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Lawro’s Premier League predictions v darts star Michael van Gerwen

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 different guests.

Lawro’s opponent for this week’s Premier League fixtures is world number one darts player Michael van Gerwen

Van Gerwen is one of eight players competing in the Champions League of Darts, a new PDC tournament which will be shown live on the BBC on 24 and 25 September.

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Van Gerwen was PDC world champion in 2014

The Dutchman is a PSV Eindhoven fan, whose hero as a boy was Ruud van Nistelrooy.

“Ruud was probably my favourite player, but I was a big fan of Mark van Bommel too,” Van Gerwen told BBC Sport.

“PSV are doing all right at the moment – we took four points out of six against Manchester United in the Champions League group stage last season – but overall right now Dutch football is not very strong.”

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 before the international break, Lawro got seven correct results, with no perfect scores, from 10 Premier League matches. That gave him a total of 70 points.

He beat Radio 1Xtra DJ Charlie Sloth, who got five correct results, with no perfect scores, for a total of 50 points.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

SATURDAY

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Man Utd v Leicester (12:30 BST)

Manchester United have not looked right since they lost the Manchester derby. I think Jose Mourinho has been picking who he thinks are his best players but, with the formations he has been using, it is not working.

Wayne Rooney, in particular, has been really poor. As good a player as he is, he is not playing well at the moment and I think it is time to take him out of the team.

It might only be for a game or two, just to get the message across of what he needs to do to get back in the team. At the moment it looks to me like Rooney has lost a little bit of his hunger and is not quite sure where he wants to play. I don’t think Mourinho knows either.

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MOTD3: ‘Somebody needs to be dropped’ at Manchester United

For me, Michael Carrick has to come back into United’s midfield, firstly to sit in front of the back four and shield them a little bit more. He can play centre-back anyway so when the full-backs push forward he can drop in and become the extra defender.

Carrick also sees passes in the way Marouane Fellaini doesn’t. He is like a metronome, and it is his calmness and ability to keep the ball that would make the biggest difference to United’s tempo.

MOTD2 analysis: Man Utd lacking width, a playmaker and a plan

Leicester have lost both their away league games so far, at Hull and Liverpool. They are still a decent side but, understandably, they have struggled to replace N’Golo Kante and are not at the same level they were last season.

I think they will let United have some chances on Saturday and I am backing Mourinho’s side to win, with the proviso he has to address his selection issues – chiefly that of Rooney.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 2-1

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Bournemouth v Everton

Both of these teams are out of the EFL Cup after making lots of changes against Championship teams in midweek, which I think is something of a missed opportunity.

Neither of them are in Europe so why not have a go at it? I don’t get it – Everton have started well in the league, Bournemouth much less so, but in both scenarios I don’t see the harm of trying to have a good cup run, building some momentum and going for some silverware.

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British managers must prove themselves – Howe

Everton boss Ronald Koeman and Cherries manager Eddie Howe have both criticised their team after those displays, and I think they will be much-improved – and much-changed again – on Saturday.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 1-2

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Liverpool v Hull

Hull have conceded more shots per game – an average of almost 22 – than any other Premier League team this season, and I think their backline is going to be busy again at Anfield.

Liverpool at the moment are very difficult to stop in attack. They have several players who are all rapid, interchangeable, comfortable on the ball and can drop a shoulder and beat somebody.

I thought they were just outstanding in the first half of last week’s win over Chelsea, when their one- and two-touch was seriously impressive.

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Jurgen Klopp praises ‘brilliant’ start as Liverpool beat Chelsea

If Liverpool play as well as they can do against Hull, they will win – it won’t matter how many men Hull put behind the ball, because they will engineer some space.

But the key to the Reds making the top four will be whether they can win games like this one when they are just average. When I see them do that, I will be much more confident about their prospects.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 1-0

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Middlesbrough v Tottenham

Harry Kane’s injury is an obvious concern for Tottenham, especially because it is still unclear how severe it is.

But this is a great opportunity for Vincent Janssen, who they spent a lot of money on over the summer.

Janssen might have thought he would be sitting on the bench for a while, but after getting his first goal for Spurs against Gillingham, now he can show what he can do in the Premier League too.

