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Premier League predictions: Lawro v comedian and actor Omid Djalili

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 comedian and actor Omid Djalili.

Djalili is a Chelsea season-ticket holder and has been a fan since 1970 when, aged four, he watched his local club win the FA Cup.

“It was really the colour blue that did it,” he told BBC Sport. “They wore a beautiful royal blue shirt and I liked their badge too.

“I saw a kid wearing their shirt and I was enchanted by it.”

Predictions: Omid Djalili takes on Mark Lawrenson

Chelsea are 10 points clear at the top with 10 games to go but, like many fellow Blues fans, Djalili does not think the title race is done and dusted yet.

“It is not over at all,” he said. “Anything could happen. We could get a couple of injuries and a team can go down the pan very quickly.

“I remember what happened to Newcastle in 1995-96, when they were 12 points clear in January. Yes, it was at a slightly earlier stage, but anything can happen and in football nothing would surprise me.”

While Antonio Conte’s team chase a Premier League and FA Cup Double, Blues midfielder N’Golo Kante is expected to mop up the individual honours when the Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association announce the winners of their Player of the Year awards.

Djalili’s vote would go to one of Kante’s team-mates, however.

“My player of the season is definitely Eden Hazard, for the way he has changed,” he said.

“Hazard has basically tapped into his inner child like he has been told to do by Conte, and he has found his love of the game.

“When you watch him for the whole game, he wants the ball every time, he is not lazy, he tracks back, I have never seen a bigger transformation in football.”

You can make your Premier League predictions now and compare them with those of Lawro and other fans by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

Premier League predictions – week 30
Result Lawro Omid
SATURDAY
Liverpool v Everton x-x 2-0 0-0
Burnley v Tottenham x-x 1-1 1-2
Chelsea v Crystal Palace x-x 2-0 2-0
Hull v West Ham x-x 1-0 1-1
Leicester v Stoke x-x 2-0 1-1
Man Utd v West Brom x-x 2-0 1-3
Watford v Sunderland x-x 2-1 1-2
Southampton v Bournemouth x-x 1-1 4-3
SUNDAY
Swansea v Middlesbrough x-x 2-0 3-0
Arsenal v Man City x-x 1-1 1-3

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

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated.

SATURDAY

Liverpool v Everton (12:30 BST)

Everton are sadly without Seamus Coleman after he broke his leg while playing for the Republic of Ireland, and it will be interesting to see how Ronald Koeman replaces him.

Mason Holgate can play there, and he will probably come in, but Coleman will be a big loss.

Liverpool are also without one of their key players, Adam Lallana, although the injury he sustained on international duty for England is far less serious.

Premier League Show: Liverpool & Everton on similar level – Tony Bellew

I am not a fan of these early kick-offs, which don’t often seem to produce much excitement, but I do think this will be an open game.

I don’t think Everton will go to Anfield and just try to to defend, which is the main reason I am backing Liverpool to win.

As everyone knows, when teams do sit in against Liverpool, it normally causes Jurgen Klopp’s side problems, but I don’t think Koeman is the type of manager who will try it.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Omid’s prediction: There are great players on both teams – you would think that Romelu Lukaku would score for Everton, and that the Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho combination would work for Liverpool – but I am going for a very drab draw. 0-0

Burnley v Tottenham

Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli both scored for Tottenham in their last game against Southampton and, with Harry Kane injured, it is important they both continue to chip in with goals.

But I think Spurs will miss Kane more at Turf Moor, and Burnley will give them a real test, as they have done to all the top teams.

Impossible for me to manage Barcelona – Mauricio Pochettino

The Clarets have already beaten Liverpool and drawn with Chelsea at home, and were a bit unlucky to lose to Arsenal and Manchester City.

Nobody has gone to Burnley and rolled Sean Dyche’s team over, and I think they will pick up another point here as they keep edging towards Premier League safety.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Omid’s prediction: I am hoping for a Burnley win, and I think the Clarets will score – but Tottenham are just too good at the moment. 1-2

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace are on a run of three straight wins, and it looks like the Sam Allardyce effect has taken a delayed effect.

Chelsea are waiting on Eden Hazard’s fitness but, even if he misses out, it is a big ask for the Eagles to extend that run of good form.

