Dimitar Berbatov: Kyle Walker in goal was like the time I played centre-back

Manchester City's Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker in goal for Man City

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov remembers the time he played in defence, praises Kyle Walker's goalkeeping and explains why he wants Manchester City to beat Liverpool...

"We went down to 10 men and Sir Alex said: 'Berba, go to centre-back!' I was like Franco Baresi and Franz Beckenbauer rolled into one and we won 3-0."

I liked seeing Kyle Walker coming on in goal for Manchester City against Atalanta in the Champions League this week. Did Walker volunteer in the moment or was it agreed beforehand that, if City lost two keepers, he'd take over? I'd love to know. It so rarely happens but in football you need to be prepared for any outcome and Walker did a great job in an important match.

He's not the first. John Terry and Harry Kane went in goal Chelsea and Spurs respectively and Rio Ferdinand did it for Manchester United in an FA Cup tie in 2008. All three are leaders and I respect any player who's brave enough to fill in between the sticks when their team needs it.

Breba v Leeds.jpg

I never went in goal but I did play centre-back for United against Leeds in the League Cup in 2011. We'd used all our substitutes but went down to 10 men when a young player, Ezekiel Fryers, picked up an injury. In training I often played at the back to learn about the way defenders think. So Sir Alex said: "Berba, go to centre-back!" I was like Franco Baresi and Franz Beckenbauer rolled into one and we won 3-0.

City to win at Anfield and keep title race alive

Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He gives massive confidence to his defenders and is brilliant at launching attacks. Manchester City will hope he's fit to play against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. But I agree with Pep Guardiola that Claudio Bravo is an excellent replacement. He's played in massive games for Barcelona, and elsewhere throughout his career, so he can cope with the pressure at Anfield.

Both teams are playing great football but I want City to win to keep the title race alive. If Liverpool win, it's going to be very difficult for City to make up nine points between now and the end of the season. A draw wouldn't be a disaster for City but I expect them to try to win the match and cut the gap to three points.


This match will be much better than the tactical battle that ended 0-0 at Anfield last season. Both teams will be cautious at the start but City need to win. They won't want to leave space for Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane to exploit but, if the scores are even after about 70 minutes, City go all out for the win. It's going to be tight but I can see City winning by a single goal.

Another defeat is unthinkable for United

I was shocked and disappointed to see Manchester United lose to Bournemouth last Saturday. United need to learn to win ugly away from home against teams like Bournemouth and they need to put things right immediately. Beating Partizan Belgrade on Thursday was a start but, without being disrespectful, Partizan are not at United's level. United need to be winning consistently in the Premier League and climbing the table.

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I was pleased to see Mason Greenwood continuing his development with a goal against Partizan. Greenwood is at the right club, with the right manager, and he's getting the right chances. When you score, you build confidence, and it was great that Marcus Rashford and my favourite Anthony Martial were on the scoresheet too. That attacking trio are the future.

It's difficult for me to contemplate anything but a win for United at home to Brighton on Sunday, even though Graham Potter's men are two places above the Reds in the table. This is Old Trafford where there should be a fear factor about United. I think they'll win and keep a clean sheet.

Emery is right man for Arsenal even if they lose to Leicester

This Arsenal team lacks balance. They're very strong up front, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette, and they know how to play attractive football. But they are prone to making costly mistakes.

Emery Hood 1280.jpg

Leicester, on the other hand, are unbelievable. I don't know what Brendan Rodgers is telling them in training, or what they're eating, but something is helping them produce excellent performances week in week out. I praised Jamie Vardy last week and he was on target again in the win over Crystal Palace.

At home to Arsenal on Saturday, I expect Leicester to be too good for Arsenal. But I don't think Unai Emery's job should be in jeopardy. I understand the fans want immediate results but I still think Emery is the right man for the job. His philosophy matches Arsenal's, as he likes football to be played on the ground, want his teams to have a lot of possession with quick interplay between the forwards. It's too soon to talk about replacing him.

For more tips and insight on the weekend football, check out this week's episode of the Football...Only Bettor podcast


Back Leicester City to beat Arsenal @ 2.111/10
Back Leicester win/both teams to score double @ 3.7511/4 or above

I am really looking forward to this one as the Gunners travel to face an in form Leicester City.

Arsenal come into this game having drawn their last four in all competitions and they would probably be happy to take a point from this clash if they were offered it. Granit Xhaka was left out of the Europa League match midweek and his participation could be in doubt, while Dani Ceballos looks like he will miss out after picking up an injury in the draw with Vitoria.

There are no such injury worries for Leicester and there is every chance that Brendan Rodgers will be able to name an unchanged starting XI for the visit of Arsenal. The Foxes are in rude health at the minute currently sitting in third and they could find themselves second, for at least 24 hours, should they win. Perhaps more importantly they would open up a nine point gap with Arsenal, currently in fifth place, if they can collect all three points.

Both sides possess plenty of flair going forward and I can see a few goals in this, both teams to score is understandably trading at around 1.558/15 and while it is short it's not something I would be happy to lay. Similarly Over 2.5 goals at around 1.645/8 isn't a market I would want to take on. I will be hedging my position in this one, splitting my stake backing Leicester City to win in the Match Odds at 2.1011/10 and placing the other half on Leicester/Yes in the Match Odds and Both teams to score market at anything over 3.7511/4.

Trade the correct score in Southampton v Everton

The Saints bounced back from their embarrassing 0-9 mauling by Leicester City by taking the lead against Manchester City last week before narrowly losing 2-1. But Saturday's opponents Everton are another side struggling to find their form. The Toffees remain just above the relegation zone following their 1-1 draw at home last week against Spurs.

To say it has been a difficult start for both these sides is an understatement and neither can afford to lose this match. Both sides will think they can get something from the game as Everton look to end this run of four away defeats in a row and the Saints need to snap out of their poor form.

This has the feel of a low-scoring stalemate to me and for that reason I am going to place half a point on 0-0 at 13.5 and a full point on 1-1 at 7.613/2 in the correct score market. If the game remains goalless at half time, (0-0 should be around 5.59/2 and 1-1 7.06/1 providing there are no red cards or one side is very dominant). I will then look to either eliminate/reduce the loss in my correct score book by laying off some of my 0-0 and 1-1 profit or cash out entirely if I can secure more than a one point profit on all outcomes (green book).

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