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Tottenham can win all competitions – Walker

Middlesbrough have just lost back-to-back league games and I just wonder whether the momentum you bring up with you as a promoted club is just starting to run out.

Sometimes that momentum makes up for a lack of quality and we will find out a lot about Boro in the next few weeks.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 0-2

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Stoke v West Brom

It is appropriate that Tony Pulis is going back to his former club Stoke for his 1,000th competitive game as a manager. It is a fantastic achievement.

The Potters’ unhappy start to the season continued against Crystal Palace last weekend, then against Hull in the EFL Cup in midweek.

But down the years we have seen that Stoke’s owners do not panic – they did not win until their seventh game of last season when they went on to finish ninth.

If they were to win on Saturday, they would have a better record after six games than they did then.

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Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke: Poor starts are costing Stoke – Hughes

Stoke seem to have stopped being difficult to beat, which was something they always were when Pulis was in charge, and in the last couple of seasons under Mark Hughes.

I think we might see them revert to that sort of mentality which sort of says ‘we start with a point, and that is the least we are going to get’.

I am going to go for a draw too. West Brom got a good win last week against West Ham and, despite some recent uncertainty off the field because a takeover was going through, you just know that under Pulis they will do all right.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 1-1

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Sunderland v Crystal Palace

I thought Sunderland played okay in their defeat at Tottenham last time out in the Premier League. Defensively they are getting better but their lack of quality in midfield is still a cause for concern.

That is a pity because with someone like Jermain Defoe in their side, they know that if they make him a few chances then he will take some of them.

Sadly for Sunderland, it is creating openings that is their problem right now in all competitions.

On average, they have had the fewest shots – an average of 5.6 – per game than any other top-flight side this season, and the three goals they have scored in their first five games is also a joint-low in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, are going for their third win in a row.

The Eagles will fancy their chances at the Stadium of Light on the back of their upturn in form, but I just have a feeling Sunderland will edge this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 0-0

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Swansea v Man City

Francesco Guidolin has only been in charge of Swansea since the end of January, and he missed a couple of games last season because of illness, so it seems a little bit early to be talking about him being on his way out.

But that is the way the Premier League works these days, and there is already speculation over Guidolin’s future.

Playing Manchester City twice in three days is unlikely to help, with City boss Pep Guardiola chasing his 10th victory from 10 games in charge. I think he will get it too.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 1-3

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Arsenal v Chelsea (17:30 BST)

Arsenal have won three Premier League games in a row, and it is Chelsea who find themselves under scrutiny after the manner of their defeat by Liverpool.

Chelsea have only kept one clean sheet in six matches under Antonio Conte so far, against Burnley, and it is clearly going to take a bit of time for him to get his message across.

Both of these sides are on 10 points, five behind leaders Manchester City, but I don’t think either manager can, or will, worry about City’s start. There is a long way to go.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 2-2

SUNDAY

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West Ham v Southampton (16:00 BST)

Southampton have the lowest shot conversion rate in the Premier League, just 6.45%.

Shane Long is probably most to blame for that, but Charlie Austin is a finisher and, as he showed last weekend against Swansea, if he is picked and gets a chance, then he will take it.

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Southampton 1-0 Swansea: First win lifts players’ spirits – Claude Puel

West Ham have been struggling at the back but they have been working hard to improve defensively, and it will come.

The Hammers’ off-field issues are obviously not helping but things at London Stadium will improve with time and this season was always going to be far more difficult than their last one, regardless of where they were playing.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Van Gerwen’s prediction: 1-0

MONDAY

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Burnley v Watford (20:00 BST)

Credit to Watford, I did not fancy them against either West Ham or Manchester United but they ended up with two impressive wins.

This is a big game for Burnley because the onus is on them to win it. Their attacking record is poor – they are in the bottom two for shots at goal and shots on target this season.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche has a decision to make because, if he plays two up front, his side look light defensively in midfield. If he doesn’t, they don’t create enough chances.

Watford generally play two up front, or a derivation of that, so if I am Dyche I am thinking we have got to go for it in this one. I think Burnley might nick it too.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Van Gerwen’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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We’re five games into the Premier League season – but how will the table look after 38 games? Pick how you think it will look at the end, placing all 20 teams in order. Have a go then share with your friends.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37431114