Offside’s weekend in pictures: United versus Everton and more

With no lunch time kick off this Saturday, the first five games of the weekend all began simultaneously at three o’clock, with Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion the main focus of the afternoon.

Simon Stacpoole: Rickie Lambert stretches for the ball.
Simon Stacpoole: Rickie Lambert stretches for the ball.

Simon Stacpoole was at Anfield to capture a surprisingly competitive contest, which saw Rickie Lambert start for the hosts with Mario Balotelli  benched.

Adam Lallana opened the scoring just before half-time following a well-worked bit of combination play between himself and Jordan Henderson within the visitor’s area. It was the former Southampton man’s first goal for Liverpool.

Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana takes his shot to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana takes his shot to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana celebrates after scoring his 1st Liverpool goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana celebrates after scoring his 1st Liverpool goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana celebrates with his teammates after scoring Liverpool's 1st goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana celebrates with his teammates after scoring Liverpool’s 1st goal.

Yet the 1-0 deficit didn’t deter West Brom, and the Baggies started the second-half strongly, with their 21-year-old front man Saido Berahino causing plenty of problems for Martin Skrtel and co.

Simon Stacpoole: Saido Berahino scores his equaliser from the spot for West Brom.
Simon Stacpoole: Saido Berahino scores his equaliser from the spot for West Brom.

He was eventually awarded a penalty after being brought down by Dejan Lovren, which he converted to make it 1-1. Fortunately for the home fans however, Liverpool vice-captain Henderson was able to step up to the plate just five minutes later to put the Reds back in front.

Mark Leech: Hull fans celebrate behind a big Barclays advertising hoarding.
Mark Leech: Hull fans celebrate behind a big Barclays advertising hoarding.

Meanwhile, Mark Leech was busy on the other side of England shooting Hull City’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Mark Leech: A frustrating return to Hull for Fraizer Campbell of Palace.
Mark Leech: A frustrating return to Hull for Fraizer Campbell of Palace.

It was the Tigers’ first win since the opening day of the season, and saw Neil Warnock’s side finally taste defeat after their recent mini four game unbeaten run.

Mark Leech: Palace manager Neil Warnock shows his frustration as his team lose 2-0.
Mark Leech: Palace manager Neil Warnock shows his frustration as his team lose 2-0.

The goals came first from Mohamed Diame, who beat Julian Speroni with his head on the hour mark before Nikica Jelavic settled the result with a strike just before full-time.

Mark Leech: Mo Diame celebrates after scoring a goal for Hull.
Mark Leech: Mo Diame celebrates after scoring a goal for Hull.
Mark Leech: Nikica Jelavic scores the second goal for Hull.
Mark Leech: Nikica Jelavic scores the second goal for Hull.
Mark Leech: Nikica Jelavic celebrates after scoring the second goal for Hull.
Mark Leech: Nikica Jelavic celebrates after scoring the second goal for Hull.

With so many other sides having abandoned their plans to play three at the back this season, it was refreshing to see Hull rewarded by the decision revert back to their own version of the 3-5-2.

Paul Roberts: Under pressure Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew arrives at the Liberty Stadium.
Paul Roberts: Under pressure Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew arrives at the Liberty Stadium.

Alan Pardew needed his own tactics to be spot in South Wales as his under-fire Magpies swooped down to face the Swans at the Liberty Stadium. Paul Roberts was Offside’s man across the border.

Having lost most of the supporters, many pundits have been surprised by the fight that the Newcastle dressing room have shown for their manager at times in recent weeks. Against Swansea, they had to come back twice to draw the game 2-2.

Papis Cisse continued to be Pardew’s go-to goalscorer, with the striker finding the net in the first and second halves to cancel out goals from Wilfried Bony and Wayne Routledge.

A draw wasn’t enough for Newcastle to drastically improve their situation however, with the North East side still level at the bottom of the table with fellow strugglers Burley and QPR.

Paul Roberts: A young Newcastle United fan celebrates their equaliser.
Paul Roberts: A young Newcastle United fan celebrates their equaliser.

 

Their tally of just four points from seven games must be improved soon or they could face a real crisis to keep their heads above water this year.

Saturday’s late kick off saw reigning champions Manchester City travel a few stops down the motorway to Villa Park where Paul  Lambert’s team and the beard of Roy Keane were waiting for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Marc Atkins was the man with the camera.

Aston Villa will be disappointed that they were unable to turn their fully-committed performance of hard-running into goals, with the hosts leaving nothing in the dressing room.

Yet eventually—and perhaps inevitably—City’s class won  out in the end, with Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero scoring two exceptionally well-taken goals in the 82nd and 88th minutes to take all three points.

Marc Atkins: Aguero celebrates scoring City's second.
Marc Atkins: Aguero celebrates scoring City’s second.

Lambert and Keane will be glad that many of the players who ran themselves into the ground for naught can now recharge their batteries over the international break.

Simon Stacpoole: Juan Mata of Man Utd congratulates man of the match David De Gea for his outstanding performance.
Simon Stacpoole: Juan Mata of Man Utd congratulates man of the match David De Gea for his outstanding performance.

