Lawro's predictions

How will Liverpool respond after their heavy home defeat by Manchester City when they travel to play third-placed Leicester on Saturday?

“It will be interesting to see what Liverpool do,” said BBC football expert and former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson. “Firstly in terms of personnel, then how they play, and with how much energy.

“But the pressure is off for Jurgen Klopp’s side now because the title has gone, so they can probably play with a bit more freedom. It also helps them that Leicester’s home record is nowhere near as strong as it is on the road.”

Snapshot of the top of the Premier League: 1st Man City, 2nd Man Utd, 3rd Leicester, 4th Liverpool, 5th Chelsea and 6th West Ham

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

For this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, he is up against singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg, also known as Passenger.

Passenger
Passenger’s first hit Let Her Go sold more than one million copies in 2013 and reached number one in 19 different countries. It has racked up 2.9 billion views on YouTube

Passenger released his latest album, Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted, in January. He is an Arsenal fan – although he admits he almost ended up supporting Sheffield Wednesday.

“My dad is from the United States and knows nothing about football so I was born into an ocean of uncertainty as far as who I support,” he explained.

“I just remember watching Arsenal against Wednesday in the 1993 League Cup final. Who my team should be was hanging in the balance because I was eight, and basically it was whoever won that cup final – and then the FA Cup final between the same teams a couple of months later sealed the deal.

“So, Arsenal it was – they won both games.

“It has worked out all right for me, especially living in Brighton – I don’t think there are too many Sheffield Wednesday fans down here – so it was lucky fate-wise, although it is not a particularly great time to be a Gunner now of course.

“We have had some great teams in the time I have been following Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger built two of them.

“Wenger inherited a solid foundation at the back with his first title-winners, added the likes of Patrick Vieira and Marc Overmars, and got Dennis Bergkamp to pull the strings.

“That side was class, and perhaps had more muscle, but the ‘Invincibles’ era of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg – and Bergkamp too of course – was just untouchable as far as winning things and playing beautiful football goes.

“What a wonderful time that was to be watching Arsenal. It’s been slightly more difficult in the past few years – we have still had some fantastic players and had some wonderful moments, but it’s been like watching an empire slowly fall apart.”

Singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg, AKA Passenger
This season has been a frustrating one for Arsenal fans but Passenger is convinced better times are ahead under Mikel Arteta. “The ship is starting to turn in the right direction again,” he said. “It is just going to take a bit of time to build up some momentum.”
Result Lawro Mike
SATURDAY
Leicester v Liverpool x-x 1-1 2-1
Crystal Palace v Burnley x-x 1-1 1-1
Man City v Tottenham x-x 2-1 3-1
Brighton v Aston Villa x-x 2-1 1-1
SUNDAY
Southampton v Wolves x-x 0-1 2-2
West Brom v Man Utd x-x 0-2 0-3
Arsenal v Leeds x-x 2-1 3-2
Everton v Fulham x-x 2-0 2-1
MONDAY
West Ham v Sheff Utd x-x 2-0 3-1
Chelsea v Newcastle x-x 2-0 2-0

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

SATURDAY

Leicester v Liverpool

Leicester v Liverpool (12:30 GMT)

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy got another half-hour under his belt in his comeback from hernia surgery when he came off the bench to help them beat Brighton in the FA Cup on Wednesday.

Even if he doesn’t start this game, Vardy will feature at some point and the Foxes should be pretty fresh all round after making a lot of changes against the Seagulls, although James Justin’s knee injury in that tie is a concern for them.

Liverpool were already out of the FA Cup, so they have had the week off to regroup after what happened against Manchester City. It should do them some good, because they looked weary in that game, and I don’t think goalkeeper Alisson, who made two big mistakes, was fully fit for it.

It was actually Liverpool’s away form that was more of a concern for them as recently as the turn of the year, but since then they have lost three on the bounce at Anfield, and had two good wins at Tottenham and West Ham.

If they can get back to the level that they showed in London, they won’t leave Leicester empty-handed. The problem is if they come up with another display like the one they produced against Brighton, or in the second half on Sunday, and I am not really sure which Liverpool to expect.

