HomeSoccerSoccer Premier League predictions: Lawro v pianist, singer-songwriter & Aston Villa fan Reuben James TV Channel

Soccer Premier League predictions: Lawro v pianist, singer-songwriter & Aston Villa fan Reuben James TV Channel

Soccer Premier League predictions: Lawro v pianist, singer-songwriter & Aston Villa fan Reuben James TV Channel

Lawro's predictions

The race for fourth place in the Premier League is wide open, with no-one making a convincing case that it is theirs for keeps this season – so who will grab the final Champions League qualification spot?

“Arsenal have got games in hand but I just feel that sometimes, when the pressure is on them, they cave in a bit,” said BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson.

“Tottenham are losing games and losing ground, and the problem for West Ham is that they don’t have the biggest squad. Wolves are outsiders too, because of their lack of goals.

“The top three will stay clear and I just think that, by hook or by crook, Manchester United are going to get fourth place. They are still picking up points even if the way they are playing is totally unconvincing at the moment.”

Snapshot showing fourth to ninth place in the Premier League: 4th Man Utd, 5th West Ham, 6th Arsenal, 7th Wolves, 8th Tottenham & 9th Brighton

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week’s guest is pianist, singer-songwriter and Aston Villa fan Reuben James.

James, who has a new album coming out in May, made his name writing and touring with Sam Smith, performing with him at the Oscars and the Grammys.

He is currently working on Smith’s new record after returning from Los Angeles this week, where he had been working with Marcus Mumford.

“I was there for a month so it was a long stint,” he told BBC Sport. “Thank god for NBC because it has kept me updated on the football – and the Villa.

“I only got back a few hours ago, and haven’t really had much sleep because of jetlag. My mum was like, ‘make sure you look up what has been happening before your interview’.

“I was like, ‘I am more prepared for this than any music interview, ever!'”

Reuben James
James grew up idolising a Villa goalscorer in Dwight Yorke but it is Villa’s goalkeeper who is his favourite player now. “I honestly feel that with Emiliano Martinez we have the best keeper in the Premier League,” he explained. “He gives me more confidence than anyone who has ever been in goal for Villa.”

James was born in Birmingham and brought up in Bromford, and there was only ever one team for him.

He explained: “Where I’m from, it’s either ‘Villa ’til you die’, or you are a Blue Nose – and I definitely wasn’t going to become a Blue Nose!

“My dad took me down the Villa every week and I just fell in love with them.

“Dwight Yorke was a massive hero of mine – I was a striker too – and football was my life for a long time until I found music. I was very upset when he left for Manchester United.

“Going to games was a big part of me growing up and experiencing different cultures – for good and bad. When you go to games as a kid you meet so many fans from different walks of life, which is real eye opener, but sadly I experienced racism too.

“I think you grow up so fast from watching football, because even when you are a kid you are surrounded by adults and you are in their world.

“Following Villa has given me plenty of ups and downs over the years, but I really do feel it is a great time to be a Villa fan right now.

“It’s great that we’ve got this great ambition again and the club is showing signs of intent – they’re not just buzzwords either, because it really does feel like it could be the start of something under Steven Gerrard.

“We’ve made signings like Philippe Coutinho – who we absolutely have to buy permanently in the summer by the way – and we’ve also got some fantastic young players coming through. The future is really bright, and I’ve not been this optimistic for a long time.”

Radio 1
James’ single Tunnel Vision was Sian Eleri’s Chillest Record on BBC Radio 1’s Chillest Show last year. He had his first UK headline tour at the end of 2021 and has collaborated as a songwriter with artists like Disclosure, Honne, Joy Crookes, Liam Payne and Little Mix.
Result Lawro Reuben
SATURDAY
West Ham v Newcastle x-x 2-0 2-2
Arsenal v Brentford x-x 2-0 2-1
Aston Villa v Watford x-x 2-1 3-1
Brighton v Burnley x-x 1-0 0-0
Crystal Palace v Chelsea x-x 1-2 1-2
Liverpool v Norwich x-x 3-0 4-0
Southampton v Everton x-x 1-1 0-1
Man City v Tottenham x-x 2-0 3-1
SUNDAY
Leeds v Man Utd x-x 1-2 2-4
Wolves v Leicester x-x 1-1 1-0

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

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

Games kick off at 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated.

SATURDAY

West Ham v Newcastle

West Ham v Newcastle (12:30 GMT)

Newcastle’s mini-revival is up and running, and they have a little bit of breathing space above the bottom three after winning three games in a row.

The way the Magpies beat Aston Villa last weekend wasn’t pretty, but it was the result that mattered for them.

Snapshot of the bottom of the Premier League: 15th Leeds, 16th Everton, 17th Newcastle, 18th Norwich, 19th Watford & 20th Burnley

To get anything out of a trip to West Ham is probably going to involve even more defensive effort and looks a much harder task for Eddie Howe’s side, especially with Kieran Trippier out injured.

