Offside’s weekend in pictures: United versus Chelsea and more
Attention wasn’t just focused upon the Premier League this weekend. The glamour of El Clasico caught the eyes of supporters across Europe while the more earthy appeal of a proper scrap down in the Championship offered something different to English football fans.
First up were Manchester City, who travelled to Upton Park to face West Ham, who took to the field under the watchful gaze of Russell Brand.
Marc Atkins: Russell Brand applauds Morgan Amalfitano’s opening goal.
Marc Aktins: A pleased Russell Brand winks at the camera and a gives a thumbs up at the end of West Ham’s 2-1 win.
Marc Atkins: Russell Brand in a corporate box before kick off.
The unkempt comedian could be seen taking a break from raising his revolution to watch his beloved Hammers from a corporate box. Marc Atkins was Offside’s man at the Boleyn Ground.
Marc Atkins: Alex Song takes on Stevan Jovetic and Fernando.
Marc Atkins: Mark Noble of West Ham.
Marc Atkins: David Silva tangles with Alex Song.
Marc Atkins: Manuel Pellegrini has words with Sam Allardyce.
Marc Atkins: Edin Dzeko is surrounded by Morgan Amalfitano and Winston Reid.
Marc Atkins: Pablo Zabaleta gets a grip of Stewart Downing.
Yet it was grit, determination and some old fashioned quality that saw Sam Allardyce’s side overthrow the Premier League’s ruling class, Manuel Pellegrini’s oil-rich reigning champions, rather than glamourous names and reputations.
Marc Atkins: Alex Song rolls up his shorts while wearing gloves on a mild day.
Marc Atkins: Manuel Pellegrini takes his seat.
Marc Atkins: Bubbles at Upton Park.
Marc Atkins: West Ham striking coach Teddy Sheringham.
Marc Atkins: The linesman surrounded by bubbles.
Neither Diafra Sakho nor Enner Valencia were as heralded as other new arrivals to the topflight of English football in the summer, yet both forwards have left their marks on the opening weeks of the season, as they did against City on their visit to East London.
Marc Atkins: Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany of Manchester City go for the same ball.
Marc Atkins: Joe Hart of Manchester City reacts after taking a blow to the head.
Marc Atkins: Referee Martin Atkinson shows a yellow card to Morgan Amalfitano.
Marc Atkins: Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.
They weren’t alone in upsetting the status quo however. Morgan Amalfitano, a player who is no stranger to revolts against the elites after having scored the first goal in West Brom’s 2-1 surprise away win over Manchester United last season, put West Ham ahead after 21 minutes. He was left unmarked by Eliaquim Mangala and Gael Clichy at the far post and was able to slot home his opener as if he were unopposed.
Sakho had to wait until the 75th minute to double the Hammers’ lead, with his strike coming just before David Silva’s consolation goal on the 77 minute mark.
Marc Atkins: Diafra Sakho of West Ham celebrates scoring the winning goal with Mark Noble.
Marc Atkins: Diafra Sakho of West Ham celebrates scoring the winning goal with team mate.
Marc Atkins: Diafra Sakho celebrates his goal.
Had the Senegalese striker not turned in a second for the hosts, City may well have been able to come back and snatch the game, such was the way in which the momentum of the context appeared in flux. Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure both when close only to be denied by the woodwork.
Marc Atkins: Yaya Toure hits the crossbar.
Marc Atkins: Yaya Toure is closed down as a he takes a shot destined for the crossbar.
Marc Atkins: Yaya Toure reacts with frustration after seeing his shot hit the crossbar.
Marc Atkins: Sergio Aguero hits the post from close range.
Pellegrini’s men weren’t able to add any more goals to their tally however and ended the game defeated by a superior side who got their tactics right and motivations set to grab all three points.
As if to sum up the confidence with which West Ham executed their game plan, Alex Song even managed to pull off a Rabona after Erik Lamela’s similar bit of skill in the Europa League during the week.
Over on the other side of the river, the Irons’ fiercest rivals were fancy down a much fancied opponent of their own, as relegated former Premier League outfit Cardiff City travelled to The Den to face Millwall. Ryan Smyth was on hand to shoot the action.
Ryan Smyth: Peter Whittingham of Cardiff blocks a shot from Ricardo Fuller.
Ryan Smyth: Danny Shittu of Millwall pours water over his head.
Ryan Smyth: Danny Shittu of Millwall rests on the turf after his goal wins the match.
Danny Shittu scored the winner on his first league start of the season for Ian Holloway’s men, who hadn’t won a game since August.
