Manchester City know they will retain their Premier League title if they win their final three games of the season and their next test sees them travel to Turf Moor on Sunday.
Can City beat Burnley and make it 12 league wins on the spin? BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson feels their mentality will get them through.
“The thing with City is that they are just absolutely zoned in,” he explained. “I was at Old Trafford on Wednesday and you saw them just turn the switch on in the second half, and that is how the top teams get results.
“I am at Turf Moor on Sunday which will be the third time I have watched them in a week, and I am expecting to see them get another victory.”
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.
This week he is up against Radio 1 DJ Melvin Odoom, who admits he is not exactly an expert compared to his co-hosts on the late night show, Charlie Hedges and Rickie Williams.
“We just love to take the mickey out of him because he knows nothing about football,” explains Rickie.
“Melvin has no football knowledge, but he is very lucky, so he might do better with his predictions than he thinks,” said Charlie.
Melvin is definitely taking his task seriously, though.
He added: “I know it is a big deal because every time I look into Rickie’s eyes, I see fire burning.
“It is like if I get it wrong, it is a really bad thing, but I think I have got the skills to beat Lawro at the very least.”
Melvin says he supports two teams – Tottenham and Ghana – but admits he is is not much of a footballer himself.
“I didn’t really play at school,” he said. “But I was very good at kiss-chase and hopscotch. I never used to get picked for football teams, which is probably why I was never really into it.
“I am a Spurs fan because of my dad. Harry Kane is my favourite player and it is such a shame he is out at the moment.”
You can listen to Melvin, Charlie and Rickie on the late night show on Radio 1, Monday to Thursday, from 9pm to 11pm.
|Premier League predictions – week 36|
|Liverpool v Huddersfield||x-x||4-0||2-0|
|Tottenham v West Ham||x-x||2-1||2-1|
|Crystal Palace v Everton||x-x||1-2||0-0|
|Fulham v Cardiff||x-x||2-1||1-1|
|Southampton v Bournemouth||x-x||2-0||1-1|
|Watford v Wolves||x-x||0-2||1-2|
|Brighton v Newcastle||x-x||1-0||1-0|
|Leicester v Arsenal||x-x||1-1||0-2|
|Burnley v Man City||x-x||0-2||0-3|
|Man Utd v Chelsea||x-x||1-1||2-2|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.
Liverpool v Huddersfield (20:00 BST)
All Liverpool can do now is keep winning, and hope Manchester City drop points somewhere.
I don’t think this game will be a problem for Jurgen Klopp’s side, because Huddersfield will not be able to keep them out.
|Race for the Premier League title|
|Date||Liverpool fixtures||Date||Man City fixtures|
|26 April||Huddersfield (H)||28 April||Burnley (A)|
|4 May||Newcastle (A)||6 May||Leicester (H)|
|12 May||Wolves (H)||12 May||Brighton (A)|
Klopp has Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona to think about too, but I don’t think he should rotate too much, and I don’t believe he will.
Lawro’s prediction: 4-0
Melvin’s prediction: Liverpool are a very good team, and they are Rickie’s team. I did not even know until I did this that Huddersfield even had a team. 2-0
Tottenham v West Ham (12:30 BST)
Tottenham left it very late against Brighton on Tuesday but that win – and other results for the teams just below them – has put them in a strong position to finish in the top four.
There is still work for them to do, though. Like Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino’s side also have a Champions League semi-final to think about – against Ajax on Tuesday – but they have to pick a strong line-up here.
West Ham carry a threat but they are very inconsistent, and I think Spurs will get the three points they need.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Melvin’s prediction: This is my team against Charlie’s team. I am going to go for Tottenham to win. 2-1
Charlie: Any reason why?
Melvin: Is Harry Kane allowed to play this one?
Rickie: I think he is still injured, but you have got Son Heung-min.
Melvin: Is Dele Alli playing? Yes? Then definitely 2-1. He has got a lovely clothing line as well.
Crystal Palace v Everton
Both of these teams had excellent results at the weekend – Palace winning at Arsenal, and Everton thumping Manchester United.
That sort of display against one of the top teams is typical of Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, and he deserves a lot of credit.
His Palace side are well coached, they close the gaps and leave no spaces when you play against them, and they are capable of hurting any team with pace they have got on the break.
