Offside’s weekend in picture: Arsenal, United & City snapped

The weekend featured six games for Offside, with five matches in the Premier League and one in the Championship covered by our team of photographers.

Ryan Smyth - Charlton fans shield their eyes from the sun on an unusually warm day in November.
Ryan Smyth – Charlton fans shield their eyes from the sun on an unusually warm day in November.

Ryan Smyth kicked things off in the English second tier at The Valley where Mick McCarthy’s title challenging Ipswich Town faced a Charlton Athletic side within striking distance of the play-off places.

Ryan Smyth - Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant manager Terry Connor share a joke at full time.
Ryan Smyth – Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant manager Terry Connor share a joke at full time.

The visitors headed into the game on an unbeaten run of five Championship games without defeat as they sought to chase down Steve McClaren’s Derby County at the top of the table.

Ryan Smyth - Callum Harriott of Charlton is tackled by Tommy Smith of Ipswich.
Ryan Smyth – Callum Harriott of Charlton is tackled by Tommy Smith of Ipswich.

Both teams looked lively in the first half, with Luke Chambers going close as The Tractor Boys looked for an early opener. Daryl Murphy and Paul Anderson also tested the home side’s goalkeeper, Nick Pope.

Ryan Smyth - Charlton manager Bob Peeters shows his frustration by throwing a water bottle to the ground after conceding late in the match.
Ryan Smyth – Charlton manager Bob Peeters shows his frustration by throwing a water bottle to the ground after conceding late in the match.

The hosts had a few of their own chances too, with Callum Harriet managing to send three shots on target without scoring and Chris Solly having a fierce drive saved.

Ryan Smyth - Callum Harriott of Charlton has a shot at goal.
Ryan Smyth – Callum Harriott of Charlton has a shot at goal.

Having not scored a league goal for over two years, substitute Noel Hunt never seemed likely to be the deciding factor, but the Ipswich forward came on for his debut from the bench late on to make a crucial intervention.

Ryan Smyth - Noel Hunt of Ipswich scores the winner in added time.
Ryan Smyth – Noel Hunt of Ipswich scores the winner in added time.

With the game almost over, Hunt managed to finally beat Pope with a low driving shot that sped into the back of the home side’s net on the 95th minute mark.

The match had seen a combined total of over 40 shots yet it ended 1-0 to the visitors, with McCarthy’s side moving to within a point of Derby after their defeat to Leeds United. Charlton remain outside of the play-off places in 10th, with Blackburn Rovers three points ahead of them in sixth.

Paul Roberts - Calum Chambers of Arsenal jumps with Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion for a high ball.
Paul Roberts – Calum Chambers of Arsenal jumps with Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion for a high ball.

Paul Roberts was at the Hawthorns for West Bromwich Albion against Arsenal, with the Gunners looking to improve in the league following two straight defeats to Swansea City and Manchester United.

The Baggies were in a similar run of results, having been beaten by Newcastle United and Chelsea after a vital win against Leicester City at the start of November.

Paul Roberts - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacts after a foul.
Paul Roberts – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacts after a foul.

Both teams needed to make the most of the fixtures, with the visitors heading into the match with their lowest points tally from 12 games in 32 years and the hosts struggling to keep their heads above the treacherous waters of the relegation zone.

Paul Roberts - Joleon Lescott of West Bromwich Albion helps Oliver Giroud of Arsenal up after a foul.
Paul Roberts – Joleon Lescott of West Bromwich Albion helps Oliver Giroud of Arsenal up after a foul.

Even with Arsenal’s own poor record of late, the Gunners seemed to most likely team to take the result, or at least score a goal, with West Brom having failed to find the net in over 210 minutes of football. Come the end of the game, that total would climb above 300 minutes.

Paul Roberts - Arsenal fans hold aloft a banner reading 'Arsene, thanks for the memories but its time to say goodbye'.
Paul Roberts – Arsenal fans hold aloft a banner reading ‘Arsene, thanks for the memories but its time to say goodbye’.

