The Angel & The Barber Shop

So far, February’s produced a mixed bag of results for me in terms of football photography. I’ve spent far too much time at the wrong end of the pitch, for a start. And by the wrong end, I mean the end where nothing newsworthy happens. That’s not to say I haven’t had pictures, I just haven’t had the pictures that the newspapers want. When this happens, you have to come up with something else…something to soften the blow of being 100yds away from tomorrow’s big talking point.

Fortunately, when I have been at the right end, I’ve been blessed with a few pleasing frames.

Swings and roundabouts…I hate that cliché saying, but clichés exist for a reason, and that one’s so true. You take what you can, when you can.

The first match of the month was on the first day of the month, which had me travelling up to the north east for Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland…

 

The iconic Angel Of The North installation, seen in silhouette on the morning of the Tyne-Wear derby
The iconic Angel Of The North installation, seen in silhouette on the morning of the Tyne-Wear derby

 

Sunderland fans berate the Newcastle United supporters as they arrive for the derby match
Sunderland fans berate the Newcastle United supporters as they arrive for the derby match

 

An elderly Newcastle fan wearing a onesie berates the Sunderland supporters before the derby match
An elderly Newcastle fan wearing a onesie berates the Sunderland supporters before the derby match

 

A Sunderland fan points and laughs as a police officer stands by before the derby match
A Sunderland fan points and laughs as a police officer stands by before the derby match

 

Vernon Anita of Newcastle clashes with Jack Colback of Sunderland
Vernon Anita of Newcastle clashes with Jack Colback of Sunderland

 

Jozy Altidore of Sunderland gets between Mathieu Debuchy (R) and Cheik Ismael Tiote (L) of Newcastle
Jozy Altidore of Sunderland gets between Mathieu Debuchy (R) and Cheik Ismael Tiote (L) of Newcastle

 

The next day I travelled in the opposite direction, heading south to The Hawthorns to see Liverpool take on West Bromwich Albion…

 

Liverpool players Raheem Sterling (L), Philippe Coutinho (C) and Daniel Sturridge (R) stand in the defensive wall
Liverpool players Raheem Sterling (L), Philippe Coutinho (C) and Daniel Sturridge (R) stand in the defensive wall

 

Youssuf Mulumbu of West Brom battles with Joe Allen of Liverpool
Youssuf Mulumbu of West Brom battles with Joe Allen of Liverpool

 

Victor Anichebe scores the equaliser for West Brom against Liverpool
Victor Anichebe scores the equaliser for West Brom against Liverpool

 

Victor Anichebe celebrates his equaliser for West Brom against Liverpool
Victor Anichebe celebrates his equaliser for West Brom against Liverpool

 

The Monday night fixture was one of the biggest of the season. Chelsea travelled to Manchester City in a bid to become the first team to take points off the home side in their own ground all season. And they did just that. No guesses for which end I managed to position myself, although fortunately Marc Atkins was at the other end for us this time to cover all eventualities…

 

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sits on the bench before their match against Chelsea
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sits on the bench before their match against Chelsea

 

A Man City fan holds up a sign in reference to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
A Man City fan holds up a sign in reference to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

 

Gary Cahill of Chelsea clashes for a header with Vincent Kompany of Man City
Gary Cahill of Chelsea clashes for a header with Vincent Kompany of Man City

 

Matija Nastasic of Man City battles with Eden Hazard of Chelsea
Matija Nastasic of Man City battles with Eden Hazard of Chelsea

 

Yaya Toure of Man City lies dejected on the edge of the pitch
Yaya Toure of Man City lies dejected on the edge of the pitch

 

John Terry of Chelsea (L) and teammate David Luiz celebrate victory
John Terry of Chelsea (L) and teammate David Luiz celebrate victory

 

The it was on to Anfield for one of the season’s most hotly-anticipated fixtures, Liverpool against Arsenal. This season, the result would be harder to call than it had been for a long time, with both teams in fine form. I could do little more than just choose a spot, stick to it, and see what happens. Fortunately, when 4 goals were scored inside 20 minutes, they had all gone in at my end for a change. The results was an emphatic 5-1 victory for Liverpool. The locals were out in force from the off, making the most of the big occasion…

 

Scarves on display in the window of a barbers close to Anfield...a souvenir shop on matchdays, it appears
Scarves on display in the window of a barbers close to Anfield…a souvenir shop on matchdays, it appears

