Stretty debate: Berbatov or Tevez for your MUFC team?

Berbatov and Tevez

AUTHORs: – Doron and Sean

The international break is nearly over (at last!) and with little to talk about, a popular discussion on Twitter between Reds has been: “who would you rather have for your MUFC team, Berbatov or Tevez?”. Upon this question first being asked, I decided Tevez was the player I wanted; however, Sean decided his was Berbatov. Therefore we’ve decided to put it in a Stretty Debate! We’re judging the players purely on ability and how they’d fit a team, so with Tevez in particular, try to put some of the hatred to one side for a moment and enjoy the debate…

The case for Berbatov, by Sean:

Forget the Glazers. Forget no.19. The no.1 most debated topic in United’s recent history has probably been: “who’s better – Berbatov or Tévez?”. As the two currently sit at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts, a full nine and eight goals respectively ahead of their closest competitors, I feel it an apt moment to rekindle the discussion. As those of you who know me will probably guess, I shall be fighting the Berbatov corner.

I shall start by discussing the question in a bit more detail, and which areas I believe should be focused on. For anyone who studies the game in a bit more detail than your average “I enjoy the punditry on ITV” fan, you will know that a lot of the time, there isn’t a simple answer to the question of who is “better” when comparing two players. One should dig a little deeper than simply who they think is the better footballer, and discuss things such as effect on the team, effectiveness in a team (two different things), dressing room presence, and other, possibly less important things.

In discussing the case of Berbatov v Tévez, I believe the discussion should largely concern both of their respective times at United. Not that the rest of their careers are irrelevant, but the role of a United player, and particularly that of a second striker, is much different to the role most strikers will take, and indeed Berbatov and Tévez have taken at different points in their careers.

I feel it necessary to straight away post the bare facts of Berbatov and Tévez at United in terms of direct effectiveness, something which a lot of people seem to assume the advantage would lie with Tévez, describing Berba as a pretty but not effective footballer.

In Berbatov’s almost three seasons at the club, he has made 120 appearances, and scored 47 goals. This statistic, which doesn’t take account of the fairly large amount of substitute appearances, puts him on a goal every 2.55 appearances, ahead of recent United strikers such as Sheringham, Solskjaer, Saha and… Carlos Tévez (goal every 3.31 appearances). Obviously, appearance stats can be misleading as 1 minute played is represented the same as 90, so we must delve into actual minutes played. In the league, Berbatov has played 6,631 minutes for United, scoring 41 goals – a goal every 161 minutes. He has also assisted 19 league goals in that time, meaning that overall he created or scored a goal every 110.5 minutes in the league.

Tévez meanwhile, aside from the aforementioned appearance stat, played 4,535 minutes for United in the league, scoring 19 goals – a goal every 238 minutes, with 9 assists as well meaning a goal scored or created in the league every 161.9 minutes.

The contrast here is fairly stark. Berbatov has scored for United in the league on average every 161 minutes, and Tévez every 238. Berbatov has scored or created a goal every 110 minutes, and Tévez every 162. Berba has actually scored for United in the league at a quicker rate than Tévez scored and created.

A common criticism of Berbatov amongst United fans is that his arrival unfairly led to Tévez being completely cast aside, who then had little or no chance to prove himself. Again, the statistics would seem to dismiss this notion. Berba only played a little over 700 minutes more league football than Tévez in 08/09 – or a little over 7.5 full matches. Despite having just 27.5% more playing time , Berbatov managed to notch almost twice as many goals in the league (9 to 5), and over three times as many assists (10 to 3).

His first season at United disappointed those who quivered at his YouTube highlights, marvelled at the stories of his enigma and cultured personality and whispered “Cantona?”. However, was it really that bad? Nine Premier League goals was doubtless disappointing compared to his 15 the previous season for Spurs, but 10 assists left him as the second top assister in the league. It must also be noted that he played 500 less minutes at United, as well as playing in a more withdrawn second striker role with Rooney at the centre of most United attacks.

Crucial contributions such as winners against Newcastle, Spurs, Middlesborough (70th minute, only goal), Bolton (90th minute, only goal), assists away to Liverpool and Chelsea, a goal and an assist at home to Chelsea, an assist at home to City, and 4 goals in 9 Champions League appearances demonstrated how important he could be, as well as moments of genius like that piece of skill at home to West Ham to assist Ronaldo, the sort of stuff you pay in to see.