Ravel Morrison, on-loan at Cardiff from none other than West Ham, made an appearance as a substitute in the second half to add an extra link to the match and the more star-studded occasion taking place across the Thames.
Ryan Smyth: Ravel Morrison of Cardiff ties his laces on the substitute bench.
Ryan Smyth: Ravel Morrison of Cardiff is jockeyed by Ed Upson of Millwall.
Ryan Smyth: Ravel Morrison of Cardiff.
Ryan Smyth: Ravel Morrison of Cardiff heads down the wing.
The defeat was Russell Slade’s first as manager of the red-shirted Bluebirds, on the Leyton Orient manager’s return to London after winning his first two since taking charge at the start of October.
Offside’s focus swung back to the Premier League as Saturday’s three o’clock kick offs approached, with Paul Roberts down on the South Coast for Southampton versus Stoke City.
Paul Roberts: Graziano Pelle of Southampton watches as his snap shot goes just wide.
Paul Roberts: Graziano Pelle of Southampton reacts as a shot goes just wide.
Paul Roberts: Graziano Pelle of Southampton watches his header sail just over the crossbar.
Fresh from thrashing Sunderland 8-0 last weekend, the Saints again looked threatening at home, with Graziano Pelle going close for the hosts on a couple of occasions in the first half.
Paul Roberts: Saido Mane of Southampton celebrates after scoring his goal.
Paul Roberts: Southampton’s opener is celebrated by the team.
Paul Roberts: Saido Mane is congratulatd by his teammates.
The opener finally came through Saido Mane, who pounced upon yet another close run attempt by Pelle that rebounded into the Senegal forward’s path.
Paul Roberts: Peter Crouch controls the ball with his gangly frame.
Paul Roberts: Two Southampton fans take selfies prior to kick off.
Paul Roberts: Dusan Tadic of Southampton takes a throw in.
And 1-0 is how it stayed, with the final whistle conferring all three points to Ronald Koeman’s men as Mark Hughes was forced to lead his team back to the Potteries empty handed.
Neither side left Anfield with nothing to show for their afternoon’s toil however as Simon Stacpoole captured Liverpool’s home clash with Hull City.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool misses a header.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool rolls over onto his back.
Simon Stacpoole: Mario Balotelli of Liverpool looks dejected in the box.
Mario Balotelli was once again a figure of frustration and ridicule for fans of the Reds who had to watch on as their under-fire Italian front man again missed a sitter from close range, this time with his head.
Liverpool looked less chaotic than in their slap-dash 3-2 away win over QPR last weekend, but Brendan Rodgers’ side still struggled to break down Steve Bruce’s stubborn visitors.
Simon Stacpoole: Jake Livermore of Hull holds back Mario Balotelli of Liverpool..
Simon Stacpoole: Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic catches the ball at his near post, under pressure from Martin Skrtel of Liverpool.
Simon Stacpoole: Emre Can of Liverpool battles with Jake Livermore of Hull.
The Tigers could have perhaps offered more to the liven up the spectacle, but considering the trouble that Hull had in containing Arsenal late on in their last league game, their conservatism on the road was understandable to some extent. It ended 0-0.
Mark Leech: Sunderland and Arsenal fans enjoying a beer together before the match.
Mark Leech: A proud Sunderland fan on his way to the Stadium of Light.
Mark Leech: A fanzine seller holds a copy of A Love Supreme.
Speaking of Arsenal, the Gunners spent their Saturday afternoon up in the North East in Sunderland. Mark Leech was Offside’s man at the Stadium Of Light.
Mark Leech: Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
Mark Leech: A Sunderland fan tries to encourage his team as they slip to defeat.
Mark Leech: Sunderland fans stand and watch their team lose at home.
Arsene Wenger’s team could have been forgiven for assuming that their trip up to Wearside would produce plenty of goals for their forwards to feast on after Southampton’s big win against the Black Cats.
Mark Leech: Referee Kevin Friend waits for Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck to get off his knees before showing him the yellow card.
Mark Leech: Jack Rodwell of Sunderland holds his face after being caught by a high tackle by Mikel Arteta of Arsenal.
Mark Leech: Sunderland captain John O’Shea grabs the shirt of Alexis Sanchez in an effort to stop the Arsenal player.
However, and perhaps worryingly, Danny Welbeck and Co. largely failed to pick apart their hosts, who instead gifted their visitors both goals in a drab 2-0 home defeat for Sunderland.
The first came through a terrible attempt by Wes Brown to take a touch near the half-way line, who gifted possession to an on-running Alexis Sanchez who sprinted on to chip Vito Mannone on the 30 minute mark.
