Liverpool or Man Utd to win? Lawro’s predictions v rapper Wretch 32

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

Jose Mourinho parked the bus last time he took Manchester United to Anfield, but what will he do when he returns on Saturday?

BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson is expecting United to have a more ambitious approach, but not by much.

Lawro said: “United are a better team now than they were last year, and I don’t see them being as negative in their outlook as they were this time last year.

“But he is never going to send them out all guns blazing. Sadio Mane is injured, but Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will do some damage for Liverpool if United give them space, so I think Mourinho will set up his side to stop that happening.”

Lawro is going for a 1-1 draw – do you agree? You can make your own predictions now, take on Lawro and other fans, create your own league and try to make it to the top of the table by playing the new-look BBC Sport Predictor game.

Lawro week seven<!–

Lawro picked up 110 points in week seven, which saw him climb to 11,088th place out of a total of more than 225,000 users.

He will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.

Lawro’s opponent for this weekend’s fixtures is rapper Wretch 32.

Tottenham-born Wretch 32 describes himself as a “proper Gooner”, telling BBC Sport: “I’ve been an Arsenal fan for as long as I can remember.

“I’ve almost got too many heroes to mention, but I’ve got to start with Ian Wright. He is an absolute legend and the reason I supported Arsenal in the first place.

“I idolised him as a kid, wanted to play like him, wanted to meet him, wanted to know him, everything.

“Fast forward a few years and there are players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp… the list is endless.”

Wretch 32<!–

Wretch 32 took over the Arsenal Snapchat account for their 2-0 win over Brighton earlier this month. “That was fun and it was the result we wanted,” he said. “I had hoped for more goals but the Snapchat was going crazy and I suppose that is what I was there to do, just keep the vibe, which is what happened”

Wretch 32 took part in the Grenfell Tower charity match at Loftus Road in September – the Game 4 Grenfell. And he can count on some current players as fans.

“I’ve met quite a few,” he said. “I’m quite good mates with Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool, and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi.

“Whenever I’m doing a performance, if I am up in Liverpool or down here, then depending where the lads are they will come down and watch. It is always good fun.”

You can hear more from Wretch 32 on Football Focus on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 12:00 BST on Saturday.

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

Remember you can try to beat Lawro yourself by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

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

SATURDAY

Liverpool v Man Utd<!–

Liverpool v Man Utd (12:30 BST)

I still think this fixture is the biggest game in the country because of the history behind it.

It is always a huge occasion and it is probably the type of fixture Liverpool need right now just to fire them up.

Since they beat Arsenal 4-0 at the end of August, there has not been a game in which Jurgen Klopp’s side have played well for the entire 90 minutes.

Consequently they have dropped points because they have made defensive lapses after not putting games to bed.

Media playback is not supported on this device

How is Klopp doing at Liverpool? Fans and experts’ verdict

Liverpool have conceded an average of just under two goals a game in the league this season, so I am expecting United to score, especially with the form they are in.

Both teams will be missing some key injured players – Liverpool will miss Sadio Mane as well as Adam Lallana and, although it looks like Romelu Lukaku will be fit, United will be without Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini in midfield.

But the referee, Martin Atkinson, is going to play a big part in the outcome too because there are going to be quite a few tackles flying in from both sides.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Wretch 32’s prediction: I think this will be a very close game but United will take it. Liverpool have been playing well but United are on fire right now. 1-2

Burnley v West Ham<!–

Burnley v West Ham

Both of these teams won their last game before the international break, although West Ham left it late to beat Swansea.

Yes, they should be higher up the table with the players they have got, but I think that will happen now the likes of Manuel Lanzini are returning to fitness.

The constant speculation over Slaven Bilic’s future as Hammers boss is completely unhelpful, although at least that win over the Swans has stopped any talk that he would get sacked for a while.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Bilic relieved at Hammers victory

Burnley, who won at Everton, have had some impressive results on the road this season but the only team they have beaten at Turf Moor are Crystal Palace.

It feels like playing away suits the Clarets more at the moment – they like the opposition to come on to them, so they can react to that.

Yes, they have got some good players but the key thing is they work very hard, and they find it more difficult when they have to set the tempo of the game.

That’s why I think this one will end up in a draw, and I don’t think either side would be too unhappy with that.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Wretch 32’s prediction: 0-0

Crystal Palace v Chelsea<!–

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Crystal Palace are without a point or a goal in the league this season, but at least they will soon have Wilfried Zaha back in action after his knee injury, although it is unclear whether he is fit enough to start on Saturday.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Wilfried Zaha is feeling ‘the love’ from Palace fans

Chelsea have got a couple of injury problems, with N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata both out, but it is still a huge ask to expect the Eagles to get anything out of this game.

It would not surprise me if Palace are improved at the back since their last league game – their defeat by Manchester United – because they will have had more time working under Roy Hodgson, and that is one of his strengths.

But the question still remains as to where the goals will come from. We might not find out the answer for another week.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Wretch 32’s prediction: Sorry to my mate ‘Punch’ [Palace winger Jason Puncheon] but I am going for Chelsea, because I don’t think Palace will cope with their attack. 0-2

Man City v Stoke<!–

Man City v Stoke

Sergio Aguero is back in training after his car accident, which is great news for Manchester City although I am not sure they will risk him on Saturday.

Manchester City did not really miss the Argentina striker much last time out against Chelsea anyhow, and they are absolutely flying at the moment.

