Premier League questions: Will a fortnight off help? Can Chelsea steal a march? Will Leicester stop the rot?
Last Updated: 25/02/17 8:43pm
Will a fortnight off help? Can Chelsea steal a march? Will Leicester stop the rot?
Ahead of the return of the Premier League this weekend, we ask the pressing questions that will be answered come Monday evening.
This weekend, Tottenham v Stoke is live on Nissan Super Sunday from 1pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports Mix, while Monday Night Football sees Leicester host Liverpool from 7pm, on SS1.
Will Palace's fortnight off aid them in their survival bid? Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm)
Palace's two-week break may not have come at a better time. Following a humbling defeat at home to Sunderland and another loss at Stoke, Sam Allardyce's side have had time to regroup.
The break was meant to take place in Dubai, but Beckenham was the ultimate destination for the struggling Premier League side after the club pulled the plug on their warm-weather trip following a string of poor results.
Middlesbrough stand in their way, and given what occurred last time out at Selhurst Park, it seems if Palace fail to score the first goal, they could crumble.
Will Burnley finally win away from home? Hull v Burnley (Saturday, 3pm)
Their shock FA Cup defeat by Lincoln aside, Burnley have been impressive since the turn of the year, but only at home.
At Turf Moor, Sean Dyche's side look an impenetrable unit, but on the road they are the worst side in the Premier League. Just one of their 30 league points this term have come away from home.
They go up against a resurgent Hull under Marco Silva, who themselves have been in fine form at home, winning their last four games in all competitions.
Will Everton continue their unbeaten form against the basement boys? Everton v Sunderland (Saturday, 3pm)
Another side with a two-week break in their lockers, Everton are not out of contention for a top-six spot, given sixth-placed Manchester United are still fighting on four fronts compared to the Toffees' one.
Ronald Koeman's side are on solid form, winning five of their last eight, pulling themselves to within seven points of the European places in the Premier League.
David Moyes goes back to Goodison Park with some unhappy memories of his last return. As Manchester United manager, he saw his side dispatched 2-0 in 2014, his last game in charge before being sacked.
This time around, the clash is arguably just as important, with Sunderland deep in the relegation mire.
Will Bournemouth ease their relegation fears? West Brom v Bournemouth (Saturday, 3pm)
After the turn of the year, relegation was not a word on the tip of any Bournemouth fan's tongue, but four defeats in five games means Eddie Howe's side have work to do to steer clear.
Those below them have narrowed the gap from 10 points on January 3 to just six now, and the Cherries have dropped five places in the process.
They go to the Hawthorns on Saturday, where the hosts have lost just once in seven league games, winning six of those. Another tough ask, but Bournemouth need to show some resilience.
Will Chelsea gain a mental advantage with three of their rivals not playing this weekend? Chelsea v Swansea (Saturday, 3pm)
Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United have seen their Premier League games postponed due to the EFL Cup final, while Liverpool don't play until Monday Night Football at Leicester, meaning Chelsea can put the ball in their rivals' court with a win at the Bridge.
They host Swansea and their former assistant manager, Paul Clement, who has steered the Swans clear of the drop zone with four wins in six Premier League games.
Jose Mourinho has already started the mind games by saying Chelsea have won the Premier League already, but Antonio Conte won't be fooled. With 13 games to go, their eight-point gap is big, but not big enough for certainties just yet.
Will West Ham continue their resurgence without Dimitri Payet? Watford v West Ham (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Since Dimitri Payet decided to force a move out of West Ham, Slaven Bilic's side have taken 10 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League, and now sit in the top half of the table, 12 points clear of the drop.
So what has changed? West Ham players have stated that the lack of Payet is not a reason for their upturn in from, but the Hammers have shown more fight and desire since the Frenchman caused a scene in early January.
They go to Watford at Saturday tea-time, with the Hornets having lost only one of their last five.
Will Tottenham keep up the pace with leaders Chelsea? Tottenham v Stoke (Nissan Super Sunday, live from 1pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports Mix)
If Chelsea are to beat Swansea, it's over to Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Super Sunday, and Stoke will be no pushover.
Mark Hughes' side have been on steady form, losing just one of their last six games, and Saido Berahino is in line to start his first game for the Potters since his move from West Brom in January.
Tottenham have Jan Vertonghen back in their starting line-up, and are favourites to take all three points, but another Chelsea victory will pile the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino's men.
Will Leicester stop the rot and recapture the feeling from the last time these sides met? Leicester v Liverpool (Monday Night Football, live from 7pm on Sky Sports 1)
Just over 12 months ago, Jamie Vardy scored one of the goals of the season in a stunning 2-0 win over Liverpool to put Leicester three points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Fast forward a year, and Leicester have slid into a relegation fight, and are in danger of turning the fairy tale into a nightmare.
While Leicester have been consistently poor, Liverpool have been plain inconsistent in recent weeks. Their 2-0 win over Spurs was impressive, but came after just one win in 10 games after the turn of the year.