Premier League questions: Can Man Utd close the gap on the top four? Will Loris Karius keep his place?
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 15/12/16 5:53am
The festive period means a bumper round of midweek Premier League fixtures as we enter the final countdown to Christmas.
Wednesday sees eight Premier League fixtures, with Manchester United looking to continue winning ways against Crystal Palace and Antonio Conte looking to make it nine victories in a row at Sunderland.
You can watch all the action online as Gillette Soccer Special will be streamed on the Sky Sports website, while live matchday blogs will also include in-game goals and highlights of every fixture.
Ahead of the final games before Christmas, we've taken a look at some questions that may be answered on Wednesday night...
Can United close the gap on the top four? Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Premier League, Wednesday, 8pm
Manchester United's 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon closed the gap on city-rivals Manchester City in the fourth and final Champions League berth to only six points.
However, Jose Mourinho will be only too aware that his team must keep on winning if they are to stay in touch with those above them, starting with this tricky-looking visit to the capital to take on Crystal Palace.
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Despite winning just three of their previous 12 Premier League matches, though, the Red Devils have been playing well of late and faced with an Eagles side struggling near the foot of the table, the Special One will be targeting another three points at Selhurst Park.
Will Costa keep the Blues on top? Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League, Wednesday, 7.45pm
Chelsea head to Wearside on Wednesday night with a three-point cushion at the top of the Premier League and a red-hot Diego Costa leading their line.
Antonio Conte's side won their ninth league game in a row against a stubborn West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Sunday lunch time, with Costa once again their match winner.
The powerful Brazil-born frontman found the back of the net for the 12th time in the league this season on the weekend and against a Sunderland team that have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 top-flight contests, the 28-year-old will surely be fancying adding to that total against the bottom-of-the-table Black Cats.
Can City regain some defensive solidity against the Hornets? Manchester City v Watford - Premier League, Wednesday, 8pm
Man City lost 4-2 at champions Leicester City on Saturday night, hot on the heels of their 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea the week before, meaning Pep Guardiola has now seen his side let in three or more goals in consecutive league matches for the first time in his managerial career.
In fact, City even conceded twice in the first five minutes of a Premier League encounter at the King Power for the first time since October 2006 against Wigan Athletic, meaning all eyes will be on their back four against Watford on Wednesday evening.
And with City having now slipped seven points behind Chelsea at the top of the table, they cannot afford any more defensive slip-ups against the Hornets at the Etihad.
Will Boufal score again for the Saints? Stoke City v Southampton - Premier League, Wednesday, 8pm
Sofiane Boufal was Southampton's match winner against Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon, with the attacking midfielder's spectacular long-range strike being the difference between the two teams at St Mary's.
The 23-year-old's first goal since joining the club from Lille for a club-record £16m last summer helped lift the Saints up to 10th in the table.
And manager Claude Puel will be hoping the Morocco international can have a similar impact when Southampton face Stoke City at the Bet 365 Stadium in midweek.
Can the Swans' mini revival continue at the Hawthorns? West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City - Premier League, Tuesday, 8pm
Recently appointed Swansea City manager Bob Bradley was facing questions about his future ahead of Saturday's massive 3-0 win against fellow strugglers Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium.
The American had won just one of his first seven games in charge of the Swans, but a convincing display on the weekend has eased the pressure on both Bradley and his players' shoulders.
However, a first away victory since the opening day of the season at Burnley this Wednesday would give Swansea even more belief in their bid to avid the drop, especially as it would also represent a third win in four encounters under Bradley.
Will Spurs re-find their rhythm against the Tigers? Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City - Premier League, Wednesday, 8pm
Tottenham went into their Super Sunday encounter at Manchester United in good goalscoring form, having netted eight times in their two games prior to their trip to Old Trafford.
The visitors drew a blank, though, and struggled to create any clear-cut openings, with the normally prolific Harry Kane in particular looking out of sorts.
But Hull City's visit to White Hart Lane on Wednesday represents a great opportunity to rediscover their touch in front of goal, especially given Mike Phelan's team have now conceded more goals than anyone in the top flight after Saturday's 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace.
Will Karius keep his place for the Reds? Middlesbrough v Liverpool - Premier League, Wednesday, 7.45pm
Liverpool have shipped six goals in their last two Premier League fixtures, winning neither, and goalkeeper Loris Karius has come under criticism for his performances in both.
Having spilled a long-range shot to hand Nathan Ake a late winner at Bournemouth, Karius failed to stop Dimitri Payet's free-kick in Sunday's draw with West Ham.
However, Jurgen Klopp has expressed his confidence in his No 1 and the trip to the Riverside could be the perfect opportunity to register a clean sheet - with Middlesbrough the lowest scoring team in the top flight.
When will Bilic win? West Ham United v Burnley - Premier League, Wednesday, 7.45pm
West Ham dispelled back-to-back heavy defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United with an impressive draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, but Slaven Bilic is still without a win in the Premier League since October 22.
The West Ham manager received backing from co-owner David Sullivan prior to the draw on Merseyside, and victory over Burnley could secure Bilic's future for the time being.
Sean Dyche's side have not won away all season and three points for the Hammers could help them call the London Stadium home.