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Berbatov: Laziest Penalty Ever?

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14:  Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United look on dejectedly after their team conceded a fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 14, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
A BashirContributor IApril 19, 2009

I don't know what Ferguson was thinking with his selection of penalty takers—Berbatov, Ferdinand, Vidic, and Anderson when Tevez, Scholes, and Wellbeck remained on the pitch.

Taking penalties reveals more about a players personality. It strips them to bone. The whole stadium goes quiet as the player walks up to the penalty spot. The goalkeeper has little pressure because they are not expected to save many penalties.

Everton's first penalty was taken by that pocket whirlwind Tim Cahill. Was there any doubt that he would not put his laces through the ball? Cahill does not do subtlety, but most would expect him to hit the target, but when he missed many United fans thought we'll be back here next month.

As Berbatov ambled to the penalty spot, he showed little emotion as he rarely does. He picked up the ball and re-spotted it. But what he did next was in essence the conundrum that is Berbatov and the problem that now Ferguson has to solve. It wasn't a run up to the ball, but more a gentle stroll. There was no stutter, no deception. It's hard to say if he tapped or pushed the ball, but there is no doubt it was not hit hard. Howard must have been surprised as he saved with his legs; surprised at how long it took the ball to reach him. It personified the main criticism of Berbatov—his lack of conviction.

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