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 was at Anfield to capture a surprisingly competitive contest, which saw Rickie Lambert start for the hosts with Mario Balotelli benched.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool starts the game on the substitutes’ bench.
Simon Stacpoole: Martin Skrtel of Liverpool battles with Saido Berahino.
Simon Stacpoole: Raheem Sterling of Liverpool battles with Joleon Lescott.
Simon Stacpoole: An elderly female Liverpool fan wearing a scarf adorned with homemade pins and badges.
Simon Stacpoole: Steven Gerrard takes a free kick.
Simon Stacpoole: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool battles with Stephane Sessegnon of West Brom.
Simon Stacpoole: Stephane Sessegnon battles with Adam Lallana and Javier Manquillo.
Simon Stacpoole: Martin Skrtel of Liverpool battles with Saido Berahino.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana takes his shot to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
Simon Stacpoole: Adam Lallana clashes in the box with Ben Foster.
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.
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: Mario Balotelli arrives on the field for Liverpool.
Simon Stacpoole: Saido Berahino scores at Anfield a season after opening his Premier League account at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Simon Stacpoole: Saido Berahino celebrates with Graham Dorrans after making it 1-1.
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.
Meanwhile, Mark Leech was busy on the other side of England shooting Hull City’s 2-0 win over Crystal 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.
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.
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.
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.
Paul Roberts: Newcastle United fans make their feelings toward Alan Pardew clear prior to kick off.
Paul Roberts: A Newcastle United fan shows a ‘Sack Pardew’ sign as his side go 1-0 down.
Paul Roberts: Newcastle fas look on as their side go behind.
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.
Paul Roberts: Wayne Routledge of Swansea City holds the ball up from Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United.
Paul Roberts: A fan pulls at his shirt as he gesticulates to the Newcastle United players.
Paul Roberts: Tim Krul punches away from Wilfred Bony.
Paul Roberts: Referee Lee Mason has words with Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United.
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.
Paul Roberts: Cisse grabs the badge to celebrate his first equaliser.
Paul Roberts: Cisse celebrates his first goal with his team mates.
Paul Roberts: Newcastle United keeper Tim Krul celebrates their equaliser.
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.
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.
Marc Atkins: Roy Keane, assistant Manager of Aston Villa.
Marc Atkins: Another shade of Roy Keane.
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.
Marc Atkins: Sergio Aguero knows that his effort was only wide by the tightest of margins.
Marc Atkins: James Milner of Manchester City hurdles a tackle from Fabian Delph of Aston Villa.
Marc Atkins: Philippe Senderos of Aston Villa in action with Yaya Toure, scorer of Manchester City’s first goal.
Marc Atkins: Nathan Baker and Alan Hutton of Aston Villa clear the ball from a corner kick.
Marc Atkins: Edin Dzeko of Manchester City purs a good chance over the bar.
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.
Marc Atkins: Brad Guzan dives in vain as Aleksandar Kolarov hits the post.
Marc Atkins: Frank Lampard of Manchester City.
Marc Atkins: Charles N’Zogbia of Aston Villa helps Aleksandar Kolarov of Manchester City to his feet.
Marc Atkins: Manchester City fans shade their eyes from the sun.
Marc Atkins: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa warms up.
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: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City celebrates at full time.
Marc Atkins: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa.
Marc Atkins: Aguero goes to score the second goal.
Marc Atkins: A dejected Alan Hutton and Nathan Baker of Aston Villa.
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.
Sunday saw Manchester United host Everton, with Simon Stacpoole first up for the 12 noon kick off at Old Trafford.
Angel Di Maria was once again Louis van Gaal’s star man, with the Argentinian attacker seemingly creating chances at will.
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.
Simon Stacpoole: Romelu Lukaku of Everton battles with Patrick McNair of Man Utd.
Simon Stacpoole: Steven Naismith of Everton tussles with Rafael Da Silva of Man Utd and Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea as they wait for a corner to come in.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd battles with Muhamed Besic of Everton.
Simon Stacpoole: Referee Kevin Friend talks to Phil Jagielka of Everton.
Simon Stacpoole: Steven Pienaar of Everton looks dejected.
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.
