided the perfect riposte — and then some — to his critics with a scintillating performance against Blackburn Rovers. The Bulgarian scored five of Manchester United’s seven goals on the night and helped the team to move decisively to the top of the table for the first time this season.
The game saw the first full return of the Berbatov-Rooney partnership in the Premier League this season, and the pair certainly did not disappoint and seemed delighted at the prospect of playing together up front. Anderson and Carrick in midfield were amongst the architects of the Blackburn downfall, and the former especially provided some great runs and through balls to create chances for the forwards.
The game had barely begun when Anderson’s collision with Robinson led to a Nani cross that Berbatov was able to touch into an empty net. This was after just two minutes on the clock, and little did he know at the time what a day it was going to be for him. From then on, United were certainly the dominant team, and there seemed to be no way that Blackburn were going to get many chances on goal.
Twenty minutes later, some neat passing between Anderson and Park saw the South Korea captain burst into the box, and fed by Rooney in front of goal, he made no mistake in dinking his finish beyond Paul Robinson. And there was no respite — though, it was through Blackburn’s own mishap — when Berbatov collected a poor backpass from Chimbonda and took his time to smash past Robinson under zero pressure. All this came in the first twenty-eight minutes, and surely, this game was now just going to be about increasing goal difference.
Coming out after half time, United showed no signs of letting up, and Sir Alex‘s intentions of sending out a message to our rivals were clear enough. Just two minutes into the second half, Berbatov, playing like a man with a point to prove, started and finished a move that is surely a contender for goal of the season. Back-heeling a defensive clearance to Evra, the Bulgarian re-collected the ball and hit a lovely forty-yard pass with the outside of his boot to Nani, and ran into the box only to receive the return ball and smash in his hat-trick goal with a first-time effort.
Just a minute later, Nani found himself running into space, and cutting past Chimbonda, curled his left-footed strike past the hapless Paul Robinson. It really was remarkable, and United seemed to be hitting top gear. After a bit of a goal-lull (i.e., fourteen minutes), some neat play between Nani and Rafael found Park in the box, whose blocked effort fell to Berbatov who made no mistake in finishing his fourth. And who else but Berbatov was on hand to slide in from a tight angle to complete United’s scoring in the seventieth minute, getting his fifth, and United’s seventh.
Blackburn got a consolation goal seven minutes from time, when Chris Samba rose highest to head past van der Sar, but that was literally Blackburn’s first shot on target. Berbatov had a chance to complete a double hattrick and become the first player ever in the Premier League to get six, but had his headed effort denied with an acrobatic save from Robinson.
Players like Nani, Rooney, Carrick, Park and Anderson can be proud of their individual and collective performances, and the defence had literally nothing to do all night. It was a terrific performance from the team, and following Chelsea‘s draw against Newcastle, places United top with two points more and with the same goal difference. What a change a few weeks can make to the table and the mood of the fans.
Best Moment: Berbatov’s hat-trick
Worst Moment: Samba goal?
Man of the Match: Do I even need to say?
Written by member Sownak27