No Place Like Gnome

Having spent the past week documenting the successes of both Merseyside clubs in Europe and using every spare moment editing wedding pictures, I returned to Premier League action at the weekend, where a jaunt back up to Turf Moor was in store for me on Saturday. Sunderland were the visitors to Burnley’s historic old ground, for a match-up that, honestly, hardly set the pulse racing. Regardless, games like this often offer the opportunity to get away from the wire agencies and allow me the chance to get pictures no one else can get. Goals and celebrations from Premier League matches will continue to sell whether it’s the match of the day or not, so it would be worth taking a punt in a quiet corner of the ground to see what I could come up with that would set me aside from the photographers there.

Unfortunately, the match offered just what I thought it would…nothing. One or two mildly-enthusiastic penalty appeals, one shot that hit the post and another that hit the bar made up the highlights of 90 minutes that I won’t ever get back…

 

Burnley fans walk past a sign advertising a combination of pie, chips, mushy peas and gravy
Burnley fans walk past a sign advertising a combination of pie, chips, mushy peas and gravy

 

A Golden Gamble ticket seller wearing a brightly-coloured hat
A Golden Gamble ticket seller wearing a brightly-coloured hat

 

Burnley gnomes for sale
Burnley gnomes for sale

 

Kieran Trippier of Burnley battles with Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderland
Kieran Trippier of Burnley battles with Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderland

 

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone tips the ball away from Marvin Sordell of Burnley
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone tips the ball away from Marvin Sordell of Burnley

 

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone makes a save at his near post
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone makes a save at his near post

 

Lee Cattermole of Sunderland looks back at teammate Wes Brown
Lee Cattermole of Sunderland looks back at teammate Wes Brown

 

Fortunately, the next day’s game had a bit more going for it. Manchester City played Chelsea in another match that could play a key role in the race for the Premier League title when the latter stages of the season come round. Frank Lampard’s appearance in a City shirt against his old club would prove to be an easy side story to fuel the build-up, but once the game got going, it would all be about the result…

 

A plane carries a message over the stadium before the game mocking City's rivals Manchester United
A plane carries a message over the stadium before the game mocking City’s rivals Manchester United

 

Nemanja Matic of Chelsea battles with Sergio Aguero of Man City
Nemanja Matic of Chelsea battles with Sergio Aguero of Man City

 

Eliaquim Mangala of Man City tackles Diego Costa of Chelsea
Eliaquim Mangala of Man City tackles Diego Costa of Chelsea

 

Diego Costa of Chelsea fires a header away to clear the danger
Diego Costa of Chelsea fires a header away to clear the danger

 

The turning point in the match came when Pablo Zabaleta of Man City crunched into the back of Diego Costa, Chelsea’s fiery Spaniard. Costa reacted furiously, the incident earning both players a yellow card. It was Zabaleta’s 2nd of the game though, which got him sent off and reduced the home side to 10 men…

 

Pablo Zabaleta of Man City fouls Diego Costa of Chelsea to earn himself a second booking and subsequently, a sending-off
Pablo Zabaleta of Man City fouls Diego Costa of Chelsea to earn himself a second booking and subsequently, a sending-off

 

Diego Costa of Chelsea reacts to a foul from Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, who earnt himself a second booking for the challenge, and subsequently, a sending-off
Diego Costa of Chelsea reacts to a foul from Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, who earnt himself a second booking for the challenge, and subsequently, a sending-off

 

Diego Costa of Chelsea reacts to a foul from Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, who earnt himself a second booking for the challenge, and subsequently, a sending-off
Diego Costa of Chelsea reacts to a foul from Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, who earnt himself a second booking for the challenge, and subsequently, a sending-off

 

Referee Mike Dean shows a red card to Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, after his challenge on Diego Costa of Chelsea earnt him a second booking
Referee Mike Dean shows a red card to Pablo Zabaleta of Man City, after his challenge on Diego Costa of Chelsea earnt him a second booking

 

Chelsea piled on the pressure as the extra man began to show. It wasn’t long before they broke the deadlock, as German Andre Schurrle slid in at my near post to slot home the opening goal of the game for Chelsea…

 

Andre Schurrle of Chelsea scores their 1st goal
Andre Schurrle of Chelsea scores their 1st goal

 

Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates with provider Eden Hazard after scoring their 1st goal
Andre Schurrle of Chelsea celebrates with provider Eden Hazard after scoring their 1st goal

 

The script was written though, when former Chelsea player Frank Lampard popped up to score a late equaliser for City with not even minutes to spare. He scored at the far end, but I feel my alternative view on the moment works equally well, considering the circumstances…

 

The face of Frank Lampard of Man City appears on the big screen after the former Chelsea player scored a late equaliser
The face of Frank Lampard of Man City appears on the big screen after the former Chelsea player scored a late equaliser

 

Frank Lampard of Man City apologies to the Chelsea fans after the match in which he scored a late equaliser for his new team
Frank Lampard of Man City apologies to the Chelsea fans after the match in which he scored a late equaliser for his new team

 

Frank Lampard of Man City gives the thumbs up to both sets of fans after the match
Frank Lampard of Man City gives the thumbs up to both sets of fans after the match

 

Diego Costa of Chelsea looks dejected after the match, which finished 1-1 thanks to a late equaliser from Man City
Diego Costa of Chelsea looks dejected after the match, which finished 1-1 thanks to a late equaliser from Man City

 

Frank Lampard of Man City embraces former teammate Didier Drogba of Chelsea after the match
Frank Lampard of Man City embraces former teammate Didier Drogba of Chelsea after the match

 

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