Sunday 4 December 2016

Kevin Palmer's Friday Flutter: Sub-plots to Leicester-Man United fixture are plentiful enough to fill a novel

Published 29/04/2016 | 18:13

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez poses with his PFA Player of the year award during the 2016 PFA Awards
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez poses with his PFA Player of the year award during the 2016 PFA Awards

After 35 rounds of Premier League matches, we may see new champions crowned this weekend and the biggest winners from Leicester City’s imminent title success must be the bookies.

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This has been a season when predicting the outcome of Premier League matches has been close to impossible, with Leicester’s title charge the story that has served to highlight the unpredictability of this soccer season.

Our weekly Independent.ie charity bet is listed at the bottom of this page, with these punts offered up to tempt you as the Premier League season edges towards a close.

NEWCASTLE v CRYSTAL PALACE

Alan Pardew’s first return to Newcastle since his acrimonious exit as their manager mid-way through last season is unlikely to be pleasant, with the supporters who turned against the Londoner long before his departure still seemingly obsessed with blaming him for their ongoing woes.

Newcastle supporters would be wise to focus on their own problems, which means cheering their side on to three vital points in their battle to beat the drop by beating Pardew’s FA Cup finalists. If they win this game and then beat Aston Villa next weekend, Rafael Benitez may pull off a great escape for his side.

Best bets:

* Newcastle to win 1-0 - 6/1

* Palace winger Yannick Bolaise to score - 16/5

* Red card in the first half - 13/1

ARSENAL v NORWICH

More protests are being planned against Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger by his increasingly vocal army of detractors, with his suggestion that the club’s supporters have made it difficult for his team to perform this season due to the pressure they have been applying will not help his cause.

Don’t expect mass protests to materialise this weekend, as many Arsenal fans are still sympathetic to Wenger, even if they believe the time has come for him to vacate his role. That said, a win for relegation-haunted Norwich could poison the mood at Emirates Stadium.

Best bets:

* Arsenal to be leading at half-time 8/13

* Norwich’s Robbie Brady to score first - 25/1

* Arsenal come from behind to win 13/2

MAN UTD v LEICESTER

The title will be in Leicester’s hands if they win at Old Trafford and the sub-plots to this intriguing fixture are plentiful enough to fill a novel.

Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel winning the title at the venue where his father Peter reigned as United No.1 for so long, Danny Simpson returning to the club that rejected him in his youth. The list is endless, as will the tribute that will flow if Leicester collect the win they require to be crowned as champions of England.

Best bets:

* Leicester to win - 11/4

* Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney to score first - 6/1

* Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez to score the last goal of the game - 7/1

CHELSEA v TOTTENHAM

Tottenham’s title challenge ended when they drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion last Monday, but the truth is they have been chasing an unstoppable Leicester side for the last month.

The Foxes have refused to falter as they caught a glimpse of title glory and there is every chance that Spurs will lose some momentum in their final three games as they try to get over the disappointment of their near miss.

Best bets:

* Chelsea to win - 7/4

* Tottenham’s Harry Kane to score first - 7/2

* Own goal in this match - 15/2

Here is our Independent.ie bet in association with Paddy Power and all winnings will be donated to Dublin’s Temple Street Children’s hospital:

€50 on Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford to score the first goal against Leicester at 6/1 (potential returns €350.00)

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