Sunday saw Manchester United host Everton, with Simon Stacpoole first up for the 12 noon kick off at Old Trafford.

Simon Stacpoole: Angel Di Maria of Man Utd skips over a challenge.
Simon Stacpoole: Angel Di Maria of Man Utd skips over a challenge.

Angel Di Maria was once again Louis van Gaal’s star man, with the Argentinian attacker seemingly creating chances at will.

Simon Stacpoole: Muhamed Besic of Everton chases Angel Di Maria of Man Utd as the sun beats down on the fans watching the action inside Old Trafford.
Simon Stacpoole: Muhamed Besic of Everton chases Angel Di Maria of Man Utd as the sun beats down on the fans watching the action inside Old Trafford.

The former Real Madrid winger-cum-midfielder opened the scoring with a curling shot from within Tim Howard’s area after being teed up by Juan Mata, who started in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney.

Everton had chances of their own however, and the hosts required David de Gea to earn his wages to keep the visitors at bay. After Tony Hibbert won a penalty after a Rafael foul within the box, the score line looked set to be settled.

 

Leighton Baines had never missed from the spot in the Premier League, but De Gea went the right way and saved his effort to end the left back’s impressive record.

Simon Stacpoole: Leighton Baines of Everton sees his penalty saved.
Simon Stacpoole: Leighton Baines of Everton sees his penalty saved.

An equaliser did arrive however from the head  of Steven Naismith, who was allowed to run free at the far post to nod the ball over the line. With Falcao having taken and wasted a number of chances throughout the game, it appeared that a stalemate may be possible with neither side currently at their potent, coherent best.

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But the Colombian finally came through to put United back in front, again from a chance created by Di Maria, to hand Van Gaal victory in his first test against a top four rival this campaign.

Speaking of rivalries, up next was Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, with kick off at Stamford Bridge delayed by 15 minutes due to the commotion outside the ground. Marc Atkins was Offside’s man behind the lens.

Marc Atkins: Jose Mourinho tells Arsene Wenger to get back in his seat in the dugout.
Marc Atkins: Jose Mourinho tells Arsene Wenger to get back in his seat in the dugout.

The visiting fans brought flares to the stadium, while the Blues were able to produce their own fireworks on the field with the Gunners’ former captain Cesc Fabregas lining up for the home side.

As the boos rained down from the away section, Chelsea got on with executing their game plan; disrupting Arsenal’s attempt to build up a rhythm with their passing while hitting back with some direct runs of their own.

Their efforts were rewarded just before the half hour mark when Eden Hazard converted a penalty after being brought down by Laurent Koscielny.

Marc Atkins: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal keeps the ball in play, making a run down the wing.
Marc Atkins: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal keeps the ball in play, making a run down the wing.

Emotions were running high for the full 90 minutes, with both bosses clashing on the touch line and plenty of full-blooded and borderline tackles flying in from players in both colours.

Marc Atkins: A dejected Jack Wilshere of Arsenal.
Marc Atkins: A dejected Jack Wilshere of Arsenal.

However, Arsenal were unable to turn the game around, which was settled after 78 minutes by a Diego Costa goal created by a brilliant, long-range delivery from who else but Fabregas.

Mark Leech: Christian Eriksen celebrates his goal.
Mark Leech: Christian Eriksen celebrates his goal.

While Stamford Bridge was gripped with all this drama, over in North London  Mark Leech was covering the action at White Hart Lane, as Tottenham  Hotspur hosted Southampton.

Spurs managed to hold off their high-flying visitors to gain all three points, and their first win since August 24.

Mark Leech: Christian Eriksen plays the ball.
Mark Leech: Christian Eriksen plays the ball.

Christian Eriksen was the match winner who provided the decisive strike after 40 minutes to put Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead, 1-0.

And that’s how it stayed, with Ronald Koeman’s team unable to pull the scoreline back level, although Saido Mane went close but not close enough from an inviting Ryan Bertrand cross.

Ryan Smith: The number 104 bus drives past Upton Park, the home of West Ham until 2016, on its way to Stratford where the club will soon relocate.
Ryan Smith: The number 104 bus drives past Upton Park, the home of West Ham until 2016, on its way to Stratford where the club will soon relocate.

The weekend ended with West Ham United versus QPR at Upton Park, which was covered by Offside’s very own Ryan Smith.

Ryan Smith: Rio Ferdinand of QPR shouts out as he misses the header.
Ryan Smith: Rio Ferdinand of QPR shouts out as he misses the header.

Harry Redknapp’s side sank further into the mire against the Hammers, with their efforts as a team and as individuals failing to make any real impression on the game, besides the opening goal.

It was QPR’s Nedum Onuoha who handed the host’s their first, as he bundled home the ball past his own goalkeeper, Robert Green, under pressure from Diafra Sakho.

There were claims of a handball from Enner Valencia in the build up, but such complaints were waved away by referee Anthony Taylor.

Sakho found the net without needing the assistance of his marker in the second half to make it 2-0 and wrap up the game, to hand Big Sam the points and validation of his new midfield set up.

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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