BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson is pitting his wits against a different guest each week this season.

Lawro’s opponent for this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals and Premier League fixtures is
WWE wrestling star Wade ‘Bad News’ Barrett.

Barrett is a lifelong Preston fan who has trained with the team and invited some of their players along to the ‘WWE Live’ show in Manchester last weekend.

“I went out in front of the crowd and kind of disrespected Manchester United and Manchester City to all of the Manchester fans,” Barrett told BBC Sport.

“I told them it was about time they saw what a real team looked like, at which point I brought the Preston boys out on to the stage.

Wade Barrett and the Preston players at the WWE Live

Barrett and the Preston players got a hot reception from United and City fans last week

“Of course we were roundly booed by everybody, and then I went down to the ring and started beating people up. It was a lot of fun.”

It is not the first time Barrett has clashed with United – in February he had a light-hearted run-in on social media with Wayne Rooney about the striker’s controversial penalty at Deepdale in the FA Cup fifth round.


“We had put in an amazing performance but Wayne ruined it all by diving for that penalty in the dying minutes,” Barrett explained.

“So I called him out and offered to fight him, at which point he decided he wanted ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin as a tag-team partner.

“I brought in my own partner, Preston striker Kevin Davies, and as far as I was concerned everything was set. But then Wayne went very quiet. I think he knows he is a beaten man but hopefully one day we will catch up with each other.”

FA Cup semi-final predictions

Result Lawro ‘Bad News’

SATURDAY

Reading v Arsenal

x-x

0-2

3-1

SUNDAY

Aston Villa v Liverpool

x-x

0-1

0-2

You can see all of ‘Bad News’ Barrett’s predictions on
Football Focus

at 12:10 BST on BBC One and the BBC Sport website (in the UK).

Premier League predictions – Week 33

Result Lawro ‘Bad News’

SATURDAY

Crystal Palace v West Brom

x-x

1-1

3-2

Everton v Burnley

x-x

2-0

4-1

Leicester v Swansea

x-x

2-1

0-1

Stoke v Southampton

x-x

1-2

1-1

Chelsea v Man Utd

x-x

1-1

3-1

SUNDAY

Man City v West Ham

x-x

2-0

2-2

Newcastle v Tottenham

x-x

1-1

1-0

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth
ONE

point. Getting the exact score correct earns
THREE

points.

Last weekend, Lawro got
five correct results

from 10 Premier League games, with
three perfect scores.

His score of
11 points

saw him beat

The Vaccines singer Justin Young,

who picked
seven correct results,

but with only
one perfect score.

That gave him a total of
nine points.

We are keeping a record of the totals for Lawro and his guests (below), and showing a table of how the Premier League would look if all of Lawro’s predictions were correct (at the bottom of the page).

Total scores after week 32

Lawro

230

Guests

226

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated.

SATURDAY

Crystal Palace v West Brom

Crystal Palace’s turnaround since Alan Pardew took charge in January

is one of the stories of the season.

Palace in the Premier League before Pardew

P20 W3 D8 L9 Pts 17 Pos 18th

Palace’s highest finish in the Premier League era is the 11th they managed under current West Brom boss Tony Pulis last season, but they are on course to beat that.

Palace in the Premier League under Pardew

P11 W8 D1 L2 Pts 25 Pos 11th

Pulis got the Baggies job

just before Pardew arrived at Palace and also had an immediate impact.

But West Brom have hit the skids a bit in the last few weeks with three straight defeats.

The manner of their last-minute loss at home to Leicester last week was particularly ‘un-Pulis-like’ and I think we will see a response to that here.

West Brom are still seven points above the relegation zone but they will need to pick up more points somewhere before they are completely safe.

Lawro’s prediction:

1-1

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

3-1

Everton v Burnley

Everton will feel they should have made it four wins in a row last week

when they were held by Swansea

and they will want to maintain that sort of form against Burnley.

It was the same old story for the Clarets

against Arsenal

– they gave it a good go but came up short.

Their biggest problem is that they are struggling for goals – Danny Ings has not found the net for seven games and the whole team have only managed two between them in that time.

Danny Ings scores for Burnley against Man Utd

Ings is Burnley’s top Premier League scorer with nine goals but has not found the net in 704 minutes, since this header against Manchester United on 11 February

That just highlights how, while their work-rate and organisation under Sean Dyche is absolutely spot-on, their quality in the final third is letting them down.

Lawro’s prediction:

2-0

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

I am a Preston fan so it is my job to hate Burnley. 4-1

Leicester v Swansea

Leicester have now won two games in a row and although they are still bottom of the table they will be thinking their fight for survival is very much on.

