Southampton striker Danny Ings has his sights set on winning the Golden Boot as the Premier League’s top scorer – but can he add to his tally against Manchester City this weekend?
Ings has 18 goals so far, including three in three games since football restarted last month amid the coronavirus pandemic.
BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson is looking forward to seeing him lead the Saints attack at St Mary’s Stadium, in a game you can watch live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 19:00 BST on Sunday.
“What a signing Ings has turned out to be,” Lawro said. “He is a brilliant goal poacher.
“They loved having him around the place at Liverpool because he is such a positive personality, but he did not fit into Jurgen Klopp’s system so he had to leave to flourish, which is exactly what he is doing with Saints.
“If you look around the league, there are plenty of teams who need a goalscorer. I reckon there will be a few clubs trying to take him in the summer, but the statistics show how important he is to Southampton because he gets so many of their goals – for his percentage to be so high is just staggering.”
|Top Premier League scorers and % of their team’s goals 2019-20|
|Player||Goals||% of team total|
|=1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester)||19||32%|
|=1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)||19||40%|
|3. Danny Ings (Southampton)||18||44%|
|4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)||17||24%|
|5. Sergio Aguero (Man City)||16||21%|
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.
This week he is up against Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil.
Biffy Clyro’s new album ‘A Celebration of Endings’ is out next month but Neil has already been busy this summer, taking up F1 eSports and finishing 18th in the virtual Canadian GP.
He traded advice from Alpha Tauri driver Daniil Kvyat for some guitar lessons and told BBC Sport: “I did a three-week intensive course where I was sitting in front of my TV for about five hours each day, just racing.
“I was lucky to get some tips from Daniil and I had a great team around me. My one plan was to complete the race, because it was a really tough track – it punched you really hard and the penalties if you went wrong were so severe.
“It really showed me how tough racing is in real life. I was just doing it in my house in front of a screen and honestly, I was sweating and aching afterwards. I don’t know how the top drivers do it on the track – they are absolutely fearless.
“I just made sure I finished, but I loved it. I think in lockdown I was just missing my sport more than anything, because you get so used to being stimulated by it every week – especially football. I was missing all sports, even the ones I don’t usually like, but I am so excited that football is back.”
Neil is a huge Scotland fan who – possibly – could have been cheering them on to glory at Euro 2020 (the quarter-finals were scheduled for this weekend) if they had made it through the play-offs and the tournament had not been postponed until next summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“To be honest, I still think we are a tournament or two away from qualifying,” Neil said. “We are starting to build a really good young team, and I have a lot of hope for the future.
“There needs to be some belief in Scottish football and I think it is just starting to grow, when for so long it hasn’t been there at all.
“It comes from a spirit within the squad and having champions in the team like Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is great. The mentality of players like Andy, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour is so important because they are used to winning every week and they will demand the same when they play for Scotland.
“We have to start believing we can beat quality teams who are seeded above us in qualifying. The last finals we made it to was the 1998 World Cup – I can remember us playing Brazil in France, which was just amazing, and it is hard to take that there is a generation of Scottish fans who have not even seen us play in a major tournament.”
|Premier League predictions – week 33|
|Norwich v Brighton||x-x||1-2||1-1|
|Leicester v Crystal Palace||x-x||2-0||1-0|
|Man Utd v Bournemouth||x-x||4-0||3-0|
|Wolves v Arsenal||x-x||2-0||2-1|
|Chelsea v Watford||x-x||2-0||2-0|
|Burnley v Sheff Utd||x-x||2-1||1-0|
|Newcastle v West Ham||x-x||1-1||2-0|
|Liverpool v Aston Villa||x-x||3-0||4-0|
|Southampton v Man City||x-x||0-2||1-2|
|Tottenham v Everton||x-x||2-0||0-0|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
Norwich v Brighton (12:30 BST)
Norwich have not scored a goal or picked up a point in their three league games since the restart, and they are rapidly running out of chances to save themselves.
The Canaries might see this game as the start of a run of winnable fixtures, but there is a reason they are in the mess they are in. They don’t create enough chances and they are too easy to play through.
Brighton were turned over by Manchester United on Tuesday, but this is an opportunity for them to take another big step towards survival and take a lot of pressure off their run-in.
