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United Dependent On Berbatov To Avoid Humiliation By Chelsea

The fact that United have played the best part of two seasons without an out-and-out striker, after the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy and the injuries to Louis Saha, seems to have passed most people by. I have to wonder if the journalists writing about United’s title chances have been paying much attention over the past couple of years. Surely it’s hard to miss our consecutive Premiership title victories, and I imagine even more difficult to miss the fact we beat Chelsea in the European Cup final, so why do the media all of a sudden seem to think us retaining the title for the third year running is dependent on us signing a new striker to replace one we sold in 2006?

“Without Dimitar Berbatov, I am convinced that Manchester United would watch Chelsea cruise to the Barclays Premier League title by a good ten points,” is how Tony Cascarino opens his article in The Times.

How can anyone be convinced of this? The title race was close last season, no doubt, but the quality of football the two teams at the top played was leagues apart.

1. Chelsea have a new manager who has won the World Cup. Although I hasted to add, no South American World Cup winning manager has made a success of his career in Europe, with the ones that have tried spending a season or two here at most, before fleeing back to South America for domestic football or taking on the post as another International manager.

2. Chelsea have signed Deco and Bosingwa. Deco peaked several years ago and like Shevchenko has already shown, to move to the Premiership at the end of your career is incredibly tricky. Bosingwa will certainly help Chelsea’s cause, saving them from fielding the inconsistent Belletti and Ferreira, as well as freeing up Essien to play in his rightful role in the centre of midfield.

3. Ronaldo is set to be out until October and he was our most effective player last season. There are 6 games between the start of the season and October. This time last year, Ronaldo missed 3 games for United through suspension and had scored just 1 league goal before October started.

Now, before I go much deeper in to the article, I must mention that Cascarino had a spell as a player at Chelsea and obviously still has fond memories of the club. He was tipping them to win last season League Cup final against Spurs, citing their superior athleticism and the “many players” Chelsea had who were capable of winning the a game. He also felt they were favourites going in the Champions League final because “their powerhouse players have stepped up their game.” However, it’s worth taking a look to see what this former rentboy thinks of United’s chances. His confidence seems to echo that of John Terry’s, which should be fairly amusing come May.

United will feel that they are overpaying for Berbatov by as much as £8million – he may cost £28million. But Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager, would argue that they have little choice and that the outlay will be worth it if United retain their title. It is the only move that gives them a chance to keep pace with Chelsea.

United were ahead of Chelsea from September onwards last season. Now, our only chance of managing this is if we sign Dimitar Berbatov?

They are away to Liverpool and Chelsea on successive weekends in September and the risk of being six points behind after five weeks is too great not to act, despite the price.

So almost exactly like last season eh, when we went five points behind in the opening few weeks. John Terry was quick to brag then as well, but ended up with egg on his face a few weeks later when it was Chelsea sitting five points behind United. Regardless, Anfield is United’s stomping ground these days. As all the dippers will tell you, they’ve been robbed there against us for years. We don’t even need to play well to beat them anymore.

He [Berb] may not have Cantona’s aura or toughness, but he is better technically.

Fuck off.

I, like most reds, am keen to see United bring in a striker this summer. We have got away without having an out-and-out striker so far, but I think it could only serve to benefit us if we were to purchase one for next season. It seems as though we will get our wish, with plenty of reports suggesting Berbatov is Old Trafford bound, but I can’t agree that without him we would be in trouble. Berbatov is replacing a player we sold two years ago, and we’ve coped just fine in those past two years. The difference I’d imagine Berbatov making is not whether we win the league or not, but by how much we will win it.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Gary says:

    What does Tony Cascarino know? Thats just his opinion and hes obviously going to be biast towards Chelsea. Hes just a plastic paddy. No one values his opinion apart from himself

  2. Japanese Elvis says:

    I would still rather us go for Huntelaar. Though Berbatov is a great player, I just feel that he is too expensive for the age he is

  3. Stephen says:

    I suppose it is logic that people would believe we need a striker as the majority of our goals came from a winger.
    The questions are will Ronaldo score the goals he did last season?
    Will Rooney start finishing better?
    Will Tevez get a better run in the side and more as a centre forward than a foraging off striker?
    Will our modfield contrbute more goals eg Anderson, Carrick and Scholes?
    Who knows, but it would not be the end of the world if we didn’t, but it would certainly ne ideal, as it would give our play an alternative, which we haven’t got.

