Autumnal Offerings

The past ten days or so have led me down all sorts of different footballing avenues; the Merseyside Derby and a crunch European tie in Manchester amongst them. Starting at Anfield, where the red and blue side of Liverpool clashed for the first time this season. The departure of the home side’s goal machine Luis Suarez in the summer meant this tie would be a much less predictable affair than it may have been last year. The sun was out and the pitch was in immaculate condition, as the TV cameras prepared for one of the season’s marquee fixtures…

 

A Liverpool supporters walks past the Anfield News newsagents on derby day.
A Liverpool supporter walks past the Anfield News newsagents on derby day

 

A goal drawn in chalk on a brick wall close to the stadium
A goal drawn in chalk on a brick wall close to the stadium

 

A Liverpool surveys a huge selection of souvenir pins and badges for sale
A Liverpool surveys a huge selection of souvenir pins and badges for sale

 

Fans holds their scarves aloft before the match
Fans holds their scarves aloft before the match

 

Leighton Baines of Everton clashes with Adam Lallana of Liverpool
Leighton Baines of Everton clashes with Adam Lallana of Liverpool

 

Mario Balotelli of Liverpool shows off his new hairstyle, comprising of a blonde Mohican and shaved stripes
Mario Balotelli of Liverpool shows off his new hairstyle, comprising of a blonde Mohican and shaved stripes

 

Leighton Baines of Everton and his teammate, goalkeeper Tim Howard, combine to thwart Mario Balotelli of Liverpool
Leighton Baines of Everton and his teammate, goalkeeper Tim Howard, combine to thwart Mario Balotelli of Liverpool

 

Romelu Lukaku of Everton gestures to the home fans as he celebrates his side's late equaliser
Romelu Lukaku of Everton gestures to the home fans as he celebrates his side’s late equaliser

 

After a rare Sunday off, I ventured to Manchester to photograph City’s preparations for their forthcoming UEFA Champions League tie with Italy’s AS Roma. A training session and press conference took place at the Etihad Stadium…

 

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players

 

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players during the training session under the shadow of an empty Etihad Stadium
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players during the training session under the shadow of an empty Etihad Stadium

 

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks to his players

 

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks during the press conference
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaks during the press conference

 

Later that evening, I made the short journey from Nantwich over to Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium, where Newcastle United were the visitors. Their manager, Alan Pardew, remains under in immense amount of pressure from fans following a poor run of results. A loss this evening would only make matters worse…

 

Former Stoke kitman, Neil 'Nello' Baldwin, waves to the crowd before the match, alongside mascot Pottermus
Former Stoke kitman, Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin, waves to the crowd before the match, alongside mascot Pottermus

 

Newcastle fans display their now-customary 'Sack Pardew' banners
Newcastle fans display their now-customary ‘Sack Pardew’ banners

 

Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Cheik Ismael Tiote of Newcastle
Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Cheik Ismael Tiote of Newcastle

 

Peter Crouch of Stoke scores what turns out to be the only goal of the game, once again with a header
Peter Crouch of Stoke scores what turns out to be the only goal of the game, once again with a header

 

Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle
Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle

 

Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle
Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle

 

Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle
Charlie Adam of Stoke battles with Fabricio Coloccini of Newcastle

 

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew looks concerned as his side head for defeat
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew looks concerned as his side head for defeat

 

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew looks dejected
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew looks dejected

 

My gear had barely dried out after its soaking at Stoke, and I was back in the car and on my way to Manchester again, this time for City’s clash with Roma. Ashley Cole’s return to England was an easy side story laid on a plate for the lazy journalist, but the truth of the matter was, Man City could potentially end this match needing maximum points from their remaining games just to progress from the group. Surely a win at fortress Etihad was a gimme? Not as far as I was concerned…

 

Gervinho of Roma gets between Martin Demichelis of Man City (L) and Yaya Toure of Man City
Gervinho of Roma gets between Martin Demichelis of Man City (L) and Yaya Toure of Man City

 

David Silva of Man City battles with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Roma (L) and Radja Nainggolan of Roma (R)
David Silva of Man City battles with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Roma (L) and Radja Nainggolan of Roma (R)

 

Francesco Totti of Roma chips the ball over Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart and scores their 1st goal
Francesco Totti of Roma chips the ball over Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart and scores their 1st goal

 

Francesco Totti of Roma celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Francesco Totti of Roma celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

