Saturday Premier League takeaways: Chelsea's choking inexplicable, WBA-Cardiff won't matter

Steve Bardens

Cardiff's comeback against West Bromwich Albion might have been the thriller of the season, but it might not affect either team at all. Meanwhile, in South London, Chelsea were the latest victims of Pulisball.

David Moyes is so small time it hurts

Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 4-1 at Old Trafford after falling behind early in the match. Over the last two decades or so, this would have been a routine result. Good, yes, but nothing to gloat about. This season, comeback wins have been increasingly rare at Old Trafford, so Moyes was elated after this one. He applauded the fans after the match and showed up at his press conference grinning like he'd won a cup final.

Here are some of his post-match quotes, via Sky Sports.

"I just wanted everybody to know I'm the manager of the club. They know where I am. I stand by the side of the pitch. Ever since I've been at Manchester United, I've only had support ... I believe that all Manchester United supporters are behind me and they all understand the situation we are in. The players are incredibly focused, that was an important thing as I wanted the focus to make sure it was right."

Getting defiant about a win over Aston Villa at home and acting like it was a huge result is a really, really weird thing for a United manager to do.

Newcastle are all-in on next season

It was pretty obvious that Newcastle were waving the white flag on this year and looking towards next year when they sold Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain, but Saturday's game was the worst indication yet that their season is over. Both Southampton and the Magpies are in the same boat -- they have virtually no chance of getting to Europe or dropping into the bottom half -- but the Saints have kept going like they have something to play for. They beat Newcastle 4-0, and it very easily could have been twice as bad.

Who knows what the future holds for Newcastle, but their present is nothing more than a holding pattern.

It's rare that they look baffled by another team, especially one with a strategy as predictable as Palace

What is happening to Chelsea?

If Jose Mourinho's sides are anything, it's organized and well-prepared. They've been unable to deal with individual talent in the past and sometimes struggled to score, but it's rare that they look baffled by another team, especially one with a strategy as predictable as Crystal Palace.

Calling Palace's tactics predictable isn't an insult. Tony Pulis kept Stoke City up over and over, and is working on keeping Palace up for a reason: He's a good coach and the system works when the players execute it. But it's not as if Palace did anything but what Chelsea expected to see. And yet, they lacked ideas in attack and organization when defending the counter.

This is very difficult to explain. And if Chelsea are looking baffled by a team like Palace, they're going to have a tough task keeping pace with Manchester City in the title race.


Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

WBA-Cardiff was both spectacular and inconsequential

Well, it could have consequences if Sunderland pull off some surprising results during their upcoming murderer's row of fixtures, but that seems unlikely. After Monday's game against West Ham, Sunderland have to take on Spurs, City, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United in five of their next six games. Meanwhile, Cardiff are still three points back of West Brom, who have a point in hand.

West Brom's almost-winner and Cardiff's equalizer in stoppage time were great to watch, but they shouldn't alter the course of the season. Expect the Bluebirds to go down and the Baggies to stay up.

Fun match at the Emirates ends in a draw that helps no one

Arsenal and Manchester City showed signs of playing a wide-open thriller on Saturday, but as the game progressed, both teams looked increasingly afraid of losing. And by adopting that attitude, they played to a 1-1 draw that helped neither of them. City failed to capitalize on a huge slip-up by Chelsea, and Arsenal gave Everton even more hope that they can snatch fourth place.

It was a game that should have had a winner, but neither team was willing to truly go for it.


Manchester United 4-1 Aston Villa
Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea
Southampton 4-0 Newcastle
Stoke 1-0 Hull
Swansea 3-0 Norwich
West Brom 3-3 Cardiff
Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City

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