Love him or hate him, everybody has an opinion on Mark Lawrenson. Actually, scrap that. Everybody hates Mark Lawrenson, but it is fair to say that the ex-Liverpool defender knows his stuff. Or does he? Let’s take a glance at Lawro’s Premier League predictions from last year and see how much he really knows.
Starting with the top, Lawro’s predictions hold up well. He had a top four of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. Were it not for Arsenal’s catastrophic run towards the end of last season, it is perceivable that Lawro’s top four could have been exactly right. So fair play.
As an Evertonian however, it would be criminal to pass up the opportunity to point out that Lawrenson over-estimated Liverpool’s capability by 14 points, yet curiously only one position, with the Reds finishing 6th rather than the predicted 5th. Tottenham were Lawro’s 6th placed team, and they of course pipped Liverpool to 5th place.
Lawro predicted the top six teams, though only got one in the right order. However, I suggest this is no great foresight on his part, merely the absolutely minimum required of a pundit given the entirely predictable nature of the top six in the Premier League. I can say off the top of my head now that those exact six teams will finish in the top six this year and I would get at least five, probably six out of six correct.
So let’s look at the next six positions, occupied by decent sides who perform with too little consistency. From 7th to 12th, Lawro has Everton, Aston Villa, Wolves, Sunderland, Newcastle and Stoke. Wolves are the side that jump out to me there. Suggesting they would finish in the top half is poor, even Mick McCarthy admitted to expecting a relegation battle last term.
Other than that though, again very decent predictions from Lawrenson. Nobody could have anticipated West Brom’s resurgence under Roy Hodgson so that is no mark against him.
The relegation zone is a source of perhaps the most interested speculation in recent Premier League years, so let’s see how Lawrenson did there. The first thing that stands out is that Lawro has Wigan bottom with 20 points. 20 points! Give them some credit. This is 22 points lower than their final total which of course enabled Roberto Martinez’s men to survive.
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It was West Ham who came bottom, Lawro picking them to secure survival with some weeks left, ending up in 14th position.
Blackpool finished with 12 more points than Lawro gave them (39) but unfortunately for them occupied the same position ultimately (19th).
Even more surprising than West Ham’s relegation was that of Birmingham City. I would be surprised if any pundit predicted that. Despite this, Lawro’s predictions have them finish only four points higher in 16th. Again not bad.
It seems that Lawro is essentially good at stating the obvious – Manchester United will win the league, Arsenal will get into the Champions League, Villa will finish mid-table etc. Therefore, not the most cutting edge insight. When he has to stick his neck on the line and make bold predictions, he is frequently wrong, for example, Liverpool and West Ham, and occasionally ridiculous, ie Wigan.
Does he offer any unique insight? No. Would I take his advice all the way to to the bookies? Maybe. At the end of the day though, it is that daft haircut and his nauseating pronunciation that makes everyone’s mind up about Lawro.
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