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Keep calm and blame Rodallega: How Fulham have ruined Dimitar Berbatov

by Josh Powell | January 24, 2013

Paddy Power Blogger Josh Powell gets stuck into Hugo Rodallega and his Fulham team-mates for trying to ruin Dimitar Berbatov ahead of the Bulgarian’s trip to former club Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup

Berba Keep Calm hdr

A lazy, sulky striker with a terrible work-rate or a technical genius, blessed with instant control and incredible grace across the turf? Whichever side of the Dimitar Berbatov fence you sit on, it has come to our attention that Hugo Rodallega is ruining the striker’s career, much like One Direction are ruining music.

Berbatov began his first season at Craven Cottage in stunning form, bagging five goals in his opening seven games and revealing some Bulgarian banter. But with just two goals in the last two months the Berbacritics have piped up and are as irritating as living in the Big Brother house with Rylan.

This season Berbatov has racked up seven goals in a Fulham team that have as many shots as a nun on a Tuesday night.

Who’s to blame for this shocking statistic? The wasteful Hugo Rodallega (and sometimes the six-foot-two-inches of Costa Rican creativity Bryan Ruiz because of his gammy hamstring).

As a team Fulham don’t really enjoying shooting at goal, a simple fact that isn’t going to help any striker’s prospects of being a strong force at the club. They’ve had just 290 shots in total this season compared to United’s 353, Chelsea’s 363, City’s 418 and Tottenham’s 424.

Luis Suarez alone has had almost half the amount of attempts as the entire Fulham team.

Robin Van Persie tops the league’s goal-scoring charts but he has been dished up an opportunity every 22 minutes this season.

Demba Ba tries his luck every 19 minutes and, despite having Jordan Henderson teeing him up, Luis Suarez gets a chance every quarter of an hour. Unfortunately Berbatov is not lucky enough to get this service.

Berbatov has to wait 34 minutes for a sniff of goal, in which time you could have cooked 29 Rustlers Quarter Pounders one after the other. (Although that’s not recommended — they taste like cardboard).

Incredibly this season his Fulham strike-partner Hugo Rodallega gets set up by his team mates every 27 minutes. That’s despite only 36 per cent of his shots going on target, compared to Berba’s 41 per cent, and while Dimitar knocks in one goal for every seven shots, it takes Hugo 21 shots before he can wheel away in celebration.

Maybe the Fulham players don’t realise Bebatov’s ability, or maybe they’re just jealous of his ridiculous modelling skills…

SMOULDERING: This picture needs no more words

SMOULDERING: This picture needs no more words

Whatever the reason Berbatov is only managing 2.6 shots per game in a Fulham shirt. That’s compared to the 4.1 shots a game he was getting for Manchester United between 2009 and 2011 when he notched 32 goals in 48 starts. Give him the chances and Berba will rack them up faster than George Michael racks up driving offences.

Bryan Ruiz is an essential cog in Martin Jol’s team and gets a goal or an assist every 117 minutes for the Cottagers. He’s the one who pulls the strings for Fulham and without him Berbatov is as helpless as a turtle on its back.

The six weeks Ruiz was out with a hamstring injury Dimi played 630 minutes of Premier League football and didn’t score. In the three games after Ruiz returned Berba knocked in two, Ruiz helped himself to one and Fulham were as easy on the eye as Charlotte Jackson.

With Ruiz playing close to his best and Martin Jol growing some cajones and letting Fulham play some more attacking football, Dimitar Berbatov can rediscover his goalscoring form and show the world what a prolific striker he is.

It would also be good to keep the ball away from Hugo Rodallega.

Are we entirely serious? Guess we’ll find out on Saturday.

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