As part of his weekly feature for BBC, the former Liverpool defender has made predictions regarding which teams he thinks will emerge victorious after this round of fixtures.
Lawrenson has predicted that the current league leaders, Manchester City, will continue their club-extending record of 19 wins and gain a 20th win in a row over David Moyes’ Europe searching West Ham at the Etihad. A win for City would really go a long way towards regaining the title that they lost last season.
In the battle at the wrong end of the table, Lawro has gone for a draw between West Brom and Brighton at the Hawthorns. A draw for Brighton, while not helpful, would help them edge away from the relegation zone with the Baggies being in the position where draws are likely not enough for them at this stage of the season.
A battle between two teams who have seen their revival’s rocket them up the league, Leeds and Aston Villa also have a mini rivalry that promises to make this an exciting match for the neutrals. On this occasion, Lawrenson has predicted a Leeds win but with the recent history being so equally divided, this is a match that could hinge on key decisions which either team could take advantage of. With the advantage of home turf, perhaps it is accurate Leeds go into the match with a slight advantage.
The last of Saturday’s matches see a struggling Newcastle side against an under-performing Wolves. A win for Wolves, as Lawrenson has opted for, would see them move further up the table and begin to put some gloss on what has been an average season. Newcastle, on the other hand, need to start firing with Fulham closing up rapidly, now being only four points behind ahead of this weekend.
Another match that could see the relegation battle tip in favour of one team is Crystal Palace against Fulham at Selhurst Park. While Lawro has gone for a home win, Fulham’s current form means it would not be a surprise to see them pick something up here. Inclusion or exclusion of Palace talisman, Wilfred Zaha may be the factor that decides this game, one way or another.
10 years ago, this would have been an easy Arsenal victory but with Leicester looking good in the Champions League places and Arsenal floundering, an easy Leicester victory is the go here. Lawrenson has predicted an easy Leicester win and I’m inclined to agree with Leicester going further along the road towards welcoming Europe’s great names again next season.
Two teams not in amazing form now, but a home victory is to be expected when Tottenham host Burnley. Although Spurs have struggled of late, Burnley’s difficulty against 10-man West Brom, exposed their weakness in front of goal. A resolute rear-guard and grinding out a result would not be unusual for Sean Dyche’s men, however, as they did at Anfield last month in their famous victory against Liverpool.
Chelsea and Manchester United is one of the Premier League’s blockbusters but Lawro sees this as a draw and while I and many neutrals would love to see a free flowing, enterprising game, I foresee this being and edgy game between two teams gunning for the Champions League. This is the kind of game where VAR could easily be the factor that splits the teams with a possible red card or penalty award to either team.
Sheffield United and Liverpool has the hallmarks for an upset, although Lawrenson has predicted his old team to emerge victorious. United come into the game scrapping for their top-flight lives and the defending Champions come into this in awful form, looking to arrest a slide down the table that sees them in 6th position and currently not even qualifying for the Champions League. If the Reds turn up and showcase their famous fighting qualities that made them Champions last term, then this is an easy away win but if Liverpool are off form and United make themselves hard to beat then who knows?
Finally, on Monday, Everton host Southampton and just like Lawro, I am predicting a home win at Goodison. Simply put, Southampton’s form is relegation form, and they need to get on top of it or they could find themselves having nervous days ahead as we move into the tail end of the season. Then you have Everton, a team completely in opposite form. After a great start to the season that had begun to stall out, the Toffees have brought themselves back to life in the European scrap with an historic win at Anfield lighting the touch paper for the Merseysiders to seize advantage and close up further this weekend, something I expect them to do.
Mark Lawrenson’s predictions
Man City 2-0 West Ham
West Brom 1-1 Brighton
Leeds 2-0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 0-2 Wolves
Crystal Palace 2-1 Fulham
Leicester 2-0 Arsenal
Tottenham 2-0 Burnley
Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd
Sheff Utd 0-2 Liverpool
Everton 2-0 Southampton