Gervinho of Roma jumps on teammate Francesco Totti who celebrates scoring their 1st goal
Gervinho of Roma jumps on teammate Francesco Totti who celebrates scoring their 1st goal

 

Yaya Toure of Man City looks clueless
Yaya Toure of Man City looks clueless

 

Frank Lampard of Man City shows his disappointment after their failure to secure victory
Frank Lampard of Man City shows his disappointment after their failure to secure victory

 

Seydou Keita of Roma pours water over his head
Seydou Keita of Roma pours water over his head

 

Frank Lampard of Man City shakes hands with former Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole, now of Roma, at the end of the game
Frank Lampard of Man City shakes hands with former Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole, now of Roma, at the end of the game

 

Next up was a trip back to Anfield, where the sun was shining once again, this time for the visit of West Bromwich Albion. Conditions dictated I shoot backlit for the game, allowing me clean and fairly consistent backgrounds. This also meant that I could cover man-of-the-moment Saido Berahino in action in his home kit for West Brom in the 2nd half…

 

An elderly Liverpool fans displays an array of homemade pins and badges attached to her scarf
An elderly Liverpool fans displays an array of homemade pins and badges attached to her scarf

 

Raheem Sterling of Liverpool competes for the ball with Joleon Lescott of West Brom
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool competes for the ball with Joleon Lescott of West Brom

 

Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool battles with Stephane Sessegnon of West Brom
Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool battles with Stephane Sessegnon of West Brom

 

Rickie Lambert of Liverpool stretches for the ball
Rickie Lambert of Liverpool stretches for the ball

 

Adam Lallana of Liverpool scores their 1st goal, his first for the club
Adam Lallana of Liverpool scores their 1st goal, his first for the club

 

Adam Lallana celebrates his goal
Adam Lallana celebrates his goal

 

Stephane Sessegnon of West Brom battles with Adam Lallana of Liverpool (L) and Javier Manquillo of Liverpool
Stephane Sessegnon of West Brom battles with Adam Lallana of Liverpool (L) and Javier Manquillo of Liverpool

 

Saido Berahino of West Brom (L) celebrates with teammate Graham Dorrans of West Brom after scoring their 1st goal
Saido Berahino of West Brom (L) celebrates with teammate Graham Dorrans of West Brom after scoring their 1st goal

 

Saido Berahino of West Brom celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Saido Berahino of West Brom celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

It wouldn’t feel like a Sunday without a trip to Old Trafford, and on this occasion, Everton were the latest visitors hoping to further dent new Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal’s record. A midday kick-off put paid to any chance of a Sunday lie-in, as BT Sport did their best to keep us on our toes. In fairness though, I’d rather have a midday kick-off than a 4pm one – at least you don’t lose your entire day!

Lighting conditions were the same as they had been at Liverpool the previous day, and for that reason, I adopted the same approach as I had there – shoot backlit and hope the game would play into my hands. When the match seems too one-sided even before kick-off, this is not such an easy decision to make, but I felt both matches this weekend could have gone either way, so I didn’t feel the need to cover one team any more than the other. Picture quality was my number one priority, and there was only place to sit to guarantee that…

 

Man Utd mascot Fred the Red hugs former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who makes an appearance on the pitch before kick-off
Man Utd mascot Fred the Red hugs former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who makes an appearance on the pitch before kick-off

 

Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson shakes hands with new club ambassador Ji-Sung Park before the match
Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson shakes hands with new club ambassador Ji-Sung Park before the match

 

Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson applauds the fans before the match
Former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson applauds the fans before the match

 

A portrait of former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson taken before the match
A portrait of former Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson taken before the match

 

Robin van Persie of Man Utd battles with Muhamed Besic of Everton
Robin van Persie of Man Utd battles with Muhamed Besic of Everton

 

Steven Naismith of Everton tussles with Rafael Da Silva of Man Utd and Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea
Steven Naismith of Everton tussles with Rafael Da Silva of Man Utd and Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea

 

Robin van Persie of Man Utd rides on the back of John Stones of Everton
Robin van Persie of Man Utd rides on the back of John Stones of Everton

 

Leighton Baines of Everton battles with Robin van Persie of Man Utd
Leighton Baines of Everton battles with Robin van Persie of Man Utd

 

Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal
Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal

 

Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal
Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal

 

Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal
Radamel Falcao of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal

 

Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea, responsible for a string of incredible saves, celebrates a goal
Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea, responsible for a string of incredible saves, celebrates a goal

 

The domestic season was put on hold after this weekend, as an international break gave a number of players the chance to put their feet up whilst others headed straight out to join up with their colleagues on training camps around the world. The furthest the England players had to travel, to begin with, was Burton-upon-Trent, where an open training session was held ahead of their upcoming matches with the mighty San Marino and Estonia. The session began with a stern word from England manager Roy Hodgson, who accused a number of photographers, including myself, of taking pictures of his team tactics and line-up which were written on a sheet of paper he was looking at in a nearby dugout. The truth of the matter was, none of us were even aware he had anything in his hands…he was surrounded by members of his coaching staff, and all we were doing was portraits of him before he headed out onto the pitch. He clearly assumed we had sinister ulterior motives and, with a strong sarcastic undertone, questioned our behaviour. Off he went, leaving a colleague of his to pick up the pieces…

 

England manager Roy Hodgson carries some training apparatus
England manager Roy Hodgson carries some training apparatus

 

England manager Roy Hodgson struggles as he attempts to adjust some training apparatus
England manager Roy Hodgson struggles as he attempts to adjust some training apparatus

 

England manager Roy Hodgson adjusts some training apparatus
England manager Roy Hodgson adjusts some training apparatus

 

England manager Roy Hodgson stretches before the training session
England manager Roy Hodgson stretches before the training session

 

Wayne Rooney during training
Wayne Rooney during training

 

Adam Lallana during training
Adam Lallana during training

 

Danny Welbeck during training
Danny Welbeck during training

 

Goalkeeper Joe Hart during training
Goalkeeper Joe Hart during training

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gives the thumbs-up during training
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gives the thumbs-up during training

 

I wasn’t involved with the match itself, but instead ventured down the M6 to Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, to see the U21 side take on Croatia in the first of two vital EURO Qualification Play-Off matches. England went 0-1 down in the first half before clawing themselves back into the game and eventually winning 2-1, thanks to goals from Harry Kane and a late penalty from Saido Berahino…

 

A fan sits alone high up in the stands before the match
A fan sits alone high up in the stands before the match

 

The England U21 players pose for a team group photo before the match
The England U21 players pose for a team group photo before the match

 

Harry Kane of England battles with Filip Bradaric of Croatia
Harry Kane of England battles with Filip Bradaric of Croatia

 

Eric Dier of England battles with Filip Bradaric of Croatia
Eric Dier of England battles with Filip Bradaric of Croatia

 

Harry Kane of England protests to the referee
Harry Kane of England protests to the referee

 

Harry Kane of England scores their equaliser with a header
Harry Kane of England scores their equaliser with a header

 

Luke Shaw of England U21
Luke Shaw of England U21

 

Thomas Ince of England U21
Thomas Ince of England U21

 

Saido Berahino of England scores their winner with a late penalty
Saido Berahino of England scores their winner with a late penalty

 

Saido Berahino celebrates his late winning goal for England U21
Saido Berahino celebrates his late winning goal for England U21

 

The weekend ended with the conclusion of the FA Women’s Super League, as I travelled to the Manchester Regional Arena to see if Chelsea’s Ladies could win the title in the last game of their season, away to Manchester City. Beginning the day at the top of the table, all they needed was a draw to secure the trophy, but it didn’t quite go according to plan…

 

Jill Scott of Man City battles with Ji So-Yun of Chelsea
Jill Scott of Man City battles with Ji So-Yun of Chelsea

 

Jill Scott of Man City (C) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Jill Scott of Man City (C) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

Jill Scott of Man City (C) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal
Jill Scott of Man City (C) celebrates after scoring their 1st goal

 

Eniola Aluko of Chelsea holds off Georgia Bougham of Man City
Eniola Aluko of Chelsea holds off Georgia Bougham of Man City

 

Drew Spence of Chelsea gets an elbow in the face from Jill Scott of Man City
Drew Spence of Chelsea gets an elbow in the face from Jill Scott of Man City

 

Toni Duggan of Man City celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal
Toni Duggan of Man City celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal

 

Toni Duggan of Man City celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal
Toni Duggan of Man City celebrates after scoring their 2nd goal

 

Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat
Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat

 

Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat
Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat

 

Jackie Groenen of Chelsea (R) consoles teammate Eniola Aluko of Chelsea after the match
Jackie Groenen of Chelsea (R) consoles teammate Eniola Aluko of Chelsea after the match

 

Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat
Eniola Aluko of Chelsea looks dejected following their defeat
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