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Can We Really Rely On Berbatov?

Following last weekends demolition of Blackburn Rovers, one man came away with a ton of praise and rightfully so. Dimitar Berbatov scored five goals, or a glut of goals if you prefer, but was it the beginning of a new dawn for the Bulgarian striker or will he flatter to deceive as has been the case so far in his Old Trafford career.

It must be said scoring five goals in any match is an achievement, a very good achievement that propels Berbatov into an elite group containing former United striker Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe.

Berbatov even surprised himself on Saturday, “I can’t believe I scored five goals in a game, but it happened,” Berbatov told BBC Sport.

“The first goal was the most important as it gives you the confidence to play.

“As a striker, people do tend only to look at the goals you score – I am more concerned with how I play but today was all about goals for me.”

However, I would urge caution when proclaiming this to be proof that the Bulgarian deserves lavish praise and unrivalled adulation among the United faithful. The glut did end a 10 match barren streak, which stretched back to the game against Liverpool, where he scored three.

With his seasons tally at eleven goals in the Premier League he is top scorer at the moment, but he has only scored in three other games bar the two mentioned, the others being Newcastle, West Ham and Everton, all at the start of the season.

Despite what I see as a poor output discounting two matches, usually we can we take solace in his assist record, but this season not so much, he only has two so far.

It is the inconsistency that he shows which frustrates a number of fans, myself included. In a few games, he has shown he can live with the best, but the fact he only does this in a few games really grates.

Consistency is a large factor in splitting the great players from the world class, and I’m afraid Berbatov falls into the former. He is an inconsistent great player.

Some though would even argue he is just a just good player in a fortunate position. Given the amount of chances United create he is bound to put a good few away.

His record against so-called bigger sides is poor. He has five goals in 14 games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal; three came this season against the Anfield side.

In the Champions League he has a meager four in 18 games with Celtic being the toughest side he has scored against.

Even against his former team, when you expect a player to put in a shift to prove to his former employers, Berbatov shy’s away, he only has two in seven matches goal wise but he has always underperformed against Tottenham.

Is it a lack of effort that counts against him? People are constantly berating him for his lazy approach, but on the odd on the odd occasion when he has added that little extra application he has been more fruitful in front of goal as was shown on Saturday.

Maybe the return of Wayne Rooney will make a difference after all, they combined to devastating effect against Blackburn. I for one though expect another frustrating run of no goals from the Bulgarian.