Big matches and big calls from Mark Lawrenson as he predicts Manchester United will stop the rot at Everton, and Arsenal will beat Chelsea in the first Premier League London derby of 2018.
Lawro has regularly backed Jose Mourinho to get the best out of United. In the table based on his predictions, the Red Devils are a point clear of neighbours Manchester City. In reality, United are 15 points adrift.
“Although they are likely to be without strikers Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they have got a really big squad to deal with those absences,” he said of their match at Everton.
“Although they have only taken four points from their past five league visits to Goodison, United never go long without a win. I think they will turn a corner.”
Elsewhere, Lawro believes Arsenal’s formidable home record at Emirates Stadium – eight wins from 10 league games – will do for Chelsea.
Lawro is going for a 2-0 win for United and a 2-1 success for Arsenal – do you agree? You can make your own 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 new-look BBC Sport Predictor game.
Lawro scored 40 points in week 21, which leaves him in 2,356th place out of more than 345,000 users.
He will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.
This week, Lawro takes on Jimmy Dixon, bassist in Mercury Prize-nominated alt-rock band Django Django.
Dixon spent his boyhood just two minutes’ walk from Elland Road so his allegiance was decided for him.
“My dad started taking me to Leeds games in the 1989-90 season, when we had just signed Gordon Strachan and Vinnie Jones,” he said.
“When we won the title in 1991-92 my brother and I made a makeshift Leeds flag and ran around our estate celebrating.
“Later, I loved Tony Yeboah. There are plenty more influential players at Leeds over the years but I’ll never forget his goal against Liverpool at Elland Road in 1995.”
Django Django’s music has featured on Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month competition, representing an unexpected career highlight for Dixon.
“It was incredible,” he said. “I grew up watching Match of the Day so hearing a track on Goal of the Month was the pinnacle for me.”
|Premier League predictions – week 22|
|Brighton v Bournemouth||x-x||1-1||2-1|
|Burnley v Liverpool||x-x||0-2||1-3|
|Leicester v Huddersfield||x-x||2-0||2-0|
|Stoke v Newcastle||x-x||2-1||1-1|
|Everton v Man Utd||x-x||0-2||2-2|
|Southampton v Crystal Palace||x-x||1-0||1-1|
|Swansea v Tottenham||x-x||0-3||1-4|
|West Ham v West Brom||x-x||1-1||2-0|
|Man City v Watford||x-x||4-0||3-0|
|Arsenal v Chelsea||x-x||2-1||1-1|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
All kick-offs 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated.
Brighton v Bournemouth (12:30)
Both teams had decent performances last time out. Brighton took a good point at Newcastle in a game in which not a lot happened, while Bournemouth were value for their win over Everton. Eddie Howe’s side managed 18 shots, seven on target, against the Toffees.
After three league defeats on the bounce – against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City – the Cherries have picked up four points from their past two games to move out of the bottom three. Brighton don’t score many at home, but have a habit of picking up a point to keep the motor ticking over.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1.
Jimmy’s prediction: 2-1.
Burnley v Liverpool
Burnley have not had a good Christmas, with draws against Manchester United and Huddersfield and a heavy defeat by Tottenham leaving them with only two points from their past three games.
Liverpool’s ability to create chances is just outstanding. The front four of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are almost unplayable at times given their movement, invention and accuracy.
There is a doubt over Salah’s fitness after he limped off in the win over Leicester, but Liverpool are favourites through sheer weight of opportunities. Their defence is clearly not the best, but neither is it as bad as people are making out. They have five clean sheets in their past nine games, and Burnley have scored only seven goals in 10 homes games.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2.
Jimmy’s prediction: Liverpool have probably got too many goals in them for Burnley. 1-3.
Leicester v Huddersfield
Leicester were very competitive against Liverpool, which has been a trademark since Claude Puel came in in October. Huddersfield are on a run of three successive draws after holding Southampton and Stoke before their stalemate against Burnley. They have been picking up points to climb into 11th but those six points separating them from the drop could soon disappear.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0.
Jimmy’s prediction: 2-0.
Stoke v Newcastle
Even a little over halfway through the season, this has a crunch feel about it. Stoke got absolutely torn apart at Chelsea on Saturday but it was a very inexperienced team that Mark Hughes sent out, with teenage full-backs Josh Tymon and Tom Edwards both starting.
With Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting rested with this fixture in mind, Hughes will hope the Potters can put the 5-0 drubbing behind them.
Newcastle are in a poor run – with four points from seven games in December. Manager Rafael Benitez will go there and try and make difficult, and there won’t be many goals.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1.
Jimmy’s prediction: Last game on Match of the Day? 1-1.