 

Per Mertesacker of Arsenal battles for a header with Luis Suarez of Liverpool
Per Mertesacker of Arsenal battles for a header with Luis Suarez of Liverpool

 

Martin Skrtel of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
Martin Skrtel of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal

 

Jack Wilshere of Arsenal looks dejected as they crash to a 5-1 defeat
Jack Wilshere of Arsenal looks dejected as they crash to a 5-1 defeat

 

The next day I drove over to Manchester, to cover Fulham’s visit to Old Trafford. The match was played on the weekend marking the 56th anniversary of the tragic Munich air disaster, where a host of Man Utd’s players were killed as they made their way home after a European game…

 

A sheet of paper with the words to 'The Pride of Football', seen during a memorial to the Busby Babes before the match on the weekend of the 56th anniversary of the Munich disaster
A sheet of paper with the words to ‘The Pride of Football’, seen during a memorial to the Busby Babes before the match on the weekend of the 56th anniversary of the Munich disaster

 

A banner in memory of the Busby Babes is carried across the Stretford End on the weekend of the 56th anniversary of the Munich disaster
A banner in memory of the Busby Babes is carried across the Stretford End on the weekend of the 56th anniversary of the Munich disaster

 

Wayne Rooney of Man Utd leaps for the ball with John Heitinga of Fulham nearby
Wayne Rooney of Man Utd leaps for the ball with John Heitinga of Fulham nearby

 

Lewis Holtby of Fulham gets away from Rafael da Silva of Man Utd
Lewis Holtby of Fulham gets away from Rafael da Silva of Man Utd

 

Having been 1-0 down for a large portion of the match, Man Utd scored two goals in the 2nd half (the latter just three minutes from the end of normal time). Cue the celebrations. Players from all four corners of the pitch ran to join in, forgetting they still had a job to do to close out the match and record a much needed victory…

 

Michael Carrick celebrates with his Man Utd teammates after scoring their 2nd goal to take them 2-1 ahead
Michael Carrick celebrates with his Man Utd teammates after scoring their 2nd goal to take them 2-1 ahead

 

Michael Carrick of Man Utd (C) celebrates with teammates Adnan Januzaj (L) and Robin van Persie after scoring their 2nd goal
Michael Carrick of Man Utd (C) celebrates with teammates Adnan Januzaj (L) and Robin van Persie after scoring their 2nd goal to take them 2-1 ahead

 

Wayne Rooney of Man Utd celebrates on his knees after they took a 2-1 lead
Wayne Rooney of Man Utd celebrates on his knees after they took a 2-1 lead

 

Fulham score. Man Utd sulk. And the story goes on…

 

Juan Mata of Man Utd (L) and teammate Wayne Rooney look dejected after conceding a late goal to finish the match 2-2
Juan Mata of Man Utd (L) and teammate Wayne Rooney look dejected after conceding a late goal to finish the match 2-2

 

After the disappointment of Old Trafford, it was back down to West Brom again, this time to see if Chelsea could capitalise and take another step towards the top of the table. Jose Mourinho had spent the previous few days playing down his side’s chances of regaining the league title…

 

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho zips up his jacket before the match against West Brom
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho zips up his jacket before the match against West Brom

 

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster and defender Craig Dawson combine to tackle Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster and defender Craig Dawson combine to tackle Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea

 

Nemanja Matic of Chelsea battles with Craig Dawson of West Brom
Nemanja Matic of Chelsea battles with Craig Dawson of West Brom

 

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates their late equaliser
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates their late equaliser

 

On Wednesday, I braved the high winds and rain to journey over to Manchester, where City and Sunderland were due to do battle. The weather was causing chaos all over the country, and especially the north west, but although conditions were tough outside the stadium, inside everything seemed fairly calm. Despite this, the powers that be deemed it too dangerous for the visiting spectators, and decided to postpone the game until a future date…

 

A programme kiosk lies on it's side after being blown over in strong winds outside the Etihad Stadium
A programme kiosk lies on it’s side after being blown over in strong winds outside the Etihad Stadium

 

Television screens inside the ground display a message telling fans the match has been abandoned due to the adverse weather conditions
Television screens inside the ground display a message telling fans the match has been abandoned due to the adverse weather conditions

 

Fans make their way home from the stadium after match was abandoned due to high winds and rain
Fans make their way home from the stadium after match was abandoned due to high winds and rain

 

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