All told, he scored or created a goal in the league every 135 minutes in 08/09, compared to Tévez’s 134 mins in 07/08 and 232 mins in 08/09.

So essentially, Berba’s worst season in the league was about as good as Tévez’s best in terms of creativity, and his best (this season, with a goal scored or created every 86 mins) is significantly better than anything Tévez has produced at any club.

At the moment, there’s no availability for minutes played in the domestic cups and in Europe, which was touched on in the overall appearances and goals posted above. If these were included, Tévez’s ratio would likely improve, as he had good success in the Carling Cup, and a relatively good record in Europe, including important goals against Lyon and Roma the year of our European success. But this would not close the gap significantly – after all Tévez has an advantage of merely 9-6 in terms of goals scored outside the league for United in comparison to Berba.

Berbatov’s second season at United has become one of the most underrated season of recent times. Despite spending two months out with injuries, Berbatov managed 12 Premier League goals – the highest of any second striker in the league. Crucial and brilliant goals against Sunderland and Blackburn led to fans and commentators alike proclaiming “now we are seeing the real Berbatov”.

However, injury to Wayne Rooney in March against Bayern Munich killed Berbatov. He was often placed up front on his own, or else with a clearly unfit Rooney, and United missed their up-to-then brilliant partnership, crashing out of Europe and blowing the Premier League. In addition to the affect of Rooney’s injury, a long-term niggle in Berba’s knee clearly disturbed him, a problem so concerned that Ferguson twice considered sending him for surgery. Berbatov played through the pain, took the brunt of the blame for the late disappointments and suddenly his season had been a disaster, and he had to be sold.

Ferguson, once again proving himself to be wiser than the baying mob, kept faith in the Bulgarian, and Berbatov started this season like a house on fire. An excellent pre-season, followed by nothing short of magnificence against Chelsea, Newcastle, Fulham, West Ham, Everton and Liverpool saw Berbatov shoot to the top of the goalscoring charts and back into the hearts of the United fans. However, Rooney’s ankle flared up again and the goals dried up for Berbatov. Not necessarily performance though, in seven of his ten goal-free games he was very good – only playing poorly against Tottenham and Bursaspor – and largely anonymous against Valencia through not much fault of his own.

But suddenly due to his lack of goals he was ‘Lazy Berbatov’ instead. Again, an unfair stigma – he has tracked back well this season, and covered good distance in most matches. Against Rangers in the Champions League he sprinted back to win two challenges deep in his own half. He started and finished the move for the fourth goal against Blackburn, covering a good 90 yards in the process. Against Blackpool he made 10 tackles and 3 clearances, both more than Carlos Tévez has made all season, and this on top of 2 goals. He may still be no Tevéz in playing style, but then again, should United fans really want him to be?

Tevéz for all the plaudits he is rightly getting these days, was an average second striker at United, often lacking the quality or the nous to play in this position. He would frequently misplace passes, fluff great scoring chances, or be out of position due to chasing the ball – all traits which could be said to be more annoying than not covering marathon distances during games.

He has improved no end at City, primarily because he’s playing in a different position, which he’s better at, and also is the main man – as a confidence player this is important for him. However pining for the player he is now is no good – he was never that player at United and was never going to be. Berbatov is having the season now that Tévez never had at United, and is a more harmonious dressing room presence to boot – with Alex Ferguson cryptically referencing Tévez’s moaning in the dressing room when placed on the bench.

There’s no doubting that he had his plus points – and these should not be forgotten in spite of what happened. He scored some important goals, and his energy was at times useful – but ultimately he failed to make the grade at Old Trafford, and the cold, hard facts, particularly of his second season, back this up.

Comparisons still get drawn to this day to Tévez’s City form versus Berbatov’s United form, with a lot contending that Berbatov is having the better season. Even though how Tévez plays at City doesn’t particularly concern me, as I feel the debate should be focused on suitability for Manchester United, I don’t agree with this. Not to mention the fact that Berbatov has outscored Tévez in total, 4 of Tévez’s haul have come from the penalty spot, something which greatly boosts his stats. Of course they still have to be scored, but City have other players, such as James Milner who have a broadly similar record from the spot, leading one to assume that City wouldn’t suffer at all if Tévez was on penalty duties – however his stats would – fairly significantly.