Everton v Manchester United (17:30)
Everton lost their first league match under Sam Allardyce at Bournemouth last time out, but they were the victim of their own mistakes mostly. They have been on a super run under Allardyce generally, and he loves making it very hard for the big teams. Chelsea left Goodison frustrated and with only a point after the stalemate in December. That may well be the hosts’ template again.
Including the League Cup defeat at Bristol City, Manchester United are on a run of four games without a win. Manager Jose Mourinho has already said Marcus Rashford is tired, but he will likely have to play the youngster up front, with Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured.
Having said all that, I expect United to come back to form with a bang. I think they will just turn the corner here.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2.
Jimmy’s prediction: Wayne Rooney with a 93rd-minute equaliser for Everton. 2-2.
Southampton v Crystal Palace (19:45)
Southampton looked very comfortable in their draw at Manchester United last time out.
Crystal Palace ran Manchester City so close at Selhurst Park on Sunday and gave Arsenal a scare in the Gunners’ 3-2 win at Selhurst Park on 29 December, but Roy Hodgson’s squad is quite thin and that tends to show at this time of year as the games come thick and fast.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-0.
Jimmy’s prediction: Southampton are looking ropey at the moment but I think they’ll nick a point. 1-1.
Swansea v Tottenham (19:45)
What a result for Swansea in Carlos Carvalhal’s first game in charge. I saw them at Anfield on Boxing Day and they were abysmal in a 5-0 defeat, but the new manager brought them new energy and three much-needed points as they fought back to win at Watford last time out. That will lift them, but it is still the same set of players who have left them bottom. They are deep in a dogfight.
Spurs striker Harry Kane is suffering with a cold, but I’m sure he will shrug that off as he attempts to become the first player in 71 years to score hat-tricks in three successive English league games.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-3.
Jimmy’s prediction: Harry Kane to land a hat-trick of hat-tricks after his trebles against Burnley and Southampton. 1-4.
West Ham v West Brom (19:45)
West Ham are improving under David Moyes but West Brom will pick up results soon as Alan Pardew changes the way they play. He is trying to make them more proactive, but it takes time and maybe some new personnel in the January transfer window.
Facing his old club, I fancy Pardew to find a way to take a point.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1.
Jimmy’s prediction: West Ham are looking more confident under David Moyes. I fancy them to win this one. 2-0.
Manchester City v Watford (20:00)
Even before they came so close to losing at Palace, I said I couldn’t see Manchester City going the whole season without defeat.
Even if they make it to spring with their unbeaten run intact, there is the possibility they have the league wrapped up by mid-March and manager Pep Guardiola might chop and change on the domestic front with the Champions League in mind.
Someone will beat them. But not this Watford side. They have been all over the shop ever since Everton made their unsuccessful approach for manager Marco Silva. They have lost five of their past six games and the players’ form has just evaporated.
Lawro’s prediction: 4-0.
Jimmy’s prediction: A ‘tricky’ 3-0 for Man City. 3-0.
Arsenal v Chelsea (19:45)
This was the game last season which turned around Chelsea’s season. Antonio Conte’s side were beaten 3-0 at Emirates Stadium, a result that left them eighth and eight points off then leaders Manchester City. It prompted Conte to switch to a three-man defence and the Blues embarked on 13-match winning run that was the basis of their title success.
Arsenal are very good at home, winning eight of their 10 league games there, and I’m going to go for a home win. Unlike last season, when they were purring, Chelsea still have the odd hiccup as we have seen in their defeats at West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1.
Jimmy’s prediction: 1-1.
How did Lawro do last time?
In the last round of Premier League games, Lawro got four correct results, but no perfect scores, from nine matches, for a total of 40 points.
He lost out to Olympic gold-winning former sprinter Darren Campbell who got five correct results, including one perfect score, giving him a total of 80 points and putting him level with wrestler John Cena on our leaderboard.
|Total scores after week 21|
|130||James Anderson**, Joe Johnson***|
|120||Will Poulter, Moeen Ali|
|100||Cesaro & Seamus, Wretch 32|
|85||Lawro (average after 21 weeks)|
|80||John Cena, Darren Campbell|
|70||Brendan Foster*, Mark Strong|
|60||Will Ferrell, Nish Kumar, Non Stanford, Rick Witter|
|50||Steve Cram, Michael Dapaah, Channing Tatum, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell, Joe Root|
*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster’s score contributes to the guest total.
**Anderson and Moeen both provided predictions on week nine, but only Anderson’s score contributes to the guest total.
***Witter and Johnson both provided predictions on week 17, but only Johnson’s score contributes to the guest total.
Lawro’s best score: 150 points (week eight v Wretch 32)
Lawro’s worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, week five v Non Stanford and week 21 v Darren Campbell)
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|