Liam vs Lawro: Boxing Day Fixtures

So, as a Swansea fan, I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Mark Lawrenson. Just minus the love. He would NEVER tip us to win any games in his weekly predictions column and, for a few years, we showed him. Sure, the last season he was right more than he was wrong but hey!

I’ve decided I’m going to see how easy this prediction malarky is (let’s overlook my first attempt at prediction with the Welsh Premier League https://couchpotatoscorner.sport.blog/2019/12/24/cymru-premier-league-preditions-matchday-18-how-did-i-do/ )

Each week, I am going to be pitting my wits against Lawro, based on his predictions on the BBC Sport website, where he takes on a difference celebrity each week.

As with the BBC scoring system, picking a correct results (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ten points. The exact score is worth forty points.

So here we go!

Tottenham Hotspur vs Brighton and Hove Albion

This game contains two managers I really love. I love Jose when he first starts at a club. He’s witty, he’s charming, he’s fun. It disappoints me how grumpy he gets when things don’t go well. But he’s in loveable Jose mode now and I’m excited to see what he can do with a club that is on the up but underachieving compared to their potential. Kind of like Chelsea when he joined them.

Unlike a lot of Swansea fans, I still hold Graham Potter in high regard. It’s inevitable that he was going to go on to better things after the season he had with us last year and I don’t begrudge him that. Like it or not, Swansea will always be one of those clubs that is a stepping stone for players and managers. We just have to reap the benefits on the field when they’re with us, and reap the benefits in the bank when they leave. Like Martinez and Rodgers, I would love to see Potter succeed so that I can tell my grandkids “Swansea is where it all began for him” (sorry, Ostersunds…)

I think this is going to be entertaining, probably game one on Match of the Day. Spurs will have too much quality going forward.

Liam says: 3-1 Tottenham

Lawro says: 3-0 Tottenham

Aston Villa vs Norwich City

I don’t know if it’s heart over head for me with this one. Full disclosure, my girlfriend (although not a football fan) is from Norwich. As are her family. They’re sort of my defacto second team.

Having watched them closely on Match of the Day this year, I can’t comprehend why they’re where they are in the table. They seem an entertaining team with a lot of attacking flair. I love Pukki and Cantwell. If they can shore up at the back, they might well make a push for survival. My gut says they’re for the drop though. My gut also says Villa will be dragged down with them and today they might reinforce that point.

Liam says: 2-1 to Norwich

Lawro says: 2-0 to Villa

Bournemouth vs Arsenal

New manager for Arsenal with zero pedigree a la Ljunberg. I can’t see him having an immediate impact over results, succeeding where Freddie failed. Bournemouth have taken out United and Chelsea this season. I’m tipping them for a hat-trick.

Liam says: 1-0 to Bournemouth

Lawro says: 2-1 to Arsenal

Chelsea vs Southampton

Southampton have impressed me in recent weeks with the way they’re battling against the drop. I predict they’re going to be alright come May and foresee a real ding dong here. I like Chelsea under Lampard and the surprising success they’ve had with such a young squad. I’ve been especially pleased that Tammy Abrahams has proven me wrong when I’ve previously said the Championship was his level.

This one will go right down to the wire and only be settled by a single goal.

Liam says: 2-1 to Chelsea

Lawro says: 2-0 to Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs West Ham United

West Ham are going down in the world. They’re my outside tip to go down this year, possibly swapping places with Watford. Shame, because I like the club. Palace have Benteke and Zaha up front (and Ayew but he’s not as good as his brother) and I feel they’ll tear the Hammers apart and take a comfortable win.

Liam says: 2-0 to Palace

Lawro says: 2-1 to West Ham

Everton vs Burnley

New manager’s normally have a habit of winning their first game in charge, but I’ve a feeling that the boost of Anchelloti’s arrival will only be good for taking a draw in this game. Otherwise, I’d have been tipping an away win.

As it stands, I predict goals, just not a lot of them.

Liam says: 1-1 draw

Lawro says: 2-0 to Everton

Sheffield United vs Watford

I’ve been impressed with Watford’s resurgence over the last two games, culminating in a 2-0 win over Manchester United.

