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Lawro’s predictions v Olympic kayak champion Clarke

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson will be making a prediction for all 380 Premier League games this season against a variety of guests.

Lawro’s opponent for this week’s Premier League fixtures is Joe Clarke, who won kayak gold for Great Britain at the Rio Olympics.

The 23-year-old Stafford and Stone Canoe Club slalom canoeist is a lifelong Stoke City fan and told BBC Sport: “I first went to watch them with my granddad when I was about eight.

“I just remember that it was very cold. But it is always cold there. That is what resonates with me as a Potters fan – it is always cold, but we always go.”

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Olympic gold medallist Joe Clarke predicts this week’s Premier League games

Winning Olympic gold gave Clarke the chance to meet his heroes at their training ground, and he had an eventful visit.

Clarke explained: “I went to see the Stoke players and staff when I got back from Rio, which was a crazy experience. They were all so friendly.

“I opened the door and was greeted by the captain, Ryan Shawcross, then had breakfast in the canteen with the rest of the team.

“I went out to kick a few balls afterwards and put in a few crosses to Crouchy (Peter Crouch). They were terrible, but he still tried to sink them.”

You can make your own predictions now, compare them with those of Lawro and other fans, and try to take your team to the top of the leaderboard by playing the new BBC Sport Predictor game.

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

In the last round of fixtures, Lawro got six correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 Premier League matches. That gave him a total of 90 points.

He beat Strictly star Ed Balls, who got four correct results, with no perfect scores, for a total of 40 points.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

SATURDAY

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Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Joe’s prediction: Bournemouth will put up a good fight but I am going for Spurs. 1-2

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Arsenal v Middlesbrough

Boro are finding life tough in the top flight and it is their lack of goals that concerns me most.

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They have not picked up a single point this season after falling behind in a game, so the first goal is going to be very important on Saturday. You have to fancy Arsenal to get it.

The Gunners have now won seven games in a row in all competitions and it is hard not to see them making it eight on Saturday.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Joe’s prediction: 3-0

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Burnley v Everton

Burnley’s home form is becoming even more important in their bid to stay up, because they pose hardly any threat when they play away.

I suspect Clarets boss Sean Dyche might tweak his formation to increase their attacking power but, even if he sticks with their usual 4-5-1, his side will hound the life out of Everton.

The Toffees showed against Manchester City last week that they can cope with sustained pressure and still look dangerous at the other end, but I see this one ending up all-square.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Joe’s prediction: This is a tricky one. I quite fancy Burnley to sneak it. 1-0

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Hull v Stoke

Hull have conceded 17 goals in their past four league games and are just starting to fall apart.

As with the other newly promoted clubs, Middlesbrough and Burnley, it now appears that if you play well against them, you will beat them.

Stoke, in contrast, are looking far more solid of late and are now three games unbeaten. I think their improved run will continue.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Joe’s prediction: The most important game of the weekend. Our last two results (a draw at Manchester United and home win over Sunderland) have been a bit more positive and the team has played better too – now let’s see if we can keep that up and climb the table to where we should be.

Hopefully Jack Butland will be back in goal soon because he gives the other players a lot of confidence. Up the Potters! 0-2

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Leicester v Crystal Palace

Leicester’s away form is a problem – they have lost all four on the road in the league and look completely open, which is the opposite of last season.

Things are different for the Foxes at home, though, where they remain unbeaten in the league.

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Islam Slimani is starting to look like a real threat to Jamie Vardy’s place up front, which is what Vardy needs – he has not been playing badly, but he has also not scored in his past eight games for his club.

Vardy has not gone through a spell like this for a while and I think his problem is he is thinking about chances too much, and ends up snatching at them. Like most footballers, when he plays instinctively he is much better.

Palace’s five-game unbeaten run in the league was ended by West Ham last week but they remain halfway up the table and, if they finish the season there, they will be happy.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Joe’s prediction: Leicester have not found their form from last season yet so I fancy Palace to get something here. 1-1

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Swansea v Watford

Swansea were decent in last week’s win at Arsenal and played well in patches, although their better stuff came when the game had already gone away from them.

The Swans are going to find it more difficult when they have to take the initiative in games, especially against a Watford side that only got their first clean sheet of the season last weekend against Middlesbrough, but do not concede many goals.

I am going for a draw, which would be a far better result for Watford than it would be for Swansea.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Joe’s prediction: 2-0

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West Ham v Sunderland

Sunderland’s woes continued with another defeat – at Stoke – last week and their injury list is not getting any smaller either.

West Ham got an important win at Crystal Palace last week and will look to this game as a way of improving their record at the London Stadium too.

I fancy Black Cats striker Jermain Defoe to score against his old side, but I am backing the Hammers to come out on top.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Joe’s prediction: 0-1

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Liverpool v West Brom (17:30 BST)

The key for Liverpool will be dealing with West Brom’s set-pieces. I was at Anfield for this fixture last season, a 2-2 draw that saw the Baggies bully them and punish them at corners and free-kicks.

The Reds also have to be careful that they don’t over-elaborate in attack when Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are on the ball.

Both Brazilians are outstanding players but it is frustrating when they try a lot of clever flicks when they should just look to hold the ball up and bring other players into the game.

I do still think Jurgen Klopp’s side will create the most chances, however. If they can take them, they will win.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Joe’s prediction: I am going to have to go for Liverpool here – I will be in trouble with one of my friends if I don’t. 2-0

SUNDAY

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Man City v Southampton (13:30 BST)

Southampton look very solid at the back and do not seem to make too many mistakes. At the other end, Charlie Austin is going through the sort of spell where he cannot miss.

What Saints need is a combination of Austin’s finishing prowess and Shane Long’s legs – Long gets in lots of great positions but misses lots of chances, whereas Austin hardly seems to miss a chance, but cannot run away from anyone.

City’s defeat by Barcelona means they have now gone four games without a win in all competitions, but they were still top of the league going into the weekend.

Some people might be painting it as a crisis at Etihad Stadium, but it really isn’t.

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I am expecting Manchester City to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat at the Nou Camp in midweek. Sergio Aguero will be fit and available and he should start.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Joe’s prediction: I can see a big win for City. 3-0.

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Chelsea v Man Utd (16:00 BST)

Chelsea easily saw off Leicester at Stamford Bridge last time out but they will know better than to expect it to be easy when their former manager Jose Mourinho is back in town.

Mourinho did a job on Liverpool on Monday – when I looked at his team selection at Anfield, I wasn’t convinced but it worked.

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Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Jose Mourinho says side controlled game and crowd

United had pace in wide areas to combat Liverpool’s numbers. They defended well and David de Gea made two good saves when he had to.

I would expect Mourinho to nullify Chelsea’s attacking threat too, which is why I am going for another draw here – I just don’t think enough of the Blues’ forward players are performing well enough to break United down.

Victor Moses has been playing well, but we already know what he is capable of – the challenge for him is to produce that sort of form on a regular basis.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Joe’s prediction: This should be tasty. I am going to sit on the fence because I cannot call it either way. 1-1

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro’s best score: 140 points (week three v Laura Trott)

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

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37695277