Everybody loves N’Golo: Pundits purr over Kante

Antonio Conte’s side are getting so close to the finish line of the title race now, and they can win without playing well.

They saw off Stoke in their last match without ever looking that convincing and I think they will find a way to beat Palace too

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Omid’s prediction: Conte has been influenced by two of the greatest managers there have ever been – he played under Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi. Trapattoni was the most demonstrative person you have ever seen, which is where we see Conte’s gesticulations come from, while Lippi was a professor of the game.

Conte is demonstrative, with intelligence too, which is a combination you don’t see very often – and his hair transplant is extraordinary too.

The Premier League Show: Antonio Conte interview

I like the bald look but I would like to get the name and number of the person who did that because it is the greatest. I did not even realise it was a transplant – it was only when I saw pictures of him playing for Juventus that I realised he was as bald as a coot. I don’t know how he has done it, or maintained it – the only other good one is Al Pacino, who has had a very good one since the 1980s. Maybe the same person did his hair too?

As for the game, I think it is going to be very entertaining. Palace are going to come out fighting and I am expecting a strong first half from them, but I don’t think they will score and Chelsea will run out easy winners. 2-0

Hull City v West Ham

West Ham seem to have slipped back into some bad habits from the start of the season.

They are on a five-game winless run, including three straight defeats, and of course when that happens all the stories about the manager’s future start coming out.

Hull were well beaten by Everton in their last match but you know what? I think they will edge this one.

I am not just saying that, either – their home form under Marco Silva is actually pretty good – they are unbeaten in six games under him in all competitions at the KCOM Stadium, and won five of them.

So, it has taken me until the start of April, but I have finally tipped the Tigers to win a game.

Now they need to go out and actually pick up the three points as well, because they badly need them in their relegation fight.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-0

Omid’s prediction: My heart says a Hull win but I am going for a draw. 1-1

Leicester City v Stoke City

Leicester cannot stop winning under Craig Shakespeare – they have now won three on the bounce in the Premier League, as well as making Champions League progress.

What’s behind it? Well, Shakespeare has not changed much since his side beat Liverpool in his first game in charge at the end of February.

Shakespeare ‘proud of results so far’

It is working, because his players look lively again – Jamie Vardy was just like his old self when he was on international duty with England.

I fancy the Foxes to win this one too. Stoke have had some mixed results of late, and although they won’t roll over I don’t see them stopping Leicester’s momentum.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Omid’s prediction: 1-1

Man Utd v West Brom

I am at Old Trafford on Saturday for BBC Radio 5 live and it will be interesting to see how Manchester United line up.

United are missing Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba through injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still suspended, but Jose Mourinho has a big enough squad to cope.

West Brom will make it very difficult for them, as per usual, but I still think United have got enough quality to create chances and, if they take them, they will win.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Omid’s prediction: I think the stick from the Chelsea fans for Jose Mourinho is greatly, greatly misunderstood. When we beat United 4-0 in October, people were singing his name with great warmth to say ‘look, we still love you’. Mourinho told Conte not to rile the crowd because it was humiliating, but I was there and he took it the wrong way.

Although I like Mourinho, United are playing some drab football. West Brom did not surprise anyone by beating Arsenal in their last game, but I think they might surprise a few people on Saturday. 1-3

Watford v Sunderland

Watford have only taken one point from their past four games and are the team looking the most likely to slide into relegation trouble.

I think the Hornets will stop their slump at the weekend, however, unless Sunderland manage a massive improvement on their recent performances.

The Black Cats have been starting games fairly strongly recently but, if they don’t score, they tend to just fade away.

The reality of the situation now for David Moyes is that his side need at least three wins – and quickly – just to get some parity with the teams sitting above the relegation zone.

But Moyes is not a magician who can just conjure that up. It is hard to see where their next victory will come from, and the games are running out.

Sunderland’s next four PL games
Away v Watford (Saturday, 1 April)
Away v Leicester (Tuesday, 4 April)
Home v Man Utd (Sunday, 9 April)
Home v West Ham (Saturday, 15 April)

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Omid’s prediction: I think Troy Deeney will score for Watford but I would back Jermain Defoe to get two for Sunderland – he will show everyone what he can do. 1-2

Southampton v Bournemouth (17:30 BST)

The two south coast sides are level on points at the moment, in 10th and 11th, although Southampton have two games in hand on their neighbours.