They will know all of that, which is why I think they will go to Carrow Road for a win.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-2
Simon’s prediction: I don’t see Norwich having any way out now but a draw would at least give them something to smile about. 1-1
Leicester v Crystal Palace (15:00 BST)
Leicester have really suffered from the break in the Premier League season because they still look short of their usual sharpness, even after four games back.
The Foxes just are not scoring goals at the moment, but I think things will click for them again in front of goal soon.
Palace are a stubborn side, as we know, but they are secure in mid-table and do not have an awful lot to play for.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Simon’s prediction: I like the way Palace set up – they are a solid team. But Leicester need a win and they will get one here. 1-0
Man Utd v Bournemouth (15:00 BST)
United are scoring for fun and tearing teams apart – they are probably the last side that Bournemouth want to play at the moment.
I really fear for the Cherries. We are used to them being open at the back but their attacking players usually cause real problems for opposition teams and I don’t know what has happened to them all.
At the moment it looks like they are going down – it just feels like there is a pall of relegation hanging over the club and their performances at the moment are nowhere near good enough to change that.
Lawro’s prediction: 4-0
Simon’s prediction: Poor Eddie Howe just cannot seem to get his Bournemouth side moving – it’s hard to see where their bad run will end, and things do not look good for them at the bottom of the table.
On top of that, United are flying and playing with real freedom. Sorry Eddie, but this is not a game anyone would want right now. 3-0
Wolves v Arsenal (17:30 BST)
Arsenal have won three in a row in the league and FA Cup but this will be a good indicator of where they are actually at because Wolves are one of the form teams in the Premier League at the moment.
After this, the Gunners play Leicester (h) and their north London rivals Tottenham (a) so it is going to be a testing week for them – I just don’t see them making a good start, I’m afraid.
Wolves never concede many, don’t change their formation and everyone in their team knows their job. They are in a place where Arsenal would love to be.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Simon’s prediction: When football restarted, I thought Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was really going to get some Pep Guardiola-type football going but, actually, I don’t see it just yet. I do think the Gunners are on the verge of something good, but not just yet. Our manager is a massive Arsenal fan so we hear a lot about them, but he has had a miserable few years. Even if Manchester City get banned from Europe and fifth place gets you in the Champions League, it looks like that is beyond them.
Things are very different for Wolves, who are aiming for third or fourth spot. They always play with this fearlessness and I am backing them to take this. 2-1
Chelsea v Watford (20:00 BST)
I’ve heard some people lining Chelsea up for a go at the title next season but, defensively, I think they are well short of what is required to be contenders.
They have got some excellent midfielders and forwards, but I am not sure that is going to enough to get them a top-four finish this time either. There is a lot of work to be done at the back and they are going to have more hiccups like the one they had when they lost to West Ham in midweek.
I would still back them to beat Watford though, because the Hornets have lost all of their momentum.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Simon’s prediction: Chelsea are still a work in progress – we saw that when they lost to West Ham on Wednesday – but they have got so many talented players and they are beginning to show signs of that toughness they need to see games out. 2-0
Burnley v Sheff Utd (12:00 BST)
Both of these sides still have an eye on a European spot for next season.
Burnley have already found out the hard way how playing in the Europa League can disrupt your domestic campaign, when they made such a poor start to the Premier League in 2018-19.
Given their squad size and wage structure, I think it could have the same effect on the Blades if they were in Europe – although I would understand why they would welcome that problem.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Simon’s prediction: Both of these teams are tough to beat but I am going with Burnley at Turf Moor – even though it will be empty of course. 1-0
Newcastle v West Ham (14:15 BST)
It makes me laugh how there is still speculation over what the takeover at Newcastle would mean for Magpies boss Steve Bruce, even while his side are swatting other teams away.
Bruce was forever being compared unfavourably to his predecessor Rafael Benitez when he took over last summer. In the past couple of weeks, his side have scored eight goals in three league games to pick up seven points and make it completely certain that they are staying up, yet you still hear about how they would be better off with Mauricio Pochettino in charge.
It’s ridiculous really. Meanwhile, Bruce still carries on getting results and proving what a good manager he is, especially in getting the best out of his players.
West Ham are finally up and running again too, and they will be full of confidence after their win over Chelsea – despite a big VAR decision going against them again.
