Debrief: Liverpool's weary win provides cause for concern

James Maw discusses the Premier League weekend, including Rodgers' tired Reds, excellent Arsenal, Tim's troubles at Tottenham, respite for Hughton and Pardew, Everton feeling blue and why West Ham should be rather pleased with themselves... 

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Liverpool's flagging energy levels could prove costly

Brendan Rodgers' side battled (eventually) to an entertaining win over Swansea, but the victory perhaps highlighted why the Reds may well be unable to sustain their title charge.
Although it was the Swans who were in Europa League action in midweek, it was their hosts who looked more tired as the game wore on. Luis Suarez in particular appeared to be labouring, but several Liverpool players seemed shattered by the game's end. Could this be the cost of Rodgers' high-intensity, energy-sapping pressing game and relative lack of squad rotation?
Still, their hopes of a Champions League return are growing by the week - because they weren't the only team to look a little jaded on Sunday afternoon...

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool

Jordan Henderson's braced helped Liverpool to a 4-3 win

Tim Sherwood still has much to prove

For the fifth time this season, Tottenham lost a Premier League match on the Sunday after playing in the Europa League.
It wasn't a lack of puff that cost Spurs, however, but their lack of ideas in the 1-0 defeat at Norwich. Sherwood again opted to leave Christian Eriksen on the bench, and even an early injury to Etienne Capoue didn't see the Dane enter the fray - Nacer Chadli was the preferred replacement.
Eriksen may have struggled for consistency during his first season in the Premier League, but he certainly possesses the ingenuity - not to mention goals - Spurs sorely missed at Carrow Road. They are now six points behind Liverpool in the Champions League race, and will be well and truly out of it if they don't improve by some margin ahead of upcoming matches with Chelsea and Arsenal.
Tim Sherwood's job interview starts here.

Norwich's good day must happen more often

Norwich boss Chris Hughton will be delighted with his side's win over Spurs, but he'll also wonder why his team can't play with the same intensity against sides further down the league.
Sunday's victory came fast on the heels of a 0-0 draw with Manchester City - a point sandwiched by defeats to Cardiff and West Ham. The games against their fellow strugglers are the ones they really need to win - and Hughton has to find a way of geeing up his players in the same way for such matches.

Russell Martin, Norwich

Russell Martin celebrates an all-too rare Canaries win

'If anything, Arsenal won it TOO well'

There's a certain irony in the fact Arsenal performed by far the most impressively of the Premier League's top three this weekend, yet were the only one whose victory was not described as 'the stuff of champions'.
The Gunners may have been up against a largely limp Sunderland side with one eye on next weekend's League Cup final, but the return of the north Londoners' swagger is not to be overlooked. In any case, Arsenal have had to dig deep in the latter stages of matches themselves this season - perhaps most notably in their 2-0 win over Cardiff, in which both goals came after the 88-minute mark.
Arsenal could have been forgiven for starting Saturday's match a little sheepishly, having endured such frustration at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening, and dropped points in three of their last four Premier League outings. Yet within five minutes they were ahead thanks to an early Olivier Giroud strike that greatly eased the pressure on both team and scorer.
Having taken the lead in the first half of a league match for the first time in six attempts, Arsenal played with a little more freedom. Tomas Rosicky's superb finish, following a typically well-constructed team move, summed up their well-placed confidence. Sure, there'll be tougher tests ahead, but this result shouldn't be ignored just because it was easy.

Laurent Koscielny, Sunderland

Koscielny heads home Arsenal's fourth of the afternoon

Everton need to shrug the blues to reach Europe

Everton suffered successive league defeats for the first time in 364 days, after John Terry (pretended he had) bundled home a late winner for Chelsea in Saturday's early kick-off.
Losing league matches hasn't been too regular a habit for the Toffees in recent seasons, but they have now taken just four points from their last five league matches - winning three of their eight games since Christmas. This latest loss was enough to leave bubbly, brown-shoed boss Roberto Martinez feeling blue. "Overall I thought we were the better side," he told the BBC. "It was a very unfair result not to get anything from the game after the performance that we had."
Everton need to perk up quickly, or their hopes of Champions League qualification will soon be done and dusted. Upcoming matches with West Ham, Cardiff, Swansea and Fulham - the first three of which are all at Goodison - should give them a chance to rebuild some much-needed momentum.

Loanee Remy buys Pardew some time

Loic Remy's return from suspension couldn't have been better timed for Alan Pardew. Yet the Newcastle boss would have probably enjoyed a more pleasant afternoon had the striker been a little more punctual in finding his shooting boots.
After a fairly dismal first half of their home match with Aston Villa, the Magpies eventually clicked into gear after the interval. They showed all the hallmarks of a side who hadn't scored in seven of their previous eight matches, not least a lack of composure in the final third, but were able to crank up the pressure on their visitors as the game wore on and probably deserved the three points.

Loic Remy, Newcastle

Remy marked his return from suspension with a crucial 92nd-minute winner

West Ham benefit from not being sack-happy

While Fulham, Cardiff and West Brom continue to struggle for points as the Premier League approaches its 'business end', West Ham have propelled themselves well away from the bunfight at the bottom.
In a rare treat for Davids Gold and Sullivan, the West Ham co-chairmen have cause to be smug. Their patience with their under-pressure manager in the previous two months is now reaping grand rewards. Saturday's win over Southampton - the Irons' fourth on the bounce - lifted the east London outfit into the top half of the table.
Clearly there have been other factors in this semi-miraculous rise - the recent returns to fitness of Winston Reid and Andy Carroll included - but there can be no doubt that the Hammers have profited from the stability that has come at least partly from not changing managers or drastically altering their philosophy.
Pepe Mel may still be winless six games into his West Brom tenure, and Fulham changing managers more often than Scott Parker has had to change those bravely muddy shorts, but it's Cardiff who seem to be having the biggest post-sacking difficulties.
The beleaguered Bluebirds were thumped 4-0 on their own patch by fellow promotees Hull. From the outside, the mood at the club doesn't seem particularly positive. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also appears to have a thing or two to learn - his attack-minded line-up was torn to shreds by a confident Hull side with added firepower. With Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool to come in their next four matches, things could get worse before they get better. The way they're going at the moment, West Ham will feel they could be all but safe by that stage.
West Ham 3-1 Southampton and Cardiff 0-4 Hull: analyse them both with Stats Zone