1. Dimitar Berbatov has now scored 14 league goals in 15 games, which is 2 more than last season and just 1 short of his best Premiership tally in 07-08 with Spurs. He looks happy, he’s got the confidence to have a go himself instead of always trying to find a better option and his languid style isn’t even getting commented on any more. What also pleases me about his goal haul is Wayne Rooney’s reaction. I’m not one to praise him unnecessarily any more but it’s not rare for strikers to get the hump when a team mate is scoring so regularly, particularly if they’re not scoring at all, but Rooney looks genuinely ecstatic every time Berbatov scores and he deserves some credit for that.
2. Sadly, Rooney’s performance today was more like his poor 2nd half against Sunderland rather than the bright first half display. Losing possession and not worrying the keeper. There were a few nice bits of football with Anderson passing out to him on the left but in the end resulted in nothing. His last goal from open play in 2010 came in March. Problems off the pitch, injury and the contract saga explain some of it away (whilst not excusing it) but 9 months without a goal? Unacceptable. The fact he held us over a barrel to increase his contract makes it all the worse. Yet still the home fans chant his name.
3. Their goal could have been disallowed on three counts. The assist was handball, it was offside and Rio Ferdinand was being fouled. It wasn’t disallowed though and that’s another opportunity we’ve blown to pick up points. We’re laughing right now at the top of the league but football changes very quickly, ask Chelsea, and we can’t afford to keep throwing away points like this. In the last ten minutes, like the rest of the game, we should have been in control of possession.
4. We are suffering because of the lack of width, thanks to the injuries to Nani and Valencia, as well as Ji-Sung Park’s trip to play for his country. Rafael and Evra can do a job but we need wingers. Gabriel Obertan has been ill recently, which might explain why the boss felt like he shouldn’t bring him on for the ineffective Darron Gibson or Michael Carrick. Gibson did play a nice one two with Berbatov in the lead up to the goal but added nothing else. An effort was put on a plate for him to smash and he drilled it well wide. Sadly, Darren Fletcher didn’t do anything to make us regret not having him in from the start either. Please hurry back Scholesy and put these underperforming central midfielders under pressure.
5. Nemanja Vidic is a rock. Every game he plays it pains me to think of how different last season could have been with him around. I’d have him down as our player of the season so far quite easily.