Stoke, who got a much-needed win against Southampton in their last game, picked up a point when they came to Etihad Stadium last season.

Media playback is not supported on this device

‘I haven’t actually retired yet!’ England recall for Crouch?

I don’t see that happening again this time though – all over the pitch, the home side will have too much for the Potters and you have to think their front five will find a way through.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Wretch 32’s prediction: I don’t think anyone else in the Premier League has a set of forwards to compare with Manchester City, but I think this one will end up a draw – or at least I hope so anyway. 1-1

Swansea v Huddersfield<!–

Swansea v Huddersfield

Neither of these sides have won for a while and they are both short of goals, which is also a big worry.

It is four games since Swansea last took three points, and they have only scored three goals in the league this season.

The big concern for Swans boss Paul Clement is they don’t really look like scoring either – it is not as though they are wasting chances, more they do not seem to create many.

Swansea have clearly not replaced Fernando Llorente, who allowed them to play the ball up to him, and play off him too, and they don’t seem to be able to get within shooting distance very often at all.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, have not won in five league games and have only found the net in one of those matches.

Yes, they have picked up a couple of points in draws but, after winning their first two matches, I think it is fair to say they now know what the Premier League is all about.

At the moment it looks like these two teams are going to be involved in the relegation battle, which makes the outcome even more important – especially to Swansea.

This is a game the Welsh side really do need to win, and I think they will find a way of doing that.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Wretch 32’s prediction: 1-0

Tottenham v Bournemouth<!–

Tottenham v Bournemouth

Tottenham are still waiting for their first Premier League win at Wembley, but I think it will soon be over because I just don’t see Bournemouth holding out the way that, say, Swansea did last month.

For one thing, the Cherries concede goals quite easily, and then you consider Spurs striker Harry Kane and the kind of form he is in.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Harry Kane is winning 2017!

And Spurs have to win this one, really. They have already dropped points at home to the Swans and Burnley – they cannot afford another slip-up.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Wretch 32’s prediction: The world will probably hate me for saying this but I have to be honest – Spurs will win. 1-0

Watford v Arsenal<!–

Watford v Arsenal (17:30 BST)

Arsenal have a couple of defensive worries, with Laurent Koscielny facing a fitness test before this game and Shkodran Mustafi definitely out for a few weeks.

But the Gunners have built a bit of momentum since their heavy defeat by Liverpool at the end of August, and I am expecting them to carry that form on here.

Arsene Wenger’s side have won six out of seven games in all competitions since the beginning of September, and the only points they dropped came against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Along with Burnley, Watford have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far, but they are actually yet to win at home under Marco Silva and I don’t see that changing on Saturday.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Wretch 32’s prediction: I am going for a 3-0 win – to Arsenal, of course. Arsene Wenger in or out? Wenger in for this season and then next season, we will sort it out.

SUNDAY

Brighton v Everton<!–

Brighton v Everton (13:30 BST)

It’s obvious Everton are lacking a striker, so they have do the best with what they have got until January.

But Toffees manager Ronald Koeman can do something about his other attacking issue, which is the lack of balance in his side.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Koeman has ‘no complaints’ about players

Koeman has got three players who want to play the number 10 role behind the striker – Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen.

Playing Sigurdsson on the left, which has been happening, does not get the best out of him or give Everton the width they need to be more of an attacking threat.

The challenge for Everton on Sunday will be to break Brighton down, because they are not a team that gives very much away.

Seagulls boss Chris Hughton has got a very pragmatic approach and I don’t think he will have been too bothered about his side’s defeat at Arsenal before the international break.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Many positives in Arsenal defeat – Hughton

That was a game Hughton would not have expected to get anything out of, while I think he will have this one down as a match that his team should not lose.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Wretch 32’s prediction: Everton will take this and Rooney will score the winner. 0-1

Southampton v Newcastle<!–

Southampton v Newcastle (16:00 BST)

I thought Newcastle were decent in their draw against Liverpool, and it was another example of how good Rafael Benitez is at setting his side up for games like that.

I don’t think the Magpies will fare so well on the south coast, however.

Southampton are another team that have been short of goals but they deserved to get something against Stoke in their last game, and I think they will edge this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Wretch 32’s prediction: 2-2

MONDAY

Leicester v West Brom<!–

Leicester v West Brom (20:00 BST)

Both of these teams went the whole of September without a league win, although it is Leicester who are in more trouble near the bottom.

It is a boost for the Foxes that Jamie Vardy is fit after missing England duty last week with a hip injury because they need him firing on all cylinders.

I am sure Leicester’s results will improve soon, and I am not too worried about West Brom under Tony Pulis either.

It is never panic stations with Pulis in charge, and the only thing he has to worry about is keeping the Baggies’ Chinese owner Guochuan Lai happy.

When you have any manager who, like Pulis, was not appointed by the current owner then I always feel they are under a bit more pressure from the top when their team is on a bad run.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Wretch 32’s prediction: Jamie Vardy will get at least one goal, and Leicester will win. 2-0

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last time?

In the round of fixtures before the international break, Lawro got five correct results, including two perfect scores, from 10 matches, for a total of 110 points.

He lost out to Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett, who got seven results correct with two perfect scores, for a total of 160 points.

*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster’s score contributes to the guest total.

Lawro’s best score: 120 points (week one v Foster and Cram)

Lawro’s worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, and week five v Non Stanford)

Lawro's League Table<!–

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *