Following on from yesterday’s article which argued against the section of United fans who have been critical off Dimitar Berbatov because of his goal distribution, we will now be looking at how he compares with all our top scorers during the Premier League years.
We have looked at how many goals each of our top scorers have managed as well as how many goals they have scored without penalties (to paint a fairer picture for our top scorers who weren’t the team’s penalty takers, like Hughes, Kanchelskis, Solskjaer, Cole, Yorke, Berba etc.). We’ve looked at how many different games they’ve scored in, to compare the goal distribution, as well as how many different games they’ve scored in not including the games that came solely from penalties (sometimes this makes no difference, as a striker may have scored a penalty in a game but have also scored from open play). We’ve then looked at how many games each top scorer has started and in what % of these games they have scored, again, including and not including games where penalties were scored.
Summary: When looking at United’s top scorers
– With three games left to play for Berbatov, the only times a United player has scored more goals than him in the previous 18 Premier League seasons are Rooney +5 (09-10), Ronaldo +10 (07-08) and van Nistelroy +4 (02-03) and +2 (01-02).
– When not including penalties, the only times a United player has scored more goals than him in the previous 18 Premier League seasons are Rooney +1 (09-10) and Ronaldo +6 (07-08).
– Berbatov has scored in 48% of the games that he’s started. This is a better rate than 13 of the other 18 top scorers. The five occasions when his rate is bettered are: Rooney (09-10), Ronaldo (07-08), Van Nistelrooy (05-06) and (01-02) and Solskjaer (96-97).
– When looking at total appearances, Berbatov has scored in 37% of the games he has played in. When comparing this with our top scorers in the Premier League years (not including penalties) his goal distribution rate has been bettered 9 times from the 18 seasons: Rooney (09-10), Ronaldo (07-08), van Nistelrooy (05-06), (03-04) and (01-02), Yorke (99-00) and (98-99), Solskjaer (96-97) and Cantona (95-96).
– Berbatov has a better goal distribution spread than Hughes (92-93), Cantona (93-94), Cole (97-98), Sheringham (00-01), van Nistelrooy (02-03), Rooney (04-05), Ronaldo (06-07) and (08-09). We won the league in 6 of these 8 seasons, and in the top two in 7, just to illustrate that our strikers weren’t under-performing or playing with a less able team.
Out of interest, fans’ favourite Carlos Tevez, never scored in as many games as Berbatov has done this season. I don’t recall people criticising his goal distribution though. It doesn’t seem to matter if you score more goals, it doesn’t seem to matter if you score in more games, just run around a lot and you will be well loved by the United faithful.