The Hammers have been a bit up and down of late but they always seem to have at least one forward in form and firing. Jarrod Bowen is that player at the moment.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Reuben’s prediction: 2-2

Arsenal v Brentford

Arsenal v Brentford

Brentford ended their run of five defeats with a draw against Crystal Palace last weekend, but they still badly need a win to stop their slide down the table.

I don’t think they will get it at Emirates Stadium, though. Arsenal’s victory at Wolves last time out, with 10 men, was massive for them. It was a kind of ‘us against the world’ moment so I can understand why they celebrated it so much.

The Gunners have not been among the goals much recently – Gabriel’s winner at Molineux is the only time they have found the net in their past five games – but I think they will find a way through the Bees and get a bit of revenge for their defeat on the opening weekend of the season.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Reuben’s prediction: 2-1

Aston Villa v Watford

Aston Villa v Watford

Aston Villa were surprisingly passive in their defeat by Newcastle last weekend. Yes they were a bit unlucky to have a goal ruled out by VAR over such a marginal offside, but their threat really fizzled out afterwards.

In fairness to Newcastle, that was partly because they managed to keep Coutinho quiet, which not many teams have managed since he joined Villa last month.

No doubt Watford boss Roy Hodgson will try to come up with a plan to do the same, but he also needs to find a way of scoring.

The Hornets haven’t managed a goal in any of his three games in charge – and even if they break their duck on Saturday, at the moment it’s hard to see where their next win is coming from.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Reuben’s prediction: 3-1 to the Villa, with a Philippe Coutinho brace. Jacob Ramsey’s performances have lit a fire in the hearts of all Villa fans since he came through the ranks but Coutinho, with his vision and the passes he picks out, is world class – and he’s ours.

Brighton v Burnley

Brighton v Burnley

I watched Brighton at Old Trafford on Tuesday and they played really well – they were unlucky not to get anything out of Manchester United.

Their task on Saturday will be to break down Burnley, and Graham Potter’s side don’t usually score many goals. One might be enough for them this time, though, because I am not expecting a thriller.

Burnley were only edged out by Liverpool last weekend and got three draws in a row before that, including picking up a point against Arsenal and Manchester United.

In isolation those results would be great but Burnley desperately need to win a game – and it’s a big ask for them to start here.

The Clarets have got the worst away record in the top flight anyway and, if their new striker Wout Weghorst is out injured as feared, then that is hardly going to help.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-0

Reuben’s prediction: Not too much excitement here. 0-0

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Results-wise, Crystal Palace are on their worst run of the season, with no wins and only three points from their past five league games – but they are not playing that badly, and they are also not in any danger of relegation.

Chelsea have not played in the Premier League since 22 January, but they have had a week off since winning the Club World Cup and I think they will be refreshed and ready to go.

The Blues beat Palace 3-0 at Stamford Bridge at the start of the season and, although it will be closer this time, I think they will pick up another three points.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Reuben’s prediction: Wilfried Zaha to score for Palace, but Chelsea will win. 1-2

Liverpool v Norwich

Liverpool v Norwich

As expected, Norwich’s good little run was ended by Manchester City last week. Now they head for Anfield and it is obviously going to be another difficult day for them.

Liverpool are going to be hard to stop because, even if Diogo Jota misses this game with the ankle injury he sustained against Inter Milan on Wednesday, they have got Roberto Firmino to come into their attack.

Apart from Jota, everyone else is fit and Jurgen Klopp’s side are ticking along nicely at the moment. Even if he rotates his team, they should win comfortably.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Reuben’s prediction: I think Norwich boss Dean Smith should have been given a bit more time at Villa, but if anything he struck me as being a bit too nice for us. We need someone who can scare our players into performing, and Gerrard has definitely got that kind of mean streak. 4-0

Southampton v Everton

Southampton v Everton

Everton got the performance and the result they needed against Leeds last weekend, and that was a huge win for them.

Now their next target is to improve their form away from Goodison Park because they have won only once on the road all season, and that was back in August. Burnley are the only top-flight team to have picked up fewer points on their travels.

I wouldn’t underestimate Southampton, either. They have only lost once at home in 2021-22 and are a tough nut to crack at St Mary’s, as the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have already found out.

All things considered, Everton boss Frank Lampard will probably be happier if his side just make themselves a little harder to beat.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Reuben’s prediction: Frank Lampard is already making a difference at Everton. 0-1

Man City v Tottenham

Manchester City v Tottenham (17:30)

Tottenham beat Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season, but there are plenty of reasons it has not turned into the campaign that Spurs fans would have hoped for on the back of that result.