Bournemouth will be happy with that return because they look safe now, while Saints are probably disappointed not to be higher up the table.

Southampton turned Bournemouth over when they met earlier in the season but I don’t think they will repeat that at St Mary’s.

The Cherries were slipping down the table until they stopped the rot with wins in their past two games, and they now know they will be fine.

Local pride is at stake here, just as it is on Merseyside earlier on Saturday, and I can see Bournemouth putting up a decent fight and leaving with a point.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Omid’s prediction: 4-3

SUNDAY

Swansea City v Middlesbrough (13:30 BST)

Swansea will look at this as a game they need to win for several reasons, one of which is they will go eight points above Middlesbrough if they do.

The Welsh side need to get back on track after back-to-back defeats that have seen them slip back down the table towards the relegation zone.

Middlesbrough, who have gone 11 league games without a win, remain in much deeper trouble and still badly need to increase their goal threat.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Omid’s prediction: I am only basing these predictions on footballing reasons, and the fact I am going to Swansea on tour should have no bearing on this matter. But think Swansea are going to spank Boro. 3-0

Arsenal v Man City (16:00 BST)

The whole Arsenal saga is becoming a bit laughable to be honest with you.

It is the same thing every week – manager Arsene Wenger is asked if he is staying, and if Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are staying.

Wenger future ‘not completely sorted out yet’

Nobody seems to know what is happening and the club seems to be a little bit rudderless at the moment.

It is really unusual that Arsenal, who are normally so well run, have allowed things to reach this stage.

The uncertainty has affected results too and, after four defeats in their past five league games, the Gunners have ground to make up in the race for the top four.

But Manchester City have also dropped a few points recently, with two successive draws. I think they will make it three in a row at Emirates Stadium.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Omid’s prediction: We are due some kind of Arsenal fightback. I think they will rally, but I can only see a City win. 1-3

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro v Guests
P29 W20 D0 L9
SCORE GUEST LEADERBOARD
150 Elis James
130 Boris Becker, James McAvoy, Tim Vine
120 Robbie Williams
110 Michael van Gerwen
100 Joe Clarke, Osi Umenyiora
93 Lawro (average after 29 weeks*)
90 Josh Franceschi, Colin Murray
80 David Gower, Loyle Carner, Nicole Scherzinger
70 Dave Bautista, Sam Burgess, Anthony Crolla, Athletico Mince
60 Rick Astley
50 Martin Kemp*, Charlie Sloth, Laura Kenny
40 Ed Balls
30 Michael Bisping, Blossoms, Full Time DEVILS*, American hip-hop duo Run The Jewels
20 Moeen Ali, Lloyd Griffith
10 CFC Fan TV*

*Does not include scores from postponed games.

Lawro’s best score: 140 points (week 22 v James McAvoy)

Lawro’s worst score: 20 points (week 28, but only five games played so far) or 30 points (week four v Dave Bautista)

+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION
POS TEAM P W D L PTS +/-
1 Liverpool 29 20 9 0 69 +3
2 Man City 28 20 6 2 66 +1
3 Chelsea 28 20 4 4 64 -2
4 Man Utd 27 18 8 1 62 +1
5 Arsenal 27 18 7 2 61 +1
6 Tottenham 28 17 8 3 59 -4
7 Leicester 28 17 6 5 57 +8
8 Everton 29 8 17 4 41 -1
9 Crystal Palace 28 9 10 9 37 +7
10 West Brom 29 9 10 10 37 -2
11 Stoke 29 8 8 13 32 -2
12 West Ham 29 8 8 13 32 0
13 Bournemouth 29 7 7 15 28 -2
14 Sunderland 28 7 7 14 28 +6
15 Burnley 29 4 9 16 21 -2
16 Middlesbrough 28 4 8 16 20 +3
17 Southampton 27 4 6 17 18 -7
18 Watford 28 4 6 18 18 -4
19 Swansea 29 3 7 19 16 -2
20 Hull 29 0 4 25 4 -2

How did Lawro do last time?

For the round of fixtures before the international break, Lawro got seven correct results, including one perfect score, from 10 matches for a total of 100 points.

He beat boxer Anthony Crolla, who got four correct results, including one perfect score, for a tally of 70 points.

Total scores after week 29
Lawro 2,700
Guests 2,120

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