Papers: In defence of Dimi
Dimitar Berbatov defies statistics
In this age of clipboards and computers, number-crunching and ProZone, there seems to be a growing view that football and footballers can be reduced to a set of statistics, like anonymous data in some gigantic calculation. For those who insist on seeing the world in such terms, allow me to give you the stats on Dimitar Berbatov’s first season at Manchester United. He has scored 13 goals in all competitions; eight goals in 27 matches in the Barclays Premier League; he has had eight assists; has a shooting accuracy of close to 50 per cent; and a chance conversion rate of 20 per cent. Many argue that these numbers provide conclusive proof that the Bulgarian, for a player who cost the small matter of £30.75 million, has had a woeful season. Now, I don’t know about you, but while I find these statistics interesting I also think they fail to convey the essential meaning of Berbatov’s contribution.Matthew Syed, The Times
Syed goes on to say that "players like Berbatov... make football matter to so many of us".
Elsewhere, the daily papers are full of paeans to Paul Scholes
, who will make his 600th United appearance this evening should he take to the pitch against Portsmouth.The Independent
describes Scholes as "a quiet legend", The Telegraph
a "reluctant hero".
Sir Bobby Charlton is quoted in The Sun
"In so many ways Scholes is my favourite [ever United player]. I love his nous and conviction that he’ll find a way to win, to make the killer pass or produce a decisive volley."