Premier League festive predictions: Lawro v Tears for Fears' Manchester United fans Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal

Lawro's predictions

Manchester City are top of the Premier League this Christmas, but will they still lead the way when it matters in May?

"It is still a three-way battle between City, Liverpool and Chelsea and it is still far too close to call," said BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson. "Chelsea have had a bit of a wobble in the past few weeks but they will come good.

"The way it is poised at the moment, the picture could look very different after just one set of results. Those three will end up clear and it could be their games against each other that decides who finishes where."

Results/fixtures between the Premier League top three in 2021-22
Man City (a)Liverpool (a)Chelsea (a)
Man City (h)N/A9 Apr15 Jan
Liverpool (h)2-2N/A1-1
Chelsea (h)0-12 JanN/A
Snapshot of the top of the Premier League: 1st Man City, 2nd Liverpool, 3rd Chelsea
Defending champions City hit top spot for the first time this season after beating Watford 3-1 on 4 December, and have stayed there ever since. Pep Guardiola's side were eight points behind leaders Liverpool at Christmas 2020, but finished 12 points clear of everyone else

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week it's Tears for Fears' Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal, who are both Manchester United fans.

The duo have sold more than 30m albums since they formed Tears for Fears in the early 1980s and are back in February 2022 with The Tipping Point, their first album for almost 18 years.

Tears for Fears - Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal
Scores from the big chair - Smith and Orzabal are both Manchester United fans, but do they think Ralph Rangnick's side will have anything to shout about this season?

Smith grew up a die-hard United fan, but Orzabal converted much later. He supported his local club Portsmouth as a young boy before he moved to Bath as a teenager and met his bandmate, drifting away from the sport until the late 1990s.

"Curt was a boyhood United fan, but I was born just outside Portsmouth, so they were my first love," Orzabal told BBC Sport.

"When I moved to Bath I lost interest in football completely for decades and it was only in 1998, when I was dragged by my neighbour in the west country to watch the World Cup, that things changed.

"Part of football for me as a kid had been the player cards you used to get, so I knew all the teams. But the last time I'd watched anyone regularly was the days of Billy Bremner and Norman 'Bites Yer Legs' Hunter [at Leeds], and it was all muddy pitches and long balls.

"And then suddenly in 1998, I am watching these beautiful colour renditions and this guy called David Beckham was placing the ball on a dime. All of a sudden the whole world opened up for me, so I started following all the top clubs - except Arsenal, because they were my elder brother's team so I couldn't have that.

"I just noticed myself that when I was watching Manchester United that I would get really depressed when they lost. That's how I realised I was becoming a fan. At roughly the same time, Curt and I got back together after a long hiatus, and we had this thing in common."

Tears for Fears
In September, Tears For Fears were honoured with the Outstanding Song Collection Award at the 2021 Ivor Novello Awards, to recognise their 40 years in music. Their latest single, the title track from their new album, is out now and they will be touring the UK in 2022

Smith is based in Los Angeles now and is a season ticket holder at Major League Soccer side LAFC, but United are never far from his thoughts.

"My affinity for United goes a long way back," he explained. "I grew up with the team of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton. George was my childhood hero and he still is. At times, watching him play was just unbelievable - the only people who have come close are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It is nice to see Ronaldo back at United. It is not the same as when he was with us first time around but, having said that, he came back and started scoring straightaway. It was like 'welcome home!'.

"Despite that, it's been quite difficult season for various reasons. As much as I loved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I never thought of him as a manager of the same calibre as Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel, and it was definitely the right time for a change.

"One would hope that things settle now under Ralph Rangnick and in the past couple of games, we have been better - nothing exciting, but more organised, which I think was the issue before.

"Hopefully that sticks until the end of the season, and we keep getting slightly better so we are still up there, vying for the top four, which I think is the best we can hope for. Then, in the summer, they can decide what happens next."