For me, the key for Liverpool finding their old form is to stop worrying about what is going on at the back, where they are not going to be at full strength until Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are back from injury.

Instead, they just need to pick a team that gives the front three as much service as possible, because that is how they are going to win games, even if they concede a few too.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Mike’s prediction: This is such a tough one to call. Liverpool could respond to the drubbing they got from Manchester City, but I actually think Leicester are going to beat them. 2-1

Crystal Palace v Burnley

Crystal Palace v Burnley (15:00 GMT)

Burnley went out of the FA Cup to Championship side Bournemouth on Tuesday, but they had made a lot of changes and I don’t think they will be too bothered about that defeat.

What matters most for the Clarets is staying in the Premier League, and they are at the start of a really important spell that could help them get closer to securing their safety.

Snapshot of the bottom of the Premier League: 15th Brighton, 16th Newcastle, 17th Burnley, 18th Fulham, 19th West Brom & 20th Sheff Utd
After facing Palace, Burnley have home games against Fulham and West Brom next week

Picking up a point at Palace would be a decent start for them before they play a couple of the teams below them and, with the Eagles missing the injured Wilfried Zaha, it is definitely doable.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Mike’s prediction: This has got a low-scoring draw written all over it. 1-1

Man City v Tottenham

Man City v Tottenham (17:30 GMT)

Tottenham’s defence did not have a great time of things against Everton in the FA Cup on Wednesday, and this will be another busy evening for them.

City’s last defeat came against Spurs – 21 games ago – when they were on the wrong end of a classic Jose Mourinho performance in which his side scored early then pretty much shut up shop. A lot has changed for Pep Guardiola and his players since then, though.

Yes, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will carry a threat for Tottenham, and City have injury or illness doubts over three key defensive players in Ruben Dias, Rodri and Fernandinho, but I am still expecting the leaders to take the points and continue their long winning run.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Mike’s prediction: There was a brief spell earlier in the season when Tottenham were top of the league and beginning to look unbeatable, but thankfully that didn’t last. I still think Mourinho has done a good job there, and you never want to play them because they are a dangerous team with some excellent players – Son is hugely under-rated – but they are not going to win the Premier League, which makes me very happy. 3-1

Brighton v Aston Villa

Brighton v Aston Villa (20:00 GMT)

Brighton lost to Leicester in the FA Cup in midweek but they keep rolling along nicely in the league, picking up another point against Burnley last weekend.

Aston Villa are a bit up and down of late, results-wise at least, because they have gone win-loss-win-loss-win in their past five games. I think that pattern will continue here, with a defeat.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Mike’s prediction: I’ve got a soft spot for Brighton, who are my local team, and they are doing brilliantly in the league at the moment. This should be a tight one. 1-1

SUNDAY

Southampton v Wolves

Southampton v Wolves (12:00 GMT)

Southampton keep on losing in the League, where they have now suffered five defeats in a row, but they did win at Wolves in the FA Cup on Thursday.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl spoke about needing to find a “reset” button after they were beaten 3-2 at Newcastle last weekend but, as they begin to get some of their injured players back, they are bound to improve.

Wolves were on a bad run themselves until the end of January, but they responded by beating Arsenal and drawing with Leicester before losing to Saints in midweek.

Nuno Espirito Santo made a lot of changes for that tie, however. Wolves will be at full strength at St Mary’s Stadium, and I think they will go home with the points.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-1

Mike’s prediction: I feel for Southampton and I hope they get something here. 2-2

West Brom v Man Utd

West Brom v Man Utd (14:00 GMT)

Manchester United got through their FA Cup tie with West Ham, eventually, but they will still be rueing Everton’s last-gasp goal last weekend, which cost them two points.

I cannot see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side slipping up at The Hawthorns, though. West Brom will give everything, but effort alone won’t be enough.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Mike’s prediction: I just can’t see anything other than a big win for United. 0-3

Arsenal v Leeds

Arsenal v Leeds (16:30 GMT)

When these two sides met at Elland Road in November, Arsenal had Nicolas Pepe sent off and, despite Leeds creating a bucketload of chances and hitting the woodwork three times, it ended up as the only goalless draw Marcelo Bielsa’s side have had in 24 games in all competitions this season.

