Lawro’s predictions v X-Men star Hardy

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson has been pitting his wits against a different guest each week this season.

Lawro’s opponent for the final round of Premier League fixtures is actor Ben Hardy, star of the new X-Men film.

X-Men star Ben Hardy<!–

Hardy plays Archangel in X-Men: Apocalypse. He has supported Arsenal since he was 10 and says his highlight was the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04. “It was just an amazing year”

Hardy, 25, used to play Peter Beale in BBC soap EastEnders but supports a north London team – Arsenal – and it is fair to say he has not enjoyed watching the Gunners fall away in the title race again this season.

“I am sick of it, it feels like Groundhog Day,” he told BBC Sport.

“I have got a lot of respect for Arsene Wenger but, reluctantly, I am in the ‘Wenger Out’ campaign.

“I think it is a case of ‘thanks for the memories, but let’s move on’.”

Media playback is not supported on this device

Ben Hardy’s Premier League predictions

Ben needs to score more than 160 points to knock stand-up comedian Nathan Caton off the top of the guest leaderboard.

Lawro’s final league table – based on his predictions – can be seen at the bottom of the page.

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

Last weekend, Lawro got three correct results, including two perfect scores from 10 Premier League matches, to give him a total of 90 points.

He lost out to two-time world darts champion Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis, who got four results correct, with two perfect scores.

Lawro also picked up 60 points from his predictions for the four midweek Premier League games (see 19:30 BST entry of Tuesday’s live text commentary).His opponent for those matches, world champion boxer Anthony Joshua, did not make any predictions for these games, which were postponed from FA Cup semi-final weekend, but has been awarded 20 points based on his existing points-per-match average, which was 30 points from six matches (five points per match).

Make your own predictions now, compare them to Lawro and other fans and try to take your team to the top of the leaderboard by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.


All kick-offs 15:00 BST


Arsenal v Aston Villa<!–

Arsenal v Aston Villa

The biggest decision I’ve got here is whether Arsenal will win 3-0 or 4-0.

There is very little new to say about Aston Villa, who were relegated on 16 April and have been bottom of the table since the end of October.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Aston Villa: How club went from Europe to relegation

But the fact that another big club, Newcastle, are also going down does not help their prospects of making an immediate return to the top flight.

There are only two automatic spots and Norwich, who have also been relegated, are something of a yo-yo club – so they also know how to get promoted.

With Villa the way they are at the moment, I don’t think they will be anywhere near the promotion shake-up anyway.

As for Arsenal, I still think it is down to Arsene Wenger to decide whether his time is up as manager.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Is Arsene Wenger’s time up at Arsenal?

The shareholders will not want him to go because he gives them Champions League football – and revenue – every year.

Obviously some of the fans do want a new man in charge but I am not sure who that would be.

Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti would all have been obvious candidates, but are all now unavailable at Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich respectively. Ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho might still be looking for a club, but I don’t think he is right for Arsenal.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Ben’s prediction: I want to say 6-0 because Villa have been so poor but it is going to be more a case of us scoring and clinging on to it, rather than pushing forward to get a bag of goals. 1-0

Match preview

Chelsea v Leicester<!–

Chelsea v Leicester

It is a nice touch by Chelsea to give new champions Leicester a guard of honour at Saturday’s game.

They probably did not appreciate Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri enough when they had him as manager – back in the days at Stamford Bridge where you got sacked if you did not win the league.

The result does not matter for either team but it would be nice for Leicester to go through the season only losing three league games, to two different clubs – Arsenal (home and away) and Liverpool.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Ben’s prediction: 0-2

Match preview

Everton v Norwich<!–

Everton v Norwich

It is no surprise that Everton have sacked manager Roberto Martinez.

The majority of supporters wanted a change, and were saying things like ‘he is a nice guy but it is not working’.

Every year under him, Everton’s position in the league got worse – that’s not the sign of a top manager making players better.

So the Toffees’ new owner Farhad Moshiri was never going be thinking that he wanted Martinez to stay and change everything around.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Everton: Are you Wigan in disguise?

Martinez is one of the game’s nice guys – maybe that might be his problem in terms of man-management. It is not all about putting your arm around players and saying they are great, sometimes they need a firework lit under them.

Norwich boss Alex Neil has admitted he has made some mistakes, but the biggest reason they were relegated is that they do not have a goalscorer.

Can they bounce straight back? Robbie Brady and Timm Klose will be in demand but, apart from one or two, I think they will keep their squad together which will help.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Ben’s prediction: 1-1

Match preview

Man Utd v Bournemouth<!–

Man Utd v Bournemouth

Manchester United still have an outside chance of a top-four finish, if they win and Manchester City lose at Swansea.

They should have no problems with the first bit of that but I do not see City being beaten in Wales with what is at stake for them.

Top of the Premier League table<!–

If United finish fifth, then I think that is it for manager Louis van Gaal – he would go no matter what happened in next week’s FA Cup final.

The United machine is not set up to win domestic cups, it is set up to be in the Champions League every season – that is what that club is about.

Many of their sponsorship deals will be linked to the exposure you get from being in Europe’s elite club competition, and they have spent an enormous money on players for them not to be in it next season – if that is what happens.

