Premier League questions: Will Wayne Rooney hurt Arsenal again? Will Chelsea stop the rot?
By Will Unwin and Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 21/10/17 7:29pm
After a busy week of European action, the Premier League returns with a bumper weekend. But what questions will be answered come Sunday evening?
Will Chelsea stop the rot and avoid falling further adrift? (Chelsea v Watford, Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am, Saturday)
With Manchester United away at Huddersfield, and their rivals Manchester City at home to Burnley, Chelsea are in desperate need of a victory against in-form Watford to stay in touch with their title rivals.
City are currently nine points ahead of Chelsea, and if Watford continue riding the wave, it could be 12 come Saturday evening. The Blues have lost their last two Premier League games, but the last time they did that in September 2016, they went on to win their next 13 games on the way to winning the title.
Chelsea have not lost three on the trot in the top flight since October and November in Jose Mourinho's disastrous 2015/16 campaign, and with the title contenders looking stronger than last season, Antonio Conte can't afford to slip up again.
Watford, who are fourth after eight games, will have other ideas. However, they have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1986.
Will Rooney be the scourge of Arsenal again and rescue Ronald? (Everton v Arsenal, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 12.30pm, Sunday)
Thursday marked 15 years to the day that Wayne Rooney made the headlines for the first time, scoring a superb late winner for Everton against Arsenal as a 16-year-old.
A decade-and-a-half later, Rooney has 11 Premier League goals against the Gunners, and will be looking to add to that tally on Sunday to help ease the pressure on Everton boss Ronald Koeman.
Is it a case of must-win or must-not-lose for these sides? Everton are struggling in 16th having won just one of eight league games this term, while Arsenal are already nine points off the lead in sixth.
Expect a nervy, anxious Goodison Park for this one.
Which team can build on great European week? (Tottenham v Liverpool, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm, Sunday)
It is not easy to decide which team had the better midweek Champions League result, as Spurs earned a superb draw away at Real Madrid, while Liverpool hit seven unanswered goals at Maribor.
The only certainty is that both teams will be buoyed by the outcomes and be ready to show what they can do domestically against opposition with ambitions to make it into the top four at the end of the season.
Liverpool sit eighth after just two wins in their last five games, whereas Spurs have made up for their slow start by going unbeaten since the second weekend of the campaign. Now it is up to the two teams to show who is more likely to make it back into the Champions League next season, and rival the Manchester clubs.
Spurs' recent record against Liverpool is underwhelming to say the least: Mauricio Pochettino's side are winless in their last nine encounters with Liverpool, so they will be looking to end that barren run when Jurgen Klopp's men arrive at Wembley on Sunday.
Will United break clean sheet record? (Huddersfield v Manchester United, 3pm, Saturday)
The Terriers had an impressive start to the campaign thanks to two wins from their opening two games, but have failed to win since, collecting just two further points from their last six matches. Their last home fixture resulted in a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham, so David Wagner might need to find an alternative plan when Manchester United come to town.
Jose Mourinho showed how to create a formidable defensive display at Liverpool last week, but he may need to be more proactive when United travels to the John Smith's on Saturday.
Huddersfield have failed to score in their four outings prior to United's visit, with the visitors already claiming seven clean sheets from eight games. No team in top-flight history has ever kept out the opposition eight times in their nine opening games.
Will the Clarets' defence cope? (Manchester City v Burnley, 3pm, Saturday)
Burnley are a team proud of their defence, but they might need a special plan if they are to stop a rampant Manchester City. The hosts have scored five or more in their three previous home games, and even though Napoli kept them down to two in midweek, the potency of the City forward line is there for everyone to see.
Gabriel Jesus has settled into the Premier League with ease, aided by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling out wide and Kevin De Bruyne's quality creating numerous chances across the park. If City keep scoring at their current rate they will smash 138 goals before the end of the season, it is admittedly unlikely, but at the same time no one will want to face them in such form.