The Blades have been this season’s surprise package and are flying high as a result. They also have Oli McBurnie, who was a favourite of mine at Swansea last season. He’s only got three goals so far this season, and seems to start most games from the bench but I’m rooting for him to succeed.

I think this will be one of the games of the day in terms of entertainment with both teams really going at it.

Liam says: 2-2 draw

Lawro says: 1-0 to Watford

Manchester United vs Newcastle United

United are my first love. They’re the reason I started watching football in the first place in 1996. With the advent of the internet and the relative easy by which I can follow Swansea scores and news from afar has seen my attentions drift towards my home team, but I’ve retained an affection for the Red Devils and I love Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He was the first complicated footballer name I ever learned to spell (and pronounce) correctly, along with Peter Schmeichel. Sure, he was dead to me for a while when he managed Cardiff, but he took them down so I guess we’re good.

I’m saddened to see how far from grace United have fallen and I keep praying that Ole will drag them back up. It’s not happening though. Hopefully the board will back him for a few years to rebuild because there is no quick solution.

When I first started watching football, United vs Newcastle was the City vs Liverpool of its day. These days it’s a shadow of its former self.

On paper, United should win this. They’re United. However, Steve Bruce is doing an amazing job at St James’ Park and has led Newcastle to victory over his former club once this season. My gut says he’ll repeat the feat.

Liam says: 1-0 to Newcastle

Lawro says: 2-0 to United

Leicester City vs Liverpool

As with Norwich above, I don’t know if this is my heart talking here. I’m rooting for Leicester for the title this season. I love a good underdog story. Who doesn’t? Add to that my boy Brendan (he who led my Swans to the promised land and beyond) and Kasper Schmeichel, the son of my first footballing hero, and hell yeah I’m going to be shouting for them.

Also, as much as I admire Liverpool under Klopp, and part of me would love to see them smash some points records, that old germ of a United fan in me never wants to see them win.

So I’m going for a home win to keep the title race alive.

Liam says: 2-0 to Leicester

Lawro says: 2-0 to Liverpool

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester City

I’ve always had a soft spot for Wolves as they’re, in a roundabout sort of way, my uncle’s team. He’s not a massive football fan and when I asked him why he never went to any games in the early part of this century he quipped “they never came to see me when I was bad!” To my knowledge, he doesn’t go to see them now they’re good either.

Wolves were so unlucky against Spurs the other week and will be looking to make a statement against City. This seems the right time to play them in my eyes. Pep seems to have lost his love of the Etihad and, while they are winning most of their games, they are a big attainable scalp for a giant killer on their day.

I’m not going to go so far as to say Wolves will win, but I can see them taking a point here.

Liam says: 2-2 draw

Lawro says: 2-0 to City

So! I’ll be back here in a few days to report on how I got on and make my predictions for the next round of fixtures!

Published by Liam Pritchard

I am a writer and a poet. I say that but, actually, I’m one of those annoying breed of people who pretentiously call themselves writers and/or poets but don’t actually do any writing and stay depressed at their lack of productivity. Far more accurate would be to say that I am an arrogant, ill informed and over opinionated sod with an under developed ability to sense when he’s not funny. But “writer and poet” sounds better and I’m sticking with it. A friend – clearly fed up with my moaning about never producing any body of writing – suggested that I start a blog. My first reaction was “what the **** am I going to write about that anyone will want to read?” Then it dawned on me that it is fairly certain no one will ever read a single word I say on here. But that’s fine. I’m used to talking to myself. In school, I used to spend hours imagining I was a dragon who ran his own restaurant. Or, while playing “mummies and daddies,” I once proclaimed myself Granddad, shipped myself off to war, was promptly shot and killed and lay there dead for the rest of play time (and the entirely of the subsequent three play times). Don’t get me wrong. I had friends. Or at least I don’t recall being conscious of not having friends. I just used to spend a lot of time in my own little world. Not a lot has changed really. So! If you’re a real life human being who has stumbled across my little blog: erm, sorry! You’re really not getting these wasted minutes of your life back. I can’t even offer you photos of grumpy cats to compensate you. Peace and love! xx

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