Premier League predictions: Lawro takes on comedian James

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    Will Manchester City’s bad week get even worse when they go to Wembley on Saturday night?

    In-form Tottenham will be trying to inflict more misery on Pep Guardiola’s side, who failed to wrap up the Premier League title last weekend and are out of the Champions League too.

    BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson says: “The wide open spaces of Wembley will suit City but I have a sneaking feeling that they will drop more points against Spurs.”

    Lawro is going for a 1-1 draw. Do you agree? You can make your predictions now, take on Lawro and other fans, create your own league and try to make it to the top of the table by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

    He will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.

    This week he takes on comedian Elis James.

    Elis James shows off his collection of Swansea and Wales football shirts when he plays Owen in BBC Three sitcom Josh. He says he is just going to enjoy this summer’s World Cup as a neutral, explaining: “Wales have not qualified for 60 years so it means nothing to me, other than as a feast of football.”

    James is a Swansea fan, who interviewed the Welsh club’s boss Carlos Carvalhal for this week’s The Premier League Show.

    “It is very sad that we are fighting relegation for a third season on the trot but I was hugely impressed with Carlos,” James told BBC Sport.

    “I think he is a fantastic manager and it has been miraculous what he has done since coming in at Christmas – so fingers crossed we will be OK.”

    Premier League Show: Firefighting Premier League survival – Carvahal

    Swansea were bottom of the table when Carvalhal was appointed on 28 December but are now 15th, four points above the relegation zone with six games remaining.

    James added: “I must admit, when Carlos took over I knew he was manager of Sheffield Wednesday and I knew they had got to the Championship play-offs last season, but that was it.

    “I looked at his Wikipedia page and he had been at a long list of clubs that you have heard of from the Europa League.

    “But in terms of what he has done for Swansea, I could not have asked for anything more. I think he has been superb.

    “I really thought we were doomed this time, so I am absolutely thrilled with the way it has worked out because our destiny is now in our own hands.

    “Jordan Ayew has been one of our standout players this season, certainly since Carlos took over, and obviously Alfie Mawson, who I think is a wonderful footballer and fully deserving of his England cap.”

    You can listen to more on Swansea and Welsh football from Elis James in his Feast of Football podcast with Danny Gabbidon and Iwan Roberts, here.

    Premier League predictions – week 34
    ResultLawroElis
    SATURDAY
    Southampton v Chelseax-x1-11-2
    Burnley v Leicesterx-x2-11-0
    Crystal Palace v Brightonx-x2-12-2
    Huddersfield v Watfordx-x1-11-2
    Swansea v Evertonx-x1-11-0
    Liverpool v Bournemouthx-x2-01-0
    Tottenham v Man Cityx-x1-12-1
    SUNDAY
    Newcastle v Arsenalx-x1-11-0
    Man Utd v West Bromx-x3-03-0
    MONDAY
    West Ham v Stokex-x2-02-1

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

    LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

    All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated.

    SATURDAY

    Southampton v Chelsea (12:30 BST)

    Chelsea dropped more points against West Ham last time out, and I think they realise now they are going to miss out on the top four.

    Mind you, things are even worse for Southampton – West Brom are the only team they have beaten in the league in 19 games since 26 November, and Saints have now lost three on the bounce.

    At least there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Mark Hughes’ side because they put on a better display against Arsenal after their non-performance against the Hammers.

    Hughes encouraged by Saints display, despite defeat

    I think their biggest hope now lies with the return of Charlie Austin from injury. He has come on in Saints’ past two matches, and scored against the Gunners.

    They need Austin fit, because a partnership of him and Shane Long might get them out of trouble.

    Manolo Gabbiadini has been looking a little bit lightweight so Saints boss Mark Hughes can always play Long on his own up front and then throw Austin on later in the game if he is not ready to start yet.

    These two teams meet again in a few days in the FA Cup semi-finals, so it will interesting to see how Chelsea approach this game – some of their players are almost winding themselves down in the league now.

    Saints cannot do that, of course, because they really need a win. I am not sure they will get it.

    Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

    Elis’ prediction: 1-2

    Burnley v Leicester

    Burnley come into this game on the back of four straight wins, and another victory in this game would all but guarantee seventh place and, possibly, European football.

    I think the Clarets will do it. Leicester were a little bit unlucky to get turned over by Newcastle last week, because they should have had a penalty, but I would back Burnley to win this one at Turf Moor.

    Sean Dyche’s side are finishing the season they way they started it and they have already surpassed all expectations.

    Back in August, if you had said to any of their fans that they would reach this stage of the season with a chance of finishing seventh, then I suspect they would have told you to jog on.

    Leicester have not had a bad season either of course. The interesting thing for them is that it looks like Riyad Mahrez is leaving in the summer and they have to work out how to replace him.

    Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

    Elis’ prediction: Burnley are a difficult prospect at home. 1-0

    Crystal Palace v Brighton

    There is no love lost between these two sides, who have already met twice this season – they drew at Brighton in the league and the Seagulls won in the FA Cup.

    I am backing Palace to come out on top this time, though.

    Brighton slipped up badly last week against Huddersfield and gifted the Terriers their equaliser. That was a poor result at home against one of their relegation rivals.

    It wasn’t Brighton’s day – Hughton

    As I have said before, the Seagulls’ run-in is very tough, against Tottenham, Burnley, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – so they need points now.

    Palace are fighting for their lives and this gives them a chance to drag their rivals back into the thick of the relegation scrap.

    I am expecting it to be a noisy afternoon at Selhurst Park, and for the Eagles fans to be celebrating this time.

    Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

    Elis’ prediction: This is one of the odder derbies. 2-2

    Huddersfield v Watford

    Watford are still not out of trouble after taking only one point from their past four games.

    The Hornets have not won away for a long time – their last success on the road came on 25 November and all four of their away wins this season came in the first three months of the campaign.

    Huddersfield are on a poor run too, though, and in much deeper trouble at the bottom of the table.

    A point would be enough to inch the Hornets closer to safety but it would leave Huddersfield looking very vulnerable down there. Mind you, they have looked vulnerable for quite a few months now.

    Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

    Elis’ prediction: 1-2

    Swansea v Everton

    Everton were disappointing in the 0-0 Merseyside derby draw against Liverpool but Toffees boss Sam Allardyce was always going to approach it the way he did after his side were turned over by Manchester City in their previous game.

    A run of one win in five has left Swansea with work to do to get clear of trouble and I am sure they will see this as a winnable game because of Everton’s poor away form.

    Allardyce will have other ideas.

    Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

    Elis’ prediction: It did not go brilliantly for Swansea against West Brom last weekend when we only got a draw, but I do fancy us to beat Everton (takes deep breath). 1-0

    Liverpool v Bournemouth (17:30 BST)

    Liverpool are just on top form. As everyone knows, they had a little bit of luck to get past Manchester City in the Champions League, but they are entitled to that good fortune and I think they make it for themselves most of the time.

    I am not expecting them to have too many problems against Bournemouth. The Cherries will come to Anfield and play an open game and I think that will suit Liverpool.

    Eddie Howe’s side are the comeback kings, but I don’t see that happening again if they fall behind this weekend.

    Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

    Elis’ prediction: I will be fascinated to see how Liverpool react after what happened against City on Tuesday night. 1-0

    Tottenham v Man City (19:45 BST)

    Tottenham were not having a good spell when they got hammered 4-1 by City earlier in the season, but things are very different now.

    I think City would take a draw after the week they have had. That will delay the title party a little longer, but they are still going to win the league – it is just a matter of time.

    Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

    Elis’ prediction: Again, I am fascinated to see how City react to going out of the Champions League, and Tottenham are playing very well at the moment. City’s season will be in tatters if they lose this game too. 2-1

    SUNDAY

    Newcastle v Arsenal (13:30 BST)

    Arsenal have won their past six games in all competitions but that is what they always seem to do at this stage of the season, when the pressure is off them.

