Saturday Premier League takeaways: Norwich are hopeless and Roberto Martinez did this to himself

Laurence Griffiths

Norwich are bad, Roberto Martinez cost himself Champions League in the summer and Tim Sherwood is still Tim Sherwood. That and more from Saturday in England.

Ryan Giggs is an icon, both to Manchester United and the footballing world in general. After his team beat Norwich City 4-0 in his managerial debut, he's going to be the topic of most footballing conversation for the next couple of days. And that's great, because when you win your managerial debut 4-0, you deserve to be talked about, but there's something more pressing going on.

Norwich are currently above the drop zone, but they might not be there for long, because they are a very bad team. They never looked much like challenging Manchester United on Saturday, as the Red Devils barely broke a sweat en route to four goals. They really didn't look that good.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa have played themselves into the relegation race, while West Bromwich Albion won to pull themselves out. And we have to talk about Tim Sherwood again, because sadly, he is still a thing.

But first, Everton!

Trusted former players: The Roberto Martinez blind spot

by Kevin McCauley

Roberto Martinez signed Antolin Alcaraz over the summer even though everyone knew he wasn't good enough to play for Everton. Fans of the Toffees talked themselves off the ledge because he was free and Alcaraz probably wouldn't be much more than a fourth defender. Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are freaks, after all. They never miss more than a game or two at a time. No big.

Well, both Distin and Jagielka had to miss out on Saturday. Lo and behold, Alcaraz took less than a minute to screw up, nodding a perfect header into his own goal. There was another OG after that and some horrible calls by the referee that went against Everton, but they were always facing an uphill battle because of a player who everyone knew wasn't good enough before he signed. And now Arsenal are headed to Champions League again.

Big Sam is the king of mediocrity

by Callum Hamilton

When Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager of West Ham, there were a few jeers that a club with a tradition of playing football ‘the right way' would appoint a long-ball merchant to guide their team. It seemed a bit silly at the time, since West Ham had been awful since ... well, when they were founded. But the current situation of the fans bellowing for him to be sacked could easily have been foreseen.

Allardyce is good at what he does, but he is almost a lesser version of David Moyes. His teams are so unwatchable that when they are not gaining hard-fought, narrow victories over relegation rivals, it's hard not to despise the fare on offer. Allardyce has had some poor luck in being harshly sacked several times in his career, but there is a reason why he has never been able to make genuine progress with the teams he has managed.

If Allardyce managed West Ham for a decade, they probably wouldn't go down. But even more certain is that they wouldn't be winning any trophies and they wouldn't be launching themselves into the top half. The thought of that can be even more depressing than the drop.

Aren't you supposed to get better up a man?

by Zach Woosley

Spurs won again, which will probably lead Tim Sherwood to make another public declaration about how he's the greatest Spurs manager in the history of history. Wins are great, and moving to within three points of Everton for fifth place is good, too, but the fact remains that this still feels like a team that is generally underachieving. At the very least, they're just plain boring.

Danny Rose's goal deserve's praise, as does Emmanuel Adebayor's assist that created the chance, but the rest of the match was filled with rough play and some hard tackles. One of which got Ryan Shawcross sent off early in the second half.

Despite playing with that man advantage, Spurs couldn't put the match away. In fact, they looked worse after the red card, which, in fairness, does sometimes happen. Still, you'd expect a team like Spurs to do better with that opportunity, and not get outplayed by a team with one fewer player on the pitch ... or maybe we shouldn't.

Winning isn't always about playing beautiful football, but you get the sense that Daniel Levy isn't paying truckloads of money for this.

Christopher Lee / Getty Images

Magath did everything with his subs, and therefore did nothing

by Kevin McCauley

In need of goals and a change in the pace of the game after a 0-0 first half, Fulham manager Felix Magath made two halftime changes against Hull. Sensing his changes weren't working, he made another move in the 53rd minute. With the game tied 0-0 and with his team in an aggressive 4-4-2, Magath was out of subs.

Both of his halftime substitutes eventually contributed to goals. Ashkan Dejagah scored the first, while Kieran Richardson set up the second. And the third sub, Darren Bent, looked dangerous throughout the second half. But when Hull started attacking again, Fulham were ill-equipped to deal with it, and they didn't have any changes left to make.

The game ended 2-2 and probably should have been a Hull victory. Steve Bruce's side were dominant for the final 30 minutes and only failed to win thanks to a couple of surprisingly decent saves from David Stockdale and the woodwork.

A point is still helpful for Fulham, but their fans will be bummed that they didn't get three. Maybe be a bit more patient with Bent next time?

Aston Villa can't defend ... but won't get relegated

by Ryan Rosenblatt

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Aston Villa just didn't feel like defending today.

It was a comical day at the back for the Villains. Whether it was not marking players, Ron Vlaar giving the ball to Jonjo Shelvey to shoot from 45 yards (yeah, it was a super-awesome goal, but the best way to get your goalkeeper caught out is to give the ball away seconds after he rolled it to you) or jogging back as Swansea sprinted forward, Villa did nothing that resembled adequate defending. The result was four goals in the back of the net and another helpless day for Brad Guzan.

Luckily for Villa, they shouldn't go down. They haven't been assured safety yet, but Fulham's draw from 2-0 up and Norwich's loss should keep them in the top flight -- not that they look like they deserve it.

Norwich look hopeless

by Kevin McCauley

Before we get into the ultra-negative: Yay, Ryan Giggs! Even if the opponent was awful and the performance wasn't actually that great, a 4-0 win is a 4-0 win. That's an awesome debut.

Okay, now for the less positive things: Everything about Norwich. They sacked Chris Hughton because they were embarrassingly dull and couldn't score to save their lives. They were headed towards the drop and needed to take drastic action ... and it's done nothing. Neil Adams' Norwich is just as bad.

They're just as bad because Hughton bought bad players that don't fit together very well, and there's nothing that Adams and the board can do about it in a month. This team stinks and deserves to go down. They'll need a miracle to avoid the drop -- they look like the worst of the teams in the bottom four at the moment.

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