Hugo’s Headache

I spent the last week darting back and forth between Manchester and Liverpool as European football once again became part of the agenda. My A530-A556-M56 route to the latter was as it usually is…busy, of course, but also on these occasions infested with a higher-than-normal Audi count. Even if you were completely unaware that City or United had a home game, you’d soon know about it when jumping onto either of these roads. I managed to retain my sanity during four journeys within a week, broken up by Sunday’s trip to Merseyside…

 

Leroy Fer of Norwich fouls Adnan Januzaj of Man Utd to concede a penalty in their Capital One Cup tie
Leroy Fer of Norwich fouls Adnan Januzaj of Man Utd to concede a penalty in their Capital One Cup tie

 

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez slots home Man Utd's 1st goal with the resulting penalty
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez slots home Man Utd’s 1st goal with the resulting penalty

 

Adnan Januzaj of Man Utd charges into the area
Adnan Januzaj of Man Utd charges into the area

 

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scores Man Utd's 2nd goal with a header
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scores Man Utd’s 2nd goal with a header

 

Man Utd celebrate another goal as they bury Norwich with ease
Man Utd celebrate another goal as they bury Norwich with ease

 

At the weekend, I travelled back to Manchester, but this time to the other side of town, to see City take on Norwich in the Premier League. All the talk in the build-up to the game was about England goalkeeper Joe Hart, a man under increasing pressure following a string of poor performances and mistakes. There was a strong suggestion he’d be dropped for this match in favour of second-choice stopper Costel Pantilimon. Cue the predictable warm-up pictures prior to kick-off. As far as the game itself was concerned, I felt there was no option but to cover the home side’s attack for the full ninety minutes…the strength of their squad, couple with the opposition’s second trip north in a matter of days convinced me it would be a one-sided affair. Fortunately I was right, as the final score confirmed…

 

Man City goalkeepers Joe Hart (L) and Costel Pantilimon warm up
Man City goalkeepers Joe Hart (L) and Costel Pantilimon warm up

 

Gary Hooper of Norwich battles with Gael Clichy of Man City
Gary Hooper of Norwich battles with Gael Clichy of Man City

 

Samir Nasri of Man City gestures during a break in play
Samir Nasri of Man City gestures during a break in play

 

The rain pelts down at the Etihad Stadium as the scoreboard displays the emphatic 7-0 final score
The rain pelts down at the Etihad Stadium as the scoreboard displays the emphatic 7-0 final score

 

Samir Nasri of Man City applauds the support as he leaves the pitch
Samir Nasri of Man City applauds the support as he leaves the pitch

 

I visited Goodison Park for my first Premier League match there this season on Sunday, where Tottenham were the visitors. Seeing as the weather looked reasonable, and that Everton’s ground remains one of the few originals left in the league, I felt inspired to take a walk with my 50mm f/1.4 in an attempt to document some of the pre-match build-up around the surrounding streets. With a little help from a colleague of mine, Phil, the lens I’d been struggling with lately was back in business…

 

A father and son walk along Goodison Road past the stadium
A father and son walk along Goodison Road past the stadium

 

St. Luke's church, next to Goodison Park
St. Luke’s church, next to Goodison Park

 

Mousa Dembele of Spurs is bundled over by Ross Barkley of Everton
Mousa Dembele of Spurs is bundled over by Ross Barkley of Everton

 

A big point in the match came when Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris collided with the knee of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, briefly knocking Lloris unconscious. When he got back to his feet, medical staff escorted him from the pitch under instruction from the referee, Kevin Friend. However, once Lloris realised that was being brought off, he made his feelings known and refused to walk, instead insisting he could carry on. An argument ensued between himself and the team doctors, no doubt fuelled by a combination of confused language and the impact he’d just sustained to his head. He eventually jogged back to his goal and played the rest of the match, but the subject of player safety became a talking point for the next couple of days, and the pictures will be useful for future reference…

 

Vlad Chiriches of Spurs looks concerned as Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lies injured
Vlad Chiriches of Spurs looks concerned as Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lies injured

 

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is escorted off the pitch by Head Physio Geoff Scott (R) and team doctor Shabaaz Mughal (2L)
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris leaves the pitch with physio Geoff Scott (R) and doctor Shabaaz Mughal (2L)

 

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris argues with team doctor Shabaaz Mughal as he refuses to leave the pitch
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris argues with team doctor Shabaaz Mughal as he refuses to leave the pitch

 

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rubs his head after his earlier collision
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rubs his head after his earlier collision

 

Mousa Dembele of Spurs battles with Ross Barkley of Everton
Mousa Dembele of Spurs battles with Ross Barkley of Everton

 

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas screams towards the ball
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas screams towards the ball

 

A row of terraced houses catch the last light as the sun goes down at Goodison Park
A row of terraced houses catch the last light as the sun goes down after the game at Goodison Park

 

On Monday, I spent the morning in Carrington covering the two Manchester clubs’ UEFA Champions League preview sessions. Despite having to travel away to play Real Sociedad in northern Spain, Man Utd decided to hold their compulsory training session on home turf before their flight later that afternoon. City, meanwhile, had their training session and press conference scheduled for half an hour later, which allowed us the perfect opportunity to cover both quite comfortably, with the two training grounds being just a couple of miles from one another…

 

Wayne Rooney squeezes his training vest over his head
Wayne Rooney squeezes his training vest over his head

 

Patrice Evra of Man Utd launches himself at the ball
Patrice Evra of Man Utd launches himself at the ball

 

Antonio Valencia stretches for the ball during the Man Utd training session
Antonio Valencia stretches for the ball during the Man Utd training session

 

Yaya Toure (L) and David Silva (C) share a joke during Man City's training session
Yaya Toure (L) and David Silva (C) share a joke during Man City’s training session

 

Sergio Aguero (L) and Samir Nasri in training together
Sergio Aguero (L) and Samir Nasri in training together

 

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini listens to questions during the press conference
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini listens to questions during the press conference

 

The next day was matchday…Manchester City against CSKA Moscow. With it being fireworks night, I decided to go and see what was happening out in the cold around the stadium…

 

Man City fans watch a fireworks display before the match on Bonfire Night
Man City fans watch a fireworks display before the match on Bonfire Night

 

Kids cover their ears as they watch a fireworks display before the match
Kids cover their ears as they watch a fireworks display before the match on Bonfire Night

 

CSKA fans make a noise
CSKA fans make a noise

 

Samir Nasri of Man City breaks away from Kirill Nababkin of CSKA (L) and Zoran Tosic of CSKA (R)
Samir Nasri of Man City breaks away from Kirill Nababkin of CSKA (L) and Zoran Tosic of CSKA (R)

 

Matija Nastasic of Man City battles with Seydou Doumbia of CSKA
Matija Nastasic of Man City battles with Seydou Doumbia of CSKA

 

Alvaro Negredo of Man City scores their 3rd goal
Alvaro Negredo of Man City scores their 3rd goal

 

Man City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon celebrates his side's 5-2 victory
Man City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon celebrates his side’s 5-2 victory
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