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Premier League predictions: Lawro v Royal Blood drummer Ben Thatcher

Lawro's predictions

Liverpool have left themselves a lot of work to do to secure a top-four spot but can they kickstart their hopes of Champions League qualification at Old Trafford on Sunday?

“Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said after last week’s draw with Newcastle that the way they are playing at the moment, they don’t deserve to be in the Champions League,” BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson said.

“For me, he was basically saying ‘nah, this isn’t happening’.”

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week’s guest is drummer Ben Thatcher from rock band Royal Blood, whose new album Typhoons is out this week.

Royal Blood
Royal Blood’s first two albums reached number one in the charts and, combined, have sold more than 2m copies

Thatcher is a Brighton fan, who is hopeful his side have done enough to secure their top-flight status this season.

He told BBC Sport: “We are hanging in there!

“It is difficult to sum our season up. Points-wise it has been frustrating for us, but I also think under Graham Potter we have been playing the best football that I have ever seen us play.

“We obviously need more goals to go with that, because we so rarely manage more than one a game – it’s only happened eight times in 33 league games, and it means we never really finish games off and all our good play does not get a reward.

“We’ve only gone two goals ahead in two of those matches – against Newcastle home and away, and it’s a nice feeling being 2-0 up. We just haven’t had it very often.

“But what also hasn’t helped is that we have had some terrible results against the teams in the bottom three – we haven’t beaten any of them home or away, which is abysmal really.

Home Team/Position Away
Drew 0-0 18th. Fulham Drew 0-0
Drew 1-1 19th. West Brom Lost 1-0
Drew 1-1 20th. Sheff Utd Lost 1-0

“It has been a strange season in lots of ways, though. We’ve been on the wrong end of two things that I’ve never seen happen in football before.

“Firstly there was a penalty awarded after the full-time whistle had been blown, when we lost to Manchester United, which was the right call but astonishing to see.

“And then the craziest one for me was Lewis Dunk’s free-kick in our defeat by West Brom, where the referee allowed it, disallowed it, and then ruled it out for good.

“But we probably didn’t deserve to get anything from that game because we also missed two penalties as well. There was a lot to take in there!”

Royal Blood - vocalist and bassist Mike Kerr (l) and drummer Ben Thatcher, formed in Brighton in 2011
Vocalist and bassist Mike Kerr (l) from Worthing and drummer Ben Thatcher, from Rustington formed Royal Blood in Brighton in 2011
Result Lawro Ben
FRIDAY
Southampton v Leicester x-x 0-2 1-3
SATURDAY
Crystal Palace v Man City x-x 0-2 0-2
Brighton v Leeds x-x 1-2 2-1
Chelsea v Fulham x-x 2-0 2-1
Everton v Aston Villa x-x 2-0 1-1
SUNDAY
Newcastle v Arsenal x-x 2-1 2-2
Man Utd v Liverpool x-x 1-1 2-1
Tottenham v Sheff Utd x-x 3-0 2-0
MONDAY
West Brom v Wolves x-x 1-1 0-1
Burnley v West Ham x-x 2-0 1-1

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

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

FRIDAY

Southampton v Leicester

Southampton v Leicester (20:00 BST)

This is a re-run of the FA Cup semi-final from a couple of weeks ago and I think we will see the same outcome at St Mary’s Stadium as we did at Wembley – a Leicester victory.

Back-to-back Leicester wins in the league have given them a bit of breathing space ahead of the teams chasing them, and another victory here would be massive if the sides outside the top four keep dropping points.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s purple patch in front of goal has come at exactly the right time for the Foxes and they have got the firepower to win here as well.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Ben’s prediction: When I last took on Lawro [(on the final day of the 2016-17 season, the year Brighton won promotion to the Premier League] I was the only person to draw with him in the entire campaign. I’d like to beat him this time, despite his Brighton connections! As far as this game goes, we need Southampton to lose and Leicester need a win to stay on course for the top four – that’s what I’m going with. 1-3

SATURDAY

Crystal Palace v Man City

Crystal Palace v Man City (12:30 BST)

Manchester City produced a superb performance to beat Paris St-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

I’d expect City to make wholesale changes for this game, before Tuesday’s second leg against PSG, but the quality in their squad should make up for any lack of familiarity if the starting XI have not played together much before.

