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Premier League predictions: Lawro v Afrobeat star and Man Utd fan Rema

The 237th Merseyside derby takes place at Goodison Park on Saturday – but will it be the Reds or the Blues who are celebrating afterwards?

“Everton have surprised everyone,” said former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. “I know they have got some very good players but I thought their new signings would take longer to settle in.

“James Rodriguez looks like a real player and the game looks very easy for him. Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure have done great as well and, now they have got Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring, they look a real handful.

Snapshot showing the top of the Premier League: 1st Everton, 2nd Aston Villa, 3rd Leicester, 4th Arsenal, 5th Liverpool & 6th Tottenham

“Defensively, they might have some tough days to come, but they have been very good so far and probably even manager Carlo Ancelotti has been surprised by how quickly it has all clicked for them.

“They are top of the table for a reason and it looks like they are going to give Liverpool a close game.”

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This weekend, he is up against singer, rapper, Afrobeat star and Manchester United fan Rema.

Rema
Rema’s track ‘Iron Man’ appeared on Barack Obama’s 2019 summer playlist when the former president of the United States revealed what he had been listening to in August that year

Rema – real name Divine Ikubor – has followed United since he was a boy growing up in Benin City, Nigeria, and got to know their star players by playing video games with his older brother.

“I love United because of him,” the 20-year-old told BBC Sport. “He used to play Fifa against me as United, and he would always win – so I always saw them as the winning team!

“We ended up having arguments over who would get to play as them – but, when I got the chance, I got attached to players like Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edwin van der Sar and Wayne Rooney, before I even saw them play in real life.”

Rema has a good reason to ask for a rematch after some his songs were included in the soundtrack for Fifa 21 when it was released last month – but he might not pick United next time he plays.

“I know we’re not doing so good at the moment,” he added. “Not compared to those days anyway. The way things are going this season, I am not too happy.”

Rema
Rema’s biggest hit ‘Dumebi’ has been streamed more than 20m times on Spotify

As well as United, Rema grew up watching Nigeria stars Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu – although he was never able to pull off their kind of tricks himself.

“I used to play every day with my friends after school,” he explained. “We would go and play barefoot in the field.

“Jay-Jay was my favourite. I idolised him and and I wanted to be a striker too, but sadly I would always end up in goal because I wasn’t that good.”

Result Lawro Rema
SATURDAY
Everton v Liverpool x-x 1-1 1-3
Chelsea v Southampton x-x 2-1 2-1
Man City v Arsenal x-x 2-5 2-5
Newcastle v Man Utd x-x 1-2 3-1
SUNDAY
Sheff Utd v Fulham x-x 2-0 0-2
Crystal Palace v Brighton x-x 1-1 1-0
Tottenham v West Ham x-x 2-1 4-2
Leicester v Aston Villa x-x 2-0 5-1
MONDAY
West Brom v Burnley x-x 0-1 3-2
Leeds v Wolves x-x 2-1 2-2

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

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

SATURDAY

Everton v Liverpool

Everton v Liverpool (12:30 BST)

Liverpool come into this game off the back of their 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa, when they were all over the place at the back.

People forget how organised and difficult to break down the Reds usually are, which is why they had such a good defensive record.

At Villa Park, though, they were wide open and Villa did their homework and targeted the right side of their defence, where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez were struggling.

Given how well Everton are doing, Goodison Park would normally have been absolutely rocking for this game – but without any crowd or atmosphere, this won’t feel like any derby game I played in.

It is still going to be interesting to see how Liverpool get on against Everton’s midfield and whether they can get in and around them. The same goes for how the Liverpool defence copes under pressure this time.

It is a difficult one to call, which is why I am going with a draw.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Rema’s prediction: 1-3

Chelsea v Southampton

Chelsea v Southampton (15:00 BST)

Chelsea’s new players are finding their feet and right now it feels like teams will get opportunities against them.

Southampton have won their past two games after a sticky start to the season, and I am sure they will have their chances on Saturday too. I would still back the Blues to win, though.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rema’s prediction: 2-1

Man City v Arsenal

Man City v Arsenal (17:30 BST)

The good news for Manchester City is that Raheem Sterling should be fit after picking up an injury on international duty. The bad news is that Kevin de Bruyne is a doubt after doing the same, because he would be a massive miss.

City have got striker Sergio Aguero on the way back after his long lay-off, and they need him fit and firing again. He has been training but I don’t see him starting this game.

