Lawro’s predictions v Steve Cram

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 this weekend’s Premier League fixtures is former world champion athlete Steve Cram.

As the BBC’s chief athletics commentator, Cram will be covering this week’s World Indoor Championships in the United States.

But, as a die-hard Sunderland fan, he will also be following updates from Sunday’s north-east derby at St James’ Park.


Steve (left) aged 12 and his younger brother Kevin with the FA Cup after Sunderland beat Leeds in the 1973 final

Cram told BBC Sport: “We have to win, but both teams need to win – it’s a nine-pointer game if there is such a thing.

“I think it will be very tight on the day because both teams will be under an awful lot of pressure.”

You can hear more of his tales of supporting the Black Cats on Football Focus at 12:10 GMT on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

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.

From last weekend’s Premier League games, Lawro got three correct results from five matches, with one perfect score for a total of 60 points.

He was beaten by world champion boxer Carl Frampton, who got all five results correct, with one perfect score.

That gives Frampton a score so far of 80 points, and he can add to that tally when the five Premier League games that were postponed because of the FA Cup quarter-finals are played.

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 GMT unless otherwise stated



Everton v Arsenal (12:45 GMT)

Arsenal have won only one of their last eight games in all competitions – with their sole victory coming in an FA Cup replay against Hull.

It is not good enough and, of all the times of the season to hit a wall, this is the worst.

This is a bad time to be going to Goodison Park too, because Everton will be buoyed by their performance and win against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

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FA Cup: Everton 2-0 Chelsea highlights

Goodison is an extremely intimidating place to go when it is really rocking, and it will be the same against the Gunners because the Everton fans will smell blood.

Arsenal need to regroup, but the only thing they have really got to play for now is to make sure they are back in the Champions League again next season.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is under a bit more pressure than normal but I think, with his achievements at Arsenal, he has earned the right to be the person who decides when he goes,

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Cram’s prediction: This is a tough one – Everton have been struggling at home in the league, while Arsenal’s season is sort of falling apart. Maybe the Gunners might have something to prove here. 1-2


Chelsea v West Ham

West Ham put in another good away performance in their draw with Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final and they will probably feel they should have won that tie.

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Highlights: Man Utd 1-1 West Ham

Chelsea’s season was effectively ended by that FA Cup defeat by Everton, and they will be without suspended striker Diego Costa at the weekend.

I am tempted to back the Hammers to win again but Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink remains unbeaten in the Premier League since taking over before Christmas, and I think he will rack up another draw here.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Cram’s prediction: West Ham have been great away from home, while I am not sure what has been wrong with Chelsea this season. The Hammers to win? I was going to say 3-2, but I actually think it will be a 2-2 draw.


Crystal Palace v Leicester

Leicester remain on course for the title after taking 10 points from a possible 12 in some awkward fixtures in the last few weeks.

Norwich, West Brom, Watford and Newcastle look easy on paper but they aren’t, especially at this stage of the season.

I don’t see the Foxes winning all their remaining games, however, and I just have a sneaking suspicion they will have a little hiccup here.

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Highlights: Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace remain on an awful run in the league but I watched them against Reading in the FA Cup last weekend and I think they can cause Leicester some problems.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Cram’s prediction: Being a Sunderland fan I am not sure Palace are safe yet and would love them to be dragged into the relegation battle. I want Leicester to win the title and my heart and my head says 0-2.


Watford v Stoke

Watford are heading to Wembley after beating Arsenal in their FA Cup quarter-final, and they are also very close to securing top-flight safety.

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FA Cup: Arsenal 1-2 Watford highlights

It is easy to forget this is the Hornets’ first year in the Premier League because they have never really looked like being in danger of the drop.

Stoke were typically impossible to predict last weekend, and saw their good run ended with a home defeat by Southampton, so I am not sure what to expect from them this time.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Cram’s prediction: Is this a candidate for last game on Match of the Day? Probably. 0-0


West Brom v Norwich

Norwich got a great point against Manchester City last weekend but, in their situation, they need to win games.

I don’t see the Canaries getting anything out of West Brom and they will be watching Sunday’s north-east derby because a win for either Newcastle or Sunderland would see them move away from Norwich at the bottom of the table.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Cram’s prediction: Norwich are in desperate trouble at the bottom of the table. West Brom are playing quite well at the moment and my uncle Bobby Cram used to play for them in the 1960s so I have always been a pseudo Baggies fan. 2-1


Swansea v Aston Villa (17:30 GMT)

If Swansea do not beat Aston Villa, then I would be seriously worried about them, especially because of what the three points will do for their survival prospects.

The trapdoor has opened a little more for Villa after their defeat by Tottenham, while Swansea will know they can move a big step closer to safety by winning this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Cram’s prediction: Maybe Villa will start to play now they are pretty much down. 0-1



Newcastle v Sunderland (13:30 GMT)

Sunderland have had the upper hand in this fixture for a few seasons now but I already saw some improvement from Newcastle in Rafa Benitez’s first game in charge, Monday’s defeat by Leicester.

I cannot tip Newcastle to win, though, because I don’t think their players have the correct mindset.

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Benitez confident of Newcastle survival

If they cannot motivate themselves to play when their team is facing the drop, then they will have the same problem with a game against Sunderland.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Cram’s prediction: What do I say? Six derby wins in a row for Sunderland and I would love to see a seventh, but each time I have been left thinking we can’t win another one. That is kind of what I am thinking this time but my heart obviously wants us to win it – and, if we do get a goal, I don’t care if it comes in the 93rd minute. 0-1, hopefully.


Southampton v Liverpool (13:30 GMT)

Liverpool thrashed Southampton 6-1 at St Mary’s in the Capital One Cup in December, but I don’t see a repeat of that on Sunday.

It does not help Jurgen Klopp’s side that they play Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday, because that will take a lot out of them even though I expect them to win the tie.

Southampton are inconsistent, but they got a really good win at Stoke last week, and it would not surprise me to see them produce a really strong finish to the season.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Cram’s prediction: Saints will make sure they won’t leak as many goals this time. 3-2


Man City v Man Utd (16:00 GMT)

I have nothing but sympathy for Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany because his latest calf injury must have left him wondering what on earth can he do to get it sorted.

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Vincent Kompany out for a month – Manuel Pellegrini

It has happened so many times to him, he has got an inherent weakness and I am seriously concerned about his career.

The injury that forced Nicolas Otamendi off against Dynamo Kiev looked a lot less serious – a dislocated shoelace, I think. On behalf of the centre-halves’ union, I was embarrassed for him.

City will be lying in wait for Manchester United, though, because Louis van Gaal’s side have to deal with their Europa League tie with Liverpool on Thursday night.

The likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva are big-game players for City and I would expect them to make the difference.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Cram’s prediction: City are in a better place at the moment and I think it will be a fairly comfortable day for them. 2-0


Tottenham v Bournemouth (16:00 GMT)

Bournemouth’s last four games have seen them take 10 points out of a possible 12 but I see their good run ending on Sunday.

The Cherries will go at Tottenham but I think that will suit Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who are focused on their title bid.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Cram’s prediction: Bournemouth are safe so can relax, so I can see a few goals in this one. 3-2

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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