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Lawro's Premier League predictions v Shepherd star and Man Utd fan Tom Hughes

Published on: 14 October 2021

Newcastle have got some very rich new owners, but will their results be any different now the club has changed hands?

"I know there will be a wave of happiness at St James' Park when they play Tottenham on Sunday," says BBC football expert and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson.

"But, for now, it is just a case of watch this space with Newcastle. They still have the same players they did before the international break, and they have the same manager too."

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week's guest is actor Tom Hughes, whose new film Shepherd was having its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on Thursday.

Hughes plays Eric Black in Shepherd, which is released in the UK on 12 November

Hughes, who has also starred in Victoria, Red Joan and BBC drama The Game, is a Manchester United fan who is firmly behind manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"I'm still a believer," Hughes told BBC Sport.

"Ole has had a lot of stick for his tactics at times, but it is player errors that have cost him - like they did during the defeat by Young Boys last month, for example.

"I am still into him. I like him and he has also brought the enjoyment back to watching United.

"It's the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge where we've had a team that I kind of enjoy supporting. I think that's a big part of it with football - the romance of it. I want to just enjoy supporting my team and get excited about the game.

"Obviously you want to win too but I love the whole kind of ceremony of it - it's part of supporting United. The football under Jose Mourinho was dire, with David Moyes and Louis van Gaal too. It was so laboured, so it is just nice to have a football team that I look forward to watching.

"Then when you throw in a bit of spice with Cristiano Ronaldo on top of that, and it is exciting.

"There could be fireworks, you never know with United now - and that is the way it should be. It is one of those clubs where there should be a bit of magic or stardust in the team. I think that is what made me fall in love with them, so it's great that we've got that back again."

Hughes did not know whether to follow his dad (an Everton fan) or his brother and grandad (both Liverpool) when he chose which team to support, so went his own way. "I remember watching the 1995 FA Cup final with my dad and I was thinking 'look at this team, the plucky underdogs that have just lost the league on the last day of the season and have now lost the FA Cup final too. They are my kindred spirits so I am going to support them'. And then we won… everything. It's the best decision I ever made."Premier League predictions - week 8ResultLawroTomSATURDAYWatford v Liverpoolx-x0-22-1Aston Villa v Wolvesx-x2-11-1Leicester v Man Utdx-x1-11-3Man City v Burnleyx-x3-00-7Norwich v Brightonx-x1-10-2Southampton v Leedsx-x0-20-2Brentford v Chelseax-x0-21-1SUNDAYEverton v West Hamx-x1-22-1Newcastle v Tottenhamx-x1-10-3MONDAYArsenal v Crystal Palacex-x2-01-2

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


Games kick off at 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated

SATURDAYWatford v Liverpool (12:30 BST)

Welcome back to the Premier League, Claudio Ranieri. The former Leicester boss had a few days to settle in at Watford but this is a big game for him to kick off with.

Liverpool are sweating on whether Brazilian duo Alisson and Fabinho will be back from international duty in South America in time to play at Vicarage Road, and what state they will be in.

If Alisson is back in the country, I'd play him - he might be a bit tired from travelling but as a goalkeeper his stamina is not going to be an issue.

Liverpool are the only team still unbeaten in the Premier League this season, the rest of the top six have all been beaten once

This game is mainly going to be about whether Liverpool can break Watford down, anyhow. I think Ranieri will try to make them very difficult to beat, rather than thinking too much about how to start with a win.

Ranieri has promised to take the Watford players out for dinner if they keep a clean sheet, rather than just buying them a pizza like he once said he'd do with Leicester, but I think he will get to keep his wallet in his pocket at the weekend.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Tom's prediction: Well, as I am speaking now I have just jumped off the train on the way down from up north and I am literally standing in Watford. Being a United fan too, I have to back Watford here. 2-1

Aston Villa v Wolves

Wolves had just started to pick up a little bit before the international break but I've been more impressed by Aston Villa so far.

These are the kind of games where, last season, I wouldn't be quite sure what you'd get from Villa but I think they are a lot more reliable now.

It will be tight, but home advantage will make the difference for Dean Smith's side.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Tom's prediction: A tight game this one, so I'm going for a low-scoring draw. 1-1

Leicester v Man Utd

Manchester United are without their two first-choice centre-backs, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire, but it is hardly a crisis because they have got Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly to come in instead.

We will probably see Fred and Scott McTominay paired together in front of them in midfield again to give United more defensive cover but, whoever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picks, I doubt we will see a swashbuckling attacking display from his side.

Leicester have got their own problems at the back, with Jonny Evans still doubtful and Wesley Fofana sidelined, but at least they have got Jamie Vardy scoring again even if they are not winning at the moment.

With Vardy in form, the Foxes always have a chance in games, and I think they will get something here.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Tom's prediction: This is a difficult game, but I have to back United. 1-3

Tom's tactical advice to Solskjaer? As a boy, Tom once gave Sir Alex Ferguson some tactical advice after inadvertently speaking to him on the phone when his dad phoned up the hotel the team were staying at in Chester and asked the receptionist to speak to the United manager to check if they were really there.

So, what advice would he give Solskjaer now, if he could speak to him?

"Well, Fergie quite rightly ignored me, because I told him to drop Gary Pallister and then, in the next game, Pallister scored twice," the Shepherd actor said. "So, clearly, whatever I say to Ole, he shouldn't listen.

