Lawro v The Coral’s James Skelly

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

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

Lawro’s opponent for the midweek Premier League fixtures is The Coral frontman James Skelly.

After a five-year break the Merseyside band have a new album coming out and and are about to start a UK Tour.

Rehearsals before they hit the road meant Liverpool fan Skelly had to miss a trip to Wembley on Sunday to watch the Capital One Cup final.

“I had a ticket but it was the last day I had to sort everything,” Skelly told BBC Sport. “So I had to watch on telly instead.”


Skelly says Robbie Fowler is his favourite Liverpool player of all time – “I always preferred the players who did not have the pace but have got it upstairs. What a finisher Fowler was – he scored a load of goals and he had a bit of devil in him as well”

Liverpool’s form has been inconsistent since Jurgen Klopp took charge in October but Skelly believes he will get things right.

He added: “I like Klopp a lot. He is a class manager, everyone knows that.

“It is going to take him a bit of time because he has an imbalanced squad but if we had our best team out all the time, we would probably be challenging for a top-four place now.

“It is really refreshing to hear him talk and he is passionate too. I sometimes sit right behind him in the main stand at Anfield, and I just end up watching him if the game is rubbish.”

Skelly’s best moment as a Liverpool fan was the 2005 Champions League final when they came back from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan.

“It has to be Istanbul,” he explained. “Me and my mate tried to leave at half-time but we were locked in.

“Instead we just thought we would eat a load of choc-ices and eat the pain away but as we celebrated goal after goal we lost the choc-ices and ended up waving the sticks in the air. It would have made a great choc-ice advert actually.”

Our scoring system has changed this season and a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is now worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

Last week, Lawro got five correct results from eight Premier League games, with no perfect scores. He also incorrectly backed Liverpool to win the Capital One Cup

His score of 50 points saw him beat Nobby Butcher – aka Sacha Baron Cohen, who picked two correct results but no perfect scores for a total of 20.

Lawro and Nobby can still pick up extra points for their predictions for the Premier League games which were postponed at the weekend because of the Capital One Cup final – Liverpool v Everton and Newcastle v Man City.

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 19:45 GMT unless otherwise stated



Aston Villa v Everton

Aston Villa lost again at the weekend and I think most of their fans are at the stage now where they would happily fast-forward to the end of the season, just to put them out of their misery.

Everton have not had a league game since they lost at home to West Brom on 13 February but this is the perfect fixture for them to bounce back from that.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

James’s prediction: I think Everton are going to smash them. 0-3


Bournemouth v Southampton

Southampton’s run of clean sheets was always going to come an end at some point but they will feel they were unlucky against Chelsea because they lost to a very late goal.

It will be interesting to see how they respond here – this is not the same as a game against Portsmouth from a Saints point of view, but it is still a big deal because it is a south coast Premier League derby.

I just fancy Bournemouth to edge it. The Cherries got a good draw at Watford on Saturday and, although they did not score in that game, they always test the opposition goalkeeper.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

James’s prediction: 1-2


Leicester v West Brom

I was at the King Power Stadium on Saturday to watch Leicester, and Norwich’s organisation meant they almost managed to hold the leaders.

I always felt that was going to be a problem now for the Foxes – that teams would just go there and sit back.

It meant Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez had relatively few opportunities, and the crowd were strangely quiet too – almost subdued – compared to what they have been like when I have been there before this season.

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Ranieri hails Leicester players’ belief

The atmosphere did get going near the end of the game and of course the crowd went berserk when Leonardo Ulloa came to the rescue off the bench.

West Brom will look do the same thing as Norwich when they go there on Tuesday. Tony Pulis’s side will make things very difficult, and I think they will see the job through.

The Baggies are over their little blip now, and Saido Berahino looks like he has got his appetite back.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

James’s prediction: 3-1


Norwich v Chelsea

I don’t think it will work if Norwich try to sit back and play the same way they did against Leicester, but this is going to be a very difficult game for Alex Neil’s side, however they approach it.

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Late defeat tough to take – Neil

The Canaries have got some lively front players but when I watched them against Leicester they did not look like they were going to score.

Chelsea’s good run continued against Southampton and they are clearly going to keep on climbing the table. I can only see them winning at Carrow Road.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

James’s prediction: 0-2


Sunderland v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s slump continues – they have not won in the Premier League since 19 December and have picked up one point from eight league games this year.

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Pardew ‘shocked’ by Palace start

I think Palace will turn it round at some stage but it will not happen at the Stadium of Light – Sunderland’s home form is hugely important to their survival hopes and it has improved of late.

Sam Allardyce’s side have taken seven points from their last four home matches and were unlucky against Manchester City in the only game they lost in that run. I am backing them to add to that tally.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

James’s prediction: 1-1



Arsenal v Swansea

Arsenal are my tip for the title but they were so disappointing in their defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

The Gunners have so many good players but they are such a strange team – every time you think they will kick on, they throw in a performance like that.

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Arsenal must come back stronger – Wenger

Swansea put up a good fight against Tottenham and Lukasz Fabianski made some great saves to keep them in it, but they still lost and it is hard to see them getting anything at Emirates Stadium.

To have any hope of winning the title, Arsenal quite simply have to win.

If they don’t, for whatever reason, their fans are going to have a real moan. Even if they do, there are going to be a lot of people doubting the Gunners ahead of Saturday’s north London derby.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

James’s prediction: 2-0


Stoke v Newcastle

Stoke are going well – previously they struggled a bit for goals but on a good day they have now got more than one match-winner, which makes a big difference.

Newcastle, who remain in the relegation zone, have not had a game for 18 days and have been at a training camp in Spain.

This is not the game they need right now and I just do not fancy their chances at the Britannia Stadium.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

James’s prediction: 1-1


West Ham v Tottenham

A lot of people are looking at Tottenham and thinking they can win the league – and they probably think they can themselves as well.

But this is a tough game for them because West Ham are not just a skilful side, they are very strong too.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

James’s prediction: I want West Ham to win but Spurs are on a roll. 1-2


Liverpool v Man City (20:00 GMT)

This game comes three days after Manchester City beat Liverpool on penalties in the Capital One Cup final and I don’t see Jurgen Klopp’s side getting much in the way of revenge.

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We feel rubbish – Reds boss Klopp

Firstly Klopp must decide what kind of team to put out, but City manager Manuel Pellegrini has to put out another strong side because he cannot afford to drop any more points.

It is no coincidence that City play well when the spine of their team – Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero – are fit and in form.

Just like at Wembley, Liverpool’s first task is to stop City. Too many of the Reds players went missing in the first half at Wembley, and they cannot afford to let that happen again.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

James’s prediction: I said before Sunday that whoever wins the League Cup will lose this game, and I obviously hope that is the case now. I could never back against Liverpool anyway though. 3-2


Man Utd v Watford (20:00 GMT)

The goals have started flowing for Manchester United again, and they have 11 in their last three games – although eight of them were against Shrewsbury and FC Midtjylland.

I think Watford will be a tougher nut to crack defensively and they will also look to hit United on the break, so they will cause Louis van Gaal’s side some problems.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

James’s prediction: United are having a difficult time but Liverpool fans are not really in a position to be laughing at anyone at the moment. At least we are used to being pretty rubbish, while it is a whole new thing for their supporters.

Also, we can see there is a clear plan for us under Klopp now – things are a lot more uncertain for United but, if they get Jose Mourinho as their next manager, then they will have a couple of decent seasons. 2-2

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

* Does not include score for postponed games

Lawro’s best score: 160 points (week 19 v Guy Mowbray)

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



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