Between the sticks for Burnley is reserve goalkeeper Nick Pope, who has the best save percentage record (91.7 per cent) in the league, something he will do well to maintain at the Etihad.
The Clarets have only conceded six goals this season, which has helped them to seventh in the table, but City's terrifying attack will be unlike anything Ben Mee and James Tarkowski have come up against before, meaning it will take a great effort if they are to become only the second team to avoid a heavy defeat to Pep Guardiola's men.
Will Zaha become Palace's main man consistently? (Newcastle United v Crystal Palace, 3pm, Saturday)
After finally picking up their first win of the Premier League season against Chelsea last weekend, Roy Hodgson praised Crystal Palace for their ability to adapt to new methods, which was even more impressive when you consider they are without a fit, recognised striker at the moment.
There is still plenty of catching up for the Eagles to do, though, having accumulated just three points so far, meaning they now need to start getting points away from home to give them a greater chance of avoiding relegation.
The key to survival for Hodgson and Palace is Wilfried Zaha, who scored the winner against Chelsea, but his prowess is no secret to Premier League managers. The winger, who will almost certainly play centrally once again this week has been involved in more goals than any other Palace player since the start of last season, scoring eight and assisting another nine.
Now Zaha is having to operate as a lone striker due to injuries to Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham, and if the Ivory Coast international can adjust to the new position, Palace might just have a chance of getting out of their early-season mess.
Will the Cherries stick with away plan? (Stoke City v Bournemouth, 3pm, Saturday)
Both teams lost away last weekend, Stoke were drubbed 7-2 at Manchester City, whereas Bournemouth were defeated 1-0 at Wembley by Spurs.
There were few positives for Mark Hughes to take at the Etihad, but Eddie Howe will be pleased with his side's efforts, which showed green shoots of promise as the Cherries look to improve their away form having lost their four previous trips away from the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth utilised an extra central midfielder at Spurs, as they looked to stop the creativity of Christian Eriksen and co. It worked well for Howe and his men, even if they failed to collect a point at Wembley, now the Bournemouth boss, tasked with dragging his side out of the relegation battle, needs to decide whether to use this formation on a regular basis.
Will Appleton make his mark? (Swansea City v Leicester City, 3pm, Saturday)
Michael Appleton takes charge of Leicester City for the first time as caretaker manager following the sacking of Craig Shakespeare. The former Preston midfielder is used to the role, having previously managed Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Oxford United, before moving to the King Power Stadium over the summer in an assistant's capacity.
Now in the top job, Appleton will want to make his mark on the team to give himself the best shot of keeping the role on a permanent basis. Appleton could turn to the creative and dribbling ability of Demarai Gray, who has only been named in the XI once this season but could give the team a different dimension going forward, as they have lacked a cutting edge during the campaign.
Alternatively, Leicester turned things around against West Brom once they changed to three at the back and brought on Islam Slimani, a similar change at the Liberty Stadium could well help Appleton make his mark on the Foxes.
Is Baggies youngster ready? (Southampton v West Brom, 5.30pm, Saturday)
Tony Pulis has a tough decision to make over what to do regarding his goalkeeper when his side travel to St Mary's on Saturday evening.
Ben Foster missed the draw with Leicester after injuring his knee while playing with his son in the garden, then Boaz Myhill hobbled through the second half of the draw at the King Power Stadium after sustaining a knock during a collision with Jamie Vardy.
Pulis failed to show any faith in his third-choice goalkeeper, Alex Palmer, who sat on the bench despite the Myhill's visible struggles. The severity of Ben Foster's knee problem is unknown but Pulis is unlikely to risk a man with a long history of injuries, leaving him sweating on the fitness of Myhill.
The alternative, 21-year-old Palmer, is yet to feature in the Premier League, with his only first-team experience coming during a spell at Kidderminster Harriers. Is he ready for the big time? If Palmer is required, then it is likely Southampton will target the inexperienced stopper, and he will need to ensure he is up for the task.