Frustrating Times for Dimitar Berbatov

Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov may be a frustrated figure at Old Trafford this season. Having lead the league with 20 goals last season, the Bulgarian has only seen 486 minutes of playing time in the 2011/12 Premier League.

Date Opposition Result Minutes Played Goals Scored Shots on Target Shots off Target Accurate Passes Pass Completion
14/08/2011 West Brom (A) 2-1 25 0 0 0 12 86%
18/09/2011 Chelsea (H) 3-1 11 0 1 0 14 100%
24/09/2011 Stoke City (A) 1-1 70 0 1 1 23 79%
29/10/2011 Everton (A) 1-0 23 0 0 0 6 75%
05/11/2011 Sunderland (H) 1-0 17 0 0 0 1 25%
21/12/2011 Fulham (A) 5-0 13 1 1 0 6 86%
26/12/2011 Wigan (H) 5-0 90 3 3 2 28 74%
31/12/2011 Blackburn (H) 2-3 90 2 2 1 23 88%
04/01/2012 Newcastle (A) 0-3 57 0 0 1 18 90%
31/01/2012 Stoke City (H) 2-0 90 1 1 1 43 84%
486 7 9 6 174 79%

Dimitar Berbatov has scored 7 Premier League goals this season; 3 of which came against Wigan Athletic on Boxing day, followed by 2 against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s eve. However, the former Tottenham Hotspur striker is behind Wayne Rooney (1,911 minutes), Danny Welbeck (1,425) and Javier Hernandez (1,059) in the pecking order this season.

The Bulgarian striker scored some important goals during Manchester United’s title-winning season a year ago; including a hat trick in a 3-2 victory over Liverpool, and late winners versus both Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers. He scored a spectacular 5 goals during the 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn last season.

Berbatov turned 31 in January and manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently hinted that Manchester United will be extending the £30 million signing for a further fifth season that will keep him at the club through to the summer of 2013.

Through 27 games of the 2011/12 Premier League season, Berbatov has started just 5 games, compared to the 24 games he started last season. Incredibly, the striker has scored with each of his last 7 shots on target, with only Petr Cech and Asmir Begovic making saves from the Manchester United number 9 in the league.

Sir Alex Ferguson has only given Berbatov 90 minutes on three occasions in the Premier League so far this season, in which his 2008 big summer signing has repaid him with at least 1 goal in each of those games.

Dimitar Berbatov has taken a lot of stick during his time at Old Trafford, partly due to his price tag and partly down to his laid back style of play. Criticised or not, Berbatov hit back at his critics last season with an outstanding goal tally; scoring 48 goals in 106 league games. His record in cup competitions with the Red Devils has not been so impressive.

Date Opposition Result Minutes Played Goals Scored Shots on Target Shots off Target Accurate Passes Pass Completion
16/08/2010 Newcastle United (H) 3-0 90 1 2 2 55 93%
22/08/2010 Fulham (A) 2-2 90 0 4 2 30 77%
28/08/2010 West Ham (H) 3-0 74 1 1 1 39 91%
11/09/2010 Everton (A) 3-3 90 1 1 2 22 81%
19/09/2010 Liverpool (H) 3-2 88 3 4 1 26 87%
26/09/2010 Bolton Wanderers (A) 2-2 90 0 1 1 37 95%
02/10/2010 Sunderland (A) 0-0 45 0 0 1 14 70%
16/10/2010 West Brom (H) 2-2 90 0 0 2 25 74%
24/10/2010 Stoke City (A) 2-1 90 0 0 1 29 81%
30/10/2010 Tottenham Hotspur (H) 2-0 64 0 2 0 16 70%
10/11/2010 Manchester City (A) 0-0 78 0 1 1 27 87%
13/11/2010 Aston Villa (A) 2-2 73 0 0 1 19 76%
27/11/2010 Blackburn Rovers (H) 7-1 90 5 6 1 38 78%
26/12/2010 Sunderland (H) 2-0 82 1 2 3 32 82%
28/12/2010 Birmingham City (A) 1-1 90 1 1 1 31 67%
01/01/2011 West Brom (A) 2-1 61 0 0 0 11 73%
04/01/2011 Stoke City (H) 2-1 90 0 0 1 33 83%
16/01/2011 Tottenham Hotspur (A) 0-0 78 0 0 0 16 64%
22/01/2011 Birmingham City (H) 5-0 90 3 4 2 25 76%
25/01/2011 Blackpool (A) 3-2 90 2 2 1 32 86%
01/02/2011 Aston Villa (H) 3-1 90 0 0 3 21 84%
05/02/2011 Wolves (A) 2-1 65 0 1 1 9 69%
12/02/2011 Manchester City (H) 2-1 23 0 1 0 10 91%
26/02/2011 Wigan Athletic (A) 4-0 13 0 0 0 6 75%
01/03/2011 Chelsea (A) 1-2 20 0 0 0 3 75%
06/03/2011 Liverpool (A) 1-3 90 0 1 1 22 76%
19/03/2011 Bolton Wanderers (H) 1-0 45 1 1 1 5 50%
02/04/2011 West Ham (A) 4-2 26 0 2 0 14 74%
09/04/2011 Fulham (H) 2-0 90 1 2 2 24 92%
01/05/2011 Arsenal (A) 0-1 16 0 0 0 4 50%
14/05/2011 Blackburn Rovers (A) 1-1 9 0 0 0 3 100%
22/05/2011 Blackpool (H) 4-2 90 0 3 5 19 86%
2210 20 42 37 697 78%

Whether Berbatov will get another long run out in the Manchester United first team remains to be seen. A transfer away from the club remains unlikely for the ageing Bulgarian given the fee the 19-times English champions forked out to bring him to Old Trafford. For now, his accurate shooting ability and technical skills remain abandoned.

Stats provided by Opta Sports

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