Arsenal got a bit lucky in their win over Sheffield United last time out, but if City are missing some key players, the Gunners are in with a shout.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Rema’s prediction: 2-5

Newcastle v Man Utd

Newcastle v Man Utd (20:00 BST)

Manchester United have not had any problems scoring goals. Unfortunately for them, they have not been able to keep them out.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have only three points from three games, and they are lucky to have that many because they did not deserve to beat Brighton.

Chris Sutton says there ‘needs to be more patience’ at Man Utd

It clearly does not help that United captain Harry Maguire is having such a bad time at the moment, because he has been their most reliable centre-half.

I still think United will beat Newcastle, though, if only because I can’t believe they will be as bad again as they were when they lost 6-1 to Tottenham. If they are, Solskjaer is going to be in serious trouble.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-2

Rema’s prediction: 3-1

SUNDAY

Sheff Utd v Fulham

Sheff Utd v Fulham (12:00 BST)

Both of these sides have lost all four of their league games, so at least one of them will get off the mark.

I am going with Sheffield United to edge it. They deserved something from their performance against Arsenal last time out and I just think their manager, Chris Wilder, will really have them ready for this one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rema’s prediction: 0-2

Crystal Palace v Brighton

Crystal Palace v Brighton (14:00 BST)

Brighton are looking better going forward these days but I’ve been impressed by Palace too, and we know how well organised they always are at the back.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Rema’s prediction: 1-0

Tottenham v West Ham

Tottenham v West Ham (16:30 BST)

West Ham have won both games while their manager David Moyes has been in isolation recovering from coronavirus, but he should be back in the dugout for this one.

Mourinho proud of ‘super-confident’ Tottenham

We might get a first look at Gareth Bale in action for Tottenham too, if he is fit, but they have been doing pretty well without him to be honest.

I’m going for a Spurs win, whether Bale features or not.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Rema’s prediction: 4-2

Leicester v Aston Villa

Leicester v Aston Villa (19:15 BST)

Aston Villa have won three out of three league games, but it might all come crashing down this weekend.

Leicester were taken apart by West Ham last time out, but I’d expect them to be back on it on Sunday.

Jamie Vardy will be rested and raring to go after the international break and I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores at least once for the Foxes.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Rema’s prediction: 5-1

MONDAY

West Brom v Burnley

West Brom v Burnley (17:30 BST)

Burnley have lost all three of their league games, and these are worrying times. They don’t appear to have enough strength in depth in their squad.

West Brom have at least got a point on the board, but I have a feeling Sean Dyche’s men will dig in to make things difficult for the Baggies, and they could nick their first win. They need it.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-1

Rema’s prediction: 3-2

Leeds v Wolves

Leeds v Wolves (20:00 BST)

Wolves have been a bit up and down so far and this will be another tough test for them.

Leeds were impressive again in their draw with Manchester City, and their attacking outlook is going to win them a lot of fans.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Rema’s prediction: 2-2

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last time?

In the last set of games before the international break, Lawro got six correct results, including one exact score, for a total of 90 points.

He beat Manchester City and Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir, who also got six correct results, but with no exact scores, for a tally of 60 points.

Lawro's League Table graphic

TEAM P W D L PTS +/-
=1 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 10 +6
=1 Liverpool 4 3 1 0 10 +4
=3 Arsenal 4 3 0 1 9 +1
=3 Leicester 4 3 0 1 9 0
=3 Man Utd 3 3 0 0 9 +13
=3 Tottenham 4 3 0 1 9 +3
=7 Everton 4 2 1 1 7 -6
=7 Man City 3 2 1 0 7 +7
=9 Aston Villa 3 2 0 1 6 -7
=9 Leeds 4 2 0 2 6 -1
=9 Newcastle 4 2 0 2 6 0
=9 Wolves 4 1 3 0 6 +4
=13 Southampton 4 1 1 2 4 -2
=13 West Ham 4 1 1 2 4 -3
15 Burnley 3 1 0 2 3 +3
16 Crystal Palace 4 0 2 2 2 -4
17 Sheffield United 4 0 1 3 1 +2
=18 Brighton 4 0 0 4 0 -3
=18 Fulham 4 0 0 4 0 +2
=18 West Brom 4 0 0 4 0 -1

GUEST LEADERBOARD 2020-21

80 Raye
73 Lawro (average after four weeks)
60 Celeste, Caroline Weir
50 Declan McKenna

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