Offside’s weekend in pictures: two derbies, Diego Costa and more
It was meant to be a weekend built around Saturday’s derby day double-header, as Liverpool hosted Everton and Tottenham Hotspur travelled down the road to face Arsenal in two supposedly decisive and dramatic showdowns.
Yet the best action was to be found beyond the rivalries of Merseyside and North London as Offside’s snappers took up positions all over the country, and across the Premier League.
Still, Anfield was the scene of the first bout of the weekend as Brendan Rodger’s stumbling title challengers hosted Roberto Martinez’s threatening yet flimsy top four contenders. Straddling the divide was Simon Stacpoole.
Simon Stacpoole: Half and half scarves for sale in a temporary souvenir shop.
Simon Stacpoole: A goal drawn on the side of a house near Anfield.
Simon Stacpoole: The Anfield News newsagents shop.
Simon Stacpoole: Sylvain Distin of Everton looks out of position on derby day as he walks down Anfield Road before the game.
Simon Stacpoole: A sign pointing towards a £5 car park.
The so-called “Friendly Derby” began as anything but, with Everton’s Gareth Barry earning himself a yellow card for a foul on Liverpool’s Adam Lallana after just 45 seconds.
It was the first bit of action for referee Martin Atkinson. Both sets of fans soon came to wish he’d remained so reactive with his decision making.
Simon Stacpoole: Muhamed Besic of Everton gets stuck into his first Merseyside derby.
Simon Stacpoole: Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez survey the action from their technical areas.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli occupies Everton’s defence.
Simon Stacpoole: Leighton Baines of Everton organises the defensive wall.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool shows off a new shaved blonde hairstyle.
Claims for penalties roared up at either end of the field, first from Everton after Hector Moreno brought down Romelu Lukaku, and then Liverpool after a shot stung the hand of Barry. The former Aston Villa and Manchester City man escaped a second booking, much to the chagrin of the home side.
The deadlock was finally broken after half-time, when Steven Gerrard flung in a perfectly measured freekick to hand the Reds a vital advantage on the 65 minute mark. It didn’t last however.
Simon Stacpoole: Liverpool’s players celebrate Gerrard’s goal with their fans.
Simon Stacpoole: Muhamed Besic and Steven Naismith.
Simon Stacpoole: Tim Howard gives instructions to John Stones.
Simon Stacpoole: Fans shield their eyes from the sun.
In the closing moments of the match, Phil Jagielka found himself on the outskirts of Simon Mignolet’s box and thwacked a shot into the busy goal area.
Simon Stacpoole: Phil Jagielka scores a spectacular equaliser from outside the crowded Liverpool box.
Simon Stacpoole: Everton manager Roberto Martinez celebrates with his players.
Simon Stacpoole: Steven Gerrard treats his side’s derby day draw as if it were a defeat.
A wicked curve saw it arc away from the Belgian and into the top right corner for an unlikely equaliser. Liverpool’s fans and players reacted as if it were a winning goal, rather than a scoreline leveller.
With the Merseyside derby finished if not won, attention turned to the afternoon kick-offs, which included Southampton’s clash with QPR on the South Coast. Paul Roberts was Offside’s man at St Mary’s.
Southampton went into the game in second place and were able to see off Harry Redknapp’s well-moneyed visitors to consolidate their unexpected grip on the top two.
Paul Roberts: Rio Ferdinand struggles to keep his defence together.
Paul Roberts: Morgan Schneiderlin makes and acrobatic attempt to play the ball.
Paul Roberts: Toby Alderweireld can only watch as Charlie Austin passes him.
Paul Roberts: Leroy Fer appeals after a chalkenge by Victor Wanyama.
Paul Roberts: Dusan Tadic tries to intercept a short pass to Robert Green.
Ryan Bertrand opened the scoring after 54 minutes, with Charlie Austin cancelling out his effort 12 minutes later, yet the crowds only had to wait another two to witness what would be the deciding strike of the game.
Graziano Pelle hasn’t lacked for impact since he made the switch from Feyenoord in the summer. Last season, the Italian scored 26 goals in 33 games, to take his total tally for the Dutch club up to 55 in 66, but few expected his Eredivise feats to translate so easily to the Premier League. After all, the spectre of Alfonso Alves hangs heavy over every striker imported over from the Netherlands.
Paul Roberts: Southampton fans celebrate the final whistle as their side consolidate second position in the Barclays Premier League.
Paul Roberts: The toe of Graziano Pelle battles with Steven Caulker’s torso to try and control a cross into the QPR box.