Still, some sections of the away support seemed more interested in making their feelings known about Arsene Wenger’s suitability to continue as manager rather than place their hopes behind their team’s likely statistical advantage at the Hawthorns.

Paul Roberts - Danny Welbeck of Arsenal attracts the attention of 3 West Bromwich Albion players.
Paul Roberts – Danny Welbeck of Arsenal attracts the attention of 3 West Bromwich Albion players.

Danny Welbeck had 10 goals from 16 games in all competitions for club and country going into the match, but the former Manchester United forward was moved wide to accommodate Arsenal’s returning target man Olivier Giroud to a more central position.

Paul Roberts - Oliver Giroud of Arsenal battles with Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion at a corner.
Paul Roberts – Oliver Giroud of Arsenal battles with Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion at a corner.

The Frenchman and his English counter-part both had chances to score with the visitors producing 17 attempts on goal in total, most of which were either missed or saved by Ben Foster or his posts.

Paul Roberts - Danny Welbeck of Arsenal heads home a cross to open the scoring.
Paul Roberts – Danny Welbeck of Arsenal heads home a cross to open the scoring.

Wenger’s side got their goal eventually however through the re-positioned Welbeck getting on the end of Santi Cazorla cross to put a header into the back of the Baggies’ net.

Paul Roberts - Danny Welbeck of Arsenal peels away after scoring the opener.
Paul Roberts – Danny Welbeck of Arsenal peels away after scoring the opener.

Arsenal’s diminutive Spaniard won the man of the match award for his intelligent and inventive performance, in place of the injured Jack Wilshere.

Paul Roberts - Danny Welbeck celebrates the winning goal with his Arsenal team mates including Santi Cazorla.
Paul Roberts – Danny Welbeck celebrates the winning goal with his Arsenal team mates including Santi Cazorla.

Saido Berahino had the best chance for the hosts, but the young striker struck the woodwork with his own header from just six yards out.

Paul Roberts - Santi Corzola of Arsenal peels away from Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion.
Paul Roberts – Santi Corzola of Arsenal peels away from Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion.

Come the full-time whistle Arsenal had their victory and the three points as the game finished 1-0 to the visitors.

Simon Stacpoole - Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs ahead of Hull manager Steve Bruce.
Simon Stacpoole – Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs ahead of Hull manager Steve Bruce.

Next up were Welbeck’s boyhood club, Manchester United, against Hull City at Old Trafford. Simon Stacpoole was Offside’s man at The Theatre Of Dreams.

Simon Stacpoole - Robin van Persie of Man Utd carries his daughter before the match.
Simon Stacpoole – Robin van Persie of Man Utd carries his daughter before the match.

Louis van Gaal used the inherent hype and anticipation of the game’s pre-match build-up to gain a slight tactical advantage over Steve Bruce, who was celebrating his 700th match as a manager.

Simon Stacpoole - Angel Di Maria of Man Utd battles with Andrew Robertson of Hull.
Simon Stacpoole – Angel Di Maria of Man Utd battles with Andrew Robertson of Hull.

Many, including the visitor’s coaching staff, assumed that Michael Carrick had been named as the central defender in a back three for the hosts as he warmed up with the defensive players before the match.

Simon Stacpoole - Marouane Fellaini of Man Utd battles with Michael Dawson of Hull.
Simon Stacpoole – Marouane Fellaini of Man Utd battles with Michael Dawson of Hull.

However, come kick-off, the England international took up position at the base of the midfield and spent the game controlling play through the middle of the park and firing a number of penetrating long balls forward up into Hull’s area.

Simon Stacpoole - Ander Herrera of Man Utd comes on as a substitute to replace Angel Di Maria of Man Utd.
Simon Stacpoole – Ander Herrera of Man Utd comes on as a substitute to replace Angel Di Maria of Man Utd.

United didn’t have it all their own way in the centre of the park however, with Angel Di Maria taken off early on with a hamstring complaint. Ander Herrera arrived from the bench to replace the downed Argentinian.

Simon Stacpoole - Robbie Brady of Hull battles with Juan Mata of Man Utd.
Simon Stacpoole – Robbie Brady of Hull battles with Juan Mata of Man Utd.

