Dimitar Berbatov: City aren't playing well enough to win Champions League

Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Guardiola is desperate to win the Champions League with City
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Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov looks at the Champions League winner market, Carlo Ancelotti's links to Arsenal and and reveals which Spanish giant he dreamed of playing for...

"It won’t be easy for United on Sunday but, if they play with as much desire as they have done in their past two league games, I can see them beating Everton by a couple of goals."

Manchester City are the favourites to win the Champions League but they wouldn't be my bet to lift the trophy next May. City ended their Group stage campaign by beating Dinamo Zagreb 4-1 this week but we shouldn't read too much into City's results so far, as they haven't played any opponents that are at their level.

Pep Guardiola is desperate to win the Champions League with City but other teams are playing better football. Liverpool haven't been at their best in the Champions League this term but they're performing brilliantly in the Premier League and, as the holders, know how to pace themselves for the knockout rounds.

Barcelona and Juventus are also strong contenders and you shouldn't write off Spurs. They have no reason to be fearful about who they get in Monday's knockout stage draw.

In Jose Mourinho, Spurs have a coach who's won trophies throughout his career, including the Champions League with Porto and Inter - two teams that few people would have fancied. So it doesn't matter who Spurs face. They have great quality and after reaching the final last year, should feel confident.

United must maintain performance level against energetic Everton

I was very happy after the Manchester derby because United fully deserved their victory over City. United's concentration levels and aggression in the tackle were fantastic and they played some superb combination football. It's great to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youngsters playing with confidence from defence to attack. I can tell they like their manager and want to win for him.

On Thursday, Mason Greenwood showed in the 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar that he's a natural born goalscorer with a striker's instinct. Solskjaer should be praised for giving him the chance to shine.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 4 1280 .jpg

The two massive victories against City and Spurs should buy Solskjaer time to work in peace and concentrate on developing his team. Of course, as soon as United lose the press will be saying he's under pressure again so United mustn't let their performance level drop when they host Everton on Sunday.

Everton aren't a small team but United should always beat them at Old Trafford. I love Duncan Ferguson, he was a brilliant player who excelled at bullying defenders, and he's given Everton a lift since taking over as caretaker manager. Last week, you could see his energy flowing through Everton when they beat Chelsea.

It won't be easy for United on Sunday but, if they play with as much desire as they have done in their past two league games, I can see them winning this one by a couple of goals.

Ancelotti could be a good fit for Arsenal

The Premier League title is now out of City's reach but they will still give everything to the race, starting with their trip to Arsenal on Sunday when they will be determined not to drop more points.

But what about their opponents? The Gunners' performances go up and down, as we've seen in Freddie Ljunberg's three games in charge. On Thursday, they were poor against Standard Liege before two late goals grabbed them a draw. You really don't know how Arsenal will perform but I expect them to raise their game for City's visit. The Blues have scored more than any other team in the top flight, and Arsenal are strongest up front, so I can see a high-scoring draw.

Carlo Ancelotti points 1280.jpg

Long term, Carlo Ancelotti could be a good fit for Arsenal as their next permanent manager. He did well in his two years at Chelsea, winning a league and cup double, and every footballer I know who's played under the Italian rates him highly. They say he knows when to be firm and how to get the best out of players.

But first we need to see how Ljunberg performs as caretaker. Arsenal could go on an unbelievable run and leave the board with no choice but to appoint him permanently.

I dreamed of playing for Barca

I will be supporting Barcelona in next week's El Clasico but it's not an easy choice as there's so much to love about both teams. Messi is still a wonderful player for Barca while I always admired Zinedine Zidane when he was playing and like him now as a coach at Real Madrid.

All footballers would love to play for either of the Spanish giants and, when I was growing up, I dreamed of playing for Barca. I loved playing for Manchester United but, in another life, it would have been wonderful to play for the Catalan club when they had Andreas Iniesta and Xavi in midfield. I would have stayed up front, with Messi just behind me, and they would have played the ball through to me to score.

Alan Thompson - The Betfair Trader's View

Leicester City v Norwich (Back)

Since failing to score on their opening fixture at home against Wolves back in August, the Foxes have scored at least twice in each of their next seven, winning them all. They are averaging 2.25 goals at the King Power and I think there is every chance they will at least keep that record going this weekend against the Canaries. The visitors have failed to score in five of their eight away days this campaign and amassed a league low of four away goals all season.

Brendan Rodgers' men are in top form right now and with no European distractions he has the luxury of being able to focus all of his attention on the Premier League. On the back of their eighth consecutive win, a comprehensive 4-1 victory against Aston Villa, confidence will be high in the camp and that doesn’t bode well for Daniel Farke’s side.

Norwich desperately need a result from somewhere to give their fans some hope in their fight against the drop but I don’t think that will come this weekend.

I am splitting my stake as I think the home side will keep a clean sheet and cover the Asian Handicap mark of 1.75 goals, so half the stake will be on Leicester to win to nil at [2.24] and the other half on Leicester -1.5 & -2.0 at anything around [2.0].

Arsenal v Manchester City (Lay Under 4.5, 3.5 & 2.5)

The Gunners came from a half-time deficit to collect all three points against West Ham last week, but I think that is just masking what is still a very poor Arsenal side, especially at the back, and I think defending is also a big problem for the visitors.

City recovered from yet another Premier League setback by winning in Zagreb in their midweek Champions League game. Despite them being nowhere near where they were last season, I do expect them to take advantage of this woeful Arsenal side but at [1.46] away from home I think they are short enough top leave.

Neither side seems capable of keeping a clean sheet, City haven’t kept one in their last 10 outings in all competitions and Arsenal are 13 in all competitions, having only registered two wins in those games. Both sides are desperate to collect maximum points and I think this could be a very entertaining encounter.

An early goal for either side could really set this fixture up as a shootout, and I want to be involved in the goals. I will be laying before kick-off under 4.5 goals at [1.4] and placing “keep” lays for Under 3.5 goals and Under 2.5 goals at the same price [1.4] to get matched should they reach that price during the game.

UEFA Champions League: UEFA Champions League (Winner 2019/2020)

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Saturday 3 August, 1.00pm

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