By the time you read this there will be very little left for me to say about Dimitar Berbatov.
The eulogies will have been written after his stellar performance against Blackburn, and all I can really add is that it was a thrill to see such an exhibition of imaginative football from the brilliant Bulgarian, who also played with hunger and determination. His hat-trick against Liverpool was the prelude to a 10-match barren spell, so let’s hope this will be the start of a more regular goalscoring run.
Instead of waxing lyrical about Dimitar, though, I’m going to pay tribute to two players who’ve had their ups and downs during their time at Old Trafford: Nani and Anderson. Think back to a year ago: Nani’s United career seemed to be destined for disappointment and underachievement. He didn’t appear to be in Sir Alex’s first-team plans and the exit door was a possible next move. But it all changed with his man-of-the-match performance at Arsenal in January. It was after that game that Reds assistant boss Mike Phelan used the memorable phrase "the penny’s dropped” when talking about the Portuguese winger. He hasn’t looked back since. He’s had a great 2010 and produced so many tremendous performances.
Nani seems to be revelling in his role as United’s 'go-to man' on the right wing. Even though Berbatov rightly dominated the headlines on Saturday, I thought Nani was brilliant. He must be a nightmare to mark as he can use both feet so well and goals are becoming more and more part of his game. And crucially, his distribution and final ball are improving all the time.
As for Anderson, injuries have clearly affected his progress at United, as has the fact that he’s got to try and dislodge an all-time great in Paul Scholes and the ever-reliable Darren Fletcher if he wants to get a game in the heart of the United midfield. He would probably benefit from a run of 10 or 15 games in the first team, but that’s very hard to achieve at Old Trafford. I thought he was a real driving force against Rovers and full of energy. He also looked a bit fitter than of late, and I really hope he becomes a regular fixture in the United starting XI over the next few seasons.
Of course, you could go through the United side from 1-11 on Saturday and praise everyone. The players produced a