|Premier League predictions – week 15|
|Bournemouth v Liverpool||x-x||0-2||0-2|
|Arsenal v Huddersfield||x-x||3-0||5-0|
|Burnley v Brighton||x-x||2-0||2-1|
|Cardiff v Southampton||x-x||2-1||1-3|
|Man Utd v Fulham||x-x||2-0||0-7|
|West Ham v Crystal Palace||x-x||2-0||1-0|
|Chelsea v Man City||x-x||0-2||1-3|
|Leicester v Tottenham||x-x||0-2||1-1|
|Newcastle v Wolves||x-x||1-1||2-2|
|Everton v Watford||x-x||2-0||2-1|
Premier League predictions: Lawro v world champion boxer Josh Warrington
Leaders Manchester City might have been knocked off the top of the table by the time they play Chelsea at tea-time on Saturday in the pick of the weekend fixtures.
But BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson thinks they will get a win at Stamford Bridge that will put them back on the Premier League summit.
“Chelsea have lost their past two away games, at Tottenham and Wolves, and there are one or two cracks starting to appear,” Lawro explained.
“Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has changed his team around for their past two matches without affecting their results, but they will definitely be at full strength for this game.”
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.
This week’s guest is boxer Josh Warrington, the IBF world featherweight champion.
Warrington is a Leeds United fan – and chairman of their supporters club – who became the first male boxer from his home city to win a world crown when he beat Lee Selby at Elland Road in May.
That fight and the years leading up to it are documented in a new film ‘Josh Warrington: Fighting For A City’.
He defends his title against Carl Frampton in Manchester on 22 December, but has been keeping a close eye on how Marcelo Bielsa’s side are doing in the race for promotion from the Championship.
“He has brought a good buzz back to Elland Road,” Warrington told BBC Sport. “We have been entertaining to watch and it is a good place to be at the moment.
“Whatever has happened in games, even if we are behind in stoppage time at the end of the game, there is still a belief that we can win.
“The one thing with Leeds fans is that they always want to see the team just have a go and it seems he has changed the mentality of all the players, and he is bringing the best out of them.
“Will we go up? Well, I always said that when I won a world title, Leeds would get promoted the same season. We are flying high at the moment, and I have already won the world title so let’s hope this is our year.”
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 stated.
Bournemouth v Liverpool (12:30 GMT)
This is a big week for Liverpool, who must win their Champions League group game against Napoli on Tuesday to reach the last 16.
They can start it by going top of the Premier League if they beat Bournemouth – but only Manchester United and Arsenal have won at Vitality Stadium this season, and neither of them found it particularly straightforward.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made some very brave changes in Wednesday’s win at Burnley, starting the game without any of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah up front.
When they went 1-0 down at Turf Moor, I was thinking ‘this is going to be interesting’ but they responded in the right way.
Whatever line-up Klopp goes with this time, this will be a test.
Some of Liverpool’s recent performances have been ordinary, while Bournemouth have been great this season, and returned to winning ways against Huddersfield on Tuesday after losing four in a row.
The Cherries play good football and are easy on the eye, but they are not a soft touch – and Liverpool will have to play well to beat them.
I am still really encouraged by Liverpool’s season so far, though – their performances have not been great but, in the Premier League, their results have been.
In the Champions League, if Klopp’s side had beaten Red Star in Belgrade – and I know it is is a big if – they would be virtually through to the knockout stage already and we would be looking at them in a different light.
They have not been playing well as a team, but I think what they have done so far is really positive, because I am thinking ‘wow, what will they do if they really get going?’.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Josh’s prediction: Liverpool are flying high and their fans will be believing this is their year. Bournemouth are tricky customers but I am going for Liverpool here. 0-2
Arsenal v Huddersfield
Arsenal had a tough game against Manchester United on Wednesday night but they have got a decent-sized squad so I don’t see that being an issue here.
I just can’t see a situation where Huddersfield can go to Emirates Stadium and win.
This game is not totally inconsequential when it comes to the Terriers’ survival hopes, but it will not be a game they will expect to get any points from and, if they do, it will be an absolute bonus.
Lawro’s prediction: 3-0
Josh’s prediction: I can see a battering here – with Arsenal toying with the Terriers. Huddersfield have kind of called us a rival over the last couple of years whenever they have got promoted but they are not doing too clever this season – I think their luck has run out. 5-0
Burnley v Brighton
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was not happy about them, but the tackles that Burnley put in against the Reds on Wednesday night were legal, and they are the kind of thing the Clarets need.
Sean Dyche’s side have been too nice to play against this season, so it was nice to see them snarling again – even if they did end up losing the game.
I think Burnley will need a phase of that if they are going to climb out of trouble, starting with the visit of Brighton.
The Seagulls had a great result on Tuesday with their derby win against Crystal Palace and they seem a lot stronger than last season, not least in the way they seem to be able to pick themselves up after a bad result.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Josh’s prediction: I am a big fan of Dyche’s character, and I am going for Burnley to win at home. 2-1
Cardiff v Southampton
New Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was in the stands to see his new side get comprehensively beaten by Tottenham on Wednesday night, and it will be interesting to see what team he picks after spending so little time with his players.
