Offside’s Weekend In Pictures: Arsenal vs. City and more

As the Premier League reconvened after the first international break of the season, Offside Sport Photography’s crack team of snappers were once again out in force across the country…

Mark Leech: Danny Welbeck of Arsenal is tackled by City defender Martin Demichelis.
Mark Leech: Danny Welbeck of Arsenal is tackled by City defender Martin Demichelis.

On Saturday, Mark Leech took up position at the Emirates for Arsenal’s pulsating 2-2 draw with Manchester City. It was like high-noon at times out on the pitch with both teams deciding to take a gung-ho approach to blasting away any lingering cobwebs from the international break.

Danny Welbeck made his debut for the Gunners, and went close to opening his account in the first half with a chipped shot over Joe Hart that was denied by the post. Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere had more luck in front of goal however, netting three very well taken goals before Martin Demichelis levelled the score late on.

In the week leading up to the fixture, Arsenal had released a video to drum up support for Rainbow Laces, a Stonewall’s Paddy Power backed campaign against LGBT discrimination in football. Their high-profile advocacy continued on match day too with Arsenal Underground Station decked out with a newly multi-coloured entrance strip to welcome home and away supporters.

Mark Leech: Arsenal Underground Stadium displays a rainbow coloured, RidewithPride strip, to welcome fans for the club's game against Man City
Mark Leech: Arsenal Underground Stadium unveils a rainbow coloured, RidewithPride strip, at its entrance in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign.

While North London was playing host to the day’s early action, across town, Marc Atkins was busy getting himself ready to shoot Chelsea’s game against Swansea City—an unlikely clash of first versus second, with the Swans heading into the weekend level on points with Jose Mourinho’s table-topping Blues after a surprisingly strong start to the season.

Marc Atkins: Chelsea players take part in a minutes applause for Lord Richard Attenborough, Life President of Chelsea Football club who passed away on 7 September 2014.
Marc Atkins: Chelsea players take part in a minutes applause for Lord Richard Attenborough, Life President of Chelsea Football club who passed away on 7 September 2014.

A couple of hours after the club’s all-time top-scorer, Frank Lampard, made his first start for City, another debutant, Loic Remy, announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with a goal to make it 4-2 to Chelsea as Gary Monk’s visitors faltered.

 

Diego Costa also grabbed a hat trick to continue his impressive start to life in English football, much to the delight of the Blue-clad crowds. Just as the Brazilian-born Spain striker has wasted no time in adapting to the Premier League,  his new adoring public haven’t needed much encouragement to take the striker to their hearts.

Beyond the capital, Paul Roberts was at pitch side for Everton’s 2-0 away win against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.

Paul Roberts: Aiden McGready of Everton is fouled by James Morrison of West Bromwich Albion.
Paul Roberts: Aiden McGready of Everton is fouled by James Morrison of West Bromwich Albion.

The Toffees’ victory was made in Belgium, with Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas providing the goals to grant Roberto Martinez’s side all three points against Alan Irvine’s men.

Steve Parkin took in his first game of the weekend in Huddlesfield, as former Charlton Athletic manager Chris Powell looked to get his feet under the desk with the visit of Middlesbrough.

The new manager at Huddersfield Town was greeted with a familiar sight on match day, with own face staring back at him from the stands after a number of the home fans deciding to dons paper masks bearing his image as tribute to their new boss. Unfortunately, the warm welcome didn’t translate into a positive start on the pitch however, with The Terriers losing 2-1 to The Boro.

Liverpool versus Aston Villa was Offside’s final fixture on Saturday, with Simon Stacpoole doing the honours at Anfield.

Simon Stacpoole The crowds at Anfield look on as Steven Gerrard battles Tom Cleverley.
Simon Stacpoole The crowds at Anfield look on as Steven Gerrard battles Tom Cleverley.

Paul Lambert’s side remain unbeaten this season after three games, and put in a battling performance to deny Brendan Rodgers’ depleted team a chance to grab any cheap points with Raheem Sterling rested and Daniel Sturridge injured.

New boys Mario Balotelli and Adam Lallana were unable to lift the Reds ahead of a busy week that will see them return to Champions League contention, with Villa able to hold out for the win after Gabby Agbonlahor’s goal put them ahead.

Returning to the Championship, and Sunday saw the latest instalment in the East Midlands derby as Nottingham Forest hosted Derby County at the City Ground.

Marc Atkins was there to capture all the action, on and off the pitch as both teams did battle for the fixture’s very own Brian Clough Trophy—a special piece of silverware created to honour the late, great manager who contributed so much to both clubs and their cities during his career.

Marc Atkins: Leon Best of Derby County taps the ball in to make sure after Ryan Shotten's effort already goes over the line to level the score.
Marc Atkins: Leon Best of Derby County taps the ball in to make sure after Ryan Shotten’s effort already goes over the line to level the score.

Yet the game finished 1-1, with Derby clinching a scrappy equaliser to ensure the points were shared as tempers flared in the stands between a few rogue fans on the look out for some trouble.

For those wanting a more decisive scoreline, attentions had to turn away from all of this Clough-centric close combat to Old Trafford, where  Simon Stacpoole was stationed to shoot what turned out to be Louis van Gaal’s first win of the season.

Simon Stacpoole: Wayne Rooney celebrates with Ander Herrer, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria after scoring United's third goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Wayne Rooney celebrates with Ander Herrer, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria after scoring United’s third goal.

QPR looked both unable to cope and uninterested in trying to stop Manchester United, who finally lined up with their full complement of new stars after a high-spending summer transfer window.

Angel Di Maria opened the scoring with an accidental strike from range after his freekick delivery evaded everyone in the box, including QPR’s keeper, Robert Green. Goals from Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney soon made it 3-0 before half-time.

Radamel Falcao arrived on the scene late-on in the second half, but was unable to cap off his team’s performance with a debut goal. Their lead was extended to 4-0 however thanks to Juan Mata’s punchy finish after the Spaniard was left completely free near the far post after his markers forgot to mark him.

Steve Parkin: Mohamed Diame guides his shot around James Tomkins to make it 2-1 to Hull.
Steve Parkin: Mohamed Diame guides his shot around James Tomkins to make it 2-1 to Hull.

Steve Parkin was the man to apply the final touch to Offside’s weekend, with the definition of the stretched to breaking point by Sky and the Premier League’s hostile takeover of Monday nights.

Few would have expected Hull City versus West Ham United to be a big box office draw, but by the end of the game, more than a few spectators may have wished for extra-time to decide the 2-2 stalemate.

It’s become cliché to proclaim games as “great adverts for the Premier League”, but considering the quality of the goals and the intensity of the action on display at the KC Stadium, it’s doubtful that too many other divisions can boast such a spectacle from a tie between two supposed relegation battlers.

Abel Hernandez opened the scoring with a beautiful, glancing header, that arced over Adrian after the Uruguayan leapt high into the air. His strike was soon answered by a genuine screamer from Enner Valencia, as West Ham’s Ecuadorian summer signing cancelled out their host’s very own South American acquisition.

Steve Parkin: Diafra Sakho celebrates after Curtis Davies turns in his shot for an own goal.
Steve Parkin: Diafra Sakho celebrates after Curtis Davies turns in his shot for an own goal.

Ex-Hammer Mohamed Diame put Hull back in front after the break, only for Curtis Davies to put one past his own keeper to level the deficit.

Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of classic First Division and Premier League pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.

Follow Offside on Twitter at @welloffside.

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Author: gregianjohnson

Football writer for The Blizzard, FourFourTwo, The Mirror, Squawka and VICE amongst others. Follow me on Twitter at @gregianjohnson.

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