Steve Kean’s struggling Blackburn Rovers spoilt any plans of birthday celebrations Sir Alex Ferguson may have had with a 3-2 win over Manchester United.
Ferguson was able to include Phil Jones in his team, following his absence against Wigan, but still had to name Michael Carrick in the centre of defence due to an injury to Jonny Evans. Wayne Rooney did not even feature on the bench, whilst Dimitar Berbatov kept his place following a hat-trick against Wigan as he featured alongside Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in a three man attack force.
Blackburn took an early lead when Berbatov pulled down Samba in the United area gifting Yakuba a chance to score from the spot which he took. Yakuba added a second when some poor defending from Carrick and Jones allowed him to thump it past De Gea.
However United did not go down without a fight as Berbatov redeemed himself for giving away a penalty by netting two goals. The first of the two came as an instant response from Blackburn’s second goal with the Bulgarian adding a second ten minutes later.
However Ferguson’s birthday comeback was not to be as Grant Hannley ruined the party when he headed the winner in at the expense of a flapping David De Gea.
A poor United performances could take very few positives. However there was yet another decent performance on the right wing from Valencia who continues to prove to be a threat to defences. There was also a return for Anderson who was a member of United’s lengthy injury list, the midfielder did make a difference after coming on with some tidy passing.
Despite being at fault for Blackburn’s first goal United’s strongest performer was Berbatov. The forward was also our man of the match for his hat-trick against Wigan on Boxing Day.
He picked his performance up after conceding the penalty, which could have been adjudged as unfortunate as he had been assigned the difficult task of marking Samba. His first goal was a typical poacher’s goal as he nodded Rafael mishit shot past Bunn in the Blackburn goal giving United some hope.
His second came after some hard-work from Valencia on the wing gifting him a goal scoring opportunity which he took with typical Berbatov-esque coolness sweeping his sixth goal in three games into the Blackburn net.
When United were looking for inspiration to get back into the game Berbatov was the only man on the field who ever really looked like providing some. The forward dug in and fought for every scrap of the ball as he looked to start and end attacks.
As United’s most inform forward, Berbatov is putting in a very strong case to keep his place in the starting line up as he bagged another two goals against Blackburn. He has proved he can score whether the game is going United’s way or not and is clearly a natural goal scoring striker who in this kind of form should be a guaranteed name on the team sheet.