Dimitar Berbatov: Lapses in concentration 'a real problem' for Spurs

Manchester United's David De Gea
David De Gea signed a new contract this week

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov reflects on a mixed week for the English clubs in Europe, picks his bets for the weekend's Premier League action and explains why he has announced his retirement...

United are on the up and I don’t think they will lose this one. If forced to choose between the draw and an away win, I’d back United.

Liverpool needn't panic but Spurs' lapse was worrying

Liverpool's 2-0 defeat to Napoli shows that, even as defending champions, you can take nothing for granted in the Champions League.

In Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli have one of the most successful managers at work today and he has a built a good team over the past year. As Liverpool found out, any team that goes to the Stadio San Paolo this season and loses concentration will suffer.

But I've no doubt Liverpool will get out of Group E. The result could even help Jurgen Klopp to get his players' feet back on the ground.


As for Tottenham, and their 2-2 draw away to Olympiakos, how many times do I have to talk about my old club's inconsistency? At 2-0 up after 30 minutes, I was so confident that the game was over that I went out to a restaurant.

When I arrived at the restaurant, Olympiakos had pulled it back to 2-1 and I thought, "Oh no..." I might not have been worried, had Spurs not thrown away a 2-0 lead at Arsenal a few weeks ago. Lapses in concentration are becoming a real problem for Spurs.

Of course, Spurs failed to win their first three Group games last season, so I still think they will make it out of Group B. But there's work to be done for Mauricio Pochettino, starting with a tough trip to Leicester on Saturday lunchtime where I'd be surprised to see Spurs take three points. I'd back the draw in that one.

I'd love to see United win 1-0 at West Ham

United should be pleased with their 1-0 win over Astana. There will be those who say the Red Devils should thump such opposition but professional football is rarely so straightforward. A 1-0 is what I like for United at the moment because it shows that they're concentrating at the back and in midfield all through the game.

It was a wonderful moment when Mason Greenwood scored his first competitive goal and won three points for United against Astana. That bodes well for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as does David De Gea and Victor Lindelof signing new contracts this week is great news for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Knowing those players are settled at the club will bring calm to the squad.

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Sunday's trip to West Ham will be tough for United. The two teams both have eight points and Manuel Pellegrini is really starting to put his imprint on this West Ham side. Fellow professionals always tell me the Chilean is a great manager to play under.

Going to West Ham as a player, I never knew what I'd be up against. Sometimes they played like a team who could be anyone but, on other occasions, they were a team that would lose to anyone. It will be interesting to see which West Ham turn up on Sunday.

The same could be said of United. A third consecutive 1-0 win would be a fantastic result for them but this will be a test. Paul Pogba is a doubt so, if he isn't fit, I'd start Matic in the midfield because he's a real team player and United will benefit from his experience away from home.

United are on the up and I don't think they will lose this one. If forced to choose between the draw and an away win, I'd back United.

Chelsea must take their chance to end Liverpool's run

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Liverpool will lose at some point in the league this season and, although Chelsea come into Sunday's match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Valencia, I give the Blues a chance at Stamford Bridge.

Last Saturday's away win to Wolves was impressive and will make Frank Lampard believe that his young team could rob Liverpool of their 100% record. Can they take their chance against a Liverpool side coming off the back of that defeat to Napoli? I'm going to back Chelsea to win this.

Guardiola will relish defensive difficulties

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Manchester City have problems in defence, following the injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones. The defeat to Norwich took everyone by surprise but Norwich were unbelievable and their performance suggested the courageous Canaries could be the top flight's surprise package.

Guardiola won't let his players lose again this weekend when they host Watford. As a striker, if I were playing against an out of position Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi, I might fancy my chances, but they are clever players and are capable of doing well in a difficult situation.

These are interesting times for City and Guardiola will enjoy the challenges facing him. The absentees in defence will give him room to experiment which is what he loves to do. City will beat Watford on Saturday and, when you win in difficult circumstances, it feels great and can be really positive for team spirit.

I confirmed my retirement because I owed it to fans

This week, I officially announced my retirement. Fans were asking me if I would play again, especially those Bulgarians who've followed my career from the start. So I thought I owed it to them to provide closure and let them know I have no plans to get my boots back on.

I'm doing my coaching badges at the moment. I already have my diploma in sports management and I'm also doing a few things outside of football, so we'll see what the future holds.

Alan Thompson: The Betfair Trader’s View

Premier League Back Bet...

Leicester and Spurs have an identical record in the opening five games of the Premier League - they have both won two, drawn two and lost one. The Foxes were defeated for the first time this season last week at Old Trafford (1-0) and Tottenham’s sole defeat was a surprising home defeat against Newcastle (0-1) - the only time Spurs have failed to score so far. In fact, they have scored at least twice in every other game, including their opening Champions League fixture on Wednesday evening, where they managed again to throw away a two goal lead on the road.

Tottenham are without a win on the road since January (eight games) and that came after a run of four consecutive road wins. The North London side have had much the better of these meetings winning three of their last five league trips to the King Power, with both teams scoring in four of those games.

As tempted as I am by the 2.546/4 for the away win in the Match Odds market, I think this will be an entertaining game with goals at both ends, so if Spurs are to win then I think they will have to score at least twice to secure the points. For that reason, I will be going for the higher odds available in the Match Odds and Both Teams To Score market, backing Tottenham/Yes at anything over 5.04/1

Premier League Lay Bet...

Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the season midweek away at Napoli and now they face a difficult trip to a ground where they haven’t had much success in recent times, winning just two of their last seven trips to Stamford Bridge. However, it may not be as daunting a trip this time, only Norwich (12) have conceded more goals than Chelsea’s 11 so far this season and you have to think the Reds will find the net, having scored at least twice in their last 14 Premier League games.

There is also every chance that, before Liverpool take to the field, their lead at the top will have been trimmed back to two points. It will also be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp’s men react to the midweek disappointment. That said, I think they will be too good though for this Chelsea side who just can’t stop leaking goals.

Liverpool have won their last six away games, scoring 15 goals in the process, winning by an average margin of 1.66 goals. I will be laying Chelsea +1.0 at anything around 1.558/15 on the Asian Handicap. Any Liverpool win sees the bet at least scratched, but a victory by two or more goals for the away side secures a profit.

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