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Charlie’s Premier League and Lawro’s FA Cup predictions

Time we took a look at Charlie’s Premier League and Lawro’s FA Cup predictions for this upcoming weekend going into next week.

That’s right, the football never stops! First we see what the former Celtic, Arsenal, Aberdeen and Scotland footballer had to say for the league fixtures.

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Charlie said: “I am always so in between with Aston Villa. Everyone knows my thoughts on Wolves and what real potential they have of getting a top-four spot. Man Utd are getting the headlines, but Wolves are on the same points. Man Utd have pleasant games but so do Wolves.

“There will be added interest in this being a local derby and it does become harder. We can look at the profile of the Merseyside derby and see how poor the then champions-elect were.

“Jack Grealish did not play well against Newcastle but Villa managed to get a point. Their problems up front remain, while the midfield made mistakes. They did create chances but I will continue with Wolves and the roll they are on.

“Leicester could get dragged out into the top-four race if their results do not pick up, but I do see Wolves winning this. If Villa sit in and get a point, what good will that do? With the current scenario, it may get them out of danger, but they will not be comfortable – they must start winning football matches. Villa have to open up and go for it. Dean Smith does still not trust his side to play two up front.

“The wide men did play better at Newcastle, but Wolves have three at the back and two wing backs, so how will they stop them coming forward? Adama Traore, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez have it all, and this will be another example of Wolves being solid. As soon as there is a weakness, Nuno Espirito Santo’s team jump all over it. They know how to win and keep clean sheets, but they will get the job done without one here.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Aston Villa 1-3 Wolves

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Charlie said: “It is getting awkward for Watford. I look at Watford, West Ham, Villa, Bournemouth, and I wonder where they are going to get a win from. These are the type of games which Watford will be targeting.

“Southampton have done their business and are safe, and rightly so. Watford are a poorer version of Wolves. They have the physicality and ability, especially when you look at the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney. I also think Will Hughes is and can be better than what he has produced thus far.

“I see Watford opening the gap to the bottom three. You cannot wait for any potential VAR decisions or sympathy to help with results, you must go after it. Nigel Pearson needs a win to instil some belief into his side. The draw at Leicester will have spurred them on, but that was a blow losing to Burnley through the week. They will bounce back here.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Watford 2-1 Southampton

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Charlie said: “Burnley have been quite poor. It will be a struggle for them to get to the end, with the current contractual situation telling you that too. They do not quite have things right. Sean Dyche seemed to get a reaction from his Burnley players in their narrow win over Watford, so they did improve from the Manchester City thumping.

“Crystal Palace were awful at Liverpool. They were tidy on the ball in parts where it did not matter. Wilfried Zaha is injured so he will be a massive miss for them. I would not like to be jumping all over this game, and it is hard to pick the bones out of it. There won’t be lots of goals. Palace are still after Europe but they have not got enough to get anywhere near. They will get the win in this one though.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley

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Charlie said: “This is the one that tells me where Manchester United are. They would normally struggle in the past away at sides like Brighton, where they went down 3-2 last season at The Amex. Nevertheless, four points out of six is magical after the restart for Brighton, and it gives them breathing space, depending on what happens with the other teams around them. The gap to the others is still not sufficient though as it stands.

“United have been impressive. Anthony Martial does what he does. He looks poor one week and is class the next. The skill and movement of Bruno Fernandes has been excellent, while Paul Pogba can supply the three up front. I like the balance of Mason Greenwood, coming in off the right as a left-footer. The pace and movement is so valuable at this time of the season, while teams are still trying to find their feet.

“Teams need to play deeper against United, but by the time you get the ball, it is hard to hit the forwards and have the midfielders to get up and support, and this is where United can get on top of you. All these things add up to let you know United may have some steel now. Themselves, Chelsea and Wolves are in one hell of a fight. They may not be as strong away from home but the belief is growing, and when they have that, it becomes irreplaceable and too hard to handle at times. They are in for a good run-in.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Brighton 1-3 Man Utd (played Tuesday)

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Right then, that’s it in terms of Premier League predictions, now time to turn our attention over to Mark Lawrenson for his FA Cup predictions with four ties to be played.

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Lawro said: “Norwich have lost both their league games at home since the restart without looking like scoring, and things seem pretty bleak for them at the bottom of the table. I can’t see them staying up.

“The Canaries knew at the start of the season that they were gambling when they chose not to spend big on new players after getting promoted. In a way it is has failed because they are not going to stay in the Premier League, but at least their finances will be in a better place when they do get relegated.

“In a way, this is a free hit for them, and a chance to forget about that side of things – but this is a bad time for anyone to be playing United because they are flying.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Norwich 0-2 Man Utd (played Saturday)

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Lawro said: “Like Norwich, Sheffield United are another team who do not look like they have got a goal in them at the moment.

“The Blades are just not playing as well as they were earlier in the season, but maybe the fact they are playing Arsenal might help them out.

“Arsenal are just a mess at the moment, and this is a situation that has been coming for while.

“Some people point the blame at former manager Arsene Wenger, but I don’t agree with that. Even his worst Gunners team would beat this current Arsenal side, easily.

“There just seems a total lack of a cohesive plan at the club when it comes to things like scouting, recruitment and contracts, and I feel sorry for current manager Mikel Arteta, because none of it is his fault.

“Since Wenger has gone, there has been a scattergun approach – and it has not worked.

“As for this tie, I am going for the Blades to win on penalties, but Arsenal’s problems will not be over by a long shot even if they do get through.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Sheffield Utd 1-1 Arsenal (AET – Sheff Utd win on penalties)

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Lawro said: “Apart from James Maddison, Leicester looked short of sharpness and fitness in their draw with Brighton on Tuesday. That will come back at some point, but maybe not this weekend.

“I fancy Chelsea to progress because I always think they are capable of creating chances, but it is going to be close.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Leicester 1-2 Chelsea

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Lawro said: “If Newcastle had held on to beat Aston Villa in the league on Wednesday, they would be totally safe on 41 points and could have focused fully on this tie.

“They have already drawn with Manchester City once at St James’ Park this season and you would be thinking they can have a real go at them.

“As it is, there is still that element of doubt about them staying up and, although I still think the Magpies will survive, boss Steve Bruce will probably see Wednesday’s league trip to struggling Bournemouth as the priority.

“City are the FA Cup holders and I am sure they will take this tie seriously but they made eight changes on Monday night and outclassed Burnley. Whatever team they put out, it will be too strong for Newcastle.”

SCORE PREDICTION: Newcastle 0-3 Man City

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What do you make Charlie Nicholas’ Premier League and Lawro’s FA Cup predictions now that you have seen them all? Lwt us know your thoughts by commenting on our Facebook page HERE.

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