Tears for Fears
Who wants to rule the world? Tears for Fears have not had a Christmas number one themselves but a cover of their 1982 hit Mad World, by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules, took top spot at Christmas 2003
Premier League predictions - week 19
ResultLawroRolandCurt
SUNDAY, 26 DECEMBER
Liverpool v LeedsP-PP-PP-PP-P
Wolves v WatfordP-PP-PP-PP-P
Burnley v EvertonP-PP-PP-PP-P
Man City v Leicester6-33-04-14-1
Norwich v Arsenal0-51-22-21-2
Tottenham v Crystal Palace3-02-02-12-0
West Ham v Southampton2-31-23-12-0
Aston Villa v Chelsea1-30-21-21-1
Brighton v Brentford2-01-01-20-1
MONDAY, 27 DECEMBER
Newcastle v Man Utd1-10-20-31-3

P-P = Postponed because of Covid-19 outbreaks.

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

LAWRO'S PREDICTIONS

SUNDAY, 26 DECEMBER

Liverpool v Leeds

Liverpool P-P Leeds

This game was postponed because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Wolves v Watford

Wolves P-P Watford

This game was postponed because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Burnley v Everton

Burnley P-P Everton

This game was postponed because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Man City v Leicester

Man City 6-3 Leicester

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Roland's prediction: 4-1

Curt's prediction: 4-1

Match report

Norwich v Arsenal

Norwich 0-5 Arsenal

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Roland's prediction: 2-2

Curt's prediction: 1-2

Match report

Tottenham v Crystal Palace

Tottenham 3-0 Crystal Palace

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Roland's prediction: 2-1

Curt's prediction: 2-0

Match report

West Ham v Southampton

West Ham 2-3 Southampton

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Roland's prediction: 3-1

Curt's prediction: 2-0

Match report

Aston Villa v Chelsea

Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Roland's prediction: 1-2

Curt's prediction: 1-1

Match report

Brighton v Brentford

Brighton 2-0 Brentford

Lawro's prediction: 1-0

Roland's prediction: 1-2

Curt's prediction: 0-1

Match report

MONDAY, DECEMBER 27

Newcastle v Man Utd

Newcastle 1-1 Man Utd

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Roland's prediction: 0-3

Roland on Man Utd's prospects: 1-3

Match report

Lawro, Roland and Curt were speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last week?

From last weekend's Premier League fixtures, Lawro got three correct results from four matches, with no exact scores, for a total of 30 points.

For now, it goes down as a defeat for Lawro because although one of his guests, Femi from Ezra Collective, has 20 points so far after getting two correct results and no exact scores, his brother TJ got three correct results and one exact score for a total of 60 points.

A total of six games were postponed last weekend because of Covid-19 outbreaks. Femi and TJ's predictions for those matches are below, and any points they earn will be added to their overall score when those games are played, which could change the overall result.

Guest scores for postponed Premier League games - week 18
FemiTJ
SATURDAY
Man Utd v Brighton3-12-1
Aston Villa v Burnley1-03-0
Southampton v Brentford0-32-3
Watford v Crystal Palace1-21-4
West Ham v Norwich3-02-0
SUNDAY
Everton v Leicester1-21-1
Lawro's League Table graphic
+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION
TEAMPWDLPTS+/-
1Man City181530480
=2Chelsea18135044+1
=2Liverpool181350440
4Leicester17125041+5
5Man Utd16122238+1
6Leeds18111634+10
7Arsenal1894531-3
8Tottenham1676327-1
9Aston Villa1774625+1
10West Ham1765623-5
11Brighton1663721+2
=12Newcastle18431115+7
=12Wolves18431115-4
=14Burnley1542914+4
=14Southampton17421114+1
16Brentford16411113-4
17Crystal Palace17331112-6
18Everton17311310-4
19Norwich1714127+1
20Watford1603133-3

GUEST LEADERBOARD 2021-22

ScoreGuest
130Jamie Webster
110Friction, She Drew The Gun
90Dev from Idles
80Tom McFarland
74Lawro (average after 18 weeks)
70Ben Cajee, Elena Cole, Jelani Blackman
60TJ from Ezra Collective, Haydn Craven
50Aqib Khan, Shaun Thomas
40Dan Haggis of The Wombats, Murray & Tav from FUR, Justin Young
30Femi from Ezra Collective, Martin Noble, Michael 'Venom' Page, Roger Taylor, Zuzu
10Tom Hughes
Total scores after week 18
Lawro1,340
Guests1,080
Lawro v Guests
P18W12D4L2
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