‘Supporting Man Utd is like having a tortoise as a pet’


Lawro's predictions

Supporting Manchester United at the moment is “like having a tortoise as a pet,” according to comedian, TV presenter and Red Devils fan Karl Pilkington.

Pilkington, who takes on BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson in predicting this week’s Premier League fixtures, was a boyhood Manchester City fan but switched sides to United in the 1990s.

“A bit of me now wishes I could change again, because City are good, aren’t they?” Pilkington explained.

“But you can’t, can you? I realise that now as I get older – that it is about being loyal, isn’t it?

Media playback is not supported on this device

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“Still, I feel like supporting United is like having a tortoise as a pet. I had a tortoise, and they are not entertaining to watch. You don’t watch them, but you know you have got a bit of responsibility to show some interest.

“That is what I do with United. I keep an eye on them.

“I don’t watch them every game because, at the minute, that is a waste of 90 minutes. I just look at the result and if they win it is a bonus, I have no expectations any more.”

Karl Pilkington<!–

Pilkington, whose new show ‘Sick of It’ starts this week on Sky One, admits he has not been to Old Trafford for a while and says: “I don’t go to games, I don’t like crowds you see, and if people recognise that you are off the telly and they have had a few drinks, they start wanting to rub my head as if I am like some lucky charm that is going to turn the game around.”

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

LAWRO’S PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.

SATURDAY

West Ham v Man Utd<!–

West Ham v Man Utd (12:30 BST)

The situation at Manchester United is turning into a soap opera.

Paul Pogba’s relationship with Jose Mourinho is not just in doubt, it is developing in front of our eyes – which is an absolutely ridiculous situation when you think of the size of that club.

It would appear that one of the two has got to give, and it is probably easier to sell a player than it is to get rid of a manager.

What complicates matters is that Pogba could and should be United’s best player, and I would love to know the part that Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has played in all of this.

Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho<!–

Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho appear to have a confrontation at Manchester United training on Wednesday

It would appear he has sniffed the possibility of a better deal at Barcelona and is thinking “let’s get him out of Manchester United” which is the kind of scenario that I actually hate about football now.

Whoever is behind it all, it looks like Pogba no longer wants to play for United and in the end the player will always get his way.

It is a case of what does Mourinho do with him between now and 1 January?

I would suggest that he tells him to stay and play and give 100% until the transfer window opens and if he does that, he can leave.

It is a difficult situation for Mourinho and some of his behaviour has not helped him – at the moment it reminds me a lot of his acrimonious third year at Real, which obviously did not end well for him.

But the situation is still salvageable. I hate the term that a manager has “lost the dressing room” because generally they don’t lose the entire squad, they only lose the players who are not playing.

They just become a nuisance, because they sense a manager could be on his way out and, because a change could benefit them, they are the ones who are whispering to the press.

Paul Pogba<!–

Jose Mourinho says he has “no problem” with Paul Pogba

It is those disaffected players that are a problem, and there are plenty of them at United that definitely do not fall into that category, who will still be playing for Mourinho.

That is why I think they will go to West Ham and win.

The Hammers have had a good week, with their point against Chelsea and then thumping Macclesfield 8-0.

But if I was in that United dressing room after everything that has gone on this week, I would be thinking now “let’s just go and win this game and show people what we are about”.

West Ham will come at them too which, with the way United like to play, is perfect for them.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Karl’s prediction: (sighs) It is going to be another draw isn’t it? 1-1

Karl on Jose Mourinho and his playing style: I am sure he has got a plan – he has got to have a plan, he has won a lot of stuff.

He got annoyed, didn’t he, about not getting respect, and he does deserve respect – but I just want to watch a good game.

That is all I want, even if we lose – just an entertaining game. At the moment it is just not entertaining but is that how he operates? Is that important to him, or does he just want the three points?

Arsenal v Watford<!–

Arsenal v Watford

Arsenal have now won six games in a row in all competitions – OK, they have not beaten any big-hitters but you can only beat what is put in front of you, and they are doing that which is the most important thing.

I am sure new Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be asked about the comments by Hornets’ striker Troy Deeney last season that the Gunners’ lacked the “cojones” for a fight after his side had beaten them.

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Troy Deeney: Watford captain opens up about mental health

I don’t actually think much has changed about Arsenal under Emery – they are a good side, but they were a good side under Arsene Wenger, just not one of the best three teams in the country.

As well as their good results, I like the look of Lucas Torreira in midfield, so there is lots to be encouraged about.

I think they will beat Watford and make it seven in a row, but it will be interesting when they come up against the big teams – like Liverpool on 3 November for example.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Karl’s prediction: Watford are doing all right aren’t they. I am going to play it safe and go for another 1-1.

Everton v Fulham<!–

Everton v Fulham

As we saw again with the chances they missed against Arsenal, Everton are still missing a finisher.

That defeat at the Emirates Stadium means the Toffees have won only one of their first six league games, but they have actually not been playing that badly and I think they will put that right here.

Premier League snapshot of mid-table - 9th Leicester 10th Wolves, 11th Crystal Palace, 12th Everton, 13th Brighton, 14th Southampton<!–

Everton are 12th after winning one of their first six league games, four points above the relegation zone

Fulham are a funny side – they were poor defensively in the first half of their draw against Watford, but they came back well and almost nicked the win when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed against the bar.

I just wonder if the Cottagers have a bit of a frailty when teams go at them – they try to play good football and I would applaud for them that, but they are also a little bit open.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Karl’s prediction: 1-0

Huddersfield v Tottenham<!–

Huddersfield v Tottenham

Huddersfield are yet to win in the league this season and are bottom of the table after their defeat by Leicester, and it is hard to see things improving for them this weekend.