Hasenhuttl will get a reaction, because suddenly everyone is playing for their place now Mark Hughes has left.
But I don’t think he will know too much about Cardiff, and I am pretty sure he won’t have crossed paths with Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock before.
So this is a case of ‘welcome to the Premier League’ for Hasenhuttl and this is going to be a tough test for him.
Cardiff have won three of their last four home games, and I can see them getting another victory here.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Josh’s prediction: I can see the Saints getting a win over the Welsh boys. 1-3
Man Utd v Fulham
I am covering this game for BBC Radio 5 live and wondering whether there will be anything different about Manchester United this time. At the moment it is the same story every week.
United have a few issues with their manager and with different areas of their team but the bottom line is that they just cannot seem to win a game – Wednesday’s draw with Arsenal was their fourth league game in a row without a victory.
Surely that has to change at home to the Premier League’s bottom club, even taking into consideration that Fulham have improved under Claudio Ranieri.
Things have been pretty bad at Old Trafford for a while, but anything but a win would really underline where United are at the moment, and how far they are off the top four.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Josh’s prediction: United are not doing too clever are they? The wheels are maybe falling off so I am backing Fulham, with a new manager in Claudio Ranieri, to leave with the points. 0-7
My manager is a United fan and I often check the scores or watch Match of the Day then phone him up to give him some stick. It has been quite sweet to see United struggling but I am hoping next season is the start of Leeds playing them again as a regular fixture.
West Ham v Crystal Palace
West Ham have had back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Cardiff and they are starting to look far more like a team, although Marko Arnautovic’s hamstring injury is a blow.
Crystal Palace will have a point to prove after being beaten by Brighton last time out, but I am going for another Hammers win here.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Josh’s prediction: This is a tough one to call. The Hammers are a bit unpredictable at the minute but I think they will get a positive result this week. 1-0
Chelsea v Man City (17:30 GMT)
Chelsea made a fabulous start to the season but I have never seen them as genuine contenders in the title race.
This has become an even tougher game for Blues boss Maurizio Sarri with his side losing two of their past three away games, and I am going for a City win here.
Away from the Champions League, very few teams have really tested City this season – Liverpool gave them a good game at Anfield and they drew at Wolves, but Wolves’ goal should never have been allowed anyway.
So it is going to be interesting to see how close Chelsea get to them, and whether they can make life difficult for the champions at all. I really do have my doubts.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Josh’s prediction: City boss Pep Guardiola has got his boys flying again and they are looking very strong. 1-3
Leicester v Tottenham (19:45 GMT)
It has been a while since Leicester last lost – a run of seven games since they were beaten at Arsenal on 22 October.
Tottenham play Barcelona on Tuesday in a game they have to win to reach the last 16 of the Champions League, but I think Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will pick a strong team here.
Finishing in the top four and being in the Champions League in Spurs’ first season in their new home will be even more important than getting out of their group this time.
If Spurs do play a strong team, then I think they will win.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Josh’s prediction: I know Tottenham will be pushing them hard but they always seem to slip up every now and again. Leicester at home, with the crowd behind them, can get something out of this game – and I have a feeling it will be through something late, and something controversial. 1-1
Newcastle v Wolves (16:00 GMT)
Wolves have had a wobble but I wonder if they have turned a corner after their fightback to beat Chelsea on Wednesday.
Newcastle picked up a good point at Everton on the same night, to get back on track a bit after their home defeat by West Ham at the weekend.
Apart from that result against the Hammers, Newcastle have been in decent form for the past few weeks, and I think they will get another draw here.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Josh’s prediction: Wolves were dynamite last season in the Championship and they have played some entertaining football so far up in Premier League. Newcastle are another inconsistent team so I am going for another draw here. 2-2
Everton v Watford (20:00 GMT)
This is Marco Silva’s current club versus Marco Silva’s former club.
I would imagine it will be competitive on the pitch and maybe in the boardroom too, bearing in mind Watford were unhappy with Everton’s initial approach for him last year.
In terms of the game, the Toffees are only three points above the Hornets in the table, but in much better form.
Watford, who did not win in November, are yet to win in December, but have been competitive when I have seen them, even though they have taken only one point from their past five matches. I don’t see them getting anything here either, however.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Josh’s prediction: Sorry Troy Deeney, I am going for Everton here. 2-1
How did Lawro do last time?
From the midweek Premier League games, Lawro got six correct results, including one perfect score from 10 matches, for a total of 90 points.
He was beaten by The 1975 bassist Ross MacDonald, who got eight correct results, including two exact scores, for a total of 140 points that sends him to the top of the guest leaderboard.
|Total scores after week 15|
|Lawro v Guests|
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|
GUEST LEADERBOARD 2018-19
|140||The 1975’s Ross MacDonald|
|90||Karl Pilkington, Chris Stark|
|84||Lawro (average after 15 weeks)|
|80||Richard Ashcroft, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg James, Mark Wahlberg|
|60||Idris Elba, Dolph Lundgren, Mumford & Sons|
|50||Bring Me The Horizon, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.|
Lawro’s best score: 260 points (week seven v Karl Pilkington)
Lawro’s worst score: 40 points (week three v Idris Elba, week eight v Chris Stark and week 12 v Mumford & Sons)
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