In terms of goals from open play in the league this season, Berbatov has scored every 98.7 minutes, compared to Tévez’s 158.8. This is particularly interesting given how, especially in the latter parts of the season, Berbatov has been in and out of the United team – something you feel Tévez wouldn’t have stood for, given his quite remarkable record of upping and leaving from clubs.

In fact, to touch on this comparison further, I don’t think it would be too dramatic to say that Dimitar is pretty much a model pro, and Carlos a nightmare. There’s only so much one can touch on his harrying of players on the ball. Tévez has forced his way out of every club he has been with, staying for a maximum of 2.5 years, normally just the 2. His time at each club has been typified by arguments, storm outs and threats. Berbatov couldn’t be much more of an opposite. Even when abuse was raining down from most in OT, he had this to say:

“I was disappointed with myself that I could not please all the supporters. I have said before the people of Manchester United are the judges and that is the way it should be. It is their team. I am a guest. A privileged guest.

I have always said I am so lucky to play here. For these people. For this manager. For this club. With these players. I can’t describe it man.”

Even this season, the criticisms keep rolling in – in stranger and stranger forms. “Doesn’t score enough” has changed to “doesn’t score consistently”. Goalposts are changed so frequently with Berbatov you begin to wonder whether some have a pre-conceived notion of the Berb, and nothing he does on the pitch can change this.

True, 11 of his 21 Premier League goals have come from three games, but it must be said that three of these sunk Liverpool in a thriller that will live long in the United memory, and five destroyed Blackburn in a performance that gave Ferguson’s men much-needed confidence as they kick into a tough December schedule. “When was the last time United really put a team to the sword – when Tevéz was in the team” was a refrain form Berbatov’s detractors. The performance against Blackburn – with Berbatov at the fulcrum – shows us that United can kill teams with Berbatov. In September, Berbatov was magnificent against West Ham, however others around him were not on his sparkling wavelength, and so a potential ‘Blackburn’ became simply a 3-0 stroll.

In fact, with all the talk of consistency, Tévez has scored in just one more Premier League game this season than Berbatov, and that including games where a penalty was his only scoring contribution.

It’s not just a red-tinted viewpoint either – the statisticians agree: Berbatov is currently the best player in the league according to the Official Player Performance Index (with Tévez ranked 4th – Official Site of the Premier League | Statistics | EA SPORTS Index), a ranking system collated based on detailed player performance statistics. The 10th best player in the world over the past year according to the Castrol Football Rankings (and he was 5th until his recent spell in and out of the team with the emergence of Hernández, Tévez incidentally is ranked 18th - FULL CASTROL RANKINGS | Castrol Football | Official Sponsor UEFA EURO 2012™).

Dimitar Berbatov has this season cast off the shackles in several ways, and now it’s time he cast off the shackles of the comparisons to Carlos Tévez – an inferior man, and footballer.

The case for Tevez, by Doron:

I have chosen the somewhat unenviable task of writing about Carlos Tevez in a positive light. Despite who he plays for now and how he left United, purely as a player to play in a team, I’d pick him over Berbatov. So I urge you to try and put aside the hatred for the man for a few minutes and think about him as a footballer.

For starters, I like Berbatov. I think he’s a genius capable of Cantona-esqe moments of unpredictability and magic but without the consistency that The King had. The best players are able to pull a team through in the big games or perform when those around him are sub-par. I don’t think Berbatov or Tevez ever had that but I think Tevez’s performance in big games were better than Berbatov has produced to date and so that’s a good place to start.

It’s one of the things that’s truly baffled me with Berbatov, why has he not ‘done it’ in Europe? Neither Berbatov or Tevez ever took Europe by storm but Tevez did score some important goals and helped the team to Champions League success in 2007/08. Berbatov on the other hand hasn’t scored in the Champions League for nearly two and a half years:

Berbatov has 4 goals in 20 (11 starts 9 sub) CL games for United – his goals came in only 2 matches (Celtic and Aalborg) with his last CL goal coming on 21/8/08

Tevez had 6 goals in 21 CL games (10 starts 11 sub)

Neither has a stellar record in front of goal but Tevez started 3 of the 4 semi-finals in Europe and one of the two finals. By contrast, so far, Berbatov has only managed 1 start in a quarter-final let alone a semi-final the same competition.