Let’s not forget Bournemouth’s achievements this season, though.

They are not on a great run with just one win in their past seven games, but the important thing for them is that they are staying up, and they did that comfortably.

The Cherries will not just be rolled over at Old Trafford, but I don’t see them stopping United from ending the season with a win.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Ben’s prediction: 2-1

Match preview

Newcastle v Tottenham<!–

Newcastle v Tottenham

Newcastle should do everything they can to try to persuade Rafael Benitez to stay on as manager, to organise the club and get them back in the top flight, because he is very good at that.

Bottom of the Premier league table<!–

Benitez has been touched by the support he has been given by the Magpies fans and I think he will get that again at St James’ Park on Sunday to encourage him to stay despite their relegation.

The Newcastle fans are not going to turn on the players either, because they are unbeaten in their past five games, have looked like a team, put in the effort and got some very good results.

I can understand why Tottenham were not themselves in their defeat by Southampton last weekend, because it is hard to play with the same intensity when the title has gone.

It makes a difference – just 5% at this level is massive – but I don’t think they will be lacking in motivation on Sunday.

A point makes sure they finish second, and above their north London rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1995, which will mean a lot to the Spurs players as well as the fans.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Ben’s prediction: I was terrified when it looked like Spurs might win the league because you would never hear the end of it but second or third for them and Arsenal? Who cares? It does not make much difference in my book and I don’t think us finishing second would be anything to celebrate. 2-1

Match preview

Southampton v Crystal Palace<!–

Southampton v Crystal Palace

The form Southampton are in, they will not want the season to end – only Leicester have earned more Premier League points in 2016 – 41 to 36.

It is all about the FA Cup final for Crystal Palace, although they did come back from a goal down to beat Stoke last week so they are not just going through the motions.

Part of that is down to fringe players like Dwight Gayle scrapping for a Wembley place but unfortunately they will have seen what happened to Joe Ledley, who broke his leg in that game and will miss the final.

Some Palace players will not have that at the back of their minds – all of them will.

It is human nature. It does not mean you are not trying, it just means you do not want to get injured.

If you are about to go away on your holidays then you do not start climbing up on your roof to fix the tiles the day before, do you?

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Ben’s prediction: 3-0

Match preview

Stoke v West Ham<!–

Stoke v West Ham

West Ham were great again in Tuesday’s win over Manchester United, as they have been all season.

Along with Leicester, they are the team I have been most wrong about in terms of their league position compared with where they would be based on my predicted results.

I have been given some stick for that, obviously, because the Hammers have had an outstanding campaign.

Stoke, meanwhile, have capitulated in the past few weeks, which might give their manager Mark Hughes something to think about over the summer.

But I do not see the Potters losing at home again, especially because they did not play while West Ham had that emotionally draining final game at Upton Park.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Ben’s prediction: 1-0

Match preview

Swansea v Man City<!–

Swansea v Man City

Francesco Guidolin is staying on as head coach of Swansea, who are ending the season well.

I am going to back Manchester City to get the point they need for fourth, although they never do anything the easy way, do they?

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Ben’s prediction: 1-2

Match preview

Watford v Sunderland<!–

Watford v Sunderland

I am not sure what state the Sunderland players will be in after they secured Premier League safety with Wednesday’s win over Everton.

It must be a great feeling, especially because they will have felt like they were walking the plank for the last two or three months.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Football Daily: Sunderland cheers, Newcastle & Norwich tears

Sam Allardyce has shown again how good a manager he is, by getting the best out of the players he signed in January, and the ones already at the club.

Presuming he stays, I do not see the need for another great escape from relegation next season. I would have them down for about 12th place.

If I were Sunderland owner Ellis Short, I would just be asking Sam what he needs in the summer – because Allardyce never spends his money badly at all.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Sunderland 3-0 Everton: It turned out rosy in the end – Sam Allardyce

It appears the Watford owners are planning a very different conversation with their manager Quique Sanchez Flores once the season is over.

I find it bizarre that it looks like Flores is on his way out after a year at the club. There is no recognition of the job he has done, just the belief someone else can do better – I am not convinced.

I think the players like Flores, though, which is why I am backing Watford to win. Defeat would not be the end of the world for Sunderland, either.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Ben’s prediction: 0-0

Match preview

West Brom v Liverpool<!–

West Brom v Liverpool

Liverpool will have Wednesday’s Europa League final in mind, and I think the same team that started Wednesday’s draw with Chelsea will start in Basel too.

I cannot see many – if any – starting at The Hawthorns on Sunday as well. Why take the risk?

Depending on other results, Liverpool can finish as high as sixth if they win this game – but they are in next season’s Champions League if they beat Sevilla on Wednesday.

I don’t think it takes much to work out what Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is going to focus on, which will help West Brom end the season with a win, after eight games without a victory.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Ben’s prediction: 1-3

Match preview

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro’s best score: 160 points (week 19 v Guy Mowbray and week 36 v Nathan Caton)

Lawro’s worst score: 20 points (week one v Graeme Swann & week 23 v Ice Cube and Kevin Hart)

Lawro's League Table<!–

You must be logged in to post a comment Login