Last week I started my quest to prove that Lawro’s predictions for BBC Sport were in fact useless, and that I could do a better job. It all started with ‘how hard can it be?’ I did rather well last week in fact, with 7 correct results & 1 perfect score giving me a total for my first week of 9 points. With eager anticipation, I checked Lawro’s predictions looking for my first win, knowing that his average was a measly 7, and immediately got destroyed because he had only gone and put up his biggest score of the season. So with great regret I can tell you that Lawro won with 6 correct results & 5 perfect scores giving a season-high total of 16 points.
For the rest of the season I will be keeping a table below of the total scores accumulated over the weeks as well as the wins and losses compared to Lawro, in the vague hope that I might win one of them and salvage some pride. The tables currently stand as follows:
Right, putting aside last week’s disappointment, let us dive into this week’s predictions:
Saturday 18th January
Sunderland v Southampton (12:45 GMT)
Sunderland are coming off the back of that tremendous win against Fulham last week, with Adam Johnson more or less winning the game on his own by tormenting John Arne Riise all day and ending up with a hat-trick. Whether he can have the same effect against the Saints’ outstanding young left-back Luke Shaw or not may well go some way to determining this game. Given all the off-field issues at St Mary’s this week, there is an argument to say the Southampton players come into this one distracted. But if I know anything about Pochettino, Cortese and the players at the South Coast club, they will be professional to a tee, with the issues just driving them to get a win for their beloved ex-chairmen. That, combined with their quality, should see them scrape a win here.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Arsenal v Fulham (15:00 GMT)
Arsenal are flying high at the top of the Premier League, despite everyone predicting them to drop off at some point, and for me, they are the favourites for the title as long as they can pick up a striker in the transfer window to give Giroud some back-up. Fulham on the other hand are floundering near the foot of the table, and are coming into this difficult game with memories of their humiliating home defeat to bottom of the table Sunderland last week. There is no good news for the travelling fans here either, with Fulham being the perennial punching-bags on their travels for many seasons, this looks like a comfortable home win. Arsenal won’t even have to get out of second gear.
Lawro’s Prediction: 3-0
Crystal Palace v Stoke (15:00 GMT)
Mark Hughes will face the man who he replaced as Stoke manager for the first time this week, knowing that at the moment, Selhurst Park is a tough place to go, with Palace having only lost two of their last six at home, only conceding six goals in the process. But Pulis will know how important a win in games like this is for his side, lying bottom of the Premier League table despite some good performances recently. A win for the home side here could potentially lift them to 15th and provide a huge boost in their battle against relegation, and I think Tony might just get what he wants here, due to Stoke’s horrific away form this season. Home win.
Lawro’s Prediction: 2-1
Man City v Cardiff (15:00 GMT)
In the reverse of this fixture, earlier in the season, Cardiff managed a shock win against the favourites for the title, but have never won away at City in 7 league and cup games, and it is simply impossible to see anything other than a home win here. Man City have been dominant at home this season, and with Yaya Toure, David Silva and Stefan Jovetic expected to be back from injury, combined with Sergio Aguero making his Premier League return after coming back to score against Blackburn in midweek, who would bet against the Manchester team making it 11 home wins out of 11. Good be a big scoreline.
Lawro’s Prediction: 4-0
Norwich v Hull (15:00 GMT)
Norwich will go into this game, knowing there is a real chance that if they lose it, they could end the day in the relegation zone, whereas Hull will know that they can keep their place in the top half with another win today. But it is games like this that will define these two team’s seasons, and I am backing Norwich to come out of this one with a massive three points for them. Norwich may be struggling, but they are good against ‘lesser teams’ (no disrespect intended Hull fans) with only 1 point all season coming against any of the top 8, compared with 19 from the rest of the league. So I’m backing them to show that kind of form again this week and get the 3 points to draw them level with the Tigers
Lawro’s Prediction: 2-0
West Ham v Newcastle (15:00 GMT)
Newcastle come into this game on a poor run of form, having lost their last three in the league without scoring, but West Ham’s home form is similarly shocking, with their fans having not seen them win at home since November. Something has to give in this fixture, but I believe Newcastle have enough to go down to London and come back with a win. They are too good to lose four in a row, and although West Ham have some players back from injury, including the influential Andy Carroll, I don’t believe that will be enough, especially given the off-field distractions surrounding Ravel Morrison this week. Away win.
Lawro’s Prediction: 2-0
Liverpool v Aston Villa (17:30 GMT)
This should be a really interesting game, because Liverpool with have the SAS back together, and Aston Villa showed signs against Arsenal, in the last part of the game at least, that all is not lost, and Benteke ended his goalscoring drought. Villa are set-up to counter-attack, and you can expect them to let Liverpool dominate possession in this game, and then break quickly when they win it. I expect a good game, and we could see a few goals, but I think Liverpool will just have too much for Villa.
Lawro’s Prediction: 2-0