Dimitar Berbatov discusses Mikel Arteta taking over at Arsenal, says Manchester United don't need to buy in January and praises Liverpool's attitude to the Club World Cup...
"I would like to see Pogba stay at United, he can give so much more to the team. He is a player who is always one or two steps ahead, he has that pass and has an incredible shot on him, so I hope he comes back stronger."
Arteta has learned from the best
Mikel Arteta is set to be named the new Arsenal manager, even though he has never been a manager before, and this is going to be his first position as the main man. However, he has had a great apprenticeship with one of the best in the game, Guardiola and must have picked up something during his time with Pep, so I'm pretty sure he'll have some good knowledge of that side of the game and he will implement it along with his own vision.
Based on this, I think Arteta's time at City will help him as a manager because he has had that excellent start working with Guardiola. Now if he can put what he has learned into work at Arsenal, it will benefit him and the team, not forgetting of course, he was part of the Arsenal team back in the day so he knows the club in and out.
His success will also come down to the players. You need to be yourself, both mentally and physically strong to get into the challenge, but the manager must identify which kind of players he wants and who he's going to to build the team around. Based on that, you can guess what kind of a philosophy and style he has and wants to play.
Being with Guardiola for so long, and knowing how Arteta liked to play when he was a midfielder, I think he will go for a style of play where his team passes and keeps the ball and possession, similar to what Guardiola is doing. If he can implement a toughness in Arsenal, which they need right now for sure, that will help them.
As a player he was a very intelligent midfielder, with an eye for the pass, especially that last pass, and an eye for goal as well. We had a few good games between us when he was at Everton and then Arsenal, and as a striker you want those kind of players around you, because you know you can count on them to give you that final pass, even if the game is not going well.
Carabao Cup derby an early new year treat
Looking at the draw for the Carabao Cup, I wanted United and City to play each other in the final to be honest, but now we have a semi-final and no doubt that will be interesting. They will definitely be two great games to start of the new year.
When the matches come around, I don't think either team will have an advantage, despite United winning at the Etihad. These types of games are different, you are playing your main rival, it's a cup so it doesn't matter where you are in the table or how your form is. It's like you start all over again, it's a new game, a different game and you try everything to win it.
It's going to be interesting because for me both teams are not performing as they should, even though City have got a better record than United, they will be disappointed with the gap at the top of the table and this will be on their mind, so no doubt they will be looking to win this cup and taking it seriously.
Pogba staying will be great news and United needn't strengthen in January
Paul Pogba's injury and illness means it is a frustrating time at the moment for everyone, especially the player. He will want to be out there playing and training with the boys and he is one of their best players. He can really find that final pass when the game isn't quite going too well and that's why I would like to see Pogba back on the pitch as soon as possible because it has been a while now. He will need to find his rhythm in the first couple of games but I'm sure he will be back to his best.
For me, I would like to see Pogba stay at United, he can give so much more to the team, many others may not agree but he is a player who is always one or two steps ahead, he has that pass and has an incredible shot on him. I hope he comes back stronger.
Normally when the transfer window comes round there is talk about positions and areas where teams need to strengthen, but at the moment can't I think of anywhere that United need to strengthen. They have a good defence, in midfield Scott McTominay is getting up the ranks and finding his place in the team, Pogba will be back soon, Fred is getting better and better with every game and up front the three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James are unbelievable. I don't think they should go for anyone in January.
There are a lot of rumors about Erling Braut Haaland joining next month, but honestly at the moment, with the three up front that United have, I don't see where Haaland will fit in the team. When you buy someone, what does it say about your current strikers who, in United's case, are all young players? I think if it happens it will bring some unnecessary tension.
For me Rashford, Martial, James and Mason Greenwood are great, great players. But also the question is, what happens if one or two of them get injured and you don't have a replacement on the bench, so this is a tricky situation.
Club World Cup should not be underestimated
Back in 2008 when United won the Club World Cup, I was f***ing ill - can you imagine that? We landed and the next morning I felt terrible, I had a fever and was sick, so I missed the first game and I was on the bench for the final. In the end we won it and it was a great experience for me but bad because I got ill.
I was happy that I was a part of that squad and it is something that stays with me as a great memory. Sometimes people, fans or managers don't give this competition as much recognition as it should get. OK, it falls at a strange time in the season, you play against teams you really know about - but this is the FIFA Club World Cup and for me it should be taken seriously, it is another cup and if you win it, you are a world champion.
Liverpool are taking it seriously and I thought they would win more convincingly against Monterrey, but they won the match late on again, which they have been doing all season, which is a sign that it's their season. Truthfully, I'm happy that they are playing with a strong team and they have the intention to win it, which they probably will do in the end.
ALAN THOMPSON - THE BETFAIR TRADER'S VIEW
Everton v Arsenal (Back Bet)
This looks like being interim boss Duncan Ferguson’s last game in charge before Carlo Ancelotti takes over as permanent manager. So far Ferguson is unbeaten, beating Chelsea (3-1), drawing with Manchester United (1-1) and Leicester (2-2 lost on penalties) since Marco Silva was sacked. I think there is every reason to expect him to go out with another win.
Arsenal are in a similar state to their hosts but I expect Mikel Arteta to be in the dugout for this one. The Gunners have won just one of their last 12 matches in all competitions and have lost two of their last three visits to Goodison Park.
This could be an entertaining match, there have been over 2.5 goals scored in all of Arsenal’s last five premier league outings and they haven’t kept a clean sheet since the beginning of October. Similarly, both teams have scored in each of Everton’s last five games with only one of them finishing under 2.5 goals. The market has over 2.5 goals at 1.645/8 and both teams to score at 1.548/15. While both are short it’s not hard to see both bets paying out.
Instead of the goals markets, though, I think Everton are going into this game in the better form and the atmosphere around the ground has been lifted since the defeat against Liverpool. I am going to be splitting my stake and backing Everton in the match odds market at 2.447/5 and also Everton/Yes in the match odds and both teams to score market at anything around 4.03/1.
Manchester City v Leicester (Lay Bet)
These two sides are battling for second place in the league, with Leicester currently four points clear of their opposition. But the home side come into this game on the back of an impressive first-half demolition of Arsenal at The Emirates last week and a heavily rotated squad beat Oxford in the League Cup in midweek.
The Foxes themselves progressed in the same competition midweek, beating Everton eventually. They were two goals up in that game and uncharacteristically let the opposition back in before eventually taking their place in the semi-final draw. Leicester are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions but they have drawn their last two.
Leicester have scored at least twice in each of their last four away games and City have only kept one clean sheet (last week at Arsenal) in their last 12 games in all competitions. They have also only failed to score in one game this season, that was their 0-2 defeat at home against Wolves at the beginning of October.
I am sure the home side will control the game and have the majority of the possession but Leicester won’t mind that and will aim to hit their opponents on the counter with the league’s leading goal scorer Jamie Vardy.
I expect a very entertaining game with goals from both sides. I was very tempted to take on Manchester City at 1.392/5 as I think Leicester could get a point from this but instead I am going to lay Manchester City -1.0 & -1.5 at 1.865/6 in the Asian Handicap market.