Lawro’s predictions v Idris Elba

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 opponents for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures are actors Idris Elba and Richard Madden, who feature in new film ‘Bastille Day’.

Elba, also the star of TV shows Luther and The Wire, took the lead in the predictions because former Game of Thrones actor Madden says he is “more of a rugby man”.

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Idris Elba and Richard Madden take on Mark Lawrenson

London-born Elba is an Arsenal fan who says following the Gunners this season has been like watching a snooker player who cannot put away a pot.

“Some seasons are like pool games, when they are slotting them away,” he told BBC Sport. “But others are like snooker matches, where you are going ‘please, just put one in’.

“I think this has been a snooker season for us. It has just been very tough.”

You can hear more tales from Idris about supporting Arsenal 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 seven correct results from 10 matches, with two perfect scores for a total of 130 points.

He beat Grand National jockey Leighton Aspell, who got five results correct, with one perfect score, for a total of 80 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



Norwich v Sunderland (12:45 BST)

This is a huge game at the bottom of the table and it is one of those that could be decided by which team do not freeze on the day, rather than who are actually the better side.

They are both struggling because they have lacked quality over the season and continued to make mistakes, although the good thing from Sunderland’s perspective is that at least they have started to tighten up defensively.

A win for Norwich would put them clear and leave Sunderland in big trouble, but I think the main priority for the Canaries will just be to avoid defeat.


So I am going for a draw, which Norwich will be happier with because they stop Sunderland from closing the gap on them, with one game less to play.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: 1-2


Everton v Southampton

Southampton easily despatched Newcastle last week but you cannot really use that as a yardstick because this will be a lot tougher for them.

Everton have won only once at home in the Premier League since 2 November and have lost their past three league matches at Goodison Park.

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Roberto Martinez praises ‘incredible’ Toffees

That is a big part of the problem for Toffees boss Roberto Martinez. There is a groundswell of opinion against him from the fans but if you swapped their home record for their away record, you would not have as many angry supporters because the majority of Evertonians only go to home games.

Yes, they should be doing far better than they are because of the players they have got, so you are left asking the question ‘what is this down to?’

This is the start of a massive week for Martinez. After this week he has a decision to make about the team he puts out for Wednesday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield, because Everton play their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United three days later.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: 2-3


Man Utd v Aston Villa

Manchester United played well in their FA Cup quarter-final replay against West Ham and thoroughly deserved their win – it was another top goal by Marcus Rashford too.

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FA Cup: West Ham 1-2 Manchester United highlights

I can only see United following that up with a straightforward win on Saturday, on the basis that they are up against the poorest Aston Villa team I have seen for many a year.

Villa could be down by the time they kick off at Old Trafford, depending on how Norwich do against Sunderland.

They are going down anyway – they have now lost eight Premier League games in a row, although it feels more like 30.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Idris Elba’s prediction: 3-1


Newcastle v Swansea

Newcastle’s performance in their defeat by Southampton was just embarrassing. I think the white flag came out about a minute before kick-off.

Magpies boss Rafael Benitez said after that game “we have got four home games left”, but the problem is they have not won many home games all season – four out of 15.

Swansea are clear of the relegation zone after last week’s win over Chelsea, and the pressure is off them now.

They might relax a tiny bit on Saturday, which might help Newcastle a little, although it might also mean Swansea play with more freedom and put in a better display.

It is hard to predict what we will see from the Welsh side but I am going for a Newcastle win. While they can still stay up, every single game will be their biggest of the season.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: 2-1


West Brom v Watford

Next week’s FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace is massive for Watford because they are already safe and going back to Wembley for the final would be a fantastic way to end the season.

I think a few of their players’ heads will be turned by that game. West Brom played quite well and were slightly unlucky to lose at Manchester City last week, but I am backing them to win this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: 1-1


Chelsea v Man City (17:30 BST)

Guus Hiddink’s unbeaten record in the league was ended by that defeat by Swansea last week, and he could be facing another loss here.

Manchester City have started to look like a team and, with players coming back from injury, they have started to get a bit more competition for places.

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Champions League: How Man City compare to English winners

It was great to see City reach the Champions League semi-finals this week. The draw does not take place until Friday but they can now go on and make the final too.

Nobody will really want to play them. If I were City, I would like to play Real Madrid because they are a team that always give you chances.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Idris Elba’s prediction: 1-2



Bournemouth v Liverpool (13:30 BST)

Bournemouth were really unlucky to lose at Anfield at the beginning of the season thanks to a couple of controversial decisions.

I can see the Cherries getting something from this game, though.

Regardless of whether Liverpool get past Borussia Dortmund in their Europa League tie, I think the whole experience will take a little bit out of Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: 0-2


Leicester v West Ham (13:30 BST)

I am at the King Power Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live and this looks like a really good fixture for Leicester.

They are not playing a West Ham side who are on a really good run; they are playing a team who have just come off the back of one.

This might be the start of a mini-slump for the Hammers – they have drawn their past three games in the Premier League and went out of the FA Cup to Manchester United too.

West Ham striker Andy Carroll is fully fit and will scare a few defences but not Robert Huth and Wes Morgan. They will be ready for him.


Again, Leicester play before Tottenham, so can open up a 10-point lead again if they win, which is what I think will happen.

The Foxes hardly ever seem to find themselves chasing a game – in their 15 league games since losing to Liverpool on Boxing Day, they have been behind for a total of 20 minutes. It’s amazing.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Idris Elba’s prediction: “Leicester are on fire at the moment. I am so happy for them, the underdogs. I am an underdog too, so I love it.” 2-0


Arsenal v Crystal Palace (16:00 BST)

Crystal Palace have had a mini-revival, taking five points from their past three games – enough, essentially, to lift them out of trouble.

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Point means no relegation – Alan Pardew

Arsenal’s draw at Upton Park last week was their season in a nutshell – they looked a really good side when they were 2-0 up but their defensive issues came back to haunt them before, at 3-2 down, they manage to turn it round.

This game should be far more straightforward – they will beat Palace.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Idris Elba’s prediction: “Should Wenger stay or go? That is such a tough question. I think, considering his record, he stays. We see a different Arsenal if he goes. Yes, we might see an Arsenal that wins the Premier League but we do see a different team and I would be sad to see the back of him if I am honest. As for Palace, we will do them 4-0.”



Stoke v Tottenham (20:00 BST)

Stoke lost heavily at Anfield last week after drawing 2-2 with Swansea, but there is no way their manager Mark Hughes will just let things fizzle out after another really good season.

I still fancy Tottenham to win here, though. I was really impressed with them against Manchester United, not simply the fact they won 3-0 but because United looked bright and sharp early on yet never looked like scoring.

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Spurs were perfect – Pochettino

It was hard to see Spurs getting a grip on the game, so they were relying on their defence, but then it just happened for them at the other end.

That is why they are such a good side – they have players who can turn games around in a second.

Any other year, we would be saying they are the best team in the league, but Leicester look like beating them to the title.

Analysis: Why Tottenham title bid is just the start

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Idris Elba’s prediction: “How would I feel if Tottenham win the title? I would be physically ill. Literally, I would be throwing up. Against Stoke, Spurs will have them, but I think it will be a good game.” 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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