Mark Leech: Alexis Sanchez scores the second Arsenal goal.
Mark Leech: Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal.
Mark Leech: Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone complains to Will Buckley after gifting Arsenal their second goal.
An hour’s worth of match time later and it was Sunderland’s keeper who was at fault, with his decision to ponder over the loose ball in his area allowing Sanchez again to snatch an opportunity and grab a goal.
Mark Leech: Danny Welbeck of Arsenal and Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderland.
Mark Leech: Theo Walcott stretches after the match as the groundsmen go to work on the Stadium of Light pitch.
Mark Leech: Seagulls fly past the statue of former Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe outside the Stadium of Light.
Mannone’s days as a Premier League goalkeeper look numbered.
Such calamities seemed a world away over in Madrid where Barcelona lined up for the first time in a competitive game with Luis Suarez in their team to face arch-rival Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Marca: Neymar celebrates his goal.
Marca: Neymar celebrates his goal with Lionel Messi.
Marca: Neymar celebrates his goal with Dani Alves.
It was El Clasico time once more, and Offside’s Spanish associates Marca were on hand to deliver the best images from the big showdown in La Liga.
Barcelona started best, grabbing the first goal through Neymar, who received a long, raking pass from Suarez to nip inside for a central shot on goal, which beat Iker Casillas to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Marca: Ronaldo celebrates his goal.
Marca: Cristiano Ronaldo of Madrid celebrates his equaliser with Pepe and Karim Benzema.
It wasn’t to last however. Cristiano Ronaldo soon levelled up the score from the penalty spot to continue his impressive start to the season.
Marca: Pepe of Madrid celebrates his goal to give Madrid the lead.
Marca: Pepe grabs the badge on his shirt after making it 2-1.
Marca: Pepe celebrates his goal.
Pepe later made it 2-1 to last year’s Champions League winners, while Karim Benzema completed their victory with a third goal to ensure that Suarez’s return to competitive football would not be triumphant.
Marca: Luis Suarez of Barcelona is fouled by Isco of Madrid.
Marca: Luis Suarez of Barcelona in action on his debut.
Marca: Luis Suarez of Barcelona is picked up by Isco of Madrid.
Considering how good Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song have looked this season, having switched La Liga for the Premier League, perhaps this could be the year that for once English football finds itself on the better end of their annual dealings with Spain?
From the Bernabeu to Turf Moor, and Sunday saw Burnley host Everton in a match that Sean Dyche’s wouldn’t have expected to win but unfortunately needed to at least draw given their low points total so far this campaign.
Mark Leech: Everton manager Roberto Martinez heads to the dug out.
Mark Leech: Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Mark Leech: Danny Ings of Burnley embraces Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.
As ever, the Clarets were able to put a shift in to try and overcome Roberto Martinez’s visitors, but it wasn’t to be. Mark Leech was on duty at pitch side.
Samuel Eto’o opened the scoring after just four minutes with a thumping header, which was cancelled out by Danny Ings after 20 minutes when the Burnley striker took advantage of some overly casual passing at the back by the Toffees.
The main culprit behind that clumsiness in possession was Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian soon made amends by putting Everton back in front nine minutes later.
Mark Leech: Samuel Eto’o celebrates scoring his second and Everton’s third.
Mark Leech: Samuel Eto’o celebrates after scoring a long range effort for Everton’s third.
Mark Leech: Samuel Eto’o celebrates after scoring the third goal for Everton.
Mark Leech: Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates after Samuel Eto’o had scored their third goal.
Mark Leech: Ross Barkley celebrates Everton going 3-1 ahead with Samuel Eto’o.
Eto’o then wrapped the match up late in the second half to kill off any lingering hopes of a dramatic equaliser for the hosts, with the best goal of the game. The prolific Cameroon star followed up his close range header that begun the scoring with a tremendous strike from 22 yards.
Marc Atkins: Former player lining up in tribute to former Tottenham player and Manager Bill Nicholson.
Marc Atkins: Players line up for a minutes applause in tribute to former Tottenham player and Manager Bill Nicholson.
Marc Atkins: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley in the directors box.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur were busy playing hosts to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United at White Hart Lane. Marc Atkins was Offside’s man on the ground, at the ground.
Marc Atkins: Emmanuel Adebayor’s teammates congratulate him after scoring the opener.
Marc Atkins: Emmanuel Adebayor of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring the opening goal.
Marc Atkins: Emmanuel Adebayor of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring the opening goal with a raised, pointed finger.
Spurs’ football looked a little aimless even early on as Emmanuel Adebayor scored the first goal of the game with his head after 18 minutes from a wonderful Ryan Mason cross.