At home, however, they have not been as successful when they have break down teams who sit in against them, which is why it will be interesting to see how Everton are set up.
I do think this will be an open game, which will suit Palace, but if Everton play with the sort of tempo they showed against United, they will make life difficult for them.
The last time I tipped Everton to win away, they lost at Fulham – but I think they will leave with the points this time.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-2
Melvin: Oooh, this is a very tough one for me.
Charlie: Because you know nothing about either of them?
Rickie: They are both in good form at the moment, coming in off the back of wins.
Melvin: Really? So you like both teams?
Rickie: I think it probably going to be a draw.
Charlie: Remember what they said, to go low.
Melvin’s prediction: Okay, so were are going to go 0-0.
Charlie: Not that low!
Fulham v Cardiff
Fulham have won their past two games, and kept clean sheets in both of them, which shows they have not just stopped trying since they were relegated.
Those results have helped support Scott Parker’s case for getting the manager’s job permanently and there is no way they will let Cardiff come to Craven Cottage and just roll them over.
This is a massive game for Cardiff’s survival hopes and it is tricky to know what approach their manager Neil Warnock will think gives them the greatest chance of success.
Do they play the same way as usual, which is to squeeze, tackle and press or, because they are playing Fulham, is Warnock thinking he could play an extra attacking player?
Win, and Cardiff will put the pressure on Brighton, who play later on Saturday, but I actually think this could be a difficult afternoon for the Welsh side.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Melvin: This is an easy one, 1-0 to Fulham.
Charlie: Haven’t Fulham been relegated?
Rickie: Yes, and Cardiff are fighting for their lives, so they will potentially try harder than Fulham.
Melvin: Okay, with those facts I am going 1-0 to Cardiff.
Charlie: I think you should stick with what you said originally.
Melvin’s prediction: Okay, 1-0 to Fulham… but I feel there is a lot of pressure on me from both sides, and I can’t really make up my mind, so 1-1.
Southampton v Bournemouth
The good news for Southampton is that Bournemouth are short of fit defenders, and they are not the greatest at the back anyhow.
Saints are as good as safe anyway, sitting six points above Cardiff and with a much superior goal-difference, and I think they will make absolutely sure of staying up on Saturday.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Melvin’s prediction: 1-1
Watford v Wolves
This is a rematch of the FA Cup semi-final which Watford won, and I have a feeling Wolves will get their revenge.
Wolves took Arsenal apart on Wednesday, which was not a major surprise to most people, and I think they will use their frustration of losing at Wembley to fire themselves up at Vicarage Road.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Melvin’s prediction: The Wolves sound very scary. 1-2
Brighton v Newcastle (17:30 BST)
I am at the Amex Stadium on Saturday for a 40th anniversary reunion with the Brighton team that got promoted to the top flight in 1979.
We will be on the pitch before the game and then there is a party afterwards. It should be a great day and I am really looking forward to seeing some old friends.
Newcastle were the opposition when we won promotion at St James’ Park for the first time in the club’s history with a 3-1 win on the last day of the season, in front of more than 10,000 Seagulls fans who had made the long journey north. It was a fabulous occasion.
I know Brighton have not scored in their past seven games but I think there could a little bit of fate involved here with the Magpies the opposition again, and this time a win would help them take a huge step towards staying in the Premier League.
I am sure there will be a lot of celebrating afterwards if that is what happens, although I will not be partying too hard – I will be up bright and early because I am travelling to Turf Moor on Sunday to cover Burnley versus Manchester City.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-0
Rickie: Notoriously this season, both teams don’t score many goals, they are quite pragmatic teams.
Melvin’s prediction: All right then, 1-0 to Newcastle.
Charlie: Watch it be 5-0 now!
Leicester v Arsenal (12:00 BST)
This is another away game for Arsenal and the way they are on the road at the moment I would not back them to win a raffle away from the Emirates Stadium.
It has been the same story for the Gunners all season and I suppose the only positive for them after two defeats in the past week is that they are still in the race for the top four because the teams around them have also slipped up.
|Race for the top four – remaining fixtures|
|West Ham (h)||Leicester (a)||Man Utd (a)||Chelsea (h)|
|Bournemouth (a)||Brighton (h)||Watford (h)||Huddersfield (a)|
|Everton (h)||Burnley (a)||Leicester (a)||Cardiff (h)|
With Manchester United playing Chelsea later on Sunday, at least one of them will drop more points, but I am not convinced Arsenal can capitalise.
