OptiNews - Friday 10 to Thursday 16 November 2017

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Sourced from BBC article

Premier League predictions: Lawro v actor Will Ferrell

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The Premier League returns with a bang on Saturday lunchtime with the north London derby, but who will come out on top between Arsenal and Tottenham at Emirates Stadium?

BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson says: "A few years ago, I would have picked Arsenal pretty much every time to win this game, but those days are gone.

"At the moment, Tottenham, with the players they have, are a better team than Arsenal, However, Arsene Wenger's side are at home, which is a big advantage."

Lawro is going for a 1-1 draw - do you agree? You can make your own 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.

Lawro scored 50 points in week 10, which meant he slipped to 3,185th place out of more than 250,000 users.

He will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.

Lawro takes on actor Will Ferrell for this weekend's fixtures.

Ferrell will be making his predictions on Friday.

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

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

This feels like a strange game to start us off again after two weeks without the Premier League.

There has still been plenty of hype about it, but I think there would have been more without the international break.

Will that hype be justified? Probably not. I have a feeling both teams will cancel each other out, and both of them will be happy enough with a point.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was unhappy with the decisions that went against his side in their defeat by Manchester City last time out, but I was there - and City deserved to win.

Tottenham won their last game before the international break, against Crystal Palace, but they made hard work of it.

They will be better this weekend, though, because Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks will all be back after missing out on England duty through injury.

I was at St James' Park to watch Bournemouth beat Newcastle in their most recent game, and the Cherries could have been two or three goals down by half-time.

I don't know what Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said to his players at the break but they were a different side in the second half and created lots of good chances. In the end, they deserved their victory.

Huddersfield also won - against West Brom - last time out and, like the other promoted sides, the Terriers have made a really impressive start to life in the top flight.

But I am going to go with Bournemouth to win this one. I was really impressed by what I saw of them against Newcastle.

They were far too open in the first half of that game but Howe sorted that out, and you could see what the win meant to him and his players at the final whistle.

Victory lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, and their confidence will be sky-high after what was a difficult start to the campaign.

Burnley do not score many goals at home - they have managed more than one in a league match at Turf Moor on only one occasion this year, against West Brom in May.

Swansea, meanwhile. always set up to keep things tight on their travels and do not concede many goals - only three in five away league games this season.

All things considered, I cannot see this game being first up on Match of the Day on Saturday night.

Burnley won't care about that, though, as they try to win three top-flight games in a row for the first time since 1974.

The best thing that happened to Burnley over the international break is that Sean Dyche is still their manager, and it looks like he is staying because it seems as if Everton are looking elsewhere.

While Burnley are on the up, it appears everything about Swansea has got 'relegation' written over it. That can change very quickly but their lack of attacking threat is a big concern.

I don't see them causing Burnley any problems, and I am going to back Dyche's men to buck the trend and win big - well, by their standards anyway.

If he is fit, everyone will be looking to see how Ruben Loftus-Cheek plays for Crystal Palace after his performance on his England debut against Germany last week.

Football is crazy sometimes - on the back of that friendly game, Loftus-Cheek is suddenly being seen by some people as potentially being England's next superstar,

He has lots of promise but I am sure Eagles boss Roy Hodgson has been telling him that these are just his baby steps, and there is a long, long way to go.

As for Everton, I am surprised that caretaker boss David Unsworth is still in charge for this game, because I thought they would appoint someone during the international break.

The Toffees' most recent result - a home win against Watford - and their performance to fight back and get it, albeit fortuitously, will have lifted the club enormously.

But they are still the same bunch of players that has struggled this season, and trying to recreate that energy away from Goodison Park is going to be more difficult.

Palace are still bottom of the table but they have improved a lot under Hodgson, even if their results have not always reflected that, and I am backing them to win.

Leicester blew Manchester City away at the King Power Stadium last December, but a lot has changed about Pep Guardiola's side since then.

I was impressed by City when I saw them beat Arsenal before the international break, and the only criticism I would make is that they sometimes tried to play out from the back a little too much.