"But I would tell him that we can't keep playing Fred and Scott McTominay to do one role in midfield when we have got so many attacking players to fit in there. I don't know what the answer is, because we are probably a player short - a Declan Rice, N'Golo Kante or even Allan from Everton.

"We are missing that final piece so I don't know what the answer is with the players we have at the moment, because Paul Pogba is so mercurial. When he is on it, he is unstoppable but he can lose possession in that defensive third of midfield.

"McTominay might be the solution, though. He gets overlooked a bit and if he can score from 35 yards against Manchester City in the rain, he can do anything in my mind!"

Man City v Burnley

Burnley have lost 5-0 on each of their past four visits to Etihad Stadium in the Premier League and FA Cup so they are probably not looking forward to Saturday very much.

City could be without their Brazilian duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, depending on whether they make it back from South America in time, but I don't think it will make too much difference to the outcome here.

Pep Guardiola's side produced an outstanding performance at Anfield last time out and anything similar will see them win easily. Burnley's wait for a first win of the season is going to go on a little longer.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Tom's prediction: Well, I didn't back Liverpool, so I can't really back City, can I? My dad used to live in Burnley for a while - after Everton, they are his second team and he is a big Sean Dyche fan - so I am going to go with them. And, if I'm going to go with them, I may as well go big. 0-7

Norwich v Brighton

Norwich finally have a point on the board after their draw at Burnley last time out, which is good news for them. They are still bottom though, and every game looks difficult for them.

Brighton also drew, against Arsenal, but were a bit unlucky not to win that one.

The Seagulls have taken seven points from their three away trips so far this season, and I'd be surprised if they left Carrow Road empty handed.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Tom's prediction: 0-2

Southampton v Leeds

Southampton were doing pretty well against Chelsea until James Ward-Prowse was sent off.

What frustrated me most about that decision is that VAR instructed the referee to go and watch it again, and he was shown replays in slow motion, which is just ridiculous. How can you judge how dangerous a tackle is if you don't see it in real time? Slow any challenge down and it looks awful.

The end result was another defeat for Saints, who are still without a win after seven games.

I don't fancy their chances much here, either, especially if Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips is back from the calf injury that ruled him out of England duty.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Tom's prediction: Marcelo Bielsa is just a wizard and Dan James has just gone to Leeds, and I felt sorry for him at United. I am going to go with two goals for him. 0-2

Brentford v Chelsea (17:30 BST)

This is the first time these two west London clubs have met in the league since 1947 so Brentford's ground will be rocking again for this one, but I just fancy Chelsea to silence them on Saturday.

The Blues had a bit of a blip at the end of last month but they came through that, and I am expecting another professional performance from them this time.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Tom's prediction: I like the look of Brentford; they could definitely get a draw here. 1-1

SUNDAYEverton v West Ham (14:00 BST)

Everton have made a excellent start to the season but they might find it hard going against West Ham - they certainly won't get the wide open spaces they enjoyed in their draw with Manchester United.

The Hammers lost to a very late Brentford goal in their last game so I'm expecting a reaction to that anyway, and then you have their manager David Moyes back at his old club - he will be going for a win.

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Tom's prediction: Everton are looking strong at the moment. 2-1

Newcastle v Tottenham (16:30 BST)

I keep reading about who the next Newcastle manager is going to be, so I feel sorry for Magpies boss Steve Bruce, because no-one has come out and said what is happening to him.

Whatever the decision is on his future, just tell him and make it public - don't just leave him dangling. It's not an ideal situation for him or his players.

Tottenham found a bit of form against Aston Villa in their last game, but they are still far from convincing and I don't think they will be able to spoil the party for the Newcastle fans in the stands.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Tom's prediction: 0-3

MONDAYArsenal v Crystal Palace (20:00 BST)

I like the way Crystal Palace have come together under Patrick Vieira, and their pressing playing style is very effective too.

This is a big moment for Vieira, who is taking his new team back to his old club. He will get a great reception but Arsenal are on a roll and I think they will create enough chances to win this one quite comfortably.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Tom's prediction: This is tricky, because you never know which Arsenal are going to turn up. I like Conor Gallagher at Palace - he has got a bit of class about him and good hair - so I am going to go with a bit of a shock here. 1-2

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last week?

In the last set of games before the international break, Lawro got five correct results from 10 matches, including two exact scores, for a total of 110 points.

He beat MMA fighter Michael 'Venom' Page, who got three correct results, with no exact scores, for a total of 30 points.

+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITIONTEAMPWDLPTS+/-1Man Utd770021+32Leeds760118+14=3Leicester752017+10=3Man City7520170=5Aston Villa750215+5=5Liverpool743015-37Brighton742114-18Chelsea734013-79Tottenham733112-110West Ham732211-111Newcastle72238+8=12Arsenal71427-1=12Wolves72147014Everton72056-9=15Brentford71154-8=15Burnley71154+317Southampton71063018Watford70252-3=19Crystal Palace70161-5=19Norwich70161+1GUEST LEADERBOARD 2021-22ScoreGuest110Friction, She Drew The Gun87Lawro (average after seven weeks)80Tom McFarland50Aqib Khan, Shaun Thomas40Dan Haggis of The Wombats, Justin Young30Michael 'Venom' PageTotal scores after week sevenLawro610Guests460Lawro v GuestsP7W5D1L1

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