  4. Cal says:

    Berbatov is a very clever player and will suit Tevez/Rooney. More so than RVN I think who was a poacher. Class act and can’t wait to see him in the Red Shirt.

  5. keka says:

    wow, so much confidence. I must say that’s not too good.

  6. North Stand Tier 2 says:

    I couldn’t agree more with pretty much every point you have made. It pissed me off when i woke up this morning to be greeted by this muppets comments about Chelsea and Utd fighting for the title.

    How come it is always ex Chelsea players that are writing for reputable papers and spewing complete bullshit!! I find it so strange that nobody has cited the fact that Scolari hasn’t been involved in club football for about 10 years. The fact is, he know NOTHING about European, nevermind English football.

    Deco is a class act, but I don’t fancy him performing on a wet and windy day away at Hull city?! And how long do you think it will take him to aclimatise to the Prem….atleast till xmas. By that time, Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez will be firing on all cylinders, and hopefully be up around the 10 league goals tally.

    I really do think Berbatov will be quality for Utd (if we get him, which i’m still not certain we will). My main concern is that the breed of football we now play and all love to watch is about pace and movement upfront. The whole point was that we didn’t have a central striker, which drags centre backs out of position for pacey players like Ronaldo to get behind and get goals. Will Berbatov’s presence actually disrupt the rhythm and flow that we have had for the last two years? Possibly, but like always, i put my trust in Fergie.

  7. Jesse Jonathan says:

    United depend on Berbatov not because he is an out and out striker (which he isn’t exactly…), but to take some weight of Rooney and Tevez.

    They had both too many games in them towards the end of last season. And a break here and there would have done wonders for them, in my oppinion, especially as Tevez has had no pre-season and Rooney was constantly coming of the back of some injury.
    But I think the main reason he will prove important is, that we will have an option from the bench for games which need that extra impulse. With Ole gone and Saha missing, we were desperately short in that departement last season.

    But Cascarino is a total twat and listening to his bullshit on their podcast let me wonder if he won his job in the lottery…
    Refering to his almighty Chelsea and Scolari, who must be Messiah’s second coming, from what I’ve heard, I want to think back to the Euros. The Euros, where he fucked Portugals chances of actually winning something by resting his complete squad only to find out that his well rested players weren’t up to speed for the first 30 minutes, which was enough for the Germans to win the tie…
    Aren’t it the decisions along those lines, Benitez so wonderfully fucks up to end all Scouser ambitions even before Christmas? Chelsea are not the team to underestimate, but those praizes you find in the press at the moment are highly ridicoulus.
    He repetedly beat the English national team. So he MUST be good… What twats.

  8. Brian says:

    cascarino is a knob END

  9. Happy LondonLad says:

    It’s good to see you guys are getting worried, if you really look at the last two years (taking of your red coloured glasses if you can), you will notice that Chelsea had a succession of really bad injuries Cech, Terry, J Cole, Lamps, Drogs, etc, had to suffer the African Nations cup (we sent 4 players out you lot sent none), stupidly changed a world class manager for Mr Toad, and yet still we won the FA Cup (remember that game), only just lost the league. Just think how far would you lot have got if these events happened at OT, and then we out played you for the second half and injury time of the CL final (the post / bar saved your lot twice), only to finally lose on a slip penalty kick.

    Be as blasé as you like BUT the fact is we are stronger this time around and are flying in pre-season, where you guys cannot score a goal for love nor money.

    It will prove to be a good season and let the best team win (which to be fair you have been for the last two years, at least Chelsea Fans can admit to being outplayed), but cut the crap that your streets ahead of us because deep down you know your not.

    The future is bright, the future is Blue

  10. Scott the Red says:

    Losers blame injuries. Winners claim the prize in spite of them. That’s why you probably forgot the months our captain, Scholes, Rooney, Hargreaves, Saha, Park etc. missed last season.

    You might try actually looking at United’s pre-season before attempting to insult us. We’ve scored 13 goals in the pre-season, and that’s largely without Rooney and totally without Ronaldo.

