Lawro’s predictions v jockey Aspell

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 Grand National jockey Leighton Aspell.

Aspell, 39, will ride Many Clouds in Saturday’s showpiece race at Aintree, hoping to complete a hat-trick of wins after his triumphs in 2014 and 2015.


Leighton Aspell and Many Clouds on their way to winning the 2015 Grand National

Many Clouds could become the first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum in the 1970s.

Aspell also won on Pineau De Re in 2014 and is bidding to become the first jockey to triumph three years running.

However, the Dublin-born jockey has not had much success with his football team recently – Aspell has supported Aston Villa since he moved to the Midlands in 1993.

He told BBC Sport: “We are a sorry team this year – one of the worst in Premier League history – and it is sad to see.

“We are going to go down and it could be a while before you see us back up again.”

You can hear more tales from Aspell about supporting Villa on Football Focus at 12:10 BST on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

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

Last week, Lawro got six correct results from 10 matches, with one perfect score for a total of 90 points.

He beat Jim Glennie and Saul Davies of indie band James, who got four results correct, with one perfect score, for a total of 70 points.

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 unless otherwise stated



West Ham v Arsenal (12:45 BST)

It was a surprise when West Ham went to Emirates Stadium and won on the opening weekend of the season, but we now know why it happened – the Hammers are a very good team.

In the first six to eight weeks of the season I just put it down to them making a very strong start and I was still wondering where they would finish. Well, now we know – the top six – and they are aiming higher.

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West Ham 2-2 Crystal Palace: Slaven Bilic unhappy with Kouyate red card

Slaven Bilic’s side have had Cheikhou Kouyate’s red card from last week’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace rescinded, but that is no good to them now because, with 11 men, they will think they would have picked up two extra points.

Arsenal are a strange team, and I can see them winning nearly all their remaining games this season.

The pressure is off the Gunners now, with their title hopes all but over, which is why I think they will go to Upton Park, relax, play some open football – and win.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Aspell’s prediction: West Ham have some really good players but I think Arsenal are back in form. 0-2


Aston Villa v Bournemouth

Aston Villa are looking to do the double over Bournemouth – their only away win of the season came at the Vitality Stadium on the opening day.

But it is far more likely that the Cherries relegate Villa, which can happen with a combination of results on Saturday.

Bournemouth are 14th and would pass the 40-point mark with a win, but they are not in any real danger of the drop anyway.


For some time now, though, it has just been a question of when and not if Villa will go down.

At least they seem to be heading in the right direction off the pitch with the appointment of Brian Little, David Bernstein and now Adrian Bevington to work with the board.

But they need to appoint a new manager ASAP. It is no good waiting until the summer. Let him have the last few games of this season to help him work out what he has got in his squad – and not just how they play in games but how they work in training too. He will need it.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Aspell’s prediction: You just can’t fancy Villa to win at the moment – I think the best we can do is hold on for a 0-0 draw.


Crystal Palace v Norwich

Norwich picked up a fantastic win over Newcastle last time out and have now taken seven points from their past three games.

Until then, the Canaries were on a similar run to Palace, who remain without a league win this year.

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Norwich win showed character – Neil

But the Eagles are a better team than their form suggests and I think it is finally going to be their week to end that awful run, put some daylight between themselves and the bottom four and throw Norwich back into the thick of the relegation battle.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Aspell’s prediction: Norwich are battling hard to stay up and I don’t see them being beaten. 0-0


Southampton v Newcastle

Southampton were a little bit unlucky not to get anything from their 1-0 defeat by leaders Leicester last weekend.

Newcastle have got bigger problems, though. They reacted to the appointment of Rafael Benitez but I think everybody knows the issue is that their personnel just are not good enough.

Regardless of what Benitez does with his squad this week, I cannot see them getting anything at St Mary’s.


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Newcastle must keep going – Benitez

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Aspell’s prediction: Benitez has injected a little bit of belief at Newcastle but I love the way Southampton play and have to back them at home. 2-0


Swansea v Chelsea

It is difficult to judge any team accurately when they play Aston Villa at the moment but Chelsea played with a bit of freedom in their 4-0 win at Villa Park last weekend.

Swansea continue to edge towards safety but I think Chelsea will pick up some more points under Guus Hiddink – the announcement about Antonio Conte this week will not make any difference because everybody knew the Dutchman was temporary anyway.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Aspell’s prediction: I really fancy Chelsea here. 0-3


Watford v Everton

Everton should have got a point at the very least from their trip to Manchester United last week.

They were the dominating team and had some very good chances, but they still conceded and there is no doubt that defence is their weak link. I have said it before, but some days they look like Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side – just with better players.

Watford, meanwhile, were battered at Arsenal. They have lost nine of their past 12 league games and it looks like a long old season is catching up with them.

I don’t think the Hornets will be as bad again this week, though. This is a tough game to predict, but I am going to go for a draw.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Aspell’s prediction: I thought Everton were genuine top-six material earlier in the season but they went on a really poor run at home. They have got some good players, though, and their away form is better. 0-1


Man City v West Brom (17:30 BST)

This is the ideal game for Manchester City in the middle of their two Champions League matches against Paris St-Germain.

I would not say it will be routine for City – because not a lot has been routine for them of late – but they are at home and they will be buoyed by their draw in Paris.

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Win important for the future – Pellegrini

West Brom’s problems in attack have been well documented and it is hard to see them improving in that area at Etihad Stadium. Hopefully they will not have the wrong player sent off this time, though, which is what happened on their last visit.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Aspell’s prediction: City looked brilliant at Bournemouth last week with Kevin de Bruyne back, I think they will win this one easily too, and could have a really good end to the season. 3-0



Sunderland v Leicester (13:30 BST)

I still fancy Sunderland to finish above Norwich and Newcastle and stay up.

The Black Cats are the best out of those three teams and the thing about them is that they have been playing well but just have not got the results to show for it.

So I actually think this is a really tricky game for Leicester, who I just feel are being a bit too over-reliant on how good they are defensively.


Their manager Claudio Ranieri seems to have turned to the Italian approach of defend, defend, defend and try to pinch a goal, which means Leicester have lost a bit of their edge.

That is completely understandable given the position they are in, but they have got to be a little bit careful that they do not go too defensive in the final weeks of the season – if you just keep getting over the line – as they have done in with all those 1-0s in the past few weeks – sooner or later you will get caught out.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Aspell’s prediction: Leicester have been a joy to watch this year and their good run will continue. 0-2


Liverpool v Stoke (16:00 BST)

Liverpool and Stoke have had three close games already this season, including the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

I think this will be also be very tight, but I am backing Liverpool to win it even though Thursday’s Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund is going to take a lot out of them.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Aspell’s prediction: Liverpool will be too strong for Stoke. 2-0


Tottenham v Man Utd (16:00 BST)

After dropping a couple of points last week – albeit at Anfield – Tottenham simply have to win this game.

I think they will. Manchester United got a great result against Everton but if their manager Louis van Gaal admits the Toffees were the better side and deserved something from the game then you know his side were outplayed.

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Man Utd were lucky to win – Louis van Gaal

United are back in London on Wednesday night for their FA Cup quarter-final replay against West Ham, which I think will be on their mind at the weekend.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Aspell’s prediction: Tottenham have been playing some really good stuff and this should be a really good game. 1-0

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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