I was surprised Leicester lost to Newcastle in their last home game, but the Foxes showed they have not gone off the boil with the way they fought back late on against West Ham last time out.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Melvin’s prediction: Arsenal are a massive team but have Leicester still got thingy still, that guy who scored all the goals?
Rickie: Yes, they have still got Jamie Vardy, who is scoring goals, and they have got a new manager, Brendan Rodgers, who is doing really well.
Melvin: OK… but Arsenal are a big team. I am going to say 2-0 to Arsenal.
Burnley v Man City (14:05 BST)
Burnley are currently as close to safety as you can get without being mathematically certain, with a nine-point advantage over 18th-placed Cardiff, and a goal difference that is 17 better than the Welsh side.
If Cardiff don’t beat Fulham on Saturday then Burnley will know they are definitely staying up and there will be some happy fans at Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Clarets held City here last season, but I just don’t see it happening again.
The only way they might get some joy is if they can get City involved in a really tough, physical game, which would suit the home side far more.
If Fernandinho is out with the injury he sustained against United in midweek then that won’t help City either, because he would have a crucial role winning the second ball from knockdowns.
And it will be interesting to see if Vincent Kompany is able to play for a second time in five days, because the City skipper is exactly the sort of defender his side will need in this game.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Melvin’s prediction: Man City have got this one. It’s going to be 3-0 to City.
Man Utd v Chelsea (16:30 BST)
Manchester United are all over the place at the moment, with seven defeats in their past nine matches in what is their worst run of results since 1988-89.
Seeing them line up with five at the back at home against City on Wednesday was almost an admission that they could not afford to lose that game, but they really need to win this one to keep alive their hopes of making the top four.
Yes, we saw a reaction against City after their awful performance against Everton, but if you look through United’s team they have got some very ordinary players.
Chelsea arguably need all three points too, especially after they were held by Burnley on Monday. Their frustration in that game was obvious, and I think they might find this match is little bit more open.
I think Tottenham will finish third but who takes fourth spot might not be settled until the final week of the season.
I am backing Chelsea to take it. Arsenal are not good enough away from home, and United are not good enough full-stop.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Melvin’s prediction: This is a very difficult game. 2-2
Charlie: Interesting. I am really proud of you, Mel.
Melvin: I didn’t want to give silly predictions. I wanted to take it seriously and see how many I could get correct.
Charlie: Are you going to beat Lawro, though?
Melvin: Of course I am, he’s got no chance. I am amazing!
Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
How did Lawro do last time?
From the four midweek games, Lawro got four correct results, including two perfect scores, for a total of 100 points.
He beat singer-songwriter Ten Tonnes, who got two correct results, including one perfect score, for a total of 50 points.
|Total scores after week 35|
|Lawro v Guests|
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|
GUEST LEADERBOARD 2018-19
|140||The 1975’s Ross MacDonald|
|110||Tom Kerridge, Yatez|
|90||Jim Glennie, Mario Hezonja, Karl Pilkington, Chris Stark|
|87||Lawro (average after 35 weeks)|
|80||Adebayo Akinfenwa, Richard Ashcroft, Dina Asher-Smith, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg James, Johnny Marr, Mark Wahlberg|
|70||Matt Fitzpatrick, RED, Yungen|
|60||Jamie Dornan & Paul Conroy, Idris Elba, Tom McFarland, Dolph Lundgren, Mumford & Sons, Dillian Whyte|
|50||Bring Me The Horizon, Theo Ellis, Drew McIntyre, Mohamed Sanu, Ten Tonnes, Dolph Ziggler|
|40||Tom Grennan, Josh Warrington, Taka|
|30||Ryan Fitzpatrick, Danny Howard, Oti Mabuse, Scott Mills|
Lawro’s best score: 260 points (week seven v Karl Pilkington)
Lawro’s worst score: 20 points (week 24 v Grime star Yizzy, week 25 v Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarter-back Ryan Fitzpatrick and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, and week 31 against Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard)