Friday Football Feature: Berbatov reinvigorated and poised to take Fulham to new heights


Fulham currently sit ninth in the table after 11 matches.


By Luke Gardener

Fulham have started their 12th consecutive season in the Premier League well, currently sitting in ninth position after 11 matches.

After selling Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey in the summer there were voids to fill for Martin Jol but one man seems to have done this with aplomb, the enigmatic Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov.

After having a turbulent five seasons with Manchester United and failing to earn as many first team starts as he would have hoped, his move to Fulham has seemingly reinvigorated the striker. In his seven league appearances so far he has scored five times including a brace last weekend in the thrilling 3-3 draw against Arsenal.

During his time at Old Trafford his languid, almost lazy style did not go down well with the fans despite him scoring 56 goals for the club and being their top goalscorer in the 2010-11 season.

Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez always had the edge over the former Spurs man. However, since arriving at Craven Cottage everything has changed and there is renewed ambition at the club.

Fulham made the signing of the controversial Bulgarian on transfer deadline day at a bargain price of £5m. He reportedly turned down Italian club Fiorentina to play for them and Fulham have reaped the rewards. They are unbeaten in the six league matches that he has started. In fact, their only losses this season have come against the two Manchester clubs and West Ham who are flying high in sixth place.

Berbatov has become the focal point of Fulham’s play and with players such as Bryan Ruiz, Mladen Petric and Damien Duff supporting him he is always going to get chances. Fulham are also solid defensively with the impressive Brede Hangeland and Australian Mark Schwarzer in goal. They will be aiming for a Europa League place and there is no reason why they should not be able to achieve this.

However, they face a tough run of fixtures with Sunderland, Tottenham and Newcastle visiting Craven Cottage and away trips to Stoke and Chelsea looming in their next five games. A win on Sunday against Sunderland would be welcomed by Fulham manager Martin Jol who has seen his side draw in four of their last five outings.

Berbatov will of course be crucial to Fulham all season, but with the signings of Hugo Rodallega and the form of Bryan Ruiz, the club have a lot to be positive about going into the congested December fixture list and then the January transfer window.

The maverick Berbatov has to be right up there when talking about signings of the season and arguably only Eden Hazard for Chelsea and Robin van Persie for Manchester United have been better deals.

So, Dimitar Berbatov is back to his very best and the 31-year-old looks determined to make an impact for his new team. The question is how far can he take Fulham? Reuniting with his former Tottenham manager Martin Jol seems to be behind his choice to join the club and so far it seems like an astute decision. One thing is certain it is great to see him playing in the Premier League each and every week.

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