Antonio Conte started really well when he replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as Tottenham manager in November, but their recent form and results have been poor. I don’t think they are strong enough defensively but, more than anything, I am just not sure what sort of state they are in psychologically, because all does not seem very happy in their camp.

City? Well they just keep on winning. They took Sporting Lisbon apart in style on Tuesday and it will take something special from Tottenham to get something at Etihad Stadium. I don’t see it happening.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Reuben’s prediction: I was at the Villa versus Manchester City match in December where we gave them a really good game – we should have at least got a point – but the volley Bernardo Silva scored against us is the goal of the season for me. I was right next to it and it was very special – every other player on the pitch would have taken a touch but he just went for it and I felt like applauding it myself. He got another worldy against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday and there’s no stopping him or City at the moment. They are just too good. 3-1

SUNDAY

Leeds United v Man Utd

Leeds United v Manchester United (14:00)

This should be a good game, because both sides have got something to prove at the moment and it’s normally pretty lively when they play each other anyway.

Leeds didn’t really turn up last week against Everton at Goodison, but there is no danger of that happening when Manchester United are at Elland Road.

Manchester United were far from convincing when I watched them beat Brighton on Tuesday. Again, the result was on a knife edge until right near the end but they are still picking up points despite not playing particularly well, and I think they will beat Leeds.

Ralf Rangnick’s side have found it difficult when sides have sat in against them, but Leeds won’t do that. There are going to be times when the door is left open for the visitors, but can they take their chances this time?

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Reuben’s prediction: Leeds are beautiful to watch because they score and concede so many – our 3-3 draw with them last week was just a completely crazy game. Manchester United are on a stinky run at the moment but things might click for them if it is an open game – I’m going with goals in this one anyway! 2-4

Wolves v Leicester

Wolves v Leicester (16:30)

Leicester will be disappointed to concede an equaliser so late against West Ham, especially because they had recovered from a poor start and played pretty well for most of the game.

The Foxes still have some key players out injured, but at least there were some signs there of them coming back into form a little bit.

Unfortunately, their habit of conceding set-pieces and late goals has cost them a lot this season, and Wolves must be thinking they can take advantage too.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Reuben’s prediction: I’d usually say Leicester will win but I am going to give Wolves this one. 1-0

Lawro and Reuben were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last time?

In last weekend’s games, Lawro got three correct results from nine matches, with no exact scores, for a total of 30 points.

He was beaten by actor Jeremy Piven, who got five correct results with two exact scores, giving him a total of 110 points.

Lawro also picked up 40 points for correctly predicting that Manchester United would beat Brighton 2-0 on Tuesday.

His guests from week 18, when that game was meant to be played, were Femi and TJ Koleoso from jazz band Ezra Collective. They picked up 10 points apiece after backing United to win 3-1 and 2-1 respectively.

With three rearranged games still to be played from that set of fixtures, Lawro has 90 points so far. It is still down as a guest win for now, however, as TJ has got 110 points. Femi has 50.

Lawro's League Table graphic

TEAM P W D L PTS +/-
1 Man City 25 22 3 0 69 0
2 Man Utd 25 20 2 3 62 +2
3 Liverpool 24 17 7 0 58 -1
4 Chelsea 24 17 6 1 57 -1
5 Tottenham 22 12 7 3 43 +3
6 Leicester 22 12 6 4 42 +5
7 Leeds 23 13 1 9 40 +8
=8 Arsenal 22 10 5 7 35 -2
=8 Aston Villa 23 10 5 8 35 +4
10 West Ham 25 9 7 9 34 -5
11 Brighton 24 7 6 11 27 -2
12 Wolves 23 7 3 13 24 -5
=13 Everton 22 6 3 13 21 +3
=13 Southampton 24 6 3 15 21 -3
15 Newcastle 23 5 5 13 20 +2
16 Crystal Palace 24 4 6 14 18 -3
=17 Brentford 25 5 1 19 16 -3
=17 Burnley 21 4 4 13 16 +3
19 Watford 23 2 5 16 11 0
20 Norwich 24 2 4 18 10 -2

GUEST LEADERBOARD 2021-22

130 Jamie Webster
110 Friction, Jeremy Piven, She Drew The Gun, TJ from Ezra Collective
90 Dev from Idles
80 Call Me Loop, Tom McFarland
70 Lawro (average after 25 weeks), Ben Cajee, Elena Cole, Jelani Blackman, S-X
60 Haydn Craven, James Spence of Rolo Tomassi
50 Femi from Ezra Collective, Aqib Khan, Shaun Thomas
40 Dan Haggis of The Wombats, Murray & Tav from FUR, Martin Noble, Justin Young
30 James Arthur, Dan McCarthy from KAWALA, Roland Orzabal, Michael ‘Venom’ Page, Curt Smith, Roger Taylor, Zuzu
10 Tom Hughes

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