In the league’s big games (against Chelsea, Arsenal, City, Spurs and Liverpool) as well, when comparing Berbatov to Tevez as a goalscorer, the main function of a forward, Tevez comes out on top too:

Berbatov has 5 goals in 18 starts against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, City and Spurs in the league, with 6 sub appearances and no goals from the bench (3 of the 5 goals were the hat-trick vs. Liverpool this year)

Tevez had 5 goals in 12 starts against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, City and Spurs in the league with 4 sub appearances and 1 goal from the bench

Neither Berbatov in his first two years nor Tevez in his time at United were regular scorers. This year Berbatov has started to score, but still not consistently. Even with Berbatov’s good return this season, their goals to games ratio is remarkably similar – Berbatov 1:2.6 vs. Tevez 1:2.9 (in Berbatov’s first two seasons his was 1:3.3). Looking at goals for either player is maybe poor on my part – Berbatov isn’t a goalscorer but more of a creator, often indirectly (dropping off and creating space for others) whereas Tevez’s time at United was played often out of position/role as I’ll later explain.

However, Tevez did have a knack of scoring important goals – at Anfield, home to Birmingham and away to Blackburn, Spurs and the genius back-flick away at Wigan. The Wigan game in his final season represents another advantage Tevez has over Berbatov – he’s a good impact substitute. Berbatov is a great footballer but more often than not, coming off the bench he fails to ignite United. Yes, he adds calmness and assurance but as an impact substitute chasing a win often a driver is needed, something that Tevez suits much better.

Berbatov’s lack of inclusion in Europe in particular isn’t without reason. I refuse to go down the route of calling him lazy, because I don’t think he is. His languid style gives that perception but actually not only is he surprisingly fast but he works harder than most think. However, I think he’s always struggled to fit into the various systems at United. That’s not to say he’s never worked in any system – against Blackburn when he scored 5 goals this year he worked well in a deeper creative role, rotating with Rooney.

With many of the continental teams and big English teams playing a variation of 4-3-3 United tend to match them when facing them, a system that Berbatov really tends not to excel in (despite a good effort away at Man City as a lone striker this season). Tevez however was able to fit in. Like Rooney, he was often deployed wide or rotated with who’d ever be through the middle in-game, usually Rooney.

His style is bulldoggish, he hunts and chases everyone down. Some will say that’s because his touch is poor and he gives the ball away but I think that’s doing a disservice to the amount of off-the-ball work he’d do for the team. He’s better than just ‘running and hounding’ though – he is a skilful, inventive player who plays facing goals in a direct manner

The idea of team-play is something one should associate with Tevez. He spent his two years at United whilst Ronaldo was at his peak; during that time the team was built around Ronaldo, for Ronaldo. Tevez and Rooney in particular were sacrificed into playing roles for the sake of the team. The fact that Tevez seemed to lose the ability to score once in the final third therefore becomes somewhat insignificant as he was rarely played as a proper striker, and as we’ve seen, since being at City there’s no doubting he’s been not just their best player but their most dangerous goalscorer (as his instinctive flick in the Carling Cup at Old Trafford last year shows).

Ronaldo’s departure would go on to see Rooney deployed as a proper out-and-out striker and the results were stunning. Meanwhile, Tevez has gone to Man City and played as a proper striker there with a team built for him and similarly he’s done very well. Potentially had Tevez remained at United and played as part of a team in 09/10 that was set up for strikers with old fashioned wing-play, there could have been similar results for him too. That’s exemplified in the fact that Rooney had a 66% chance of scoring last year when he started with Berbatov – a naturally deep striker (14 goals in 21). Yet when Berbatov didn’t play, Rooney had an 87% chance of scoring (20 in 23). Rooney often played as a lone striker, something Tevez can do and has done a lot of this year very successfully. Put two forwards together who both thrive on a team who play for the strikers and hypothetically it could have been stunning. It would have even allowed Ferguson to rotate the two strikers in the lone role, something he doesn’t really have the option of doing now.

Whilst Tevez’s departure was messy, there’s little to suggest the majority of United fans didn’t want him to stay. Chants of “Fergie sign him up” would ring round Old Trafford for the last couple of months of the 08/09 season. Whilst the player may have had his say off the pitch, he played like a professional on it, always giving his all for United right up to his last game and that has to be massively credited. In a way one can feel some sympathy towards the way the club treated him – yes Fergie always said he’d only offer a deal at the end of the two years but Tevez probably deserved it sooner than that. That said, it was a hideous departure that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Many Reds like me feel a lot of bitterness and anger towards Tevez but there’s no denying he’s a very good footballer who did suit United even in a role that didn’t suit him. In my opinion, and this is ultimately what swings the debate towards Tevez, he suits United much more than the elusive Berbatov who to date still doesn’t quite ‘fit’ hence his non-inclusion in big games where a change of system is required. Tevez was a consistent performer, Berbatov provides bigger highs than maybe Tevez did but also many more lows than Tevez.