There will be goals this time, though, I am sure of it. Leeds were too good for Crystal Palace on Monday, while Arsenal have been hard done by to lose both of their past two games, against Wolves and Aston Villa.

I’m expecting an open game and I’m going with the Gunners to edge it, although they will have to keep 11 players on the pitch if they want to take the three points.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Mike’s prediction: This could go so many ways and I think if Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney are fit and involved for us then I would be feeling a bit more confident. It is potentially going to be a goal-fest and I love how Leeds play – initially I was going to go with them to edge it but it just felt wrong not to back Arsenal. 3-2

Mike on Arsenal’s season: A lot of the time we beat ourselves – we are our own worst enemy. We have had five red cards in four different league games, and they have been very costly because we have ended up taking only two points from them when we had been on top in most of those matches. Even just a couple of wins would have left us knocking on the door of the European positions, instead of mid-table.

Everton v Fulham

Everton v Fulham (19:00 GMT)

Everton were not short of firepower in Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup win over Tottenham but it will be interesting to see how they shape up in attack if Dominic Calvert-Lewin misses this game with the hamstring injury he suffered against Spurs.

They should still be too strong for Fulham, though. Scott Parker’s side got another useful point against West Ham last weekend, but their long wait for a league win stands at 12 games and counting.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Mike’s prediction: 2-1

MONDAY

West Ham v Sheff Utd

West Ham v Sheff Utd (18:00 GMT)

Sheffield United keep winning in the FA Cup and they have been really competitive in the Premier League even when they’ve lost – against Manchester City and Chelsea recently, when they went down by a single goal each time.

The Blades will put up a fight this time too, I’m sure, but West Ham are in the top six for a reason. The Hammers look confident at the moment and, if they play like they can do, they will win.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Mike’s prediction: 3-1

Chelsea v Newcastle

Chelsea v Newcastle (20:00 GMT)

Callum Wilson’s injury is a big blow to Newcastle, and they will miss him for the next few weeks, but at least they have a bit of breathing space above the bottom three after their wins over Everton and Southampton.

Chelsea look solid under new boss Thomas Tuchel, so I am backing them to get another clean sheet here. He is still working out how to get the best out of his attackers, but I think they will find a way through the Magpies.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Mike’s prediction: I felt sorry for Frank Lampard when he was sacked, but Chelsea are a pretty unique outfit in terms of their manager turnover. It’s bonkers, really, and I wouldn’t want Arsenal to start doing the same. It gets results, because they have won a ton of stuff during the Roman Abramovich era, but it must be tough for Chelsea fans to really get behind a manager or a way of playing because it doesn’t seem to matter who it is, or how successful they are – as soon as there is a slump, then they are out of the door. 2-0

Lawro and Mike were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last time?

From last weekend’s Premier League games, Lawro got seven correct results from 10 matches, including three exact scores, for a season-best total of 160 points.

He beat BBC Morning Live presenter Gethin Jones who got three correct results, with no exact scores, giving him a total of 30 points.

Lawro's League Table graphic

TEAM P W D L PTS +/-
1 Man City 22 18 4 0 58 0
2 Man Utd 23 18 3 2 57 0
3 Chelsea 23 17 4 2 55 +2
4 Liverpool 23 15 7 1 52 0
5 Leeds 22 16 1 5 49 +5
6 Tottenham 22 13 5 4 44 +2
=7 Arsenal 23 12 3 8 39 +4
=7 Leicester 23 12 3 8 39 -4
9 Wolves 23 7 9 7 30 +5
10 West Ham 23 8 5 10 29 -4
11 Southampton 22 8 2 12 26 +1
=12 Aston Villa 21 6 5 10 23 -3
=12 Everton 21 5 8 8 23 -5
=14 Brighton 23 6 4 13 22 +1
=14 Newcastle 23 7 1 15 22 +2
16 Burnley 22 5 6 11 21 +1
17 Crystal Palace 23 4 6 13 18 -4
18 Sheff Utd 23 4 4 15 16 +2
19 Fulham 22 3 0 19 9 -1
20 West Brom 23 0 2 21 2 -1

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