Form-wise, Newcastle would still have to be favourites – but it doesn’t always work out that way in the Premier League.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Simon’s prediction: Wednesday’s win over Chelsea was massive for West Ham boss David Moyes but this is another difficult game for them.
Newcastle have found a bit of form and I really like watching Allan Saint-Maximin, who is such an exciting player. 2-0
Liverpool v Aston Villa (16:30 BST)
I am at this game for BBC Radio 5 live and I only see one winner.
Liverpool were well beaten at Etihad Stadium on Thursday but this is where we will see their response. The only way I could make a case for Aston Villa getting anything at Anfield is if Reds boss Jurgen Klopp decides to play a few of the kids.
I know Villa are fighting for their lives, but they can’t defend. They won’t be able to keep Liverpool out.
Lawro’s prediction: 3-0
Simon’s prediction: Liverpool have done all the hard work already but this is their first game at Anfield since winning the title.
Yes, the ground will be empty but they will still want to put on a show, and I’m afraid Villa are going to be on the receiving end. 4-0
Southampton v Man City (19:00 BST)
Saints striker Danny Ings has got a great chance of the golden boot because Jamie Vardy has stopped scoring for Leicester, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is injured and I don’t know how much Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah are going to play for Liverpool now the title is done and dusted
I’m not trying to sell him when I talk about how many teams would take him but I think Saints should offer him a new contract and wrap him up in cotton wool.
While they have Ings at the club, they are not going to get relegated, it’s as simple as that.
|Most Premier League points won by a player’s goals in 2019-20|
|=1. Raul Jimenez (Wolves)||15||18|
|=1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)||15||18|
|3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)||19||16|
|4. Danny Ings (Southampton)||18||15|
|5. Jordan Ayew||8||14|
I don’t think Ings will add to his tally on Sunday, though. Sorry!
I rate him very highly as a finisher but he needs service, and Saints won’t create many chances against City.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Simon’s prediction: City have been flying since the restart, and I had a feeling they would beat Liverpool. They still have a lot to play for this season in the FA Cup and Champions League even though the title has officially gone now – there is no way Pep will let things just fizzle out in the Premier League.
With Ings doing so well, Southampton might score, but City will get more. 1-2
Tottenham v Everton (20:00 BST)
When you watch Everton, you can see they are slowly morphing into an Italian team under Carlo Ancelotti. I never thought they would be able to get him as manager, but his arrival has been a real coup.
The Toffees are going to be an interesting team next season, because they have got money and they will back Ancelotti in the transfer market. They will be targeting the top six, for starters.
So will Tottenham. After what happened to them against Sheffield United on Thursday, I would expect a reaction from Jose Mourinho’s side. It will be a good battle, but I’m going for a Spurs win.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Simon’s prediction: I still have a soft spot for Mourinho but he has lost that air of invincibility and I don’t know if losing that magic means he has also lost the power he used to have over his players. I am going for a goalless draw here, though. 0-0
Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
How did Lawro do last time?
From the last round of Premier League games, which lasted from Saturday to Thursday, Lawro got three correct results with no exact scorelines.
His score of 30 points was beaten by both of his guests, grime MC Big Zuu (40 points) and Peter Crouch Save Our Summer co-host Alex Horne (50).
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|
GUEST LEADERBOARD 2019-20
|110||Aitch, Daisy May and Charlie Cooper|
|90||Avelino, Helen Housby, Jo Harten, Bobby Seagull, Geraint Thomas|
|80||Tom Davis, Andy Murray, Stephen Graham|
|77||Lawro (average after 32 weeks)|
|70||David Baddiel, Richard Hawley, Kojo, Michael Johnson, Craig Mitch, Alex Scott|
|60||Sonny Bill Williams, Georgia, Al Greenwood, Katie Ormerod, Serge from Kasabian, Stefan Ratchford|
|50||Chelcee Grimes, Alex Horne, Reece Parkinson, Sam Warburton|
|40||Big Zuu, Stephen Fry, Hugh Grant, Tom Grennan, Neil Jones, Tommy O’Dell, Steve Queralt|
|30||Sam Bird, Matthew McConaughey, Seth Rollins|
|Total scores after week 32|
|Lawro v Guests|