Why Berbatov may not be a loss for Fulham against Manchester City

Dimitar Berbatov is injured for Fulham's match with Manchester City tomorrow, but did you know he has only scored once in 13 matches against his former club's rivals?

The name Craven Cottage always has an ironic tone to it as no club ever ‘craves’ visiting Fulham on their own patch; a ground which has become synonymous with home advantage over the years.

Fulham also have a rejuvenated force in front of goal, who will be aiming to do what he never did for City’s cross-city rivals and score against Roberto Mancini’s side. In fact Berbatov never scored against any carnation of City team whilst plying his trade for Manchester United, and his record overall against the side is not one to envy.

The fact he is injured for today's match may on the face of it cause Fulham supporters concern, and City fans relief, but it could turn out to have the opposite effect if his replacement has an impact.

In his 13 appearances for Tottenham and United against Manchester City the Bulgarian has only found the net once, and a second goal seems outstanding as that solitary strike came all the way back in 2007.

If you want to know it was the 13th May 2007 and it was the game which saw Spurs secure fifth position in the league table and a Uefa Cup place for the following campaign at the expense of Reading who finished in 8th place behind Everton and Bolton.

The result that day was 2-1 and if you wanted any other reminder of how long ago that was other than the fact Reading challenged for Europe that season then Manchester City’s goalscorer that day was Emile Mpenza, and there wasn’t a United Arab Emirati sheikh in sight.

Since that fixture, his second against City, he has gone 11 games without scoring against them, and is perhaps more well known for a horror miss in the FA Cup Semi-Final defeat of 2011. With the goal gaping after a run and cross from Nani, the Bulgarian defied logic and managed to scoop the ball over the bar from just yards out. United went onto lose 1-0 and City proceeded to go on and win the cup.

His links with City are well known, he turned them down in favour of United in 2008 claiming he ‘would not even have thought about Manchester City’. This season he has looked back to his imperious best; floating around the pitch like a beanpoled version of Matt Le Tissier now and again doing magical things at will, even so, his loss may not affect this particular match too much.

While he would have had plenty of motivation against a Manchester City defence leaking goals, his record suggests he may not have been so impactful after all, and Fulham should roll the dice on Mladen Petric.

Here is that infamous miss against City in the FA Cup Semi-Final…

images: © nasmac, © nasmac

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