Kevin Palmer's Premier League weekend flutter in aid of Temple Street
The Premier League has entered the crucial month of December, with the contenders for the title needing to stand up and confirm their credentials in the next few weeks.
Here is a selection of the best bets for this weekend’s action, with our charity bet in association with Paddy Power at the end of this page.
STOKE v MANCHESTER CITY
The first game of the weekend offers up a real challenge for Manuel Pellegrini and his title pushing City side, with the trip to Stoke always a perilous adventure for fancied teams.
However, Mark Hughes’ Stoke have only won twice at their Britannia Stadium all season and have scored just five goals in front of their home fans in the Premier League. The absence of Sergio Aguero through injury is a major concern for City, but they have to win games like this to stay ahead of the pack at the top of the table.
* Match to finish in a 1-1 draw – 6/1
* Ireland forward Jon Walters to score for Stoke – 13/5
* One of the teams fails to score - evens
VERDICT: City will struggle to get the win without the absent Aguero.
MANCHESTER UNITED v WEST HAM
Manchester United could well finish this weekend’s action as Premier League leaders and yet the criticism continues to flow for their manager Louis van Gaal over the style of play he is promoting.
West Ham have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City away from home this season, so Slaven Bilic’s side will fancy their chances of adding to those scalps with a victory at Old Trafford.
* Match to finish as a 0-0 draw – 9/1
* Anthony Martial to end his seven-game Premier League scoring drought – 13/10
* West Ham to score a penalty 14/1
VERDICT: Man Utd to scrap a win against the threatening Hammers.
ARSENAL v SUNDERLAND
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Sunderland coach Sam Allardyce have had some bruising battles against each other down the years, but their war appears to have ended with latter of the duo insisting he has no desire to wind up his rival any more.
A win for relegation haunted Sunderland at Emirates Stadium would certainly ruffle Wenger’s feathers and after their superbly executed plan to beat Crystal Palace in their last away match, Allardyce will believe he can cause another upset.
* Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud to score two or more goals – 5/2
* Own goal to be scored – 7/1
* Sunderland fail to score 4/5
VERDICT: Giroud’s goals to give Arsenal a victory.
NEWCASTLE v LIVERPOOL
Everything Jurgen Klopp touches at Liverpool has turned to gold and the expectation will be that his glorious run will continue against a crestfallen Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Steve McClaren reportedly has just two games to save his job, with this game against Liverpool followed by a trip to face an in-form Tottenham at White Hart Lane. If that deadline is accurate, don’t expect him to still be in a job at Christmas.
* Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge to score two or more goals – 5/1
* Newcastle player to be sent-off – 11/2
* First goal to be scored before the 26th minute – 10/11.
VERDICT: Liverpool’s roll to continue at Newcastle’s expense.
Here is our Independent.ie bet in association with Paddy Power, with all winnings donated to Dublin’s Temple Street Children’s hospital:
€50 on Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge to score two or more goals against Newcastle (potential winnings €300).