Lawro’s predictions v Andy Murray

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson



BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson is pitting his wits against a different guest each week this season.

Lawro’s opponent for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures is Britain’s tennis world number one Andy Murray.

Murray will be in action in the UK next month when he defends his title at the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club, live on BBC TV, radio and online from 19-25 June.

The 29-year-old has won the tournament a record five times but this time faces competition from the strongest field in the tournament’s 127-year history, with five of the world’s top seven players present – including Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and last year’s runner-up Milos Raonic.

Murray told BBC Sport: “I love it at Queen’s – this is the tournament where I won my first match as a professional on the main tour in 2005.

“I have been coming back for the past 12 years pretty much and have played some of my best tennis here so have always enjoyed playing there.

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Murray predicts Gunners glory & a Benteke brace

“There is a lot more of an opportunity to come and watch this year because they have put about 2,000 more seats on the Centre Court, which has increased the capacity by about 30%.

“They have made some big changes on Court One now too – that has moved to a bigger stadium as well, so it will be good for the fans.”

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Wimbledon and World Cup 2014: Murray’s amazing keepy-uppy skills

Murray is a Hibernian fan and is well known for his keepy-uppy skills with a tennis ball – honed through hours of football practice when he was growing up.

“When I was younger I played a lot, until I was about 15 and decided I was going to give tennis a go,” he said.

“Even then I still played five-a-side football whenever I was home – normally at least once a week until I was probably in my early to mid-20s.

“I stopped because I was having problems with my back.

“Now, when I am not playing tennis, I am resting and training for tennis rather than playing football but, when I finish my tennis, I think I will start playing again.”

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

You can make your Premier League predictions now and compare them with those of Lawro and other fans by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

FRIDAY

Everton v Watford<!–

Everton 1-0 Watford

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Andy’s prediction: 2-0

Match report

West Brom v Chelsea<!–

West Brom 0-1 Chelsea

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Andy’s prediction: 1-2

Match report

SATURDAY

Man City v Crystal Palace<!–

Manchester City v Leicester City (12:30 BST)

I know Leicester have got a good record against Manchester City recently – they thumped them 4-2 in December and won at Etihad Stadium on their way to winning the title last season – but I just don’t see the Foxes beating them again.

I think last season’s champions might make it quite an open game, but that will probably suit Pep Guardiola’s side.

Guardiola still has a bit of work to do to make sure of a top-four finish but it is in Manchester City’s hands and I think they will make it – they have only lost one of their 14 league games since that 4-0 defeat at Everton in January.

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Third place is in our hands – Guardiola

Whatever happens in the final three matches, Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare should get the job on a permanent basis in the summer – he definitely deserves it.

The players have responded to him since he took over on a temporary basis in February.

After a pretty turbulent campaign, if you know your manager is perfectly capable of getting you good results then why would you run the risk of changing things and seeing the same happen again?

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Andy’s prediction: Manchester City still have a lot to play for and they always score goals, but they have been a bit leaky at the back so I think Leicester might score. 3-1

Match preview

Bournemouth v Burnley<!–

Bournemouth v Burnley

Bournemouth are definitely staying up, and Burnley are effectively safe too because their goal difference means Hull won’t catch them.

So both teams could be forgiven if they were on their holidays, because survival is a great achievement for both.

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Dyche delighted as Burnley reach 40 points

Burnley’s form has picked up in the past couple of weeks but Bournemouth always look good going forward and they will be confident of getting a goal, so let’s go for a draw.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Andy’s prediction: Bournemouth are scoring a lot of goals this year, and I am going to back them here. 2-1

Match preview

Middlesbrough v Southampton<!–

Middlesbrough v Southampton

Let’s give Claude Puel some credit for what he has done in his first season at Southampton, because he has been without some key players for long periods, on top of the talent that left the club in the summer and then in January too.

Saints have still always been comfortable in mid-table, and reached the final of the League Cup.

True, they have never looked like repeating last season’s sixth-place finish but that has to go down as an over-achievement, so this year has not been a backward step.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, went down with a whimper.

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Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough: Steve Agnew is ‘absolutely gutted’ by Boro relegation

You cannot blame Steve Agnew, who took charge in March, for that – it was predecessor Aitor Karanka who set the tone for the season.

Karanka had this thing where it was all about not being beaten, which is all well and good if you are nicking wins while you are doing it, but Boro never really did that.

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Relegation lowest point of my life – Gibson

The times I saw them under him in the first half of the season, they never committed enough players forward – their three midfielders just sat in.

Agnew tried to change that but it didn’t solve the other problem in their team, which is a lack of creativity. It was not addressed by Karanka in the January transfer window, and the end result is Championship football next season.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Andy’s prediction: I’m going for a draw. 1-1

Match preview

Sunderland v Swansea City<!–

Sunderland v Swansea

It is amazing how often a team’s form improves once they have been relegated, and we saw it again when Sunderland beat Hull.

This is a far from straightforward game for Swansea, who could put some breathing space between themselves and the Tigers with a win.

Bottom of the Premier League<!–

I don’t think they will get it – I am backing Sunderland to get a point, and make it two games unbeaten – equalling their longest run this season.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Andy’s prediction: This is not an easy one to predict. I am going to go for a draw here too. 1-1

Match preview

Stoke City v Arsenal<!–

Stoke City v Arsenal (17:30 BST)

I think Liverpool will have to win their final two games of the season to make the top four, because I think Arsenal are going to win all three of theirs.