Paul Roberts: Dusan Tadic hits the post with Robert Green.
Paul Roberts: Robert Green looks dejected.
However, he not only found the finish to secure the game for the Saints, but did so in some style, producing a brilliant bicycle kick to leave Robert Green utterly helpless.
Old Trafford saw the visit of both West Ham United and Offside’s very own Marc Atkins, who settled down on the side lines for a contest that seemed largely unreadable given the form of the two teams involved.
Marc Atkins: Rafael keeps his eyes on the ball.
Marc Atkins: Paddy McNair tangles with Enner Valencia near the corner flag.
Marc Atkins: Marcos Rojo puts in a fine block to deny Diafra Sakho.
Marc Atkins: Sam Allardyce commands his troops from the touch line.
Marc Atkins: Louis van Gaal walks past Luke Shaw as he warms up.
Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United had looked impressive against Leicester City before falling away in the second half while Sam Allardyce’s charges arrived in Manchester fresh from dispatching Liverpool 3-1.
Goals from Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie put the hosts in front before the former Evertonian lashed out at Stewart Downing to earn himself a straight red. United were then forced to ride out their luck for almost 55 minutes with only 10 men on the field.
Marc Atkins: Wayne Rooney hands the captains armband to Robin van Persie after being sent off.
Marc Atkins: Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is dismissed for his high challenge against Stewart Downing.
Marc Atkins: Referee Lee Mason directs Wayne Rooney off the pitch following his red card.
This task was made even more complicated by a goal from West Ham’s Diafra Sakho strike just a few moments prior to Rooney’s dismissal.
Marc Atkins: David de Gea can only look on in horror from no man’s land as Diafra Sakho puts the ball into the back of his net.
Marc Atkins: Manchester United players react after Lee Mason shows only a yellow card to Diafra Sakho for what they believe to be a similar offence to the one that saw Wayne Rooney sent off.
Marc Atkins: Antonio Valencia clashes with Aaron Cresswell as both players go for the ball.
Marc Atkins: Robin van Persie throws away a bottle of water as a corner kick is delivered faster than expected.
Marc Atkins: Marcos Rojo and David de Gea embrace in celebration after the full-time whistle is blown.
Marc Atkins: Tom Thorpe of Manchester United makes his debut.
Marc Atkins: Louis van Gaal speaks with Ryan Giggs as they leave the pitch flanked by Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj.
A potential winner by Kevin Nolan in the second half was later ruled out for being offside to save the blushes of United’s new captain, and the nerves of the home support.
At the summit of the Premier League table, Ryan Smith covered Chelsea’s efforts to keep the pressure up on those eager to keep pace with the competition’s early leaders with a home game against Aston Villa.
Ryan Smith: Oscar celebrates his goal with teammates Willian and Diego Costa.
Ryan Smith: Diego Costa of Chelsea has a header at goal.
Ryan Smith: Oscar of Chelsea slides in hard on Tom Cleverley of Villa.
Diego Costa was, as ever, a pivotal figure for the Blues, but it was Oscar who got the ball rolling after just seven minutes. The Brazilian-born Spain striker then doubled his new team’s lead just before the hour mark with Willian making it 3-0 with 10 minutes to spare.
Ryan Smith: Diego Costa of Chelsea gives a confused look after being fouled.
Ryan Smith: Two Chelsea fans wear masks showing the face of Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Ryan Smith: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his goal.
With fives wins and a draw, Jose Mourinho’s side are looking good.
The North London derby was Saturday’s late kick off, and Mark Leech was the photographer charged with covering the fixture.
Mark Leech: Fans make their way to the Emirates Stadium.
Mark Leech: Scarves and other merchandise on sale outside Arsenal Underground station.
Mark Leech: Police try to contain the Tottenham supporters outside the Emirates Stadium.
As with the Merseyside derby however, neither club were able to snatch the bragging rights over their rival.
Nacer Chadli gave it a good go however, with the Belgian putting Spurs 1-0 up shortly after the break following a turgid and cagey first half. Yet the Gunners didn’t leave it as long as Everton to rectify the situation.
Mark Leech: Younes Kaboul argues with referee Michael Oliver as he hands out another yellow card.
Mark Leech: Danny Welbeck takes a moment amid the chaos of his first North London derby.
Mark Leech: Erik Lamela of Tottenham.
Mark Leech: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Arsenal, on his knees.
Mark Leech: Mesut Özil of Arsenal is fouled by Ryan Mason of Tottenham.