Simon Stacpoole: Falcao is joined by his team mates to celebrate his goal.
Simon Stacpoole: John Stones of Everton.
Simon Stacpoole: Leighton Baines of Everton bounces off Robin van Persie of Man Utd.
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.
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.
Simon Stacpoole: David de Gea celebrates United’s opener.
Simon Stacpoole: Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Simon Stacpoole: Man Utd mascot Fred the Red hugs former manager Sir Alex Ferguson on the pitch before the game.
Simon Stacpoole: Luis Antonio Valencia of Man Utd receives medical attention after the match.
Simon Stacpoole: Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson pictured on the pitch prior to kick-off.
Simon Stacpoole: Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson shakes hands with new club ambassador Ji-Sung Park before the match.
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.
Marc Atkins: A solitary Arsenal fans stands to make his voice heard.
Marc Atkins: A 15 minute delay to the game due to Arsenal fans being held outside the ground prior to being searched before entering.
Marc Atkins: Away fans are patted down before entering Stamford Bridge.
Marc Atkins: Former Chelsea forward, Bobby Tambling.
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: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho clash.
Marc Atkins: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho square up.
Marc Atkins: Martin Atkinson has words with Wenger and Mourinho.
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.
Marc Atkins: Appeals for a penalty after Jack Wilshere’s shot appears to hit the hand of Cesc Fabregas.
Marc Atkins: Jack Wilshere appeals for a hand ball against Fabregas.
Marc Atkins: Arsenal’s players are incensed at Martin Atkinson’s decision to not give a penalty.
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.
Marc Atkins: Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea lays injured after colliding with Alexis Sanchez.
Marc Atkins: Petr Cech of Chelsea comes on to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois.
Marc Atkins: Petr Cech of Chelsea comes on to replace Thibaut Courtois.
Their efforts were rewarded just before the half hour mark when Eden Hazard converted a penalty after being brought down by Laurent Koscielny.
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: Diego Costa scores Chelsea’s 2nd goal.
Marc Atkins: Costa celebrates his goal.
Marc Atkins: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring the 2nd goal with John Obi Mikel.
Marc Atkins: Costa celebrates his goal with Fabregas.
Marc Atkins: Arsene Wenger on the sidelines.
Marc Atkins: Jose Mourinho speaks with his former player Mesut Ozil.
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.
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.
Mark Leech: Explosive search dogs close to White Hart Lane stadium.
Mark Leech: Tottenham captain Younes Kaboul has the French flag on his football boots.
Mark Leech: Southampton’s Ronald Koeman.
Spurs managed to hold off their high-flying visitors to gain all three points, and their first win since August 24.
Christian Eriksen was the match winner who provided the decisive strike after 40 minutes to put Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead, 1-0.
Mark Leech: Danny Rose of Tottenham goes flying as he is tackled by Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton.
Mark Leech: Steven Davis of Southampton stretches for the ball.
Mark Leech: Etienne Capoue of Tottenham brings the ball forward, challenged by Steven Davis.
Mark Leech: Toby Alderweireld of Southampton.
Mark Leech: Erik Lamela of Tottenham.
Mark Leech: Nacer Chadli of Tottenham jumps but misses the ball..
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.
The weekend ended with West Ham United versus QPR at Upton Park, which was covered by Offside’s very own Ryan Smith.
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.
Ryan Smith: West Ham celebrate their opening goal.
Ryan Smith: Nedum Onuoha of QPR.
Ryan Smith: The smiling face of Enner Valencia as he focuses on the ball.
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.
Ryan Smith: Rio Ferdinand of QPR tries to get the ball before Diafra Sakho of West Ham.
Ryan Smith: Enner Valencia scores past Rob Green but the goal is dissallowed.
Ryan Smith: James Tomkins rises above Bobby Zamora.
There were claims of a handball from Enner Valencia in the build up, but such complaints were waved away by referee Anthony Taylor.
Ryan Smith: QPR assistant manager Joe Jordan.
Ryan Smith: Mauro Zarate of West Ham pulls on the shirt of Leroy Fer of QPR.
Ryan Smith: Kevin Nolan tries to block a shot from Jordan Mutch of QPR.
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.
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