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Premier League predictions: Lawro takes on This Country star Cooper

Published on: 29 March 2018

BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson is used to taking on some of the world's finest football brains in his weekly predictions - so how will he fare against Lee 'Kurtan' Mucklowe from This Country?

This week, Lawro is up against actor Charlie Cooper, who plays Kurtan in the Cotswolds-based BBC Three mockumentary.

Cooper is also a co-writer of the show he says is about "being a sort of delinquent country bumpkin in a rural village in England, and the boredom and frustration of living somewhere where there is nothing to do".

You can watch the new series of This Country now on iPlayer, where series one is also still available.

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This Country: Isn't it four lions on a shirt?

"If Kurtan was a professional footballer, he would play for Swindon Town and he would be a wiry winger," Cooper told BBC Sport. "He would not be very strong but he would have a quick turn of pace, a bit like me.

"He would be the sort of player who would throw a tantrum if he got subbed.

"Would he be any good? No, rubbish.

"But football is a massive influence when we are writing the programme. The characters are big football fans - Kurtan's cousin Kerry especially, because Swindon are our local team.

"Her character is based on a girl who would always wear Swindon Town shirts and there are a few other football references in the show.

"One of them (below) is about Swindon striker Luke Norris, where we say something about him not being very good - but I should point out that I have not actually seen him play - so, I'm sorry Luke if you are angry, but it is not my fault!"

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When football banter goes wrong!

Kurtan is a Swindon fan - although he doesn't mention it at work any more - but Cooper grew up supporting Fulham.

"My dad [who plays Martin Mucklowe in This Country] took me to a random midweek game about 15 years ago," he explained. "I saw Craven Cottage under floodlights. I have been utterly obsessed ever since.

"My best memory has to be stuffing Juventus 4-1 at Craven Cottage in the Europa League in 2010. That doesn't happen twice in a lifetime - not as a Fulham fan anyway. It was amazing."

Fulham are seven points off the top two with eight games left

The Cottagers are battling to get back into the top flight after a four-year absence and Cooper feels it is "vital" they win promotion this season.

"We have to really, otherwise our team will get picked apart by Premier League clubs," he added.

"I think we can go up automatically, although Cardiff need to start losing for that to happen. I am not sure about getting through the play-offs, though.

"We are the in-form team at the moment, but they are such a lottery so I just don't know. I was confident last year and we lost in the semi-finals."

Premier League predictions - week 32ResultLawroCharlieSATURDAYCrystal Palace v Liverpoolx-x1-13-2Brighton v Leicesterx-x1-11-1Man Utd v Swanseax-x2-02-1Newcastle v Huddersfieldx-x2-02-2Watford v Bournemouthx-x1-22-1West Brom v Burnleyx-x1-10-0West Ham v Southamptonx-x2-11-2Everton v Man Cityx-x0-20-3SUNDAYArsenal v Stokex-x3-03-1Chelsea v Tottenhamx-x2-01-2

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

Crystal Palace v Liverpool (12:30 BST)

Crystal Palace's win over Huddersfield before the international break was massive for them - I would say it was their biggest result of the season.

The Eagles had lost their previous four games and were in the relegation zone. If they had lost to the Terriers as well, then they would have been in serious trouble.

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Win at Huddersfield vital - Hodgson

Now Palace need to keep picking up points to climb away from the bottom three - and I think they will get something on Saturday, purely and simply because of Liverpool's Champions League game against Manchester City on Wednesday.

Professionals should not have one eye on another fixture which is three or four days later, but their last-16 tie is one of those huge occasions where it can happen.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will surely be considering the City game, and the demands it will place on his players, when he picks his team to face Palace too.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Charlie's prediction: Mohamed Salah is my favourite Premier League player at the moment because he is great to watch. There is something about him that is so raw - he is a real street footballer.

But Liverpool won't win this one. Palace's ex-Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is a tactical mastermind. 3-2

Brighton v Leicester

Leicester are out of the FA Cup but, along with Burnley and Everton, they are battling for seventh place - which will bring a place in the Europa League if Southampton do not win the FA Cup.

So the Foxes have plenty to play for - but so do Brighton, who have some work to do to secure their survival.

