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Mark Lawrenson's Premier League predictions 2

1 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:56
Just true to form Mark Lawrenson gets more results wrong than right, may the form continue.

following on from: https://archive.4ct.org/sports/read/1408828655/
2 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:57
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.

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
3 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:58
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.

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
4 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:58
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.

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.

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
5 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:59
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.

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
6 Name: 606 2017-05-13 00:59
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.

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.

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
7 Name: 606 2017-05-13 01:00
[b]SUNDAY[/b

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.

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
8 Name: 606 2017-05-13 01:00
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.

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
9 Name: 606 2017-05-13 01:01
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.

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
10 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:53
LAWRO'S FINAL DAY PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 BST

SUNDAY

Arsenal v Everton

It appears Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is going to stay on for another year or two and, if that is the case, I am not sure why they have kept it such a big secret.

So, it does not look like this will be Wenger's final game at the Emirates Stadium, but it could be Alexis Sanchez's - the future of the Gunners striker is still in doubt.

Arsenal have got next week's FA Cup final to think about but I don't think that will affect the result, because they can still finish in the top four and they have to go for the win in case Manchester City or Liverpool slip up.

Everton will finish seventh whatever happens and they will make a game of it, but the Gunners are on a good run and I think they will come out on top.

However, even if Arsenal do win, I think it will be too little, too late for Wenger's side as far as making the Champions League places goes - I think Liverpool and City will both win.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0
11 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:53
Burnley v West Ham

Other than their win over Tottenham, West Ham's season has tailed off in the last few weeks.

Yes, the Hammers are missing some injured players but they have been very average for a while.

When their fans look at this season, it is their new stadium and their summer recruitment that have been the bugbears for them.

For a while it looked like Slaven Bilic's side were going to get dragged into a relegation skirmish but they are going to get a mid-table finish, which is probably what they deserve.

West Ham are not a bad side when everyone is fit but, if they want a repeat of their seventh-place finish in 2015-16, they definitely need to sign some better players.

Burnley's target this season was to stay up and they have done it. It is mission accomplished and they can build again, which is great.

Their home form has been the key and I think it helped that they got an 'extra' match at Turf Moor early in the season - the venue of their game with Liverpool in August was switched because Anfield was not ready.

They won that game which not only gave them points on the board but it also set the tone for the rest of the campaign. They have never really been under much pressure.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0
12 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:54
Chelsea v Sunderland

Chelsea will get their hands on the Premier League trophy at the final whistle and and will want to sign off with a win but I am not sure what sort of team Antonio Conte will pick before the FA Cup final.

He made lots of changes for Monday's win over Watford but will have to be careful about doing the same for this game.

If, say, striker Diego Costa does not play then he will go two weeks without playing before facing Arsenal at Wembley and it is easy for players to lose their edge.

Whatever team Conte picks, I don't think Sunderland will be able to stop the Blues from finishing their title-winning campaign on a high note.

There are more questions than answers about what will happen next at the Black Cats, and the only thing we really know is that they will be in the Championship next season.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0
13 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:54
Hull City v Tottenham

Hull were relegated after losing to Crystal Palace last week but it was their home defeat against Sunderland in their previous game that really did the damage.

Tottenham said goodbye to White Hart Lane with a deserved win over Manchester United and they will want to finish the season strongly despite missing out on the title.

People will say they did not win anything but Spurs are a very good side who came close to winning the title - they did not bottle it one bit.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is doing a great job and the rest of the top six would take a lot of their players if they could - that is how good they are.

Analysis: I'd back Spurs for the title if they were staying at White Hart Lane - Jenas

Lawro's prediction: 0-2
14 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:55
Leicester v Bournemouth

Bournemouth have already bettered their points tally from last season, despite having a slippery month or two at the start of 2017.

Joshua King has been brilliant since Callum Wilson was injured at the start of February and the Norwegian striker has made astonishing progress as a player since I saw him when he came on loan to Preston in 2010.

The Cherries are already in the top 10 and, if they can become a little bit meaner defensively, then they can continue their progress next season.

Leicester will go above them - and into the top half - with a win, however, and that is what I think will happen.

I do not understand why the Foxes have not revealed yet whether Craig Shakespeare will stay on as manager, but he deserves to keep the job because he turned their season around.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0
15 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:55
Liverpool v Middlesbrough

A win for Liverpool will secure a top-four finish and surely even they cannot slip up this time.

It is all very well saying because Middlesbrough are down already, the pressure is off them and they can go to Anfield and play their football - well, I have not seen Boro play any for the past 37 games.

One big effort from Liverpool will get them over the line, and there will be a good atmosphere which will help.

It is a big game and if they are not revved up and they cannot beat Boro, then they do not deserve to be in the Champions League.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0
16 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:55
Man Utd v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace are safe from relegation and in normal circumstances I would be expecting an open game on the final day of the season.

But I have no idea what sort of team either manager will put out, so it is very difficult to predict the outcome.

Jose Mourinho will make lots of changes before Wednesday's Europa League final, but he has such a big squad that it could still be a strong Manchester United side, if he wants it to be.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1
17 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:55
Southampton v Stoke

Southampton are guaranteed a top-half finish and can make sure of a top-eight finish with a win, which underlines that they have had another very good season.

Stoke's form has been heading in a downhill direction for a while now but the nature of the last day of the season always throws up some unexpected results, and I think this game will provide one of them.

Lawro's prediction: 1-2
18 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:55
Swansea v West Brom

This could have been a very tense affair but the pressure is off Swansea after they secured their survival last weekend, and instead it will be party time for them.

I was at West Brom's defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday and they will not change - Tony Pulis will set them up to try to make life difficult for the opposition.

Again, this game is hard to predict because there is nothing really riding on it but I think Paul Clement will have three points to celebrate, as well as staying up.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1
19 Name: 606 2017-05-19 21:56
Watford v Man City

I had been wondering for a while what was going to happen to Watford boss Walter Mazzarri, and it was no surprise when it was announced this week that he will be leaving.

I think the Hornets will play well in his farewell game but I still think Manchester City will get the win they need to secure third place.

City are playing well and I thought Vincent Kompany looked great at the back when I watched him against West Brom at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

An open game would definitely suit Pep Guardiola's side and surely Watford will not sit in, because what would be the point of that?

Lawro's prediction: 0-3
20 Name: 606 2017-08-13 16:56
Man Utd v West Ham (16:00 BST)

I see West Ham as a mid-table side looking upwards, but it is asking a lot for them to get anything at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have got a massive squad - in terms of quality as well as numbers, I think it is the best in the Premier League - and I think they are going to have a real go in every competition this season.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

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