It’s important to point out I do like Berbatov as a player. I like that he offers variation to what we have. I just feel the team tend to play better without him – not always but certainly recently we’ve been playing our best football with the Rooney/Chicharito pairing. My opinion on Berbatov changed actually – I used to almost dislike him and would continually be frustrated by him until I read this superb thesis by Nik – do have a read of it, it dispels many a myth about Berbatov.

However on this debate, I think Oliver Kay from The Times hit the nail on the head. I put the Tevez vs. Berbatov question to him, explained my choice of Tevez and asked who he’d choose:

“Good question. Tevez for exactly the reasons you mention. Berbatov’s best contributions have been fantastic, but they are too infrequent, which suggests he doesn’t fit the overall team plan anything like as well as was hoped. Ferguson must agree on Berbatov, otherwise he wouldn’t leave him out of the big games so often. I’m sure he’ll play in the odd big game in the final weeks of the season and make the odd big contribution, but overall he hasn’t quite fitted in at United in the way the club would hope/expect.”

Personally I think Tevez would have been a big success in the post-Ronaldo era at United either playing with Rooney or rotating the lone striker role with Rooney in a team built for forward play. That’s a style that suits United, having out-and-out forwards. Regardless of every statistic I’ve provided, it’s that reason why I’d choose Tevez over Berbatov for my team.

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Having read the debate, who do you agree with? It was never a case of one or the other to stay at United, but it makes for an interesting discussion. Do share your thought with us in the comments section below – any abusive comments will be deleted.

AUTHORs: – Doron and Sean

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39 Responses to “Stretty debate: Berbatov or Tevez for your MUFC team?”

  1. Glen says:

    “the sort of stuff you pay in to see”

    And that’s the argument sewed up in Berba’s favour. Forget the stats, the work-rate or whatever else you want to use.

    Tickets at Old Trafford are now at least £36 – it’s a ridiculous sum of money to pay. For that, you want to witness something truly special.

    Berbatov can leave you purring with a simple touch. Tevez might fit United’s style better, but he got way too much love when he was here for simply putting effort in. I don’t pay that money to see someone run. I want to be left speechless. Berbatov is one of the few players who can offer this.

    If (when) he leaves in the summer, we will lose the one player you can get excited about whenever the ball goes near him.

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  2. Mancunian Red says:

    I’m a massive Tevez fan he sacrificed himself at OT for the good of the team. With Rooney he was the first line of defence, he created so much with his off the ball running and ability to crowd the opposition down.

    I don’t blame him for wanting to leave, Fergie was trying to justify his 31 million pound on Berbatov.

    Berbatov doesn’t tend to play in the big games and while Tevez scored critical goals in big games Berbatov is but a squad player. United play with desire, hardwork, movement and pace. Berbatov doesn’t suit that style.

    I like Berbatov the man but as a player he isn’t United class.

    I thought Tevez would improve without Ronaldo because he no longer had to just play the bit part. Had he been at OT last season I’m pretty sure wee would have won the title and got to the final of the CL at least.

    I was gutted he left, he genuinely loved being a red but was unfairly treated.

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  3. @Mancunian Red

    Your opinions are the same as mine (as shown by the blog). His departure was messy – we did offer the contract he wanted but only last minute – his mind was already made up though.

    I think Berba has his genius moments but they’re too infrequent. Those moments aside I think a Tevez-type player would suit us more

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  4. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by nameonthetrophy — April 1, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    I agree you put your case well! Very well written and argued!

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  5. @Mancunian Red

    Thanks – of course there’s no definitive answer but nice to know someone shares my opinion! I expect most fans to side with Berbatov purely due to where Tevez plays now – it’s the easy response to a piece like this.

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  6. OSullivanMUFC says:

    “sacrificed himself at OT for the good of the team” Please. It’s such hyperbolic statements that tends to widen the chasm between the two sides. Tévez’s United stay seemingly gets better by the day. He’ll be credited with single-handedly winning the ’08 Double next.

