Some NLD pre-match blogging on the way later today, but first for something off topic but still sort of related in that it's all about an ex-Tottenham player who moved onto bigger and greater things. Yes, it's true. The squirrels up in Manchester are better than the ones down south.
Dimi Berbatov. What does he do exactly? Well according to this article here over at The Republik of Mancunia - a lot. Far more this season than he has achieved in his prior ones - including the two years spent oozing swagger in Lilywhite. Sure, he looks as gloomy as ever, never smiling, dodgy unsexy haircut, and always apologetic in gestures. And there's no doubt that Fergie has not attempt to build the team around him, preferring instead to use the £30M man when required rather than use him as a Ronaldoesque talisman in every game, no matter the opponent.
So, do stats lie?
The number of goals Berbatov has scored and created this season is of a higher rate than any of his four years in England, higher than both Carlos Tevez’s years at United as well as Alan Smith’s first year at United (and only year he played as an out and out striker).
Berbatov has scored/assisted almost a quarter of a goals this season, despite not playing anywhere near as much, and scored/assisted over a quarter of our goals last season when competing with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Tevez.
Tricky one. I agree he's undervalued by most United fans I know and Spurs fans tend to believe he is wasted at Old Trafford simply because he is not deemed good enough to be the main man in a team of classy work-horses, which at Spurs he was (main man, not a workhorse) - as he was the catalyst of creation up front for us. Until his sulks won the day for his escape on the last day of the transfer window to CL football and titles.
The linked article does state an obvious reason, a reason why many fans turn on players quickly. Why there is patience lacking. The transfer fee. Darren Bent, David Bentley - both suffered because of it. Berbatov, it seems is creating and scoring. Okay, perhaps not scoring epic magical goals, but he's not exactly a dud either. And yet even though he's perhaps far better than what most would suggest, his body language and his lack of freedom to dictate his own tempo up front can suggest something is being lost in translation. He's playing fine, but perhaps not fine enough to warrant the money and effort spent to pull him out of Spurs and sign him for Utd.
Berba at Spurs, on fire, was/is a completely different kettle of fish than the one at United. But he appears to be more productive in red than white. Or perhaps not.
I guess it's all down to personal perspective in the end.