Marc Atkins: Fabrizio Coloccini of Newcastle United clears the ball under pressure from Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur.
Marc Atkins: Paul Dummett of Newcastle United in action with Younes Kaboul of Tottenham Hotspur.
Marc Atkins: Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur.
Marc Atkins: Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur takes on Fabrizio Coloccini as Jack Colback of Newcastle United looks on.
Marc Atkins: Jack Colback puts a good chance wide.
Yet the writing was already on the wall for the hosts with the Togolese striker otherwise looking ineffectual against the Magpies, who did well to crowd him out and nullify him in the air.
Marc Atkins: Sammy Ameobi of Newcastle United celebrates scoring the equaliser.
Marc Atkins: Sammy Ameobi of Newcastle United celebrates scoring the equalising goal.
Marc Atkins: Steven Taylor of Newcastle United celebrates with Remy Cabella and Jack Colback.
Newcastle regrouped and came back in the second half, with goals from fan favourite Sammy Ameobi and Ayoze Perez, who made his first Premier League start for the club.
Marc Atkins: Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates scoring a goal to make it 1-2.
Marc Atkins: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur looks back as Ayoze Perez’s shot zips past him into the back of the net.
Marc Atkins: Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United scores a goal to make it 1-2.
Marc Atkins: Ayoze Perez celebrates scoring the winning goal with his team mates.
It ended 2-1 with Mauricio Pochettino striking a similar squatted pose to Andre Villas Boas towards the end.
Marc Atkins: Tottenham Hotspur Manager, Mauricio Pochettino crouches on the touchline.
Marc Atkins: Fabrizio Coloccini of Newcastle United.
Marc Atkins: Alan Pardew, Manager of Newcastle United.
Marc Atkins: Alan Pardew gives instructions from his technical area.
Marc Atkins: Alan Pardew, Manager of Newcastle United alongside Tottenham Hotspur Manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
On the day, the Argentine’s tactics looked about as influential and effective as his long-gone bookish predecessor.
Simon Stacpoole: A Man Utd fan wearing a white coat adorned with club references.
Simon Stacpoole: A collection of vintage programmes for sale.
Simon Stacpoole: A sign for the trains outside Old Trafford.
Sunday ended on a high, with the box office clash between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford, that had all the hallmarks of a heavyweight bout even if the home side’s suitability for that weight class may currently be in doubt. Images came from Simon Stacpoole.
Simon Stacpoole: Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United.
Simon Stacpoole: Marcos Rojo of Man Utd tackles Eden Hazard of Chelsea.
Simon Stacpoole: Eden Hazard of Chelsea skips over a challenge from Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria of Man Utd.
With many expecting United to be ripped asunder by the creativity and skill of Fabregas through the middle, it was something of a surprise to see the hosts look the most dangerous team in the first half.
Louis van Gaal’s side weren’t able to finish their chances but with Angel Di Maria and Adnan Januzaj on the flanks, they had no problem getting the ball forward to threaten Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten league leaders.
Simon Stacpoole: Didier Drogba of Chelsea looks dejected as he pulls his shirt over his head.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd clears the danger.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd shoots past Gary Cahill of Chelsea.
Simon Stacpoole: Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea looks dejected.
Marouane Fellaini was a shock protagonist for the home team, with the big haired Belgium finally menacing his opponents rather than the nightmares of United’s more critical fans.
However, after the break, it was the Blues who broke the deadlock through Didier Drogba. The Ivorian showed his vintage aerial prowess to send the ball home for a Chelsea goal after 53 minutes. It’s hard to deny that his attempt was helped by the short stature of his marker, Rafael.
From then on in, Mourinho’s men looked solid while Van Gaal’s tactics devolved into something more Moyes-ian, with long balls and crosses raining down upon Thibaut Courtois’ penalty area in search of an equaliser.
Branislav Ivanovic’s personal duel with Januzaj had been one of the highlights of the game, but unfortunately for the visitors it was the Serbian who eventually lost, and he was sent off for a second yellow with just a few minutes remaining.
That was just enough time for Robin van Persie to spring into action to convert a knock down from a corner to make it 1-1 at the death.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd is mobbed by his teammates as he celebrates his goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd is lost under his teammates as he celebrates his goal.
Simon Stacpoole: Robin van Persie of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 1st goal.
A yellow card soon followed for the Dutchman, who removed his shirt in celebration as the relief poured through him. Van Gaal was unimpressed with his actions given the cost of taking off his top, but the emotional release may well be a positive moment for the striker’s form and United’s chances in front of goal from here on in.
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.