Manchester United vs. Everton: Dimitar Berbatov and the Way Forward

Zaakir HoosenAnalyst IOctober 26, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United reacts during the FA Community Shield match sponsored by McDonald's between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on August 7, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

It's been a mixed couple of days for Manchester United.

Having suffered a nightmare in their own backyard as City thumped them 6-1 in the league, they followed up with a decent display at League Two outfit Aldershot Town in the Carling Cup—securing a 3-0 victory.

Next on the agenda is a tough away fixture to Everton, a game Sir Alex Ferguson would have hoped to have come at a different time.

Nevertheless, it's here, and it's time for United to rise to the challenge.

Being champions is more than just the parade. It's about having the ability to accept every challenge thrown at you, the ability to rise up every time you fall down...quite simply, having the ability to respond.

Many teams have shown a tendency to fold in tough situations, but with such a strong manager, club traditions and many leaders within the squad, Manchester United are known for coming back with more passion, desire and urgency.

On Saturday afternoon the challenge will once again be put forward, how United respond could determine the way forward in terms of the league, and the destination of the trophy come August.

Having taken all of that in, it's understandable that Ferguson requires a holistic approach to the match. Having watched the game last night (Tuesday), the most important factor was that many of the players were out to prove a point—showing why they should be amongst the regular first team members.

Dimitar Berbatov was one of the outstanding performers. Yes, it was against a League Two outfit, but playing away on small pitches with very low capacities can often throw off many players. Berbatov, however, was seen at his best—chasing the ball and using it well—and was rewarded for his efforts with his first goal since April.

So, could he be given another opportunity at the weekend?

Ferguson will look to put out his strongest eleven, which will mean the return of Rooney, Nani, Anderson and Evra, who have all been able to provide positive results.

In my opinion, Berbatov should be part of the "best eleven", at least at present. He played with great energy and urgency last night, and is likely to be one of the players with the most confidence.

Everton will no doubt pose a huge threat, especially at home, and another three points down the drain is something Ferguson will look to avoid at all costs.

Having Hernandez or Welbeck available on the bench could only be positive, as both players have impacted on numerous results recently.

Everton vs Manchester United (Saturday 12:00 KO)

Possible Starting XI:

David de Gea

Chris Smalling

Rio Ferdinand

Phil Jones

Patrice Evra

Luis Nani


Darren Fletcher

Ashley Young

Wayne Rooney

Dimitar Berbatov


Lindergaard, Vidic, Fabio, Valencia, Cleverly, Hernandez, Welbeck

Many of you will wonder why Vidic isn't in the lineup. Having watched him play around one and half games, he still seems to be short of match fitness—making numerous late tackles which could cost United.

Fletcher's inclusion is solely due to the fact his strength and work rate is something required at Goodison Park.

Cleverly would be my first choice but, again, lack of match fitness could see him on the bench.

The rest of the team is basically the usual members.

Speed will be key on the breaks, so having Nani and Young is vital—regardless of their form.

A victory at the weekend could ease the pressure—regardless of the current league standings. For many of the players, and fans, a positive scoreline is required against tough opposition.

Importantly, with Chelsea and Arsenal playing each other, it gives United the chance to gain points over one of them.


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