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  7. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by nameonthetrophy — April 1, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    True but the calls of “Fergie Fergie Sign him Up” bellowed around OT.

    WE were hurt and I’m pretty sure Tevez wishes he hadn’t moved it was a sad day.

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  8. @OSullivanMUFC

    Fighting talk Sean!! Unlike Berbatov for near enough two years now, Tevez never had the chance of playing regularly in the role he’s best suited to in a system that best suits him. Naturally that gives the discussion a weird slant – we were never able to judge Tevez in a red shirt in his rightful role regularly.

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  9. @Mancunian Red

    Yeah I mention that in the piece. There’s no denying the majority of fans wanted him to stay. We didn’t want him to leave at all.

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  10. Mancunian Red says:

    @Mancunian Red

    I know I was just agreeing with you, as I said it is a good argument well written.

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  11. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by nameonthetrophy — April 1, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    I know I was just agreeing with you, as I said it is a good argument well written.

    Sorry ignore the Mancunian bit at the top I’ve just finished work so that is my excuse

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  12. @Mancunian Red

    Haha, no worries, late evening! I’m just putting the WHUFC preview together – huge game, few options in CM is a bit of a worry

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  13. OSullivanMUFC says:

    I didn’t want him to stay, certainly not after undermining the manager, and his performances in his last season especially, though his first was quite a bit underwhelming as well given his potential. Regarding position, one could argue Berba’s increase in goals this season are partially as a result of him being given a more advanced role with Rooney’s decline in quality as well as back the pitch.

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  14. tezee says:

    r u people stupid. tevez and his agent went to city 4 more money. his agent received 40 million maybe more for this transfer. this agent being a close friend to tevez and his family, surely tevez must av got a cut of this as well.

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  15. aaramz says:

    Berba a good player and what really makes me more drawn to him lately is his good attitude. Clearly the statistics shows that Berba is more effective than Tevez but I’ll always picked Tevez for the sole reason that he has suited MUFC more than Berbatov. Its always frustrating whenever our most expensive player left on the bench for the important matches. I sometimes asked my self that whey we’ve paid that huge amount of money for him if he wont play in those games. Even Fergie has come to the terms that he doeesn quite fit in as Daniel Taylor of pointed out in his piece

    In last season’s quarter-final against Bayern Munich, with Rooney off the pitch and United needing a goal to stay in the competition, Ferguson preferred to use a winger, Nani, in the centre-forward’s role, while the most expensive player in the club’s history sat on the bench.

    And ”Berbatov provides bigger highs than maybe Tevezdid but also many more lows than Tevez” sums it all.

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  16. @Glen

    I wouldn’t say Berbatov is the only striker that fans get excited by. We have other flair players! I also would point out I’ve been to OT many times when Berba hasn’t done something that’s left me speechless – those moments are too infrequent IMO

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  17. Good arguments from you both.

    The problem with comparing the two now is that many fans cannot think favourably about Tevez considering who he went to.

    I think the key to Tevez being so good with City (as you mention Doron) is his regular starting place and that the team is built around him as he is the main man. When at United, he was in and out of the team at times and this was when he struggled and his confidence seemed to dip. Also the fans view of him was often clouded by his incredible energy and workrate which meant that he avoided criticism.

    This brings me to Berba who suffers for the opposite reason in the eyes of fans. His composure and touch get overlooked because he is perceived as lazy. I agree also that he struggles as a sub because you need someone who will change the flow of the game and this suits a Tevez who will run around and get the crowd up sometimes by just closing down a player.

    Therefore it is so difficult to compare the two as they are like chalk and cheese in many ways. Also they suit certain formations and struggle in others.

    I am not sure I have a preference but was happy to see Tevez leave as he became a destabilising influence and was not worth the money required. Berbabtov has frustrated me many times because he has so much talent, perhaps more than any other player at the club. I also think that he is unlucky to be left out in the big games because often this is due to only needing 1 up front due in no small part to lack of high quality in midfield which means an extra body is needed to cover.

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  18. Glen says:

    @nameonthetrophy

    I can honestly say I groan when I turn up and hear Berba isn’t playing. Yes Rooney and Nani can also offer the unexpected brilliance, but there’s just something about Berba. He oozes class. He may not provide a moment of magic to win a game that often, but his touch and vision is outstanding.

    The amount of times he’s unlocked a defence and gets no credit for it is unbelievable. Last year, when Rooney kept on scoring from Valencia crosses, no credit was given to Berba who released the Ecuadorian in the first place.

