Last updated on .From the section Premier League
Chelsea are still unbeaten under new boss Thomas Tuchel – but will his impressive start continue against Manchester United on Sunday?
“Tuchel got a great result in Europe with Tuesday’s win over Atletico Madrid,” said BBC football expert and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. “That was probably his best result in eight games as Blues boss so far.
“I am pretty sure his remit is to get them a top-four finish, so they are back in the Champions League again next season. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s got a really good chance of doing it.”
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.
For this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, he is up against Dot Major from electro-pop band London Grammar, who is a Chelsea fan.
“I’ve grown up my whole life with a Chelsea season ticket,” Dot told BBC Sport. “My dad is a big fan so I started going with him in the mid-1990s, when we’d just starting bringing big foreign stars like Ruud Gullit to the club.
“I’m from Northampton and have always followed the Cobblers on and off but we would charge down the M1 to get to Chelsea games and then on our way home I always remember lying in the back of the car hearing James Alexander Gordon read the scores out on the radio.
“Now I live in London, I still have a season ticket and am quite close to Stamford Bridge after moving further west, which is handy – or will be when we can start going to games again.
“My favourite player was always Gianfranco Zola, who was like our figurehead even if his output wasn’t as prolific as players like Eden Hazard that have followed him. But then I loved Dennis Wise as well and that whole team of Dan Petrescu and Gus Poyet was just special.”
Dot has been there to witness most of Chelsea’s many successes in the past 25 years, but two in particular stand out.
The first was at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in April 2005, when the Blues clinched the Premier League title.
“I was in the home section and we were being really quiet when Frank Lampard put us 1-0 up, but it turned out half the stadium were Chelsea fans,” he explained. “We hadn’t won the league for 50 years so to see that was pretty amazing.
“It is still my dad’s favourite moment so it was really good to see that with him. I was 14 at the time so I didn’t really understand the significance, but I do now.”
The other was a game he wasn’t at – the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, which Chelsea won on penalties
“Even though I wasn’t in Munich, it was just amazing to see that group of players I’d grown up with finally win it,” he added. “We’d been the best team in it for a few years without going all the way, and I’d resigned myself to it never happening.
“When Didier Drogba won it for us, with what we thought at the time would be his last kick of the ball for the club, something in that moment actually changed for me as a Chelsea fan, where nothing we could do would ever mean as much to me as that did.”
|Man City v West Ham||x-x||2-0||3-1|
|West Brom v Brighton||x-x||1-1||0-0|
|Leeds v Aston Villa||x-x||2-0||1-2|
|Newcastle v Wolves||x-x||0-2||0-1|
|Crystal Palace v Fulham||x-x||2-1||1-1|
|Leicester v Arsenal||x-x||2-1||2-0|
|Tottenham v Burnley||x-x||2-0||0-10|
|Chelsea v Man Utd||x-x||1-1||2-1|
|Sheff Utd v Liverpool||x-x||0-2||0-2|
|Everton v Southampton||x-x||2-0||1-0|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
Man City v West Ham (12:30 GMT)
West Ham are flying along in fourth place and got a great win over Tottenham last weekend – they are doing so well anyway but to beat their rivals like that must have been pretty sweet.
I really like the way David Moyes has made them so solid at the back, with a well-drilled back-four and Declan Rice sitting in front of them, but this is a big test for that defence – they are going to Etihad Stadium, and obviously Manchester City are sweeping all before them and on a run on 19 straight wins.
The Hammers took a point from them at London Stadium back in October, but City look a completely different beast now.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Dot’s prediction: I think the Premier League is already done. No-one is stopping City now. 3-1
West Brom v Brighton (15:00 GMT)
You could argue that last week’s results were a travesty for both of these teams.
West Brom’s 10 men could easily have won by two or three goals at Burnley, but drew 0-0. Brighton deserved a victory by a similar margin against Crystal Palace, but lost in stoppage time.
West Brom obviously need the points the most. They have improved, but it is an awfully long time since they won at home – 28 November against Sheffield United to be precise.
So, I am going for a draw here. That would be a better result for Brighton than the Baggies, but they are not out of the woods yet because they have not picked up as many points as they have deserved in recent weeks, not just against Palace.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Dot’s prediction: 0-0
Leeds v Aston Villa (17:30 GMT)
Leeds were really strong against Southampton in midweek, and won without Kalvin Phillips in their team.
The only other time that has happened this season came when they beat Aston Villa in the reverse of this fixture in October. Phillips is still injured and I am going for the same outcome again this time.
I’ve talked before about how Phillips knits Leeds together and they are not the same without him – well, we found out what Villa are like without Jack Grealish when they lost to Leicester at the weekend. They looked ordinary against the Foxes.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Dot’s prediction: Leeds are without Phillips and Villa have had some good away wins this season. 1-2
Newcastle v Wolves (20:00 GMT)
Newcastle are sinking like a stone. They have the pallid look of relegation about them, and it’s hard to know where their next win is coming from.
In contrast, Wolves are looking like the team they were last season, and have won their past two games. I think they will make it three in a row at St James’ Park.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Dot’s prediction: 0-1
Crystal Palace v Fulham (12:00 GMT)
Crystal Palace rode their luck to beat Brighton and that win put them one step closer to being sure of staying up.
Fulham are still fighting for survival and Eagles boss Roy Hodgson knows all about that – he was in charge of the Cottagers for one of the greatest escapes the Premier League has ever seen, in the 2007-08 season.
This one will be close, but I am going with Palace to edge it. I’m not writing off Fulham’s chances, though – their home game against Newcastle on the final day of the season has got last-day decider written all over it.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Dot’s prediction: 1-1
Leicester v Arsenal (12:00 GMT)
Manchester City toyed with Arsenal last weekend and took it easy towards the end of their 1-0 win, which made the game look closer than it was.
Leicester, meanwhile, were impressive against Aston Villa. Their front three of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy all looked really sharp, and I don’t think the Gunners will be able to handle them.
Arsenal are stuck in mid-table and this game might show what they are missing from what it takes to get in the top four.
Leicester play on the front foot and they are solid, have plenty of attacking spark and take their chances – the days where you might say they rely on Vardy to score his trademark breakaway goals are long gone.
Both of these sides have been out of sorts recently, although Tottenham did get a good result in the Europa League on Wednesday.