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"It is going to be a great battle". Mark Lawrenson's EPL predictions

There are Premier League derbies on Merseyside, and in north and west London this weekend - but who will have local bragging rights on Monday morning?

BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson is going for draws at Wembley and Goodison Park but does not give managerless Fulham much hope against Chelsea at Craven Cottage.

Saturday

Tottenham v Arsenal

Tottenham have lost their past two games and, like I said before their defeat at Burnley last weekend, Harry Kane's return from injury might have affected the mindset of one or two of their players.

When a big player like that comes back, there is a tendency for everyone else to think: 'We are going to be fine now.' It is a strange dynamic, and it can affect performances and results.

The shock was to see them lose at Burnley, not their defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday, but I never thought Spurs were in the title race anyway, and they are certainly not in it now.


I don't see Spurs dropping out of the top four, though, because I think their results will pick up. Dele Alli will be fit again soon too and it will not take long for Kane to get his match sharpness back.

It is going to be a great battle for fourth spot between Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea and I don't think it will be settled until the very end of the season.

The Gunners come in to this game on the back of a couple of convincing home wins over Southampton and Bournemouth but they are always pretty strong at Emirates Stadium anyway.

On the road, it is a different story and, taking that and and Spurs' form into consideration, I think a draw is the most likely outcome - especially because this is a lunchtime game and they are usually pretty rubbish.

Lawro's prediction: 1:1

Man Utd v Southampton

Marcus Rashford came off the bench during Manchester United's win over Palace on Wednesday, so he should be fit for Saturday.

Despite all of their injuries, United are still in a good moment. Their best results so far under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have come away from Old Trafford but I would expect them to win this game easily enough.

Saints got the win they needed against Fulham on Wednesday but they still have a lot of work to do to climb away from the relegation zone and I cannot see them getting anything here.

Lawro's prediction: 2:0


Sunday

Fulham v Chelsea

Replacing the sacked Ranieri now really is the last throw of the dice, but Fulham must feel that someone with different ideas and a different voice can make a difference.

But, whoever the new permanent manager is, it is asking an awful lot for him to keep them up.

After seeing Fulham in the Championship last year, I thought they would give the Premier League a real go, but after spending more than £100m in the summer they have not been good enough defensively. If you cannot defend in this division, then you have got absolutely no chance.

I don't think the change of manager will make much difference to the outcome on Sunday, simply because Chelsea are a better team.

Fulham have been so bad of late, they seem to get into a mess whatever their game plan is. If they attack them, and you have to think they will try, it will just play into Chelsea's hands.

Chelsea's win over Tottenham was a good way for Maurizio Sarri's side to answer their critics but what people forget is that they actually played well against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final too. I am expecting more of the same from Sarri's side.

Lawro's prediction: 0:2


Everton v Liverpool 

I was at Anfield when Liverpool beat Everton in December as Jordan Pickford's injury-time error let in Divock Origi for the winner.

Everton had played really well, from front to back. They created some really good chances but lost because of a piece of bad luck, and there is an argument that result has seriously affected their season.

I wonder if things might even themselves out a bit here, which is why I am going for a draw - I just have a sense that things might not go to plan for Jurgen Klopp's side.

It is a difficult game for Liverpool anyway because they are top of the league, going away to their local rivals, and they have got absolutely everything to lose.

If Everton are gritty, and approach the game thinking they want to take a point at the very least, then I can see them getting some joy.

Lawro's prediction: 1:1

Source: BBC

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good weekend
Chelsea and Man Utd win
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Liverpool almost always beats Everton, I think this time they will win again
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almost never trust his opinion
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Come on Spurs. I want to see our victory
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