Alongside Carrick and Juan Mata, the former Athletic Club playmaker became a constant source of danger balls for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie up front.

Simon Stacpoole - Chris Smalling of Man Utd scores their 1st goal.
Simon Stacpoole – Chris Smalling of Man Utd scores their 1st goal.

Yet it was central defender Chris Smalling who got the scoring under way from a goalmouth scramble following a corner. Alan McGregor eventually helped to put the shot into his own net but the strike remained listed under his opponent’s name.

Simon Stacpoole - Wayne Rooney of Man Utd jumps on teammate Chris Smalling as they celebrate their 1st goal.
Simon Stacpoole – Wayne Rooney of Man Utd jumps on teammate Chris Smalling as they celebrate their 1st goal.

Rooney doubled the score before half-time after being teed up by van Persie, who played the ball into his captain from inside the Hull goal area. With the pass laid back to the Englishman just outside the box, he smashed a shot through the leaky Hull defence and into the bottom corner of McGregor’s goal.

Simon Stacpoole - Michael Dawson of Hull heads clear from Wayne Rooney of Man Utd.
Simon Stacpoole – Michael Dawson of Hull heads clear from Wayne Rooney of Man Utd.

Having failed to make a number of chances pay for his team earlier in the game, Van Persie finally found his finishing touch on the 66th minute with an emphatic shot off his left foot.

Simon Stacpoole - Robin van Persie of Man Utd scores their 3rd goal.
Simon Stacpoole – Robin van Persie of Man Utd scores their 3rd goal.

The ball rocketed past McGregor’s outstretched hand from a tight angle to fly straight into the top corner of the net from the left-hand channel.

And that’s how the game finished: 3-0 to the hosts, with Bruce suffering an unhappy anniversary. This was his 17th defeat against his former club as a manager in 21 attempts. He is yet to see one of his teams beat United, at home or away.

Marc Atkins - Upton Park.
Marc Atkins – Upton Park.

Back in the capital, Marc Atkins was shooting West Ham United versus Newcastle, with the Hammers keen to break their recent dry spell without a win.

Sam Allardyce’s side had lost ground after having soared into the chasing pack behind Chelsea and Manchester City but came good against Alan Pardew’s men who have enjoyed the last few weeks in the Premier League.

Marc Atkins - Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United battles for the ball with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.
Marc Atkins – Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United battles for the ball with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.

Newcastle were on a run of six straight wins, including the scalps of Liverpool and City, and heading to Upton Park unbeaten in their seven games since the start of October.

Beyond the clash of clubs and rival form books, the match also represented another fixture in which Andy Carroll came up against the club he emerged from as prodigious target man back in 2006.

The 6’4″ striker was sold to Liverpool for £35 million in 2011 and has struggled with expectations and injuries ever since, but against his former team and manager, the front man worked hard and played well.

Marc Atkins - Another shot of Upton Park.
Marc Atkins – Another shot of Upton Park.

However, he wasn’t able to score the goal required to put his current side ahead. That honour was reserved for left-back, Aaron Cresswell.

Marc Atkins - Aaron Cresswell of West Ham opens the scoring.
Marc Atkins – Aaron Cresswell of West Ham opens the scoring.

Just 10 minutes into the second half, the Liverpool-born full-back found himself in space within the box after a driving run forward, and sent the ball past Rob Elliott after Cheikhou Kouyate’s attempt bobbled over to his feet.

Marc Atkins - Aaron Cresswell of West Ham celebrates scoring his goal.
Marc Atkins – Aaron Cresswell of West Ham celebrates scoring his goal.
Marc Atkins - Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United tangles with Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate.
Marc Atkins – Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United tangles with Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Things then got worse for Newcastle as Moussa Sissoko notched up two yellow cards in just one minute and was dismissed to put the visitors down to 10 men for the remainder of the game.

Marc Atkins - Referee, Mike Dean shows a 2nd yellow card to Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United and sends him off.
Marc Atkins – Referee, Mike Dean shows a 2nd yellow card to Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle United and sends him off.

