Ahead of the match with Rangers, Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that he may have tinkered one too many times with his forwards, but could he be forced to shuffling them yet again?
With Wayne Rooney completing his first 90 minutes for United since September 19 against Liverpool, and now the player who etched his name in club’s history with his legendary hat-trick in that same match, is now becoming rather disruptive, himself.
Like it or not, Rooney’s unsettling behavior happened off the field, which could be masked by the team’s performances, but the predicament concerning his striker partner, Dimitar Berbatov, involves his hysterics on it, which could be even more detrimental to the team.
Berba has always been criticized for his supposed lack of work rate, but that is not in question, because, despite popular belief of the common fan, he does do his part, but it is his frustration that is becoming very frustrating to watch.
Often seen as a player who sulks, or labeled as languid, Berbatov has ability that few players in the world can rival – especially with his first touch – but he needs to remain composed, or he certainly runs the risk of spending a lengthy spell on the cold and lonely substitute’s bench.
Another rallying call that the United boss issued prior to start of the UEFA Champions League game with Rangers was for the players to “wake up” – especially after their dismal display against Aston Villa, which Berbatov was the main culprit.
Whether it was missing a glorious chance, him kicking the post, screaming or throwing his hands up in the air in with annoyance with his teammates, Berbatov’s polished reputation might be becoming a bit tarnished – especially with the United manager.
The former of those three antics against Aston Villa led him to being dropped from the United squad entirely that faced Wigan Athletic this past weekend, which was more than likely to give a much-needed break.
It is not like that Berbatov played poorly against Rangers, but his appetite for team success might be under scrutiny, however, those childish behaviors were plentiful against Rangers as well, and it could bode well for the Bulgarian.
The one instance that was a bit bothersome was when he reacted angrily when Paul Scholes failed to meet his high expectations with one of his passes in the early going.
Yes, it is good to show emotion to show that you care about the team’s performance, but there is a saying, “Those who live in glass house should not throw stones,” that must translate into his native Slavic language, because Berbatov continues to fail to comprehend it.
However, it is not just with his teammates he is aggravated by, either.
As it is often times the case, geniuses are their own biggest critics, and, right now, Berbatov is suffering from his own inspection.
The elegant forward’s goalless drought has now reached 15 games since that famous treble at Old Trafford, and that frustration is boiling over.
Yes, Berbatov does a hell of a lot more than just score goals, and as Scott The Red from The Republik Of Mancunia has pointed out, he created the most goal scoring chances in Barclays Premier League last season.
However, when Berbatov has been on the pitch United has not scored a goal in the last five games – a streak totaling 463 minutes (Bébé goal in the 77th minute against Bursaspor).
Right now, though, that means completely nothing if a forward is not contributing a goal here or there – particularly when United, as a team, is struggling to kill off their opponents.
With two young, eager forwards – Javier Hernandez and Federico Macheda – waiting in the wings for their chance, Berbatov needs to get out of this miniature funk he is experiencing or Ferguson will be compelled to make a move to find a settled pair of strikers.
What Dimitar Berbatov needs to do is refocus himself and get back to enjoying his football, because if he does Manchester United can surely enjoy a fruitful season – both domestically and abroad.