The Seagulls are also out of the FA Cup after defeat by Manchester United and they also lost their last Premier League game, at Everton - which by their recent standards was a little bit of a non-performance.

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Highlights: Manchester United 2-0 Brighton

I am expecting an improvement from them here, though. Brighton will keep things tight anyway, because that is the way Chris Hughton sets up his team.

Hughton starts with a point and tries to make sure that is the very least his team finishes up with as well.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Charlie's prediction: 1-1

Man Utd v Swansea

A few of Manchester United's players were in good form over the international break and seeing Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba get among the goals for Belgium and France respectively is good news for United too.

Swansea have done brilliantly under Carlos Carvalhal, who has lost only two of his 10 games in charge, but it is hard to see them getting anything at Old Trafford.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Charlie's prediction: 2-1

Newcastle v Huddersfield

After going more than three months without a success at St James' Park in the league, Newcastle have won their past two home games, and this is another big game for their survival hopes.

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Newcastle 3-0 Southampton: Benitez - 'Massive' win for Newcastle

The Magpies fans know how big a part they have to play in getting the team to safety this season and they will be fully behind them again this time too.

Huddersfield found some form in February but they have lost their way a bit since then, and I think their defeat by Palace last time out was particularly damaging.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Charlie's prediction: 2-2

Watford v Bournemouth

This is very much a mid-table battle, between 10th and 11th. Both teams are on 36 points and neither of them are going to get dragged into the relegation scrap now.

With more points - 16 out of 36 - gained from losing positions than any other top-flight team, Bournemouth have become the Premier League's comeback kings.

You could argue that is one of the biggest differences with Eddie Howe's side compared to last season, when they picked up a total 10 points from losing positions.

More often than not, if teams went in front against the Cherries then they would go on to win the game - but that is no longer the case.

Watford's biggest problem is their inconsistency, which makes it difficult to predict their results.

The Hornets lost heavily to Arsenal and Liverpool in their past two games - and I think they will be edged out in this one too.

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Charlie's prediction: 2-1

West Brom v Burnley

West Brom boss Alan Pardew said his side were "nearing the last-chance saloon" after their defeat by Bournemouth last time out, but I think they have missed last orders there already.

Whether it is the last bus, boat or train, I think they have missed all of them in terms of staying up.

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Pardew 'heartbroken' by late defeat

There just seems to be this sense of resignation in the Baggies side that they are not going to get out of trouble, even in the way they went ahead against the Cherries before losing.

I just look at them and think: 'They've gone.' It only takes a couple of players to think they are down for that to happen.

This game is at The Hawthorns and I don't expect the Baggies to just fall apart, especially at home.

But when you look at where they are - 10 points from safety with seven games to go - getting out of trouble is too big an ask.

Burnley are one of the teams chasing seventh place and, potentially, a place in the Europa League.

For them to be going into the final few weeks of the season knowing they have got a chance of that is amazing progress, whether they make it or not.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Charlie's prediction: West Brom have no chance of staying up. Not with Alan Pardew in charge. Sorry. 0-0

West Ham v Southampton

It is going to be very interesting to see what the atmosphere is like at London Stadium after what happened there in West Ham's last home game - the 3-0 loss to Burnley. That was an absolutely crazy day.

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West Ham: How pitch invasions unfolded

Will things be any different this time? Well, I would have thought that the vast majority of Hammers fans going to this game will be very much behind their team.

The players need them to be when you look at their league position and what defeat by Southampton would mean.

This is a massive game for both teams, and it is very tricky to call.

Mark Hughes' side beat League One Wigan in the FA Cup in his first game as Southampton boss, but although that was an important victory it was also quite an unconvincing one.

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FA Cup Highlights: Wigan 0-2 Southampton

I am sure Hughes will see his side get the bounce that most new managers get, with improved performances as well as results - but he might have to wait for it.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Charlie's prediction: Saints to heap more misery on West Ham. 1-2

Everton v Man City (17:30 BST)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola knows what can happen when the crowd get going at Goodison Park after seeing his side get turned over 4-0 there last season.

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Man City 'not strong enough in the box'

Everton's results have picked up recently with wins in their past two games, so there should be a positive atmosphere on Saturday evening, and I am sure Everton will have another go - but I do not see Sam Allardyce's side succeeding.

