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Premier League predictions: Lawro grapples with UFC star Michael Bisping


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 UFC star Michael Bisping.

Englishman Bisping, who is also starring in new action film xXx: Return of Xander Cage, is a Manchester United fan – and unsurprisingly backs them to beat old foes Liverpool.

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Bisping, 37, is the current UFC middleweight champion

You can make your Premier League 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.

On FA Cup third-round weekend, Lawro got nine correct results, including three perfect scores from the 32 ties for a total of 180 points.

He was up against a trio of YouTubers – Manchester City fan Alex from Blue Moon Rising TV, Tottenham supporter Barnaby from Spurred On and Arsenal fan Reev.

Alex came out on top, with 14 correct predictions, including three perfect scores.

Those scores do not count towards Lawro’s total for the season from Premier League fixtures or appear on the guest leaderboard.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

SATURDAY

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Tottenham v West Brom (12:30 GMT)

West Brom went out of the FA Cup to Championship side Derby last weekend but they had enough shots – 28 to seven for the Rams – to win that game.

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Highlights: West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Derby County

The Baggies will create chances at White Hart Lane too and will make it difficult for Tottenham, as they do against every team.

But I still expect Tottenham to win, because they are absolutely flying right now. Dele Alli is on fire for Spurs and the game must seem so easy to him at the moment.

He made the difference in their win over top-of-the-table Chelsea in their last Premier League game, when he stood out from every other player on the pitch.

When Alli is in that kind of form, Spurs are hard to stop.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Read our match preview

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Burnley v Southampton

Southampton played very well in their win over Liverpool in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, but they don’t frighten teams away from home.

Six of their nine goals on the road this season came in the two wins they have managed so far – at West Ham and Bournemouth. In their other eight games they have managed just three more.

Burnley are a top-five team based on their results at Turf Moor so, weighing all of that up, this might seem like a home banker.

But you cannot expect the Clarets to win every home game they play, which is why I throw in a draw for them every now and again.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Read our match preview

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Hull v Bournemouth

It is early days for Hull under their new manager Marco Silva. They beat Swansea in the FA Cup and, although they lost at Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-final, their performance was respectable.

I think if I were a Hull fan, I might actually be thinking now that we should give this fellow a chance.

Forget the owners, who are the reason they are in this mess, Silva is their only hope of staying in the division.

It is going to be tough for the Tigers on Saturday, though, because they played in midweek and Bournemouth did not.

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FA Cup: Millwall 3-0 AFC Bournemouth highlights

In fact the Cherries first team have had 11 days to prepare for this game, after being given last weekend off.

As much as I like Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, I don’t understand why he picked the team he did in their FA Cup defeat by Millwall.

That is the main reason I would back them to win this game but I still do not think it was the right decision.

Unlike Hull, the Cherries did not have a game in midweek so would still have had that advantage. Bournemouth are safe in mid-table. Why not try to stay in the cup and give their fans a bit of a run to enjoy?

Instead, Howe picked their reserves. It beggars belief – I don’t get it.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Read our match preview

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Sunderland v Stoke

Sunderland are already down to the bare bones because of injuries but I think they will hang on to in-demand striker Jermain Defoe unless someone comes in with an absolutely crazy bid for him.

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Stoke are 11th, on 24 points – nine points above third-bottom Sunderland

The problem for the Black Cats is that everyone else down at the bottom of the table is looking to improve their squad, not just keep it together. Signing players just does not look like it is a possibility for David Moyes.

But this is still a game that Sunderland will expect to get something from, and rightly so. In their last home league game they drew 2-2 with Liverpool and I thought they were decent.

That is why I am going for a draw. It is not much good to either team, but at least it keeps Stoke ticking over in mid-table – there is no way they are in relegation trouble.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Read our match preview

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Swansea v Arsenal

Swansea are one of the teams fighting relegation who are looking to sign players.

Their new manager Paul Clement has come in with different ideas and a fresh voice, which are both positives, but at the moment he has the same squad that has been struggling all season.

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FA Cup: Preston North End 1-2 Arsenal highlights

Arsenal had to fight back to get a draw at Bournemouth in their last league game and also came from a goal down to beat Preston in the FA Cup, but I think this victory will be far more straightforward.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Read our match preview

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Watford v Middlesbrough

This is in an interesting game because Watford manager Walter Mazzarri is under pressure and losing to a team below them in the table is not going to improve his prospects.

Everyone knows how Middlesbrough play now, and how hard they are to break down. Watford will have to be careful.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Read our match preview

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West Ham v Crystal Palace

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has taken a brave stand against Dimitri Payet, and I think it will work in his favour.

Bilic is saying to the fans that, as good as this guy was last season, we gave him a new contract and now he does not want to play for us – so I am just going to pick people who do.

I think that is a good thing, but what Bilic really needs is three points after the Hammers’ heavy FA Cup defeat last time they played at home.

I don’t think they will get them, although this game is very hard to call.

It is a London derby and it would also be a big first win for Sam Allardyce as Crystal Palace manager – but I am going for a draw.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Read our match preview

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Leicester v Chelsea (17:30 GMT)

I just get the impression with Leicester that games like this get them going.

There will be a big crowd, and a great atmosphere, just as there was when the Foxes beat Manchester City in December.

I get the feeling there will be a similar result too, although I do not see Leicester putting four past Chelsea.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Read our match preview

SUNDAY

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Everton v Man City (13:30 GMT)

Everton have already started their shopping in the January sales and I would expect one of their new signings, Morgan Schneiderlin, to go straight into their midfield on Sunday.

Manchester City could have their own new-boy, Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, involved at some point – but I cannot see Pep Guardiola just throwing him straight in.

Goodison Park will be rocking because it is City, and because Everton are signing some players. I am not sure the feel-good factor will be enough for them, though.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

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Man Utd v Liverpool (16:00 GMT)

Manchester United got a 0-0 draw at Anfield in October in a game that was basically a Jose Mourinho masterpiece.

His gameplan was to restrict Liverpool to relatively few chances, and it worked.

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United will be far more ambitious in attack at Old Trafford, however, and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has some big decisions to make over the fitness of some of his players.

If Joel Matip is 75% fit I think Klopp will be tempted to play him, especially if Jordan Henderson is not quite ready.

This is a massive game for both teams and I think it will end up with a point apiece. I think Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham would settle for that result too.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro’s best score: 160 points (week 13 v Tim Vine)

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

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38555870