The Foxes rode their luck a bit

against West Brom last weekend

but they have got a bit of confidence and momentum and I think they can carry that on.

Swansea are on a decent run themselves, despite not having much to play for

apart from a record points total.

They will not make it easy for Leicester but I have the feeling the Foxes will edge another win, especially with

Swans striker Bafetimbi Gomis out injured.

Lawro’s prediction:

2-1

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

0-1

Stoke v Southampton

Southampton are ticking along quite nicely, just one point behind Liverpool.

They will go above them with a draw or a win because the Reds have got their FA Cup semi-final this weekend.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman

Koeman’s Southampton side are sixth, five points behind Manchester City

I’ve heard a lot about how Liverpool are the team hoping to nick fourth place if Manchester City’s slump continues but Southampton should not be discounted in that race.

If Saints can find the sort of form to finish the season they showed at the start of it, then they have got a chance – and it is a massive carrot for them.

A win at the Britannia Stadium is never easy but Stoke have a few injury problems to deal with –

Victor Moses is their latest player to be sidelined

– and I am backing Southampton.

Lawro’s prediction:

1-2

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

1-1

Reading v Arsenal (FA Cup semi-final, 17:20 BST)

This is a fantastic day for Reading and their fans but Arsenal are the overwhelming favourites for a reason and there are a few reasons why I cannot see them slipping up.

The Gunners were almost been embarrassed by Wigan at Wembley

in last season’s semi-final

and a few of their players were in the Arsenal team that

were upset by Birmingham in the 2011 League Cup final too.

Per Mertesacker scores an 82nd-minute equaliser for Arsenal against Wigan

Per Mertesacker’s late equaliser saved Arsenal in last season’s semi-final against Wigan, and the Gunners went on to win on penalties

So they will know this tie might not be straightforward and, on top of that, they are in excellent form and have plenty of potential match-winners.

Arsene Wenger has nearly all of his players fit and they will be raring to go and fighting for their place.

Reading will try to make it difficult for them but even if Wenger’s side find themselves in a battle or under pressure, they are better at dealing with it than other Arsenal teams of the last few years.

I just get the impression that even if Arsenal don’t play very well, which isn’t unusual in semi-finals, they will still get the job done.

Lawro’s prediction:

0-2

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

Reading will be up for this one and will put up a real fight, but I can’t see them stopping Arsenal. 1-3

Chelsea v Man Utd (17:30 BST)

Chelsea’s late winner at QPR

was massive for their title bid and it helps make this game one where they just have to avoid defeat rather than one they have to win.

The Blues are three wins away from the title but their manager Jose Mourinho will not be too bothered about when they win it, as long as they do.

I am going to go for a draw and I think Mourinho will set up his team to get one, even if he does not admit it.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal would probably take a point at Stamford Bridge too.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Van Gaal’s United side head to Stamford Bridge on the back of six straight wins

It has all come together for United recently, although some of it was by accident –

an injury to Robin van Persie,

for example, meant Van Gaal had to push Wayne Rooney back up front.

You do have to give Van Gaal credit, though, because he had to put up with a lot of injuries before Christmas.

Things have settled down a lot recently, in terms of team selection and tactics, and United have built from the back.

They have some real quality in their midfield and things are working for them in all departments at the moment, as they showed with

their derby win over Manchester City.

Lawro’s prediction:

1-1

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

Chelsea are a level above everyone else in the Premier League this year. United have been on a great run recently but I think that ends at Stamford Bridge. 3-1

SUNDAY

Man City v West Ham (13:30 BST)

Manchester City are struggling badly at the moment and it is almost like some of their players have downed tools. I don’t think some of them are too bothered, and I think part of the reason for that is the money they are on.

Very few City players have lived up to their reputations this season, and a lot of them have actually tarnished them.

Their manager Manuel Pellegrini is under fire

because he does not seem to be able to get them at it and part of the problem for me is that he does not seem to be a man for drastic surgery.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini

Pellegrini is under pressure after City’s run of six defeats in their last eight games

If my head was on the chopping block, like his appears to be, I would be leaving out some of the big-name players who are not performing, but that does not seem to be Pellegrini’s way.

There are similarities with West Ham because their form has also dropped off badly and, as with Pellegrini, we are also unsure if Hammers boss Sam Allardyce

will be in charge next season.

Allardyce has not been offered a new contract, and if the club wanted to keep him, they would have done. You would assume some of the players have got wind of that, which might be why they are drifting.

Both teams need to change their squads round a bit, but City more so than West Ham. That is a big statement in itself.

Even so, I think Pellegrini will get a badly-needed win on Sunday. It might be unconvincing, but the three points are all that matter at the moment.

