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Barclays Premier League

Old Trafford (ATT 74,850) 27th November 2010 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: L Probert

Man Utd Manchester United vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

Man Utd 7

D Berbatov (2, 27, 47, 62, 70)
J Park (23)
Nani (48)

ft

Blackburn 1

C Samba (83)

Brilliant Berba batters Rovers

Bulgarian hits five as United run riot at Old Trafford

Last Updated: 27/11/10 6:16pm

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Berbatov: Stunning performance

Berbatov: Stunning performance

Dimitar Berbatov produced a sublime individual display as his five-goal haul helped Manchester United to a handsome 7-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.

Man of the match: Tough one, but five-goal hero Dimitar Berbatov takes the individual gong... Goal of the game: Berbatov's third goal came courtesy of a sweeping United move that will take some beating. Moment of the match: Berbatov's fifth of the afternoon and United's seventh with 20 minutes to go had the crowd thinking 10 was a realistic goal. Pass of the match: Anderson's slide-rule through ball for Nani's effort was nothing short of sensational Save of the match: Paul Robinson made an excellent stop at the death as Berbatov went close to bagging a double hat-trick with a thumping header. Talking point: Are United kicking into top gear at a time when their rivals are struggling for form? Are Blackburn in danger of becoming embroiled at the wrong end of the table?

Everything the Bulgarian touched turned to gold, or more pertinently goals, as United ran roughshod over a Rovers side who were frankly dire.

United's supporters have been waiting for a performance like this all season but when Sir Alex Ferguson's side get it right few opponents can cope with their buccaneering dash and thrust on the counter-attack.

It was Berbatov who will steal the headlines but it was a magnificent collective display that also saw goals for Park Ji-Sung and the irrepressible Nani, before Christopher Samba netted the scantest of consolations.

Since the new league was formed in 1992, only Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe have scored five in a single game.

Elite club

Berbatov joined that band this afternoon, scoring twice before half-time, then three more times after the break as United finally rid themselves of the shackles that have halted their progress this season.

It took the Bulgarian to 12 goals for the season and completed United's first seven-goal haul since the defeat of Roma three years ago.

More importantly, it sent them powering to the top of the table for the first time this season, giving a significant boost to their goal difference as well ahead of a month that includes meetings with both Arsenal and Chelsea in a potentially pivotal seven-day December period.

Top of the table

Seven days ago, Berbatov did not even make the bench for the victory over Wigan.

Ferguson declined to come up with a plausible reason for omitting his record signing, stating only that he had been left out.

In midweek came an admission from the United boss that he was responsible for changing his team formation too much, leading to a dip in form by the Bulgarian, who had carried his side through the difficult early weeks of the campaign during Wayne Rooney's malaise.

So, Rooney himself was not the only one to be glad he is back.

And whilst the England striker still awaits a goal in open play, it took Berbatov just 71 seconds to find the net for the first time since his hat-trick against Liverpool in mid-September.

Rooney might well have scored himself but could only touch on Nani's left-wing cross. Berbatov made no mistake with a first-time shot.

It was a deflating experience for Rovers, as all their pre-match planning went up in smoke.

Having called for an improvement in performance from his team, who have been scraping results in recent times, Ferguson must have been delighted at the forceful manner with which they approached their task.

Surging runs

They could easily have been further ahead before one of a series of surging Anderson runs allowed Park to feed Rooney and race into the area to collect an excellent return pass and beat Paul Robinson with ease.

The South Korean has turned into a valuable source of goals recently.

Berbatov would be a more reliable option though. And certainly, other than Rooney, there was no better man Pascal Chimbonda's backpass could end up at the feet of from a United perspective just before the half hour.

The striker steadied himself and crashed home a shot which set the seal on his side's best half of the season.

It could have been more too as Nemanja Vidic should have headed home Nani's free-kick with the goal at his mercy and Berbatov had a reasonable penalty claim turned down in stoppage-time.

But if Sam Allardyce thought he had got off lightly, he was sadly mistaken as United scored twice within three minutes of the restart.

The first was magical for Berbatov. Releasing Evra with a deft back-heel, he collected the return pass, then sprayed a fabulous ball to Nani with the outside of his right-foot.

Nani can be infuriating at times. On this occasion, he did everything right, driving Blackburn's desperate defence backwards before rolling a pass into Berbatov's path, inviting the finish that brought up his second hat-trick of the season.

Hat-trick hero

Blackburn's defence was in meltdown and when Nani next took possession, he stepped inside Chimbonda before drilling a shot into the far corner.

For United - and Berbatov in particular - it was one of those days when everything went right.

It was no surprise at all when a Park shot that followed Rafael's cutback should be deflected into the 30-year-old's path.

Even when Berbatov was trying to supply others with opportunities, he profited. A pass to Rooney was blocked by Ryan Nelsen and from an acute angle, Berbatov beat Robinson for a fifth time.

Samba pulled one back for the visitors seven minutes from time.

Understandably, he saw no reason to celebrate. Only United and Berbatov were doing that.

Manchester UnitedTeam StatisticsBlackburn Rovers
7Goals1
31st Half Goals0
9Shots on Target2
5Shots off Target3
3Blocked Shots0
5Corners2
6Fouls7
4Offsides0
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
87Passing Success75.7
25Tackles16
76Tackles Success68.8
65.3Possession34.7
52.7Territorial Advantage47.3

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 38 87
2 Manchester City 38 79
3 Arsenal 38 75
4 Manchester United 38 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 64
6 Liverpool 38 62
7 Southampton 38 60
8 Swansea City 38 56
9 Stoke City 38 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 48
11 Everton 38 47
12 West Ham United 38 47
13 West Bromwich Albion 38 44
14 Leicester City 38 41
15 Newcastle United 38 39
16 Sunderland 38 38
17 Aston Villa 38 38
18 Hull City 38 35
19 Burnley 38 33
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 30

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