City will be champions if they win this game and beat Manchester United at Etihad Stadium next weekend and, although I am backing them to beat Everton, I think they will have to wait a few days longer to wrap things up.

The reason I say that is because the one thing United boss Jose Mourinho will not want is for City to become champions by beating his team.

By hook or by crook - and it might not be pretty - the Portuguese will make sure that does not happen.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Charlie's prediction: City's Kevin de Bruyne or Liverpool's Salah for player of the year? I think it has got to be De Bruyne because City will win the league. 0-3

SUNDAY

Arsenal v Stoke (13:30 BST)

Against the top teams, or away from home, there are question marks over Arsenal, but at home against this sort of opposition I would back them all day long.

Stoke have only won once on the road all season, and only West Brom have picked up fewer points on their travels.

I think Arsene Wenger's Gunners side will win comfortably.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Charlie's prediction: 3-1

Chelsea v Tottenham (16:00 BST)

This is Chelsea's big chance to narrow the gap on Tottenham in the race for the top four, and it feels like a game they have to win if they are going overhaul them.

It should be a lively one because there is not much love lost between the two teams.

They will both be raring to go after the international break because they are both out of Europe, but I am going to go with Chelsea to win it.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Charlie's prediction: 1-2

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do in the FA Cup sixth round?

On FA Cup sixth-round weekend, Lawro got three correct results, with two perfect scores, from the four ties for a total of 90 points and a success rate of 75%.

He was up against comedian John Bishop who got three correct results, with one perfect score, for a total of 60 points and a success rate of 75%.

FA Cup leaderboard after round fiveCorrect result(Perfect scores)Success rateJohn Bishop3/4(1)75%Lawro39/60(10)65%Vuj7/16(2)44%Guz Khan12/32(2)38%Poet6/16(0)38%Tekkerz Kid3/8(0)38%

Bishop also took on Lawro for the four Premier League games last weekend.

Lawro got two correct results, with one perfect score, for a total of 50 points.

Bishop got all four results correct, including one perfect score, for a total of 70 points.

They will both get the chance to add to their score when the games that were postponed because of FA Cup ties are played.

You can make your predictions now, take on Lawro and other fans, create your own league and try to make it to the top of the table by playing the new-look BBC Sport Predictor game.

Before the international break, Lawro scored 50 points from four Premier League matches in week 31, which leaves him in 558th place out of more than 420,000 users.

Total scores after week 31Lawro2,750Guests2,390Lawro v GuestsP31W17D3L11 +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITIONPOSTEAMPWDLPTS+/-1Man City3025417902Tottenham30246078+33Man Utd30245177-14Liverpool312011071-15Chelsea3019656306Arsenal30141155307Leicester301351244+18Southampton301171240+109West Ham30716737+810West Brom311051635+1011Bournemouth318101334-112Burnley30891333-513Stoke317121233+614Everton31781629-515Crystal Palace31761827+116Newcastle30591624-317Brighton303121521-518Swansea30542119-419Watford31462118-820Huddersfield311111914-5GUEST LEADERBOARDSCOREGUEST LEADERBOARD160Justin Hawkins, Chris Shiflett130James Anderson*, Joe Johnson*120Russel Leetch*, Will Poulter, Moeen Ali110Aron Baynes*100Cesaro & Seamus, Wretch 3290Arni and Justin from The Vaccines, Pete Wentz89Lawro (average after 31 weeks)80John Cena, Darren Campbell70John Bishop** Brendan Foster*, Mark Strong60Jimmy from Django Django, Will Ferrell, Nish Kumar, Non Stanford, Rick Witter50Steve Cram, Michael Dapaah, Channing Tatum, Joe Root, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Dario Saric, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell,40Craig David, Ed Lay30Rhys James, Felix White20Richard Osman, Emmanuel Sanders and Josh Norman

* Shows weeks where Lawro had more than one guest, and only the highest score contributed to the guest total.

** Shows weeks where guest total does not include rearranged games.

Lawro's best score: 170 points (week 30 v Arni and Justin from The Vaccines)

Lawro's worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, week five v Non Stanford, week 21 v Darren Campbell and week 23 v Saric and Baynes)

Source: bbc.com

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