    I know some people prefer different styles, but give me 10 Berbatovs on the pitch and I’d get a season ticket, regardless of the debt it put me in. Give me 10 Tevezs or Hernandezs and I’d save my money.

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  19. dave says:

    As the author said the match going fans were gutted when Tevez left but most will be happy when Berbatov leaves.

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  20. jose says:

    Tevez fitted the team two seasons ago. Now he doesn’t. if he was here he would be spending more time on the bench than he did then, with Hernandez offering just as much work-rate, more pace and more clinical finishing. The most goals he scored in a season while at united was 14 goals i think. I have more memories of him missing sitters than scoring screamers. Tevez’ and his ego fit in at city not united. Berbatov is sheer class, there are moments in most games he plays that you need to rewind and play over to get how he does it, even tho he doesn’t have to think about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-5ypnducqM&NR=1
    says it all for me.

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  21. minimal says:

    berbatov 100%. tevez just a pathetic mercenary to me, and not so good player by the way as well. berbatov done more good to united than tevez. hope this nonsense will finish soon, i mean bashing berbatov. he’s very usefull for us, dont get it then some fans still complain about him. he’s our player (one of the best) so stand behind him and stop that “he’s not united type of player” nonsnese

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  22. minimal says:

    @19 so match going fans somehow more clever than match not going fans. your argument is nonsensical argument mate

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  23. OSullivanMUFC says:

    It’s also an untrue argument.

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  24. OSullivanMUFC says:

    Most of the matchgoing fans I know (including myself) are currently delighted with Berba and would be gutted if he was sold.

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  25. @OSullivanMUFC

    I don’t know if that’s true – I hear more moaning about him than any other player (maybe except Carrick) from fans at OT – honestly I don’t think many would be bothered if he was sold as long as he was replaced suitably

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  26. matt says:

    @ nameonthetrophy

    How do you propose replacing Berbatov suitably? He has a very rare combination of touch, vision, creativity, and finishing ability, especially for someone his height. On top of that, he understands his role in the side and is willing to work (and occasionally sit) for the good of the team.

    Look at the few players who have his combination of skills. Ibrahimovic is far too arrogant, Van Persie gets injured too often/isn’t consistent enough, Benzema doesn’t have the same touch/isn’t as good at finishing, and VDV doesn’t have the aerial presence. Edinson Cavani is the only ideal replacement I can think of, but his cost would likely be astronomical (over 40 million quid most likely)

    Contrast that with Tevez. United have two players already in our squad that do anything Tevez can (Rooney and Chicharito if anyone didn’t know).

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  27. @matt

    It wouldn’t have to be a direct like-for-like replacement. I would say the only other player in world football like him is Ibra – they’re both IMO luxury players who tend not to really fit any systems. I’d replace him with a different out and out type of striker personally. But then, like I’ve said before, the fact he provides something different is important, yet if other teams get by fine without a similar type of player then we should be able to as well. If he doesn’t get sold that’s fine too I just had a feeling he may well be off this summer – no sign of a new deal yet.

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  28. CiTyBlUe says:

    The whole world knows as a united fan, your either in denial because it hurts to much to admit Tevez is a far beeter player than Berpatov, or your far and not against Tevez and wish he had stayed at united.

    For the record Tevex does not regret leaving united and has confirmed in the media that he is happier than ever before at City.

    Tick, Tock.

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  29. OSullivanMUFC says:

    A far better player who has a worse record in their respective careers, in England, at United and this season? And this’d be the same Tévez who put in a transfer request at city a couple of months ago yes? Tick tock indeed.

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  30. paul moore says:

    Different players..one looks and acts interested (Tevez) the other appears remote and lacking in passion( Not Cantona like) as suggested previously. Thanks United for not really trying to sign him( fact is you did not have the cash )If you look into the facts Rooney changed his mind also after “cash” was flashed. It is the way of the world and City fans will not threaten to burn his house down when Tevez surely will move on at the end of the season.I dont subscribe to Tick Tock..more a case of “for whom the bell tolls”

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  31. 3times says:

    If I put my prejudaces of Tevez’ exit to 1 side and Berbatov’s price tag and address the question I have to say I am cut right down the middle.
    Clearly the stats favour Berbatov but sometimes stats don’t always take into context or performance or influence.

