Dimitar Berbatov: United will grind their way to tricky opening day win

Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar is backing United to win, but it might not be easy
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In his last column before the season kicks off, Dimitar Berbatov runs through the weekend's big fixtures and tells us why it's a good thing the transfer window closes on Thursday...

"I would love to be surprised with a big United win, but even though they have quality attackers to replace the missing stars I suspect it'll be a low-scoring home win (1-0 or 2-0) as United were very strong defensively last season. I promise you that Jose Mourinho and the players will be happy with any win."

The Premier League season starts under the floodlights at Old Trafford where I hope Manchester United will kick-off with a win but they're probably have to do it without some of their World Cup stars. Any team would miss players of the quality of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young, believe me. That is four big players.

Pogba brings imagination, Lukaku brings goals and intimidating presence, Lingard brings energy and more goals, Young has been so solid at the back.

So I think it'll be a win for United, but a difficult one.

The first game of the season is so tough. You want to start with a win but you really don't want to start with a defeat. It can be a little more tactical than usual, players are adjusting to new teammates and it's hard to find the rhythm. These things seem small, but put them together and it becomes a big thing.

I would love to be surprised with a big United win, but even though they have quality attackers to replace the missing stars I suspect it'll be a low-scoring home win (1-0 or 2-0) as United were very strong defensively last season. I promise you that Jose Mourinho and the players will be happy with any win.

Don't worry about United's pre-season

United's pre-season results haven't been great but I'm not worried about that. Pre-season doesn't determine how well a team will do in the league. It's a time to experiment and try new stuff. I wouldn't worry too much because nobody is paying too much attention to results, the most important thing is the way you play the game.

And this summer, many teams are missing key players because of the World Cup and this is a big problem, a big minus. United and also Spurs have been hit harder than most.

Jose Mourinho maybe hasn't been at his happiest this summer, but sometimes people don't see or understand what is happening behind the scenes. I feel pretty sure he'll make a signing or two before the deadline day closes and he should have everything he needs then.

United have only made one big purchase this summer but I'm sure - like we always see in England in recent years - that they'll buy someone in the final few hours of transfer deadline day. I've said it before but that will probably be a defender - either Harry Maguire or Toby Alderweireld. In every other position they have quality players but I do think they need one or two defenders.

Premier League are right to end transfer window early

There's been some debate about the Premier League choosing to end their transfers before the rest of the European leagues but I fully agree with it. This way, yes, preseason can be completed, teams can do their preparation and now it's time to focus only on football.

Before the Premier League made this change, you could play three or four games before the window closed and then move to the other team. That was a bit uncomfortable let me tell you.

Speaking as a football player it's always good for all transfer business to be completed before the start of the league campaign. This way the player can be fully concentrated and not distracted by off-the-field matters. It's not good for a player to have all those questions in his head. It's not good for him, not good for his team or his future team. It just is not good.

My move from Spurs to Manchester United was dramatic for me. You are distracted, not focused, not concentrated - you want to be but it's just not happening. I just wanted to play football and enjoy. At least now everything will be finished before the first game. Clubs will have done their business and players, managers and fans can concentrate on what's most important - the actual football!

Maybe in the future the window could close earlier so the new players have a chance to play pre-season with their new team?

For the moment it is what it is, but I think it's a good idea to close the window before the first game.

City, Liverpool and Spurs should win but Chelsea may struggle

Arsenal's home game with City is a tough one. I watched a lot of PSG last year and Unai Emery likes his teams to play football. But it's hard not to see City scoring goals and their confidence will be sky-high. I think it'll be close, but City will edge it 1-0. I hope Sergio Aguero can continue his scoring run after his Community Shield double and I'll back him to do it again. And if we put the 1-0 score, Aguero goal and a booking for Nacho Monreal we can make a decent Same Game Multi.

Newcastle are in trouble off the pitch and those issues will be playing on their minds. Tottenham may not have bought anyone in yet but they have quality in all the positions and I see them starting the season with an away win.

Liverpool are hottest bet in the Premier League this weekend and I can't argue with that. I know Fabinho from Monaco, I used to play with him and he will be a great addition. Naby Keita, too. These guys will be rocks. Liverpool have loads of great players elsewhere and they'll start their campaign with a win, too.

Chelsea could be the odd ones out. They'll be missing their World Cup stars from Belgium and France and are away from home. I think they may have to settle for a draw at Huddersfield.

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