    Newcastle are also on a good run, winning three in a row. They are pretty much safe now and are in the top half, which is great for them because most of this season has been a slog.

    Arsene Wenger says Europa League is Arsenal’s focus

    I am going to go for a draw but it is hard to predict a result for this one because I have no idea what sort of team Arsene Wenger will put out after Thursday’s trip to Moscow.

    Winning the Europa League to get into the Champions League is obviously the priority for the Gunners now.

    Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

    Elis’ prediction: 1-0

    Man Utd v West Brom (16:00 BST)

    West Brom could go down if Saturday’s results go against them and then they lose this game.

    It is hard to see anything but a defeat for the Baggies at Old Trafford but, more pertinently, I want to know which Manchester United team we are going to see – the one from the first half at Etihad Stadium, or the one from the second half.

    After the break, when United roared back from 2-0 down to win the derby, it appeared they were just let off the leash, which manager Jose Mourinho does not normally do.

    They looked very good and players like Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba came alive. United fans will want to see more of the same.

    Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

    Elis’ prediction: 3-0

    MONDAY

    West Ham v Stoke (20:00 BST)

    Things are pretty rosy for West Ham at the moment after their point at Chelsea gave them a bit of breathing space above the bottom three.

    If the Hammers win this game they are virtually safe, while Stoke would be left in all sorts of trouble. Things look bad enough for them already.

    Paul Lambert believes Potters need three wins to survive relegations

    The Potters need to start winning games but they just don’t have enough firepower in their side and they are not good enough defensively to buy themselves time to nick a goal.

    In contrast, West Ham carry a threat at the moment through Marko Arnautovic, who is flying after making a slow start.

    He will not need any extra motivation to continue his good form against his former club.

    Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

    Elis’ prediction: 2-1

    Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

    How did Lawro do last week?

    From the last round of Premier League games, Lawro got four correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 matches for a total of 70 points.

    He beat comedian Russell Howard, who got two correct results, including one perfect score, for a total of 50 points.

    Total scores after week 33
    Lawro2,930
    Guests2,470
    Lawro v Guests
    P33W19D3L11
    +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION
    POSTEAMPWDLPTS+/-
    1Man City322651830
    2Man Utd322561810
    3Tottenham32256181+1
    4Liverpool332013073-1
    5Chelsea322165690
    6Arsenal3216115590
    7Leicester321461248+1
    8Bournemouth3310101340+3
    9Southampton321171440+9
    10West Ham32816840+4
    11West Brom331161639+9
    12Burnley329101337-5
    13Stoke337121433+6
    14Everton33791730-5
    15Crystal Palace33771928+2
    16Newcastle32691727-6
    17Brighton324131525-4
    18Swansea32542319-3
    19Watford33462418-7
    20Huddersfield331112114-4

    GUEST LEADERBOARD

    SCOREGUEST LEADERBOARD
    160Justin Hawkins, Chris Shiflett
    130James Anderson*, Joe Johnson*
    120Russel Leetch*, Will Poulter, Moeen Ali
    110Aron Baynes*
    100Cesaro & Seamus, Wretch 32
    90Arni and Justin from The Vaccines, Pete Wentz
    89Lawro (average after 33 weeks)
    80John Cena, Darren Campbell
    70John Bishop** Brendan Foster*, Mark Strong
    60Jimmy from Django Django, Will Ferrell, Nish Kumar, Non Stanford, Rick Witter
    50Steve Cram, Michael Dapaah, Russell Howard, Channing Tatum, Joe Root, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Dario Saric, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell,
    40Craig David, Ed Lay
    30Rhys James, Felix White
    20Charlie Cooper, Richard Osman, Emmanuel Sanders and Josh Norman

    * Shows weeks where Lawro had more than one guest, and only the highest score contributed to the guest total.

    ** Shows weeks where guest total does not include rearranged games.

    Lawro’s best score: 170 points (week 30 v Arni and Justin from The Vaccines)

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43692961

    Lawro’s worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, week five v Non Stanford, week 21 v Darren Campbell and week 23 v Saric and Baynes)

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