Lawro’s prediction:

2-0

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

2-2

Aston Villa v Liverpool (FA Cup semi-final, 15:00 BST)

Aston Villa have picked up since Tim Sherwood took charge in February and

their win at Tottenham last weekend

was a great result for Villa and him personally.

With five goals in his last three Villa games, Christian Benteke’s form is a worry for Liverpool but they will pose a threat too.

Whoever plays for them, I feel the Reds will do more damage with their pace through the middle and up front.

It will be a close game but I have the sneaking suspicion with Liverpool that they have this belief they are going to get to the final, and that kind of confidence is a big factor going into games like this.

Lawro’s prediction:

0-1

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

0-2

Newcastle v Tottenham (16:00 BST)

I have a lot of sympathy with Newcastle supporters who are set to protest about the lack of ambition of their club.

The club’s accounts show they have lots of money,

seemingly without anyone wanting to do anything with it in terms of trying to win things.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Many Newcastle fans have questioned the ambition of Ashley, who bought the club in 2007

Their fans want glory, or at least the chance of it, so I can understand why they want owner Mike Ashley out, and the stadium boycott planned for Sunday could show what they are prepared to do to achieve that aim.

If a large number of people with season tickets do not go in, that is a big statement to start with.

But Ashley already has the money from this season’s tickets in the bank, so he might not be too bothered – to really hit home, the Magpies fans would have to not buy them for next season and hit him in the pocket.

If enough of them say “I am not going to renew, I am going to wait and see what Ashley does,” then that could be a game-changer.

I think Ashley would take notice if he realised that 20,000 or so Newcastle fans were going to stop coming every other week but, if that doesn’t happen, he might still be thinking ‘so what?’.

In terms of the game, Newcastle are in freefall and Tottenham also look like they cannot wait for the season to end.

It is too easy an excuse to say that Spurs must be tired. It’s more accurate to say

their defeat by Aston Villa

was coming because Harry Kane cannot get them a result every week.

The more I see of them, the more I think they are a one-man team and, when Kane is not scoring, they are going to struggle.

Lawro’s prediction:

1-1

‘Bad News’ Barrett’s prediction:

1-0

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Lawro v Guests

P32

W14

D4

L14

SCORE GUEST LEADERBOARD

17

Kieran Shudall

12

Mark Ronson

11

Steph Houghton

10

Liam Fray, Rachel Riley

9

Kelly Smith, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Justin Young

8

Death in Paradise, Roddy Doyle, Tim Henman, Olly Murs, Dermot O’Leary, Henning Wehn, Benedict Wong

7.18

Lawro (average after 32 weeks)

7

Miles Jacobson, Ossie Ardiles, Seann Walsh

6

Carl Fogarty, George Ford*, Football Manager, Mark Wright & Karen Hauer, Steve Wilson

5

Joe Cole, The Eggheads, Sarah Harding & Leon Fagbemi, Van McCann, Adil Ray

4

Kell Brook, Guy Mowbray

2

John Cooper Clarke, Neil Lennon, Jack O’Connell

* Does not include scores for postponed game – Leicester v Chelsea

Lawro’s best score:

17 points (week seven v Ossie Ardiles)

Lawro’s worst score:

2 points (week 20 v Steve Wilson)

BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

ARROWS DENOTE DIFFERENCE TO REAL TABLE

POS TEAM P W D L PTS DIFF +/-

1.

Chelsea

31

28

3

0

87


Side arrow

0

2.

Man City

32

26

6

0

84


Up arrow

+2

3.

Arsenal

32

22

8

2

74


Down arrow

-1

4.

Man Utd

32

20

7

5

67


Down arrow

-1

5.

Liverpool

32

18

11

3

65


Side arrow

0

6.

Southampton

32

15

8

9

53


Side arrow

0

7.

Everton

32

13

10

9

49


Up arrow

+5

8.

Tottenham

32

12

11

9

47


Down arrow

-1

9.

Hull

32

12

2

18

38


Up arrow

+8

10.

West Ham

32

10

7

15

37


Down arrow

-1

11.

Aston Villa

33

10

5

18

35


Up arrow

+4

12.

Sunderland

32

8

11

13

35


Up arrow

+4

13.

Crystal Palace

32

9

6

17

33


Down arrow

-2

14.

Stoke

32

8

8

16

32


Down arrow

-4

15.

Newcastle

32

7

11

14

32


Down arrow

-2

16.

West Brom

32

8

8

16

32


Down arrow

-2

17.

Burnley

32

7

5

20

26


Up arrow

+2

18.

Swansea

32

6

5

21

23


Down arrow

-10

19.

Leicester

31

6

4

21

22


Up arrow

+1

20.

QPR

33

6

3

24

21


Down arrow

-2