Man United 5 Birmingham 0
Manchester United 5 Birmingham City 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, January 22, 2011. Dimitar Berbatov registered a hat-trick as Manchester United dismantled Birmingham City 5-0 at Old Trafford. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish could only sit and watch as his City side were outclassed and outplayed in every department by United, and but for the repeated acrobatics of away custodian Ben Foster, it could easily have been double figures.
Table toppers Manchester United, who were undefeated in the Premier League so far in the 2010-11 campaign, faced lowly placed Birmingham City at home looking for another important three points. The Black Country club had never managed to beat United in the Premiership, and there was no doubt that The Reds were heavy favourites to win the encounter against The Blues. Manchester United came into this fixture on the back of three victories and two draws, while Birmingham had won two, drawn one and lost two of their previous five matches. In the reverse meeting of the season only three weeks earlier, Manchester United and Birmingham had played out a hard fought 1-1 draw at St Andrew´s with Lee Bowyer finding the target for The Brummies, and Dimitar Berbatov scoring for the men in red shirts. On the injury front, Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson had to make do without defender Antonio Valencia and midfielder Owen Hargreaves due to ankle and hamstring injuries respectively. Birmingham gaffer Alex McLeish, for his part, was missing key players Scott Dann and James McFadden who were both struggling with long term injury problems.
Dimitar Berbatov led the Manchester United forward line superbly and the industrious sharpshooter capped a dynamic performance by scoring his third hat-trick of the 2010-11 term. The first goal of the contest arrived after only two minutes of play when a corner kick from Ryan Giggs was flicked on by John O´Shea for Berbatov to head home from two yards out, and the marksman netted his second of the day in the 31st minute when he received a magnificent low cross from striking partner Wayne Rooney and beat former Manchester United shot stopper Ben Foster at his near post. And with the first half approaching its end, Giggs scored the third goal of the clash as the 37-year-old evergreen midfielder side-footed the ball into the roof of the net just before the sound of the half-time whistle. Following the restart, Berbatov went on to complete his treble in the 53rd minute of proceedings before Luis Nani made the final scoreline read 5-0 in Manchester United´s favour with some 15 minutes remaining of normal time. With the hat-trick against Birmingham, Dimitar Berbatov had now managed to notch up a highly respectable 17 goals for Manchester United thus far in the season. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, John O’Shea, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Oliveira Anderson, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Luis Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Jonathan Evans, Fabio da Silva, Darron Gibson, Paul Scholes, Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen, Tomasz Kuszczak. Birmingham City Team: Ben Foster, Stephen Carr, Roger Johnson, Liam Ridgewell, David Murphy, David Bentley, Keith Fahey, Barry Ferguson, Aleksandr Hleb, Jordon Mutch, Matt Derbyshire. Substitutes: Martin Jiranek, Craig Gardner, Sebastian Larsson, Lee Bowyer, Cameron Jerome, Nikola Zigic, Colin Doyle.
Dimitar Berbatov Quickfacts
Dimitar Berbatov scored his first two goals for Manchester United in a 3–0 victory against Aalborg at Aalborg Stadium in the Champions League Group Stage on the 30th of September 2008.