  11. Craig Mc says:

    Happy London Lad – mmmm surely the happy in your name should be changed to sad. You talk about us wearing red tinted glasses, yet you actually believe you out played us in the CL. 2nd half you did yes, but we should have been 3-0 up by half time, we were so much better than your lot. Lampard’s goal was a very lucky rebound off Rio, and VDS slip. So UN -luckiness goes both ways mister. Your lot were spoiling for a fight, just like you always are when you play united. Chelsea players suddenly become maniac foamers at the mouth with vindictive vengeance on their minds when up against United. DOGba deserved to get sent off, for bitch slapping Tevez. What a big woman the dogba is. If Terry hadn’t arm locked Vidic, Vid would have shown the DOG – ba what a manly punch was. So don’t come on here lecturing us Sad London Lad , about how we’re biased, because we see things a lot clearer than you Chav’s down at the Chelsea Kremlin.

  12. Drew Vader says:

    HappyLondon….LOL flying against the powerhouses of Chinese football heh? WATCH OUR WORLD!!!! HAHAHA Oh and congratulations on the dominating second half there pal and for reminding us about the post and cross bar, now allow me to remind you that a football match has TWO halves, and in the first you were played off the park and should have been down 3-0. Not to mention Giggs showing you some leniency in the second extra time when he hit Evras pull back with his purse right at your fuckwit captains head.

    Oh yes, and again, congratulations on rubbing our nose in the FA cup victory, that really really stings. To console myself I think I might have to just pop in the Champions DVD from 06-07, or maybe I’ll go for the Double DVD, its been a few days since I’ve watched that. Cheers!

  13. Chris says:

    I’d like us to get Berbatov but not at any price. If Spurs insist on £32m as some reports are saying we should just walk away.

    Regardless, I’m more optimistic now than I was at the start of last season. A year ago Chelsea still had Mourinho, now they have a manager with no experience of the Premiership and who’s sure to want to change things around, which the players will take time to adjust to. Arsenal seem to have gone backwards – their confidence imploded half way through last season and they lost good players over the summer. And Liverpool aren’t getting any better. Remember the year after the Treble when we won the Premiership by 18 points? It won’t be that big a gap but I can’t see us not winning it. Europe is another matter, once you get into the knockout stage anyone can win.

  14. Tom F says:

    Scott- totally agreed, these are the things I constantly try to point out to anti-United band wagon jumpers… it’s not only the likes of Scousers and Rent Boys who on a weekly basis make arguments in an attempt to belittle us, without actually looking at the facts.

    If I hear one more person say Ronaldo is not the best player in the world, never does it in big games and then in the same breath say we only win because of Ronaldo I might just die.

    I am glad Ronny is out for the first part of the season, because like I said last season Nani is going to be great this year and while he may not bangs goals in on every appearence he’ll certainly make them.

    Tevez looks very fit and very lively after a proper pre-season with us and he looks even shaper than he did the whole of last season. Rooney will be extra fit by the time he comes back and if, IF we do sign Berbatov it will really be all we needed.

    Can’t wait.

  15. Mr United! says:

    Cascarino is a joker who just wanted people to read his article and to make Chelsea fans love him.
    Personally, I think Benzema would be the best striking option for United but Berbatov would definitely still be a very good addition.
    Once again people are writing off United but these are the times when the response from the team is the best.
    In my humble opinion I also think that United will win the title with Arsenal in a close 2nd place, Chelsea a close 3rd and Liverpool in 4th.

  16. Arsene wanker says:

    Happy London twat,you’r a muppet. i couldnt care less,if ronaldo had scored the winning goal in the C.L final with his BALLS,as long as we lift the trophy at the end of the day…as we actully did.
    regarding the injuries,in the last tow seasons we had our share of injuries,and that didnt stop us from winning,so stop moaning…

  17. OTRed says:

    We obviously need a poachung striker, i know we’ve gotten away with not playing one, but does anyone thing the EPL has stood still? Defences have improved, the player that scored soo many goals for us last season is injured and won’t be back for a while, I’m normally an optimist but I’m not so sure now, anyone who’s seen our pre-season knows we NEED a striker really bad.

  18. seyi says:

    chelsea should make sure we sign berbatov befor manu sign him


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