Win at Selhurst Park, and a third Premier League title in four years will be Pep Guardiola’s if Liverpool beat Manchester United on Sunday. Whether that happens this weekend or not, it is just a matter of time before City wrap things up.

Snapshot showing the top of the Premier League table: 1st Man City, 2nd Man Utd, 3rd Leicester, 4th Chelsea, 5th West Ham & 6th Liverpool
City need six points from their final five league games to secure the title

Palace have not signed off for the summer just yet – we saw that on Monday with the way they played well, and went ahead, against Leicester before being undone in the second half.

But the Eagles are safe – or as good as safe anyhow. They have got 38 points and they are not going to be caught by Fulham or West Brom.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Ben’s prediction: I’m making all these predictions on the basis of what I want as a Brighton fan. I’d be saying Palace would lose whoever they were playing but I can see that happening here anyway. There’s not much between us at the moment – they are nothing without Wilfried Zaha, basically. 0-2

Brighton v Leeds

Brighton v Leeds (15:00 BST)

I watched Brighton win at Elland Road in January and I’d argue the Seagulls haven’t played better than that very often this season.

Graham Potter’s side stood up to Leeds that day, and in the end they won comfortably – although typically they only scored once.

This time, I think it is going to be very close. It would help Leeds if Raphinha is back from injury but they are on a great run anyway.

I am glad to hear this week’s guest Ben is a Brighton fan, and I just hope I don’t upset him with my prediction for this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Ben’s prediction: I don’t see Fulham and West Brom catching us now. I think they are just a little bit too far behind, but I’d like us to make sure of that. We beat Leeds at their place, so I’m going for the same again. 2-1

Chelsea v Fulham

Chelsea v Fulham (17:30 BST)

Chelsea got a good result against Real Madrid on Tuesday but they could have done even better than a draw, and the Blues will have to be very careful in the second leg of that Champions League semi-final next week.

This game should be a lot more straightforward for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who are trying to secure a top-four finish too.

Snapshot showing the bottom of the Premier League table: 15th Southampton, 16th Newcastle, 17th Brighton, 18th Fulham, 19th West Brom & 20th Sheff Utd

Fulham did not play last weekend, but they are bottom of the Premier League’s form table with just one point from their past five matches, and it is going to take something very special for them to stay up now. I don’t see it happening.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Ben’s prediction: We need Fulham to lose this one. 2-1

Everton v Aston Villa

Everton v Aston Villa (20:00 BST)

Aston Villa got a last-minute equaliser against West Brom last time out but the worry for Dean Smith’s side is that they have started leaking goals.

At the other end, Jack Grealish’s absence through injury hasn’t helped but Villa’s season has petered out in the past few weeks and I fancy Everton here.

Last week’s win over Arsenal was massive for the Toffees. They still only have an outside chance of making the top four, but at least they are in the mix.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Ben’s prediction: 1-1

SUNDAY

Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle v Arsenal (14:00 BST)

Arsenal’s priority has to be the Europa League now, because it is the only way they are getting into Europe next season.

The Gunners are extremely inconsistent at the best of times and I just have a feeling Newcastle will come out on top here.

Part of that is down to the Magpies’ form – they have won two and drawn two of their past four games – but they also have their big guns back in attack and they have made a big difference.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Ben’s prediction: This one has got some goals in it. 2-2

Man Utd v Liverpool

Man Utd v Liverpool (16:30 BST)

It was a pretty turgid affair when these two drew 0-0 at Anfield in January, and I am not expecting a thriller this time either – these games are rarely great ones.

We might at least get a goal or two on Sunday, though.

Manchester United have been winning at home recently, but they have left it late to win their past two league matches at Old Trafford.

Burnley and Brighton have both scored there in the past month, so I think Liverpool will manage that too.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Ben’s prediction: Oh this is a big one. Liverpool are not scoring enough goals at the moment – they have got a touch of the Brightons about them. 2-1

Tottenham v Sheff Utd

Tottenham v Sheffield Utd (19:15 BST)

I was surprised by how poor Tottenham were in last weekend’s Carabao Cup final. They got their tactics all wrong.