Given their numerical disadvantage they were unable to pull back the goals required for a late comeback draw or win and West Ham had their first win since beating Man City at the end of October.

Marc Atkins - Referee, Mike Jones has words with Manuel Pellegrini, Manager of Manchester City as Fourth Official, Phil Dowd, watches on.
Marc Atkins – Referee, Mike Jones has words with Manuel Pellegrini, Manager of Manchester City as Fourth Official, Phil Dowd, watches on.

Speaking of whom, the reigning Premier League champions were the first team up on Sunday, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side travelling all the way down to the South Coast to play Southampton.

Marc Atkins - Water sprays up from the pitch as Sergio Aguero of Manchester City dribbles the ball.
Marc Atkins – Water sprays up from the pitch as Sergio Aguero of Manchester City dribbles the ball.

Marc Atkins headed down the motorway from London to capture the action as Ronald Koeman’s team prepared for the first real test of their top four status.

Marc Atkins - Jesus Navas of Manchester City tangles with Morgan Schneiderlin and Ryan Bertrand of Southampton.
Marc Atkins – Jesus Navas of Manchester City tangles with Morgan Schneiderlin and Ryan Bertrand of Southampton.

Going into the game, it was the Saints rather than the defending champions who found themselves in second place chasing the early leaders Chelsea.

Marc Atkins - Water sprays up from the pitch as Yaya Toure of Manchester City is fouled by Victor Wanyama of Southampton.
Marc Atkins – Water sprays up from the pitch as Yaya Toure of Manchester City is fouled by Victor Wanyama of Southampton.

Jose Mourinho’s side had drawn against Sunderland on Saturday, meaning that both teams had an excellent chance to cut the Blues’ lead at the top if they could win at St Mary’s.

Marc Atkins - Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City tangles with Ryan Bertrand of Southampton.
Marc Atkins – Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City tangles with Ryan Bertrand of Southampton.

City’s bid for the three points was boosted by the return of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho who had been suspended for the mid-week clash against Bayern Munich.

Marc Atkins - Water flies from the head of Eliaquim Mangala of Manchester City as he attacks the ball in the penalty area.
Marc Atkins – Water flies from the head of Eliaquim Mangala of Manchester City as he attacks the ball in the penalty area.

Sergio Aguero had been the hat-trick hero in that game to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory in injury time, and give hope to City whose prospects of making the knock out stages of the Champions League had previously looked hopeless.

Marc Atkins - Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is shown a yellow card for diving after this challenge from Jose Fonte of Southampton.
Marc Atkins – Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is shown a yellow card for diving after this challenge from Jose Fonte of Southampton.

That turnaround against the German champions appeared to have given City some confidence and focus, and for the first portion of the first half Saints looked unable to get out of their own half, let alone attack Joe Hart’s goal.

Marc Atkins - Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts to his yellow card from Mike Jones after apparently diving.
Marc Atkins – Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts to his yellow card from Mike Jones after apparently diving.

Controversy reared its head early on with Aguero receiving a yellow card for diving after being taken out in the area by Jose Fonte, whose two feet struck the Argentinian rather than the ball.

Marc Atkins - Eliaquim Mangala of Manchester City punches the pitch in frustration.
Marc Atkins – Eliaquim Mangala of Manchester City punches the pitch in frustration.

The visitors dominated the game from the off, but they weren’t able to grab a goal before half-time. Stevan Jovetic went closest with a shot from the left channel flying through Fraser Forster’s legs but cannoning off Toby Alderweireld who blocked the ball off the line.

Marc Atkins - Yaya Toure of Manchester City sores the opening goal.
Marc Atkins – Yaya Toure of Manchester City sores the opening goal.

Yaya Toure finally broke the deadlock after 51 minutes with a shot from outside the box that Southampton’s midfielders and defenders failed to close down.

Marc Atkins - City later went down to nine men after Vincent Kompany injured his hamstring.
Marc Atkins – City later went down to nine men after Vincent Kompany injured his hamstring.

The home side’s prospects in that endeavour wasn’t helped by the departure of Morgan Schneiderlin during the break after feeling a tightness in his thigh.

