If forecasting correct scores in football matches was easy, most bookmakers would likely be out of business by now.
It’s fortunate then that the Leader’s sports writers have not put their money where their mouth is with recent result predictions.
Hit and miss would be a kind assessment of how we’ve fared thus far, with Tom Norris ahead on 23 points, Nick Harrison (21) second and Dan Heald (18) third.
But that could all change in week five, with a south coast clash between Bournemouth and Brighton kicking things off tonight (Friday).
Three points are available for predicting a correct score, with one point allocated for a correct outcome (win/lose/draw).
Think you can do better than our sports desk writers? Let us know your predictions below.
BOURNEMOUTH v BRIGHTON
NICK HARRISON: You wouldn’t bet against one of these two going down in May. Brighton have done okay but Bournemouth are in a rut and need Defoe to start scoring to get them out of trouble. 2-2
TOM NORRIS: This start to the season wasn’t supposed to happen to Bournemouth, who will want to get out of the rut quickly. Defoe looks off the pace and Brighton will travel full of confidence. 2-1
DAN HEALD: Four straight defeats for Bournemouth does not augur well for the season ahead. But Eddie Howe’s side have come through barren runs before and I think they can kick-start their campaign here. Joshua King to net in the South Coast clash. 2-1
CRYSTAL PALACE v SOUTHAMPTON
NH: Selhurst Park is fast becoming like an ex-England boss’ retirement home. Allardyce, Hodgson. Who next? Venables is Palace through and through but not sure they’ll lure him back from Spain. Good chance to kick off with a win against a Saints side who struggle to score. 2-1
TN: Will there be a new manager bounce with good old Roy taking over at Palace? Southampton look like the ideal opponents for Hodgson given their lack of goals. Benteke to score Palace’s first goal of the campaign. 1-0
DN: Roy Hodgson offers Palace a safe pair of hands and will likely dispense with Frank De Boer’s preferred 3-4-3 system immediately. Southampton have laboured in some winnable early season fixtures and could come unstuck here. Benteke to net the Palace winner. 1-0
HUDDERSFIELD v LEICESTER CITY
NH: Big test for The Terriers to prove they can recover from a defeat. Leicester are more cut than thrust so far this season but surely Vardy can work a little bit of magic with one or two goals in West Yorkshire. 1-2
TN: It will be interesting to see how Huddersfield respond to their first defeat of the season. Leicester have not been in the greatest of form this season, but they have goals in their side. Both might settle for a point. 2-2
DH: Defeat at struggling West Ham dealt a healthy dose of realism to new boys Huddersfield. The Foxes were shut out by Chelsea for long spells last week but have enough firepower to overcome the Terriers. Vardy to score in an away win. 1-2
LIVERPOOL v BURNLEY
NH: These were the kind of games Liverpool struggle with and if Klopp picks a defence like he did at City, then the Clarets will sink the Reds. Without Mane, Coutinho could be the man to come good for Liverpool. 2-1
TN: Usually the type of matches that frustrate the life out of Liverpool fans and it goes without saying that an early goal would be greatly appreciated. Burnley will fancy their chances, but the hosts have plenty of firepower, even without Mane. 3-1
DH: For all of his managerial prowess, Jurgen Klopp treats defensive solidity as an afterthought at Anfield. Burnley were a touch fortunate to take the points against Palace and I can see them struggling at
Anfield. The Reds to take the win, Coutinho to score. 2-1
NEWCASTLE UNITED v STOKE CITY
NH: Both teams will fancy three points from this but both may have to settle for just one. Stoke are draw specialists and they may find it tough to break down a strong home back-line. 1-1
TN: If Newcastle are to get enough points to stay up then it won’t be much fun to watch. They are going to have to grind out results and that could play into the hands of Stoke, who have had an encouraging start. 1-2
DH: A big win at Swansea last week will lift the Magpies who are looking for a third victory on the bounce. Stoke have confounded many people’s low expectations, looking resilient and hard to beat. The Potters to take a point with Choupo-Moting to add to his tally. 1-1
WATFORD v MANCHESTER CITY
NH: City have looked better game by game this season but Watford won’t make it as easy as Liverpool did. Aguero squaring that ball for Jesus a week ago spoke volumes for the togetherness at City and if they click again, then it’s an easy win for Pep’s money men. 1-4
TN: Silva has done some impressive work since taking over at the Hornets, who have looked solid at the back and a threat in attack. City will need to avoid complacency after a hectic week of action. 1-2
DH: Watford have fared much better than many (myself included) thought, with three clean sheets already this term. But it’s a stretch to imagine them containing the potent City attack. Aguero on target in routine win. 1-3
WEST BROM v WEST HAM
NH: Pulis won’t be happy with The Baggies letting in three – especially to Brighton. He’ll be demanding a clean sheet from his team and he’ll probably get one in a very dour encounter. 2-0
TN: It was a shock to the system to see West Brom concede three goals in a game and Pulis will have been rectifying that this week. The Hammers grabbed a crucial three points, but this could be a tougher assignment. 1-0
DH: Slaven Bilic earned a birthday reprieve with a vital win against Huddersfield but the real test will be to build on that result going forward. Tony Pulis will be smarting from the Baggies horror show at Brighton. Expect a cagey, goalless affair. 0-0.
TOTTENHAM v SWANSEA CITY
NH: The victory at Everton was just what Spurs and Kane needed. Now they’ve got to break their Wembley hoodoo in the Premier League and after wallopping Dortmund on Wednesday, they’ve got every chance against a Swansea side who lack creativity. 4-0
TN: A home defeat to Newcastle is not something you want to be followed by a trip to Spurs, even if it’s at Wembley. This is the chance for the hosts to end their Wembley hoodoo with Kane, Alli and Eriksen. 2-0
DH: Spurs were excellent in the Champions League, playing the expansive attacking football their fans were desperate to see. Swansea created enough last time out to beat Newcastle but lacked a clinical finisher. Kane to net twice in an easy home win. 3-0
CHELSEA v ARSENAL
NH: If this was the Community Shield, I’d back the Wenger boys all the way. But this is a match that matters and Chelsea should win at a canter with Morata helping himself to a double. 3-1
TN: Expect Wenger to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons following this meeting at Stamford Bridge. Conte’s Blues are just too well-drilled for a frail Arsenal and Morata will be licking his lips. 3-0
DH: Chelsea demolished Champions League debutants Qarabag in midweek and will be in attacking mood for this one. Arsenal’s confidence-boosting win against Bournemouth was badly needed, but it will count for nothing if they lose heavily here. 3-2
MANCHESTER UNITED v EVERTON
NH: United weren’t at their best while Everton were rubbish at home to Spurs. Lukaku will score against his old club on a day when Rooney’s return to Old Trafford will turn into a nightmare. Sigurdsson always seems to net against United so may be worth a sneaky fluttter. 2-1
TN: Will Lukaku facing Everton be overshadowed by Rooney’s return to Old Trafford? Probably. But who will have the greater impact on the match? It’s hard to imagine Lukaku not having more chances. 2-1
DH: Koeman’s side looked a pale imitation of themselves against Spurs and could have shipped five or more in the 3-0 reverse. Back United to return to winning ways in the league even without the injured Paul Pogba. 2-0
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