I understand why they do it, though, because it is part of the way they bring the ball forward, and it is working - they have won nine league games in a row.

Clearly, they are going to continue playing that way even if it is risky and gives opposing teams the chance to pinch a goal.

Will Leicester stop City making it 10 straight league wins? I can't see it.

It will be interesting to see how Foxes manager Claude Puel approaches the game, and whether he leaves Jamie Vardy up front on his own and tries to counter City in midfield.

But anything Leicester get from this game is a bonus, just like it is for any side who play City at the moment.

The spotlight will be on Virgil van Dijk, whom Southampton refused to sell to Liverpool in the summer. It will be very interesting to see how he gets on at Anfield.

But he will not be the only centre-half that people will be watching if Reds defender Joe Gomez plays in that position after doing extremely well there for England.

As far as the games goes, I am going for Liverpool to win it.

Even if Sadio Mane is not fit, and even if manager Jurgen Klopp is not well enough to be there, Liverpool should have too much for Saints.

West Brom's Chinese owner Lai Guochuan is flying in for this game, then the Baggies go to Wembley next week to play Tottenham, so no wonder the vultures are circling around boss Tony Pulis.

Chelsea showed again how good they are in attack and defence when they beat Manchester United last time out, so this is not the fixture Pulis needs when his side are not scoring goals or picking up points.

Pulis has not won in the league since August and it is hard to see that changing this weekend, although I don't think this is the game that should decide his future.

His problem is that the fans seem to have made their minds up that his time is up - and I guess he is about to find out what Lai Guochuan thinks about it too.

Newcastle worked really hard when I watched them against Bournemouth and I liked the way manager Rafael Benitez had them playing, but it is obvious they are lacking a top-class centre-forward.

Dwight Gayle did well on the day but will he get them lots of goals in the Premier League? I wouldn't think so, and I would say the same about Joselu.

Again, Joselu actually played OK against the Cherries, but he did not really look like scoring.

With both players, while you could not question their commitment at the top end of the pitch, you can clearly question their quality.

I can see Benitez reverting to playing with one up front when he goes to Old Trafford, and again it is hard to see the Magpies scoring.

At the other end, Newcastle will be well organised but it will just be a question of whether Manchester United can break them down.

Benitez's side will make it difficult for them but there is only one outcome.

I am at this game for Match of the Day 2 on Sunday and it will be very interesting to see how David Moyes approaches his first game as West Ham boss.

I am expecting to see a reaction from the Hammers because as a player you always want to impress a new manager and, although West Ham are in the bottom three, there is a lot of quality in their team.

Watford have won only one of their five home league games this season, against Arsenal, so Vicarage Road is not exactly a fortress.

Moyes will be expecting a committed performance and, if he gets one, I don't think West Ham will leave empty-handed.

Brighton have totally exceeded my expectations. How they have done this season is a pie in the face for me.

I have not been shocked by the way they have set up, but I did not expect them to pick up the number of points they have got, which is great.

Going on form, Brighton are probably favourites to beat Stoke on Saturday and move further away from the relegation zone - they are currently six points above West Ham, who are in 18th place.

But Stoke showed by fighting back twice to draw with Leicester that they are not the sort of team to lie down, and they will cause Chris Hughton's side some problems.

I am going to go for a Stoke away win. Without being disrespectful to Brighton, this is what happens in the Premier League - you get to the lofty heights of eighth, your fans start thinking that things are great - and then you get turned over by a team you think you should beat.

In the round of games before the international break, Lawro got five correct results, with no perfect scores, from 10 matches, for a total of 50 points.

He lost out to WWE wrestlers Cesaro & Sheamus, who got four correct results, but with two perfect scores, giving them 100 points.

*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster's score contributes to the guest total.

**Anderson and Moeen both provided predictions on week nine, but only Anderson's score contributes to the guest total.

Lawro's worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, and week five v Non Stanford)

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Optimus trousers posted this 6 days ago

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