    Before the purchase of Berbatov I argued we did not need him as I saw him as someone who would play a similar role to Rooney and we needed Benzema/Anelka/Torres type for him to play behind. Last season I saw another side to Rooney’s game playing up top on the shoulder.

    It is now clear that our ‘big game’ or Europe away formation is with Rooney as a lone striker. So i think the question is who would be happy playing second fiddle to Rooney?
    Berbatov attitude wise, wants to be there, turned down City’s wages and doesn’t appear to grumble at being used as a bit part player (remember price tag is not the discussion)not to mention some of the breath taking skills we as United fans come to expect from player of his type.

    Tevez really suited our game and could you imagine him and Rooney doing what they did in CL season with Nani on the free role? I remember him coming off the bench a number of times to spark a comeback or win a game.

    In Tevez’ last season I do remeber a number of grumblings when left out and at City he has not exactly kept his mouth shut and got on with the job, to the point where he had put in a transfer request and regularily talks about retirement. Does he have the hunger to play for SAF?

    All in all I was gutted when Tevez left but now looking at our squad and the way SAF utilises his players I am now in the Berbatov camp. For a bit part (not sure bit part is the right term)player Berbatov currently provides assists and goals most teams would want from their main man. When left out he there are no tantrums and along with Hernandez we have some real differing options up front.

    Also on Comment by cityblue
    Are you numb enough to think he would express regrets of leaving OT while he holds demi-god status with your fellow fans, his biggest bargaining chip is the pedestal you put him on.
    He is a fantastic player and one of the best you have had in a long time. But wait until he moves on or retires and then see what he says about leaving OT. Just ask Stam/RVN/Heinze/Veron/Beckham, all have openly expressed they left too soon, even Ronnie has expressed missing United.

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  32. paul moore says:

    Miss my ex wife but I would never go back. The players you mention were either rubbish(Veron) or did not fit in with Ferguson’s rules (Stam/Van Nistelroy) As for Ronnie he dos not seem to upset banging em in in sunny spain.

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  33. 3times says:

    Comment by paul moore
    I did not say Ronaldo was unhappy at Madrid, but he has expressed missing United, Veron was far from rubbish especially in Europe. And what rules did Stam and RVN break. Stam made some ill-advised comments in a book and RVN fell out with a petulant child on the training ground.
    Even SAF regrets selling Stam.

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  34. mick, belfast says:

    is this a joke question?….who would you reds rather have?berbatov or god?…..tevez is without question the best player in the premiership today……….live in your sad spiteful, bitter world you reds who pick berbatov but in the real world tevez is a god at eastlands and you can only dream of having him back cos it’ll never happen…fergie , fergie sign him up, fergie sign him up, in your dreams!…ha ha ha ha

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  35. @mick, belfast

    The blog – if you’ve read it – wasn’t about should Tevez be resigned but was a fairly interesting and serious debate. Both sides have made some really good points about what either player can bring and how they’d fit in a hypothetical United team

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  36. mick, belfast says:

    nameonherophy, yeah i know the blog wasn’t about should utd re-sign god, but some of the typical bitter comments from your more un-enlightened fellow reds just forced me to take the piss, sorry mate i accept not all reds are sad and bitter, for the record if i were a red i’d chose tevez!lol…

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  37. @mick, belfast

    Think that’s an unfair comment considering the discussion so far seems to have been sensible – for the record quite a few have chosen Tevez as did I on the blog

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  38. 3times says:

    This was great post,very thought provoking and has clearly led to divided opinion. I for one have enjoyed it.
    Just unfortunate that a number of our blue cousins have to come on here and spout crap when many of my red bretheren have acknowledged Carlos’ contribution to our club and his form for his current paymasters.
    @mick, belfast
    Tevez is not even the best striker at City let alone best player in the prem. That Balotelli will be a star when he grows up. Did you label him god for signing for you or for his contributions since?

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  39. [...] Busby Way | Rooney Incident Highlights A Changing Society As Well As A Lack Of Sense Stretford-End | Stretty Debate: Berbatov Or Tevez For Your MUFC Team? Bangalore To Old Trafford | Perfect Away Game Red Flag Flying High | Ten Reasons Why Manchester [...]

  40. paul says:

    Actually 3times Stam broke a fergie/man utd rule when he did not let united see his his book draught before publishing. As for RVN ok no “rule” broke but clearly Fergie was unhappy with him for several training ground incidents.

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