Top of the Premier League<!–

The Gunners end their campaign with games at home to Sunderland and Everton, and I would expect them to beat both of those teams at the Emirates.

This is the toughest game of their run-in, but I also think Arsene Wenger’s side will win in Stoke – the scene of a protest against him at the train station in December 2014.

It would be typical of Arsenal to end a difficult league season with some good results, and I think Danny Welbeck will play a key part for them, because he is looking stronger with every game he plays after coming back from injury.

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Wenger praises ‘convincing’ Arsenal

Arsenal’s system with three centre-halves really seems to suit Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at right wing-back, and it works well with Kieran Gibbs on the other side, although both players seem to better going forward than they are coming back to defend.

Stoke have only won one of their past nine games but are still in the running for a top-half finish.

The Potters will not roll over, but I think the Arsenal fans can leave their ‘Wenger Out’ banners at home this weekend.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Andy’s prediction: The trouble with the amount of travel that comes with what I do is that Scottish football is unfortunately not on the TV much when I am in, say, the United States.

So I have been following the Premier League for years now and I have always enjoyed watching Arsenal play – I like the way they play.

I have been along to games at a lot of the other London grounds but I have been to Emirates Stadium quite a few times.”

It has been a tough season for Arsenal but I am hoping they win this one because they are still fighting to get in the top four. 0-2

Match preview

SUNDAY

Crystal Palace v Hull City<!–

Crystal Palace v Hull City (12:00 BST)

This is a big one at the bottom of the table but, as bad as Crystal Palace were against Manchester City, it is still very hard to tip Hull to win away.

The Tigers have not managed a league victory on the road since 20 August, when they won at Swansea. Seventeen away trips later, they have picked up only three more points with three draws and, overall, they have the worst away record in the top flight.

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Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace: Very difficult day for us all – Sam Allardyce

Palace have been all over the place defensively recently, and three defeats in a row have put them back in trouble.

A point would do for the Eagles here, though, and that is what I think they will get.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Andy’s prediction: These are tough fixtures to predict. Palace to win, with a Christian Benteke brace. 2-0

Match preview

West Ham v Liverpool<!–

West Ham v Liverpool (14:15 BST)

As I have said, I think Liverpool will need to win their final two games to make the top four – but I am just not convinced they will do it. I don’t think they will get three points against West Ham for starters.

If Liverpool do fall short, it will be because of their mentality. They play as if they will always create chances, so can be somewhat wasteful – but that is not the case. There is something missing with their attack at the moment.

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Liverpool will keep fighting for fourth place – Klopp

I presume Jurgen Klopp will start with Adam Lallana even if he is not 100% fit because there is no point protecting him any longer – they need his help now.

There is also a case for giving Daniel Sturridge a start too. After coming off the bench along with Lallana in the second half against Southampton on Sunday, he was one of the few Liverpool players to look lively in what was a really poor result for the Reds.

West Ham are supposedly one of the teams interested in signing Sturridge in the summer so this is something of a showcase for him – his future is undecided but it does not matter what his motivation is if he gets Liverpool the points.

The key will be whether they can break West Ham down – the Hammers played with three at the back in their win over Tottenham last week and flooded the midfield.

If they do that again, there will not be much space for Liverpool’s creative players, which is why I am going for a draw.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Andy’s prediction: Another draw, I think! 1-1

Match preview

Tottenham v Man Utd<!–

Tottenham v Man Utd (16:30 BST)

It is Tottenham’s final game at White Hart Lane but the occasion should not surprise most of the Manchester United players because they played – and lost – in West Ham’s last game at Upton Park at the end of last season too.

I have been saying for a while now that I don’t buy Jose Mourinho’s comments about the size or strength of his squad, and I don’t see United’s Europa League campaign as an excuse if they miss out on the top four.

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I will rest players in Premier League – Mourinho

Mourinho said he would rest a lot of players against Arsenal last weekend but when you totalled up starting appearances by both teams, United’s players had made 226 more appearances than the Gunners’ side – that says it all about his so-called weakened team.

Tottenham’s defeat and performance at West Ham was a disappointing end to their title hopes but I think we have seen enough from them this season to expect a response, especially at home where they have won 16 and drawn two of their 18 league games so far.

I always enjoyed going to White Hart Lane as a player, because they would always let you play – I don’t recall losing many times there with Liverpool.

One memory that stands out is from a game in the 1980s where Kenny Dalglish got absolutely lumped by Tottenham defender Graham Roberts, who was part centre-half, part assassin.

About 30 seconds later, a certain G. Souness got his revenge on Roberts with a very similar sort of tackle. As was often the case, that was the end of that matter.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Andy’s prediction: My coach is a United fan and my physio is a Tottenham fan, so I hear a lot about both of these teams.

Spurs are at home, in the last ever game at White Hart Lane, and with Jose Mourinho involved it is going to be a tight match – I’m going to go for yet another draw. 1-1

Match preview

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro’s best score: 140 points (week 22 v James McAvoy)

Lawro’s worst score: 30 points (week four v Dave Bautista)

Lawro's League Table<!–

How did Lawro do last time?

From last weekend’s Premier League matches, Lawro got six correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 matches, for a total of 90 points.

He beat Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian, who got three correct results with no perfect scores, but lost out to his band-mate Tom Meighan, who got four correct results, including two perfect scores, for a tally of 100 points.

Lawro also picked up three more points for correctly predicting Arsenal’s win over Southampton on Wednesday. Martin Kemp wins no extra points because he picked Saints to win 1-0.

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