Premier League questions: Watching brief for Wayne Rooney? Can Spurs stop Pep?
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 01/10/16 12:05pm
The Premier League action keeps on coming thick and fast - and Sky Sports has every angle of the seventh round of fixtures covered.
Everton and Crystal Palace kicked off an action-packed Premier League card at Goodison Park on Friday Night Football before the top four - Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool - all feature on Sky Sports over the course of the weekend.
So, with 10 games being played between Friday and Sunday, here are 10 questions which could be answered over the course of the weekend.
Will Liverpool pave the way for Ryan Giggs? (Swansea v Liverpool - Saturday from 11.30am, Sky Sports 2 HD)
Ryan Giggs achieved many things throughout his illustrious playing career at Manchester United; 963 appearances and 35 major honours to name but a few. Yet for all of his talent and longevity, the Welshman never knowingly received a favour from United's fiercest rivals Liverpool.
However, with Giggs linked to succeed under-fire Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin, the Reds could inadvertently give his managerial career an unexpected shot in the arm if they were to romp to victory at the Liberty Stadium in a similar manner to which they dispatched Hull. Who'd have thought it?
Normal service to resume for Chelsea? (Hull v Chelsea - Saturday, 3pm)
After last week's hammering at Arsenal, the sight of Hull City on the horizon would have been welcomed by Antonio Conte and his beleaguered Chelsea squad.
The Blues have good reason to be optimistic after defeats to Liverpool and the Gunners, having never lost to Hull in the Premier League, while they also boast a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions against the Tigers.
Mike Phelan's men haven't won a Premier League game since August's victory at Swansea and they will look to end that run while bouncing back from being put to the sword in their last outing at Anfield, where they were reduced to 10 men for the second game in succession.
Only eight teams have had a red card three games on the spin, Hull will certainly need their full accompaniment to challenge Conte's smarting side.
Can Moyes lead Sunderland to October surge? (Sunderland v West Brom - Saturday, 3pm)
Crystal Palace's dramatic victory at the Stadium of Light extended Sunderland's miserable winless record in August and September to 25 Premier League games.
David Moyes' early-season forecast of an impending relegation battle has come to fruition, with the Black Cats winless after six games and rooted to the foot of the table.
Despite this it's not all doom and gloom for the Wearsiders, with history suggesting rosier climates may be on the horizon.
Sunderland have won three of their last seven top-flight games in October and it's a record Moyes will be keen to tap in to as he looks to ease the pressure hanging over him by discrediting his own prophecy.
Will Jack Wilshere go the distance? (Watford v Bournemouth - Saturday, 3pm)
By the time Bournemouth travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday, a staggering 749 days will have passed since Jack Wilshere last played 90 minutes in the Premier League.
The on-loan Arsenal midfielder last went the distance in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City back in September 2014 and he has tried and failed to go the distance on 19 occasions since.
However, having played 76 minutes of the Cherries' hard-fought victory over Everton, there's every chance Wilshere could last the duration at Watford and continue his progress with the south-coast club.
Home comforts at last for the Hammers? (West Ham v Middlesbrough - Saturday, 3pm)
West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium has been anything but comfortable - losing five of their first six games in a season for the first time in their history, which has sparked criticism and scenes of unrest.
But there is cause for optimism from the disgruntled fan base ahead of Middlesbrough's visit to east London.
Blackburn are the only team West Ham have a better winning streak in the top-flight against than 'Boro, with the Hammers winning on each of the last seven times they've hosted the Teessiders. If that wasn't enough, Aitor Karanka's men have lost on each of their last five trips to the capital.
By all accounts we're all set up for an overdue win for Slaven Bilic's side but, when you consider the way this season has gone for the Hammers, they can't afford to rest on their laurels.
Has Wayne Rooney received European brief? (Man Utd v Stoke - Sunday, 12pm)
As captain and current longest-serving player at Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney's position in Jose Mourinho's first starting XIs was a given.
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There were few calls, if any, for Rooney to be hooked after the club's flawless start to season saw them win their opening three Premier League games.
But consecutive defeats to Manchester City, Fenerbahce and Watford forced the Portuguese's hand to some extent and, as tends to be the case, Rooney bore the brunt of the criticism.
The United skipper will have been pleased to see his side roar past Leicester on Saturday but that encouraging display could prolong his time out of Mourinho's preferred XI.
Sky sources indicate Rooney, who is expected to start against Zorya Lohansk in the Europa League on Thursday, will be among the substitutes once more when United host Stoke.
Can he impress against the Ukrainians and force himself back into his manager's thinking or will he sit out another Premier League game at Old Trafford.
Can the champions replicate Champions League form? (Leicester v Southampton - Sunday, 2.15pm)
Just as their title challenge was dismissed in the early stages of last season, people have been quick to write off Leicester's hopes of defending their crown.
Whether it be a change in grappling laws, or whether rival clubs are now aware of the dangers Leicester pose, three defeats in their first six games - as many as they suffered all last season - have asked big questions of their credentials.
The Foxes' hopes of winning the Champions League in their debut season suffered similar fate to their Premier League aspirations 12 months ago, but back-to-back victories against Club Brugge and Porto has put paid to the doubters.
Claudio Ranieri's squad were always going to be judge on their ability to juggle the demands of domestic and European football, as things stand they could do with transferring a victory over to the Premier League.
Can Spurs find a way to stop Pep? (Tottenham v Man City - Sunday from 1.30pm, Sky Sports 1 HD)
Sunday's clash at White Hart Lane is one which sets pulses racing before a ball has even been kicked.
The game pitches together the league's two remaining unbeaten teams and sees Pep Guardiola puts his perfect record at Manchester City on the line against a Spurs side who did the double over Manuel Pellegrini's team last term.
A lot has changed since then though, with City winning all six of their league games under Guardiola, while Spurs have steadily rekindled the form which saw them compete for the title less than five months ago.
The Premier League is inherently uncertain, but with Sergio Aguero and Heung-Min Son on fire in front goal, it would take a brave man to bet against a goal-fest at the Lane. It just remains to be seen whether Pep can come out unscathed.
Has Arsene Wenger overcome his early-season wobble? (Burnley v Arsenal - Sunday from 4.15pm, Sky Sports 1 HD)
Those doubting Arsenal's title credentials were given an emphatic response on Saturday as Chelsea were blown away in a blistering performance from the Gunners.
Performances of that nature will only fuel talk of ending the north London club's soon-to-be 13-year wait to be champions.
Having ruthlessly dispatched Chelsea, the Gunners switch their attention to a Burnley side who seem to reserve their best performances for home confines, with their two league victories coming at Turf Moor this season.
Arsenal clearly have the taste for the big encounter, will they be able to maintain that level of hunger against the Clarets?
Reality check for the Ronald Koeman revolution?
Let's cast our minds back to a little after six o'clock on September 17 - a day which had been 38 years in the making for Everton Football Club. Gareth Barry scored on his 600th Premier League appearance as the Toffees came from behind to beat Middlesbrough, securing their best start to season since 1978.
That sweet taste of success was short-lived though, as defeats to Norwich and Bournemouth in the EFL Cup and Premier League respectively brought the Merseysiders back down to earth.
What makes matters worse for Ronald Koeman's men is that they now face a rejuvenated Crystal Palace side looking to extend their unbeaten run at Goodison Park to four games. Can Koeman pull off an early recovery for his revolution on Merseyside?