They clearly miss Rooney as a natural presence and leader on the pitch, bur United have proved in seasons past that they are rarely vulnerable to turning into a one man team, coping with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, admirably. However, with Owen still injury prone and Hernandez unlikely to be able to take on the role of number one or two striker just yet, it appears that this season is going to be the one in which Berbatov steals the limelight consistently.
If Berbatov fails to produce his best, particularly in the big games, then United are likely to struggle both in Europe and in the
However, if Berbatov reacts well to a greater sense of responsibility and starts to repay the £30 million sum that Sir Alex paid to see the Bulgarian join the Red Devils, it could be a very different story.
Although this hefty fee has not been justified so far, the forward is beginning to show the kind of scintillating form that can fully justify the faith that the Old Trafford manager has placed in him. Those who bet on football games should not back against him being top scorer this season.
If he does repay this faith throughout a long, tiring domestic and European campaign, then United may well see this season turn out to be the one during which they finally overtake bitter rivals Liverpool and win that elusive 19th league title.