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Lawro’s Premier League predictions v 80s pop legend Rick Astley

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 fixtures is legendary 1980s pop star Rick Astley.

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Astley is a Manchester United fan and says he did not really have any choice in the matter. “I did not even have to think about it,” he explained. “I always supported United because my older brothers do.”

He only began watching United regularly in the late 1990s when he took a break in his music career and his first visit to Old Trafford in 1998 saw the Red Devils beaten 1-0 by Arsenal, who are back in Manchester on Saturday.

Astley told BBC Sport: “United are so exciting as a team going forward but, like every team, there are certain days when it doesn’t click and when it is like that it is just painful.

“That was just one of those days unfortunately – so I might be a jinx.”

He has better memories of another meeting between the two sides a few months later, however, when he saw Ryan Giggs run past what seemed like half the Arsenal team to score his favourite United goal in a famous FA Cup tie.

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“It is an obvious one to choose as my favourite but I was watching the game in a bar at the Val d’Isere ski resort in France,” Astley said.

“The bar has a very low roof and the amount of people who banged their heads when Giggs scored was unbelievable – it just kicked off big time.

“It was weird because obviously the Arsenal fans were gutted but you could see in some of their faces that even they could appreciate it. It is just a ridiculous goal, almost as if someone wrote it down and said ‘there you go, just go and do that’.”

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 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 games before the international break, Lawro got four correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 Premier League matches. That gave him a total of 70 points.

He was beaten by former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger, who got five correct results, with one perfect score, for a total of 80 points.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

SATURDAY

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Man Utd v Arsenal (12:30 GMT)

Manchester United cannot afford to lose this game and their manager Jose Mourinho will set his team up accordingly.

His main aim will be to avoid losing, which is the Mourinho way. I am not expecting to see a really attack-minded United side, put it that way.

Since they lost to Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season, Arsenal have not lost in 16 games in all competitions.

The Gunners are in excellent form, while United have been inconsistent, but a draw at Old Trafford would still be a good result for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Rick’s prediction: I won’t be at the game, so I won’t jinx United this time. 7-0

Match preview

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Crystal Palace v Man City

Manchester City have also dropped some points in the past few weeks but what helps them here is they are well placed in their Champions League group.

That means City boss Pep Guardiola does not have to have one eye on their trip to play Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday when he picks his team for this game,

Crystal Palace have lost their past four league matches, and it is hard to see them ending that losing streak on Saturday.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Rick’s prediction: City are a bit of a mega-force right now so I have got to say they will win. 1-2

Match preview

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Everton v Swansea

Everton tried to go like-for-like against Chelsea in their last game by playing three at the back, and ended up being taken apart.

This looks like the perfect fixture for them to bounce back from that 5-0 mauling.

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Swansea have brought in Paul Williams as assistant manager as part of their attempt to end their slide down the table.

But they will find it hard to turn their season around because I don’t think the Swans players are good enough to get them out of trouble.

The Welsh side are up against their former captain, Everton defender Ashley Williams, at Goodison Park and boy do they miss him.

What you have to appreciate with Williams is that, besides being a very good player, he would have been a very big personality in the dressing room at Swansea. He is exactly the sort of organiser and leader they need at the moment.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rick’s prediction: 2-0

Match preview

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Southampton v Liverpool

It looks like Adam Lallana will miss this game after he was injured playing for England against Spain,

That would be a blow because Lallana has been up there as one of Liverpool’s best three players this season, but they can just bring in Gini Wijnaldum – or even Daniel Sturridge, who has scored on his last two appearances against Saints.

And I don’t think it would be a bad thing to reduce the number of former Southampton players facing their old club – Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne should all still start, even if Lallana doesn’t.

I remember playing against Brighton after I had joined Liverpool and I was in danger of trying too hard because I wanted to prove why I had left. My game suffered because of it.

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Southampton’s form has dipped a bit in the past few weeks and they have only taken one point from three games.

That is typical – it came just after I had said that their two centre-backs, Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte, and the goalkeeper Fraser Forster are as good as anyone in the league.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Rick’s prediction: 1-3

Match preview

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Stoke v Bournemouth

Stoke are unbeaten in six games and Bournemouth are yet to win away from home in the Premier League, so this one might look like a home banker.

But the Cherries can count themselves a bit unfortunate to have lost their past two league games, against Sunderland and Middlesbrough, and I would still say they have improved a lot since the start of the season.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Rick’s prediction: 2-0

Match preview

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Sunderland v Hull

This is a huge game at the bottom of the table, especially for Sunderland manager David Moyes.

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I would not say this game is must-win for Moyes – what he cannot afford to do is be beaten, because everyone recognises that Hull are going to be a bottom-six side and one of the Black Cats’ main relegation rivals.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rick’s prediction: 0-0

Match preview

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Watford v Leicester

I don’t feel as if I talk about Watford much from week to week but that is at least partly a positive from their point of view because it means they are in mid-table and also that they have usually not been either spectacularly bad or good.

The Hornets were pretty poor against Liverpool last time out, though, and I think they might be in for another difficult weekend, even if Leicester’s form on the road suggests otherwise – the Foxes have got the worst away record in the Premier League.

It will be interesting to see if Jamie Vardy starts for Leicester. Watching him play for England against Spain in midweek, it looked like he had got his edge back – and he could make the difference.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Rick’s prediction: I think Leicester are getting it back together. 0-1

Match preview

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Tottenham v West Ham (17:30 GMT)

The contract situation at Tottenham concerning Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris is a really interesting one. How Spurs deal with that problem, and whether they match their wage demands or not, will be a sign of the club’s ambition.

As for the game, Kane’s fitness will have benefitted from being allowed to leave the England camp early. He should start, like he did against Arsenal before the international break, and he should be a bit sharper now.

Spurs have drawn their past four league games but I fancy them to win here. West Ham will have to wait to pull clear of the relegation zone.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rick’s prediction: 2-1

Match preview

SUNDAY

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Middlesbrough v Chelsea (16:00 GMT)

I am on Match of the Day 2 for this game on Sunday.

Chelsea’s impressive form continued against Everton last time out and, although Middlesbrough are on a decent run of results, I do not see them stopping the Blues from making it six league wins in a row.

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Like Liverpool, Chelsea do not have European football to worry about, and seem to be building up a head of steam.

The battle at the top is great for the Premier League. It looks like the top five teams might pull clear and Manchester United have got a lot of work to do if they want to stay in touch.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Rick’s prediction: 0-3

Match preview

MONDAY

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West Brom v Burnley (20:00 GMT)

These teams have a few things in common – they are both in mid-table and managed by two very good British managers who know exactly what they are doing.

I am going with Tony Pulis’s West Brom to win on Monday, though. Sean Dyche’s Burnley side got a point at Old Trafford at the end of October but that is their only point on the road so far this season.

The Clarets do not have much of a goal threat away from home and I do not see the Baggies giving them many opportunities in front of goal.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rick’s prediction: 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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