Saturday Premier League takeaways: Arsenal not title winners, Liverpool in control, Romelu Lukaku a season-maker

Matthew Lewis

No one cares that Newcastle turned in a great performance today. Well done, Alan Pardew! Arsenal also managed to disappoint everyone on Saturday. Oh, and Liverpool are pretty good.

Alan Pardew headbutted an opposing player. Before we get to anything else, you need to get that through your head. That is a real, actual thing that happened this week. Got it?

Okay, on to the rest of the things that happened during Saturday's Premier League action.

Buying luxury players because you can isn't a terrible idea

by Kevin McCauley

Fans of teams that are not Chelsea get very annoyed when Chelsea buy lots of players. Especially when those players are wingers or attacking midfielders, since the club seems to have an odd fetish for them. When they bought Andre Schürrle and Willian, everyone wondered what use the Blues could possibly have for them, and hoped that they would stop hogging all the good players just to keep them on the bench.

As it turns out, there's enough playing time to go around for Schürrle and Willian -- at least since Juan Mata and Kevin de Bruyne got sold -- and Schürrle had by far his best game in a Chelsea shirt against Fulham on Saturday, scoring a hat trick. Him hitting his form is coming at the perfect time, since Oscar hasn't been great lately.

Oh, and it's worth noting that Mata and de Bruyne were both sold for big profits, which Chelsea was able to do because they had depth sitting around. Now that depth is producing. Maybe it is a good idea to buy lots of good players when you have lots of money.

Arsenal: Still Arsenal

by Zach Woosley

Arsenal kicked off a busy March schedule that includes a North London Derby, games against Manchester City and Chelsea, plus FA Cup and Champions League games with a 1-0 loss against Stoke City.

That's so Arsenal.

Gunners fans can kick and scream all they want about the penalty decision against Laurent Koscielny, but that wasn't the story of the match. Arsenal were simply unable to create good chances and the few they did were wasted. They also allowed Stoke's physical style to bother them and affect their play and there's no excuse for that. Arsene Wenger is well aware of Stoke's style and his team should have been prepared for what the Potters were going to do.

These are the games that decide championships. The games where you're not at your best, where things aren't going your way. Those are the games that championship teams find a way to win, or at the very least salvage a point. Arsenal are a good team, but they're not a championship team.

Pardew's antics take the attention away from a good performance

by Callum Hamilton

Fair play to Alan Pardew. People would be calling it a genius move if José Mourinho did it -- headbutt an opposing player to take the media attention off your own players. Is it too late to nominate the silver fox for manager of the year?

Oh, sorry, it was 4-1. Newcastle actually played very well, and Moussa Sissoko got an excellent brace and finally looked once more like the player he appeared on his astonishing debut. Luuk de Jong was a bit bobbins, but you can't have it all. This suggested a side that was able to cope with Yohan Cabaye's departure and could be three or so signings away from being as good as they were when they finished fifth, if not better.

Now, however, it's all about Pardew, and the praise for the players will disappear. Perhaps the quickest way to improve the side would be replacing the manager. He's certainly given Mike Ashley an incredible opportunity to do so, if the recent rumours about him being on shaky ground were true.


Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Lukaku the difference between Europe and mediocrity

by Ryan Rosenblatt

Romelu Lukaku wasn't supposed to go to Everton. He was supposed to stay at Chelsea and, if he went on loan, a West Brom return was the logical landing spot. But the Toffees? They weren't even in the discussion.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Everton did land Lukaku on loan at the transfer deadline, though, and it's a good thing they did. He has been sensational for the Toffees and, against West Ham, he came off the bench to net his 10th goal of the season. That leaves us to question where Everton would be without the 20-year-old.

Everton dominated the ball against the Hammers and took many speculative shots, but they never truly threatened West Ham with any consistency. The Hammers always looked pretty comfortable at the back, but that all changed when Lukaku entered. His strength caused West Ham problems, they had to defend him with two men and he almost single-handedly unorganized a Sam Allardyce team. The chances followed and before long, so did his goal.

So what if Everton never pulled off a last second shock to nab Lukaku in August? They're probably closer to Swansea than Liverpool.

3-0 road wins look routine for Liverpool

by Kevin McCauley

After Liverpool's disappointing 1-1 draw away to West Bromwich Albion, Brendan Rodgers declared that his team was out of the title race and that Champions League was their goal. It might have been the best thing he could have said to motivate his team. They've ripped off four straight wins since then -- including a 5-1 demolition of Arsenal -- and hardly looked bothered in Saturday's 3-0 win away to Southampton.

There was nothing bad about Southampton's performance and nothing spectacular about Liverpool's. Both teams played like what looked like a solid, average game for them. And that resulted in Liverpool never looking like failing to get a victory.

Liverpool are bigger title contenders than Arsenal and they're looking more impressive than Chelsea and Manchester City at present. Now let's see if their defense can keep making clean sheets look routine.

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