The weekend's matches in the Premier League saw several well fought fixtures.
Old Trafford was witness to an execution however, as Alex Ferguson's Manchester United side tore Sam Allardyce's Blackburn Rovers to pieces. Allardyce is a known admirer of the Scottish knight of the realm, and after the first half hammering his side received, there was little else for him to do, besides watch and admire the United side as they played precision football, leaving their opponents run ragged.
Dimitar Berbatov of course had a night to remember, the half asleep Bulgarian maestro, wide awake from the start as he pounced as Paul Robinson was caught well out of position.
He crept in again and caught Pascal Chimbonda unaware, jogging onto the defenders no look back pass and calmly smashing the ball past Robinson's comically despairing dive.
It was the third however, that demonstrated the speed and timing of the seemingly slothful eastern European magician. Just as sorcery and magic are things which can be expressed in several forms, from blatant in your face wizardry to sly, snake-like witchery, the magic of a footballer is displayed also in several fashions. The magical move Berbatov started and finished was astonishingly simple in one way, and in another displayed a player in the "zone."
Berbatov received a pass from Evra about 20 or so yards from the corner flag, casually flicking it behind him under his heel and back to the Frenchman. He then lolly-gags forward into a midfield area and receives the ball again from Evra, and nonchalantly looks up at the runs being made in front of him. He spots Nani streaking up the right wing side and imperiously swipes at the ball with his right boot, sending it fizzing around itself on an arc to the United winger.
Nani takes it to the by-line, fakes to cross, cuts back and jinks inside, as Berbatov strolls into the area slowly waving his arms like a tired albatross coming in from a 5,000-mile flight. Nani sees the ailing bird and plays him in with a sharp pass that Berbatov lashes home, with a viciousness that belies his uninterested expression. Truly a magnificent example of a player starting and finishing a move and made all the more impressive by the somnambulant nature of the player doing the shredding of the opposition defence.
Berbatov's "goal from the end of the earth" as it could be called, if you were going to get all sensationalist about it. Sensationalism will win the day here my friends, as it often does in the oddly meaningless world of sport. Berbatov has silenced the critics for another week, but no doubt the knives will be out again soon, in the meantime, he can enjoy having the monkeys off his back.
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