Saturday Premier League takeaways: Chelsea shocked by Sunderland, Tottenham a joke

Jamie McDonald

Tim Sherwood is a joke, Chelsea are falling apart and Tony Pulis deserves a lot of credit.

Saturday was a fun one in the Premier League, especially in the relegation race. Fulham lost, while Cardiff drew and Sunderland won, tightening up the competition to avoid the drop. If Norwich lose to Liverpool as they're expected to on Sunday, there's suddenly a very tight four-way race to clinch one place in the Premier League for next season, and it's not as if West Bromwich Albion are completely out of the woods either.

And then, there's the race at the top. Incredibly, first place has been handed to Liverpool by some combination of poor play by Chelsea and tough refereeing decisions against them, as well as some shocking points dropped by Manchester City. Jose Mourinho lost a league game at home for the first time as Chelsea boss on Saturday, and now his side's upcoming match at Anfield is a must-win.

But we start with Tim Sherwood. I know it seems like he's a favorite whipping boy of ours, but he deserves it.

Thankfully, Sherwood's reign of terror will end

by Callum Hamilton

Tim Sherwood's previous declaration of love for Arsenal may get more pertinent, because in alienating one of his best players after picking up a decent win, he seems more determined than ever to ruin anything good that happens at White Hart Lane. It is exactly as if an Arsenal fan were put in charge on a false flag operation to do as much damage as possible - it's both hard to see what else he could do wrong, or how he could've possibly decided to take some of the courses of action he has unless he were deliberately trying to do the club harm.

That will take away from a decent Spurs performance today and the continued emergence of Christian Eriksen as one of the better players of his type in the Premier League, despite the handball. There's probably no greater metaphor for Sherwood's reign than that, having seen his best attacking midfielder earn him a win, his next move was to immediately castigate his best defensive one. Simply put: you cannot build a team like this. Fortunately for Spurs fans it looks as though this lunacy will soon be at an end.

Cardiff better hope their rivals keep screwing up

by Kevin McCauley

Cardiff failed to take a big chance to grab three points on Saturday, just like they failed to take a similar chance to get points from Goodison Park on March 15. But the great thing about the relegation race is that it very rarely ends before the final week, mostly because everyone in the relegation race usually stinks. This is the case for Fulham and Norwich, who haven't done enough to bury Cardiff yet.

But Cardiff had a chance to get more than a 1-1 draw against Stoke and probably should have done better. If they do go down, they have no one to blame but themselves. They're just not making the most of their opportunities.

A whole lot of nothing at Villa Park

by Kevin McCauley

Aston Villa are more or less out of the relegation race, and just need to make sure they pick up a couple of draws to keep one of the teams in the drop zone from catching them. Knowing this, they decided to sit deep and play on the counter against Southampton. They played this way against the Saints in the reverse fixture, pulling off a surprising win while putting on a counter-attacking clinic, but they didn't have that same bite to them on Saturday.

Southampton, meanwhile, have had nothing to play for since about January. They know it, everyone else knows it, and this is where crap 0-0 draws come from.

Dave Thompson / Getty Images

Swansea are out of the relegation race

by Ryan Rosenblatt

With one Marvin Emnes run, Swansea pulled themselves out of the relegation race.

Emnes got the ball at midfield with acres of space in front of him. He raced into the box, put one defender on his heels and then Chiekh Tiote came diving in to commit the foul. The referee just had to point to the spot, which he did, and Wilfried Bony had to convert the penalty, which he did, and the Swans were looking at another season in the top flight.

There isn't a lot to be excited about when you beat Newcastle. After all, the Magpies have lost five in a row -- making Alan Pardew the first Newcastle manager to do that in the Premier League -- but Swansea were looking for a lifeline, and Emnes gave it to them. They aren't going to be picky about how they got it, or against who.

Pulis engineering an incredible turnaround

by Zach Woosley

Tony Pulis and Crystal Palace deserve a lot of credit for their strong form at the end of the season. For a team that was picked my many to be relegated, and were on the cusp of the drop zone not that long ago, they've done an excellent job turning things around and going on a five-match winning streak.

Today against West Ham, who looked about as dangerous as a newborn puppy, Palace continued to play solid defense and look dangerous on the counterattack. While it took a penalty to get the game's only goal, Palace generated plenty of good chances and looked dangerous throughout. If they end up passing Stoke for 10th place, it will be both surprising and completely deserved.

Believe in Gus Poyet

by Kevin McCauley

Chelsea's recent struggles against average sides have been shocking, but let's forget about negatives for a few minutes to heap some praise on Sunderland boss Gus Poyet. He engineered a serious turnaround when he took over for Paolo Di Canio, but his team slumped badly in late winter. Some started to question if he really was the right man for the job at the Stadium of Light, but he's produced a draw and a win in four days away to Manchester City and Chelsea.

Sunderland have defended well, countered well and finished the few chances they've had for two games in a row against top opponents. They're not looking like a spectacular side, but they've been effective. They're getting the most out of their limited talent, and that's down to their manager.

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