Mark Leech: Aaaron Lennon of Tottenham bends over as he is challenged from behind by Calum Chambers of Arsenal.
Fortunately for Arsene Wenger, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was ready and able to fire home the loose ball to make it 1-1 after Danny Welbeck dug out a chance for the England winger.
Mark Leech: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal looks up to his much larger opponent, Tottenham captain Younes Kaboul.
Mark Leech: Calum Chambers of Arsenal shoots.
Mark Leech: Kyle Naughton clears the ball to deny Danny Welbeck.
Mark Leech: Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves a header from Per Mertesacker.
Mark Leech: Mesut Özil in action for Arsenal.
That scoreline remained until the end, with both of the day’s derbies ending in a somewhat disappointing stalemate.
Sunday saw Marc Atkins make the trip to the Hawthorns for West Bromwich Albion versus Burnley; a game that the Clarets really needed to make an impression on in order to find their first win of the season.
Marc Atkins: Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion scores the opening goal.
Marc Atkins: Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion celebrates scoring the opening goal.
Marc Atkins: Jason Shackell of Burnley clears the ball under pressure from Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion.
Marc Atkins: Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion scores the 2nd goal.
Marc Atkins: Appeals for a penalty after Andre Wisdom of West Bromwich Albion appears to handle the ball from a George Boyd of Burnley cross.
It wasn’t to be however, with the Baggies instead recording their maiden victory of the new Premier League campaign, putting four past Tom Heaton.
Craig Dawson grabbed the first on the half hour mark from a Chris Brunt corner, before Saido Berahino tripled the score before and after the half time break. Graham Dorrans added the cherry just ahead of the full time whistle.
Marc Atkins: Burnley Manager, Sean Dyche leaves the pitch at full time.
Marc Atkins: Joleon Lescott of West Bromwich Albion in action with Lukas Jutkiewicz of Burnley.
Marc Atkins: Georgios Samaras of West Bromwich Albion in action with Nathaniel Chalobah of Burnley.
Marc Atkins: Ben Foster of West Bromwich Albion celebrates.
Marc Atkins: Nathaniel Chalobah of Burnley in action with James Morrison of West Bromwich Albion.
Marc Atkins: Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion in action with Michael Duff of Burnley.
The final fixture of the weekend fell on Monday night, as Newcastle United trekked down to the Britannia in Staffordshire to face Stoke City. Simon Stacpoole was there with his camera.
Alan Pardew was again the focus of the match beyond the action on the pitch, with the travelling fans protesting their manager’s continued employment by the Magpies and their owner, Mike Ashley.
Simon Stacpoole: Newcastle fans vent their anger towards Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Newcastle fans hold up their ‘Sack Pardew’ banners.
Simon Stacpoole: Newcastle fans hold up ‘Sack Pardew’ placards, in reference to Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin waves to the crowd before the match.
Simon Stacpoole: Former Stoke kitman Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin waves to the crowd before the match.
Before the match, it was widely reported that the embattled former Southampton and Charlton boss would love his job if the Barcodes failed to scan any points onto their tally in the Potteries. And unfortunately for Pardew, that’s exactly what happened.
Simon Stacpoole: Stoke City’s players embrace goal scorer Peter Crouch.
Simon Stacpoole: Peter Crouch battles with Michael Williamson in the air.
Simon Stacpoole: Peter Crouch celebrates with his team mates after scoring the opening goal of the game.
Simon Stacpoole: Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle looks dejected.
Simon Stacpoole: Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul clears his nose.
Peter Crouch put the ball past Tim Krul with his head after just a quarter of an hour to make it 1-0 as the dissenting elements of the Geordie Nation poured even more scorn on the man in the visitor’s dug out.
Simon Stacpoole: Marko Arnautovic of Stoke.
Simon Stacpoole: Charlie Adam struggles with Fabricio Coloccini.
Simon Stacpoole: Charlie Adam overpowers Fabricio Coloccini.
Simon Stacpoole: Cheik Tiote wrestles with Marko Arnautovic.
It would prove to be the winning goal to leave Newcastle with just three points from six games, and an even more uncertain future as far as their manager goes. Thanks to West Brom however, they were at least wrenched up off from the foot of the table, with Burnley instead taking up their rock bottom slot due to their greater deficit with regards to goal difference.
Simon Stacpoole: Another bad day at the office for Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Alan Pardew.
Simon Stacpoole: Alan Pardew.
The club’s fans will require far more than a bounce up to 19th in order to quieten their raging opposition to the current regime however.
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.