Marc Atkins - Frank Lampard of Manchester City scores the 2nd goal.
Marc Atkins – Frank Lampard of Manchester City scores the 2nd goal.

Eliaquim Mangala was the best focal point of the game, with the under-fire, £32 million summer signing receiving his marching orders after collecting a second yellow card for a silly, clumsy take down outside his own area.

Marc Atkins - Frank Lampard of Manchester City celebrates scoring his goal with team mates.
Marc Atkins – Frank Lampard of Manchester City celebrates scoring his goal with team mates.

Losing a man seemed to spur City on however, as the game opened up slightly and substitute Frank Lampard and full-back Gael Clichy both scored on the break.

Marc Atkins - Southampton goalkeeper, Fraser Forster and Maya Yoshida react after Gael Clichy of Manchester City scores the third goal.
Marc Atkins – Southampton goalkeeper, Fraser Forster and Maya Yoshida react after Gael Clichy of Manchester City scores the third goal.

It was the French defender’s first goal for Manchester City, with Aguero setting up him with an ingenious ball off the outside of his right foot to mark his 100 games in the Premier League with an assist, if not a goal.

Marc Atkins - Ground staff start work on the pitch before the players have entered the tunnel after the match.
Marc Atkins – Ground staff start work on the pitch before the players have entered the tunnel after the match.

City’s win saw them leapfrog Southampton into second, and cut the gap against Chelsea to six points.

Mark Leech - Leighton Baines of Everton points an accusing finger at Erik Lamela of Tottenham after a late tackle.
Mark Leech – Leighton Baines of Everton points an accusing finger at Erik Lamela of Tottenham after a late tackle.

Mark Leech put the finishing touch on Offside’s weekend with pictures from Tottenham Hotspur against Everton at White Hart Lane.

Mark Leech - Romelu Lukaku of Everton shoots.
Mark Leech – Romelu Lukaku of Everton shoots.

Spurs started the day off in 10th place, one spot behind the Toffees, with both teams struggling to balance their progress in the Europa League with similar success in the Premier League.

Mark Leech - Ross Barkley of Everton is challenged by the stretching Eric Dier of Tottenham.
Mark Leech – Ross Barkley of Everton is challenged by the stretching Eric Dier of Tottenham.

Yet Everton arrived in North London on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were looking to score their third victory in seven days.

Mark Leech - Kevin Mirallas of Everton.
Mark Leech – Kevin Mirallas of Everton.

The match got off to a quick start with Kevin Mirallas putting the visitors up after 15 minutes with an exceptional strike from just outside of the area that flew diagonally across the box and goal before curling into the far corner, well beyond Hugo Lloris’ reach.

Mark Leech - Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots watched by Everton defender Phil Jagielka.
Mark Leech – Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots watched by Everton defender Phil Jagielka.

An equaliser wasn’t far behind however, with Christian Eriksen being played in by Harry Kane to slot home past Tim Howard. The young English striker may not have scored, but his performance as a provider of chances and energy from the front was key for Spurs, while his Danish colleague was as composed as ever.

Mark Leech - A Sky TV camerman gets a close up shot of Tottenham defender Ben Davies.
Mark Leech – A Sky TV camerman gets a close up shot of Tottenham defender Ben Davies.

The winning goal came just before the half-time whistle through the relatively unlikely source of Roberto Soldado, with the Spanish striker scoring his first league goal since March.

 

Mark Leech - Aaaron Lennon of Tottenham.
Mark Leech – Aaaron Lennon of Tottenham.

Again it was Kane who was the catalyst for his teammates, robbing the ball off Gareth Barry before feeding Aaron Lennon, who sent the ball through to the goal-shy, former Valencia poacher.

Mark Leech - Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots at goal.
Mark Leech – Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots at goal.

The second half was goalless, but Kane and Spurs continued to keep their intensity high, with the Englishman forcing a save from Tim Howard.

Mark Leech - Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots.
Mark Leech – Harry Kane of Tottenham shoots.

Spurs won the game 2-1 and jumped ahead of Everton, Newcastle and Swansea thanks to the three point boost.

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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