Premier League questions: Sadio Mane and Marouane Fellaini to be missed? Mesut Ozil to miss out?
By James Walker-Roberts and Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 13/10/17 8:30am
Who will be missed most in Liverpool v Man Utd? Will Crystal Palace start their revival against Chelsea? Will Mesut Ozil miss out for Arsenal? The Premier League is back and we have a question for every game.
Liverpool v Manchester United kicks off the action on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City also playing on the same day.
Southampton and Newcastle meet on Nissan Super Sunday and Leicester host West Brom on Monday Night Football. Ahead of the action, we consider the questions for each Premier League game this weekend...
Mane or Fellaini - who will be missed most? (Liverpool v Manchester United, Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday)
Liverpool and Manchester United are both counting the cost of the international break after Sadio Mane and Marouane Fellaini suffered injuries. Mane's hamstring injury while on duty with Senegal is expected to keep him out for up to six weeks while Fellaini is set to be out until the end of October with a knee injury suffered with Belgium.
Fellaini has been a key player for United this season and scored twice in their last game against Crystal Palace, however, even with Paul Pogba also out, Mane's absence could be greater felt.
Liverpool, who are in something of a rut with just one win in their last seven games, average 2.2 Premier League goals with Mane in the side compared to 1.6 goals without him.
His absence leaves Liverpool with a big hole to fill at a difficult time, and summer signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could get a chance to impress on the big stage sooner than some might have expected.
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Can Burnley maintain their longest-ever unbeaten Premier League run? (Burnley v West Ham, Saturday, 3pm)
Sean Dyche's Burnley are currently enjoying their longest-ever unbeaten run in the Premier League (W2 D3 L0) and are sixth in the table with 12 points from seven games - one point behind Chelsea and Arsenal and two behind Tottenham.
Burnley last went six top-flight games without defeat back in February 1975 - a seven-game streak - and could extend their current run to six if they beat West Ham at Turf Moor on Saturday.
However, the Hammers have won their last four Premier League matches against Burnley and should be boosted by a late 1-0 victory against Swansea before the international break. Look out for the battle between West Ham defender Winston Reid and Burnley striker Chris Wood, who have both just returned from international duty with New Zealand.
Does Crystal Palace's revival start here? (Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Saturday, 3pm)
"We have to accept we are the boxer fighting in a weight class he is not able to handle at the moment. We are taking the blows and getting knocked down, but we are attempting to respond and not stay on the canvas."
So said Roy Hodgson after Crystal Palace's pointless, and goalless, start to the season continued with a seventh straight defeat at Manchester United last time out.
Palace don't look to be stepping down a weight class this weekend as they host Chelsea, who will be eager to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester City.
The Eagles have, though, won two of their last four meetings with Chelsea, although both of those were at Stamford Bridge. They could also be boosted by the return of Wilfried Zaha from injury, with the influential winger having been out since the opening day of the season with a knee problem.
Can Man City make it three 5-0 home Premier League victories in a row? (Man City v Stoke, Saturday, 3pm)
Man City have made a blistering start to the new season, currently topping the Premier League table on goal difference, and have won their last two home league games by a 5-0 scoreline.
The only other Premier League side to record three consecutive home wins each by a five or more goal margin were Chelsea in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti, and City could need a big win to stay top if Manchester United beat Liverpool during the lunchtime kick-off.
As for Stoke, they have an 'all or nothing' approach to playing Man City, having either kept a clean sheet (three) or conceded exactly four goals (three) in each of their last six Premier League meetings.
How do Swansea improve home form? (Swansea v Huddersfield, Saturday, 3pm)
A win at Crystal Palace, draws at Southampton and Tottenham, and a narrow defeat at West Ham. If Swansea's home form was half as fruitful as their away form this season, they would not be in the relegation zone.
But not only have they lost all three home matches, they have scored just once and produced some less-than-inspiring displays.
Can they take the game to Huddersfield this Saturday? Paul Clement has selection questions, such as whether to start with Tammy Abraham or Wilfried Bony, or both, and whether Luciano Narsingh could inject some much-needed creativity having rarely featured this season.
Whatever the Swansea manager decides, the hosts are likely to find it tough against a Huddersfield side who had one of the best defensive records in the league before their 4-0 defeat to Tottenham last time out.
Can Kane crack it? (Tottenham v Bournemouth, Saturday, 3pm)
Harry Kane has been on fire over the last month, scoring nine goals in his last five games for club and country. But while he scored at Wembley for England on Thursday, he's yet to score there in the Premier League this season in three matches for Tottenham.
If Spurs' home form matched their away form, they would be keeping pace with Manchester City and Manchester United at the top of the table. However, at Wembley they have taken two points from games against Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea.
Talk of a 'Wembley curse' has been largely dismissed, but anything other than a win against Bournemouth - who have lost all three of their away games - will only raise more questions.
Will Mesut Ozil miss out? (Watford v Arsenal, Saturday, 5.30pm)
With six wins from their last seven matches, Arsenal have recovered well from their demoralising 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in late August. Mesut Ozil has featured in just two games since the Anfield loss due to a knee injury, and there have been suggestions that the Gunners have looked better in his absence.
"It seems as if they have a bit more structure defensively," said former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn on Sky Sports News. "They've stopped conceding goals which you know with Arsenal they're capable of scoring and that enables them to go on and win a significant amount of games.
"People will say since he's been out of the team Arsenal have gone with a lot more energy in the wide areas and they look much more difficult to play through and harder to break down. We can't argue with what we're seeing."
Arsene Wenger has options with Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez expected to be available and Danny Welbeck and Ozil potentially back, so who will miss out?
Can Everton find their shooting boots? (Brighton v Everton, Sunday, 1.30pm)
It has been a shaky start to the season for Everton with just seven points from seven games so far, with a lack of goals certainly an area of concern for Ronald Koeman despite the arrivals of Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer.
Everton have had just 17 shots on target so far this term - only two more than Romelu Lukaku has had for Manchester United on his own this season (15) - and have scored just six goals in their last 12 matches in the Premier League, failing to score on seven occasions.
This is the first competitive meeting between Brighton and Everton since April 1983, with Seagulls boss Chris Hughton having lost just one of his five previous games against the Toffees.
How do Saints solve scoring problem? (Southampton v Newcastle, Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm on Sunday)
A change of manager in the summer has not brought about a change of goalscoring fortunes for Southampton. They have scored just five goals in seven Premier League games and only two since the second match of the season - a 3-2 win over West Ham.
Neither of those recent goals have been scored by strikers with Shane Long, Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin having just two goals between them this season.
With Long potentially out with a hip injury suffered on international duty, how will Saints line up? Gabbiadini hasn't played a full 90 minutes all season and Austin has not started a game under Mauricio Pellegrino. More may be needed from the likes of Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal if Saints are to start scoring more goals.
Will signings start to shine? (Leicester v West Brom, Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm on Monday)
Leicester have had one of the tougher starts to the season, having played five of the top seven sides in the Premier League. But while their fixtures have been tricky, there have also been calls for Craig Shakespeare to move away from the 4-4-2 formation he has stuck with so far so the Foxes pose a different threat.
A change could see summer signings Vicente Iborra or Kelechi Iheanacho come into contention. Former Sevilla captain Iborra showed some encouraging signs in his only 45 minutes in the Premier League last time out at Bournemouth while striker Iheanacho has started just once since his move from Manchester City.
Iheanacho in particular could help in taking some of the burden away from Jamie Vardy, who has scored five of Leicester's eight league goals this season.
"We need the others contributing," was Shakespeare's message ahead of Monday Night Football, when Iborra and Iheanacho might get the chance to do just that.
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