The Debate: Who Should Play Against Bayern, Park or Berbatov?

Rohit Arvind MishraCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2010

Ever since Berbatov has been putting in superb performances for United this season, this has become an endless debate of sorts.

As is well known, United play a 4-5-1 (or more of a 4-3-3) in big matches, whether at home or away, and inevitably, the two players occupying the midfield role are Fletcher and Park.

In this setup, Park plays in an attacking midfield or a support striker role, while being given the defensive duty to mark one major midfielder of the opposition.

While I will give credit where it's due, and Park has put in some stellar performances this season, is it possible that Berbatov can do better than Park? Because then the formation would shift to a 4-4-2.

Also, in two recent matches, Berbatov has played as the lone striker up front in the 4-5-1 formation, so he is well accustomed to that role, generally given to Rooney.ย 

Attributes wise, both are chalk and cheese.

Park is a hard-running, attacking midfielder with a knack for putting himself in the right place at the right time, plus he has now added the capability to score regularly or set up goals.

Additionally, he has good pace and tremendous energy, and like Fletcher, puts himself about the opposition (the man-marking of Pirlo in the Round of 16 second leg along with his stellar contributions in attack was a master class), and allows for a clear domination of the midfield by United due to sheer numbers.

People say he is untalented or unremarkable, but he is Korea's best player and captain, so they should remember that he is among the best at what he does. Not everybody has to be an artist.

When someone mentions the word artist in association with United, the only name that springs to mind is Berbatov, even for his critics.

One of the most talented players of his generation and Bulgaria's greatest goal-scorer by some distance, Berbatov's gameplay with United is completely different to the way he plays for his country.

He has always been a classy, talented goal-scorer not used to running around in the manner of a Tevez or a Bellamy.

Due to his recent performances, people are finally seeing that Berbatov actually moves around a lot, but does so in a very deceptive fashion, utilizing channels and spaces between the opposing players to remarkable effect.

Additionally, he prefers to drop deep and link midfield and attack, and his eye for a pass is second to none, which is a rare compliment for a striker. At United, he prefers to be the creator rather than the finisher, which is why he always has a high number of assists, though a smaller number of goals.

Considering what either player brings to the table, we can see that Park allows for a more pressing kind of gameplay, the kind perfected by Barcelona.

He also allows for quick counterattacks, and his recent eye for goals is a welcome addition to his armoury. His passing and link up play is generally very good, and he has a great understanding with Fletcher, Evra, and Rooney, three of United's best players this season.

He is able to exploit spaces very well between the opposition players, and is able to move into gaps which the opposition players leave open, and that contributes to a major part of United's ability to exploit spaces with him on the pitch in the attacking third.

His lack of height, however, causes him to lose points as a defensive player for set pieces and crosses.

Berbatov, on the other hand, is a class act at holding the line and bringing other players into play.

Offensively, even though he seems slow, he always seems to be the part of a counterattack, and this can be put down to his sudden bursts of acceleration.

His ball control and general passing can shame many top class midfielders, and he is developing a rapidly improving understanding with the midfielders as well as the attackers, due to his play of linking defense to attack.

Also, he is good defensively, and always comes back to defend corners and set pieces. The only grouse against him is that he does not score enough, but for all that he does for United's overall gameplay, is it truly required for him to have an outstanding scoring record every season?

By the way, this season itself, he is well on his way to beating the scoring records of the second striker for United in the Premier League era in all seasons except two, so that is saying something.

Considering all the points put forward here, I would like to know what people think would be better for United at Bayern.

Sir Alex has said United would attack Bayern to gain away goals, especially since two of their more influential players, Robben and Schweinsteiger, will be missing from the starting lineup, giving United the chance to exploit and possibly render the tie to be over in the first leg itself.

Would the energy of Park be preferred, or the skills of Berbatov??

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