Snapshot of bottom of Premier League table - 15th Fulham, 16th Burnley, 17th West Ham, 18th Newcastle, 19th Cardiff and 20th Huddersfield<!–

Spurs were very impressive when they won here last season, and I think we will see the same outcome this time.

It is very difficult to talk about Huddersfield without being critical because, although they are organised and competitive, they don’t really look like scoring goals.

There is nothing wrong with the Terriers’ application, it just comes down to a lack of quality.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Karl’s prediction: Tottenham will win that won’t they? 1-3

Man City v Brighton<!–

Man City v Brighton

Brighton were a bit unlucky to lose to Tottenham last weekend – I have talked before about how good they are at fighting back in games but it is not a positive that they seem to have to go behind before you see a reaction.

It is Manchester City they are playing this week, though, so I think we can forgive them if they do ship a goal or two.

I was with Seagulls boss Chris Hughton, an old Republic of Ireland team-mate of mine, in Dublin on Monday.

He is very pragmatic and his approach is to treat every single Premier League game like it’s a cup final because every point they get could end up being the one that keeps them up.

Chris told me he does not let his players get too excited when they win, or too down when they lose – and I cannot see him or his team dwelling too much on this result if they do get beaten.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Karl’s prediction: No doubt about it, another City win. It is just a case of how many numbers and how high shall we go? 4-1

Newcastle v Leicester<!–

Newcastle v Leicester

Newcastle got a draw at Crystal Palace last weekend, but I will never know how Mamadou Sakho missed an easy chance to win it for the Eagles late on.

Rafa Benitez’s side need to find a way to start winning games, though, and I cannot see that happening on Saturday.

With the pace that Leicester have got in their attack, I can see them going to St James’ Park and winning.

There is a lot of goodwill towards Benitez from the Newcastle fans, but he has got start getting some points.

At the moment, there is still an awful lot of noise coming from supporters about Mike Ashley and how he needs to spend more money on players, but they should park that until the transfer window opens in January.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Karl’s prediction: 0-2

Wolves v Southampton<!–

Wolves v Southampton

I thought Wolves’ performance last time out in their draw with Manchester United was excellent.

They carried a real threat from the first minute and they just looked like a team that is very much at home in the Premier League.

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Manchester United 1-1 Wolves: We had chances to win the game – Santo

Before this week, I had only predicted one win for Wolves this season in their first six matches, but I must admit I had not really watched that much of them before that game at Old Trafford, which is why I thought they would struggle.

Mea culpa, because actually they look a really well-balanced side and I would not be surprised if one or two of the bigger teams are already looking at some of their players and thinking “crikey, they are making this look easy”.

At the same time as Wolves were looking so impressive against United, Southampton were having a very different afternoon at Anfield – and, after conceding three first-half goals, their game against Liverpool was done and dusted by half-time.

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Saints didn’t give themselves a chance – Mark Hughes

I think Saints will have another difficult day at Molineux. I like the way Wolves play through their midfield and Nuno Espirito Santo has got a good mix of skill and industry in his team.

By now, they themselves will know they belong in the top flight.

Of course every promoted side will say before the season starts that they fancy themselves, but you don’t know for sure until you start – and I cannot remember another team to come out of the Championship and look so comfortable, so early.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Karl’s prediction: 1-0

Chelsea v Liverpool<!–

Chelsea v Liverpool (17:30 BST)

I don’t think Chelsea’s win at Anfield in the Carabao Cup will have any bearing on this game – there will not be too many players from either side who started on Wednesday night that will also start on Saturday evening.

Snapshot of top of Premier League table: 1st Liverpool, 2nd Man City, 3rd Chelsea, 4th Watford, 5th Tottenham and 6th Arsenal<!–

Maurizio Sarri has done a great job after taking charge of Chelsea over the summer but, even with home advantage, he will know the threat that Liverpool carry.

I am going to go for a draw here, and that would be a good result for both teams.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Karl’s prediction: This is a good one. It is annoying to say it but I reckon Liverpool will do it. 1-2

SUNDAY

Cardiff v Burnley<!–

Cardiff v Burnley (16:00 BST)

Burnley picked up their first Premier League win last weekend, although Bournemouth had the better of the early play.

I have been reading what Clarets boss Sean Dyche said about their preparations for that game, after his side had made such a poor start to the season, and he and his players had sat down in the week and had a big chat about everything.

I can imagine Dyche doing that, and it worked.

Cardiff, in contrast, were on the wrong end of a drubbing by Manchester City and they are still without a win.

Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock has got so much experience that I bet he has barely mentioned that defeat since. They will definitely be competitive in this game, although Burnley will cope with the physical side of their game.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Karl’s prediction: Burnley got a good result against Bournemouth last week, so I’m going with them again. 1-3

MONDAY

Bournemouth v Crystal Palace<!–

Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (20:00 BST)

It will be interesting to see how Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe reacts to his side’s defeat by Burnley, and whether he changes anything or just puts it down to a bad day after their strong start to the season.

Crystal Palace picked up a decent win at The Hawthorns against West Brom in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday but this is a much harder task for them.

Whenever they are at home, Bournemouth always seem to create a lot of chances, regardless of the opposition, so I am backing them here.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Karl’s prediction: 1-1

How did Lawro do last week?

Lawro got four correct results, including two perfect scores, from 10 matches for a total of 100 points.

He beat Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, who got five correct results, with one exact score, for a total of 80 points.

Lawro's League Table<!–

GUEST LEADERBOARD 2018-19

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45651999

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