Friday Flutter: Beat the bookies with Kevin Palmer's weekend tips
The Premier League season is about to enter a crucial phase in the run up to the hectic festive programme and after the upsets of the first 13 rounds of matches, more of the same could be on the agenda this weekend.
Our weekly charity bet in association with Paddy Power is highlighted at the bottom of this page, with this collection of bets on offer to tempt you ahead of a fascinating weekend of action.
Manchester City v Southampton
The general perception is that this season’s Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose, yet Manuel Pellegrini and his players seem determined to side step the opportunity to assert control after an inconsistent start to the season.
Southampton are more than capable of handing City a second successive home defeat and after last weekend’s 4-1 drubbing against Liverpool and the midweek Champions League defeat against Juventus, Pellegrini will come under intense pressure if he loses a third successive match.
Man City’s Sergio Aguero to score first - 3/1
Southampton to win - 11/2
Both teams to score - 4/6
Leicester v Manchester United
Like his local rival Pellegrini, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is coming under increasingly scrutiny, with the club’s supporters growing jaded of persistently dour performances that have only been acceptable due to the decent results that have been ground out so far.
If United start losing matches using a brand of football that is sending their watching audiences to sleep, the tide of popular opinion with start to vocally oppose Van Gaal and that could influence the mood of the rest of this campaign. Table topping Leicester are primed to test their resolve to the full, with the in-form Jamie Vardy looking to score in his 11th successive Premier League game.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy to continue his scoring run - 17/10
Another 0-0 draw featuring Manchester United - 8/1
Man Utd to score a penalty - 15/2
Tottenham v Chelsea
This fixture helped to shatter the aura of invincibility Chelsea were building up last season, with Tottenham’s 5-3 win against the Blues on New Year’s Day confirming that Jose Mourinho’s champions-elect were not as dominant as they had seemed.
Chelsea's demise in this campaign has stunned all observers, while Tottenham appear to be on the front foot under the guidance of their impressive manager Mauricio Pochettino. All the points suggest a Spurs win, but this could be the day when Mourinho’s side confirm their revival is well underway.
Spurs to repeat last season’s 5-3 win against Chelsea - 400/1
Diego Costa to score two or more goals - 33/1
Free-kick expert Christian Eriksen to score for Spurs - 13/2
Norwich v Arsenal
Discontent is on the rise once again at Arsenal, with the empty seats littering the Emirates Stadium stands for the mid-week Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb highlighting a frustration among the Gunners faithful.
Last weekend’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion was an all-too familiar and lame defeat for an Arsenal side that should be sitting top of the Premier League right now. If they lose again at Carrow Road, the abuse flowing in Wenger’s direction on social media will be venomous.
Norwich to win 1-0 – 7/1
Olivier Giroud to score first - 9/2
Two or three goals in the match – Evens
Here is our Independent.ie bet, in association with Paddy Power:
€50 on Both teams to score in the Man City v Southampton and Tottenham v Chelsea games (possible returns €138.89)
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie