I won't forget that in a hurry!
After hearing the draw for the quarter finals, I was ecstatic that we
had drawn Barcelona and my diary was going to allow me time to see the
An early day started with half a day in a Moscow - meetings in the
office and then a race to the airport. Landing in London at 4pm, I got
gome, washed, donned my Arsenal colours and headed for the pre-requisite
pre-match bevvy down the pub!
Left for the stadium a tad late and got caught in a traffic jam of
underground trains. Unfortunately didn't get a chance to take in any
pre-match atmosphere - just got to the seats as the game kicked off
...... and what a game !
The best team in Europe, the biggest team in the world, the best players
in the world .... here at the Emirates, and the Gunners fans raised the
roof with their excitement.
The first half didn't produce any goals, but should have .... at least 4
or 5 for Barcelona! How Arsenal withstood and didn't concede is beyond
me, but we lived to fight another half !
So they kick off - not even 30 seconds passes and Barcelona take the
lead ! Arsenal cant get a kick in and 10 minutes later its 2-0. What a
disaster. A nightmare, A waste of a trip to come and see this! But then
....... on comes Walcott. Within 5 minutes he has scored and brought
Arsenal back into the game. What a change in atmosphere! The Emirates
comes back to life and Arsenal are a new team. The pressure increases,
the noise increases, the belief increases - and now Barcelona are
stumbling. The tide has turned and you can feel that Arsenal have it in
them. They battle and push and press, and the inevitable has to happen -
and it does. In the form of a penalty by Fabregas, who was brought down
seconds earlier in front of goal. A hard confident penalty brings us
back on level terms. It gives us hope for the return leg in a weeks
time, but more importantly, the team earn respect - from their
opposition, from the watching audience, and for themselves.
A tremdous, exciting, emotional evening and trip.
I'm flying back to Dubai now - still buzzing. I will be home soon, back
with my family and in the morning we leave for a week of sun in Phuket.
More later ...... well done Arsenal !