Early on, they couldn’t get the ball off Manchester City and they couldn’t get out of their half. City basically battered them without scoring a goal before the break and, even in the second half, Spurs never looked like winning the game.

Things should be a bit easier for them against Sheffield United and they should create some chances this time too.

I know Sheffield United had a good win against Brighton last time out but the Seagulls still had plenty of opportunities to get something out of the game. Tottenham will find a way through.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Ben’s prediction: What has happened to Sheffield United this season shows how tough it is for teams like Brighton just to stay in the Premier League. What the Blades did in their first season counted for nothing, because every year you have to win the same battle. They seemed to be on a roll last season, and full of confidence, but the goals really dried up this time around. 2-0

MONDAY

West Brom v Wolves

West Brom v Wolves (18:00 BST)

Sam Allardyce got his first win as West Brom boss over Wolves at Molineux in January but his attempt to keep the Baggies up has never really gathered serious momentum.

Allardyce has picked up 18 points from his 20 league games in charge (0.9 points per game) compared with seven points from 13 (0.54) by his predecessor Slaven Bilic.

So they have improved since Big Sam arrived, but not enough to ever look like they would climb out of the bottom three. When push came to shove, the quality just wasn’t there – which we kind of knew anyway.

I think West Brom will be competitive again against Wolves this time, but I don’t see another win for Allardyce.

Wolves got taken apart by Burnley last weekend, and they will definitely tighten up a lot this time.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Ben’s prediction: Again, I need a Wolves win here. Hopefully they will get one. 0-1

Burnley v West Ham

Burnley v West Ham (20:15 BST)

What a fabulous result Burnley got last weekend, beating Wolves 4-0. The Clarets were never going to get relegated but they needed a response after losing three in a row and it was typical of their manager Sean Dyche to deliver one like that.

West Ham, meanwhile, are just starting to falter after losing their past two games. Without injured duo Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, I think they might struggle to get back on track at Turf Moor.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Ben’s prediction: I am a big fan of Dyche and I think he will get something here. 1-1

Lawro and Ben were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last time?

From the last round of Premier League fixtures, Lawro got three correct results from the eight matches, with no exact scores, for a total of 30 points.

He beat Wolf Alice bassist Theo Ellis, who got one correct result, with no exact scores, giving him a total of 10 points.

Lawro and Theo both correctly predicted the outcome of the Carabao Cup final, but they don’t get any points from that game.

Lawro's League Table graphic

TEAM P W D L PTS +/-
1 Man City 33 29 4 0 91 0
2 Man Utd 33 25 4 4 79 0
3 Chelsea 33 24 6 3 78 +1
=4 Liverpool 33 21 11 1 74 +2
=4 Tottenham 33 23 5 5 74 +3
6 Leeds 33 21 1 11 64 +3
7 Leicester 33 17 5 11 56 -4
8 Arsenal 33 16 5 12 53 +2
9 Wolves 33 14 10 9 52 +3
=10 Brighton 33 11 7 15 40 +7
=10 Everton 32 10 10 12 40 -2
12 Burnley 33 9 10 14 37 +2
13 West Ham 33 10 6 17 36 -8
=14 Aston Villa 32 8 8 16 32 -3
=14 Southampton 32 9 5 18 32 +1
16 Newcastle 33 8 4 21 28 -2
17 Crystal Palace 32 6 7 19 25 -4
18 Sheff Utd 32 5 6 21 21 +2
19 Fulham 33 3 0 30 9 -1
20 West Brom 32 0 4 28 4 -1

GUEST LEADERBOARD 2020-21

110 Sister Bliss, Amy Macdonald, Dot Major, Steve White
100 Tubes
90 Adam Devonshire, Becky Hill, Passenger, Chris Shiflett
80 Celeste, Dan Flint, Frank Harper, Peter Hooton, Raye
79 Lawro (average after 33 weeks)
70 Sam Carter, Lou Cotterill
60 Majestic, Caroline Weir
50 David Gray, Declan McKenna, Billy Monger, Paul Smith, Alex Sprogis, DJ Target
40 Gavin ‘Mo’ Edgeley, Ben Howard
30 Rick Astley, Lewis Evans, Steve Guttenberg, Gethin Jones, Fraser T. Smith
20 Charlie Forbes, Dougie Payne
10 Theo Ellis
0 Rema

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