Entering the Plague Pit (The Emirates)

Arsenal / Chelsea - Emirates Stadium à Londres | Billets & Places

Rather than drone on about how bad Arsenal were against Chelsea, I thought I’d give an account of my day at the stadium.

It’s been 17 long months since there has been a ‘full’ Emirates stadium. I managed to get to a game in December against Vienna. That occasion was a surreal experience sitting 3 seats from any other fans, only topped by having to order a ‘substantial meal’ with my beer that same day.

I passed up the chance of a beer pre-match and headed straight to the ground. The fans in general were in a boisterous mood aided by alcohol and a variety of other substances.

Those of us with season tickets will be aware of the new entry requirements to the Stadium with a new card and/or an App on the phone. I decided to bring both as my experience of dealing with Arsenal’s website and customer service department is akin to drinking petrol…not pleasant.

We were funneled along some queues where coats and bags were checked before getting to the concourse around the stadium. This seemed to work well as the usual queues at the turnstiles were a lot shorter than in pre-covid times. There were a few hold ups at the entrance as there were some Apps that didn’t work, but I got inside the stadium pretty quickly. The bar areas were packed, and the Arsenal fans were in good voice. I went into the seating area, took up my place and caught up with a number of familiar faces.

I would say that the Stadium was two thirds full. I know several people that have caught Covid recently so couldn’t make the game or were understandably reluctant to come along. Others are on holiday and more didn’t fancy it for reasons of their own. The game didn’t sell out, which meant season ticket holders were unable to put their tickets on the ticket exchange. Considering this was the first full capacity game in the stadium for some time and we were playing a traditional rival from London it speaks volumes of where Arsenal are at the moment. Many fans can’t be bothered to watch a team that has declined a long way from the previous highs of the early 2000s. This is natural, but it must make the powers that be nervous.

At the start of the game the sun was shining, and the fans were making a lot of noise. Unfortunately, the sun disappeared behind the clouds, the heavens opened, and it didn’t stop pouring for about 30 minutes.

Near where I sit in the North Bank there was a broken gutter high up on the Stadium roof, which meant that bucket-loads of water tipped down on some unsuspecting fans below. This isn’t a cattle shed or Stamford Bridge in the 80s, it’s not a good look. It was interesting to note that the Stadium looked a bit washed out. The seats and murals have become sun-bleached like a lot of the cheap seats in a US Baseball Park. Considering the Stadium is only 15 years old it looks a bit jaded. Just like the team really.

You know what happened in the game, so no need for further analysis here. The fans dripped away as they tend to do at Arsenal leaving a half empty stadium at the final whistle.

The crowds outside trudged along slowly towards Arsenal tube and the other destinations. A few half-witted Chelsea fans (are there any that aren’t half-witted?) aggressively chanted their way down the road, then disappeared in another direction.

My group visited a few local hostelries. The atmosphere was upbeat in these pubs. The Arsenal fans know that the team is in bad state and will tolerate the poor fare on offer for a while before things turn toxic. Lose at home to Norwich and the mood could change quickly.

I really enjoyed my day out. It’s been a long journey to get back to full stadiums. I think most fans in attendance enjoyed the novelty of watching a game in person. Here’s hoping this carries on…

Up the Arsenal! Courtesy of: Pete the Thirst

11 Responses to Entering the Plague Pit (The Emirates)

  1. GoonerB says:

    Hi RC. Can you possibly pull forward my comment on the end of the last post in reply to OMG’s comment and I can look at this one later

  2. RockyLives says:

    Lovely descriptive account Pete – makes me wish I’d been there.

    There was some talk in the media about the team being booed. Did that happen?

    I wondered if any booing there might have been at HT or FT was of the ref for not giving us a blatant penalty and for generally helping the Chavs throughout (not that they didn’t deserve their win).

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Thanks for posting.

    @Rocky yes there was booing. A bit at half time and more at the final whistle. My take it was to do with how poorly Arsenal played and were set up. There is a lot of pent up anti-Arteta feeling and he isn’t doing himself any favours with the inept tactics currently on display.

    The ref got plenty too. They usually do. How they flip flop from giving a penalty for a brush of leg hair to allowing a blatant trip is beyond me. It reinforces the view that the PGMOL have no idea what they are doing.

  4. RC78 says:

    GoonerB’s comment to OMG’s comment:
    OMG, I agree there are still plenty of games in the first 11 fixtures to get to a decent points tally before we face Liverpool, even if we dont take any points next weekend.

    We have the squad, and run of games in those 8 between City and Liverpool, to get 20 from 24 points on offer. 20 points with 27 games remaining in the season is not an unhealthy position.

    If we got a run going and were performing with confidence and took 60 of those remaining 81 points we could end up around 80 points. This won’t win the league this year but would see us near the top end of it and would represent massive progress with a young side that will only get better.

    However, those 8 games determine whether Arteta stays or not. A bad run in those games and we won’t recover the season and the writing would be well and truly on the wall.

    This would be identical to last season where a poor earlier run of decent fixtures basically finished our EPL season before Christmas. It wasn’t possible to recover from that even with a far better showing from the Boxing day game with Chelsea.

    OMG. Look at the 7 run of games before the boxing day game and aew the similarities with the 8 games after City. We took something like 2 from the 21 on offer in a decent fixture run.

    This run of 8 games now after City will determine Arteta. We all have job pressure so his future with us is on the line in that run. Not being a doom merchant, just factual really.

    A bad run and it leaves him untenable. A good run and we could spring forwards to something far greater this season, and it could launch Arteta’s reign with us as a successful one for years to come. The deadline period is approaching whether we like it or not.

  5. LB says:

    What a great read, really enjoyed it, I was there myself and would say the only thing you missed out was the ceremony before the match in which the keys to the park were handed over to Reece James.

    I think it is accurate to say that the fans were behind the team even though there were one or two groans at half time and lets face it who expected to win?

    As to the game, well we avoided a drubbing, that’s good now days isn’t it?

  6. RC78 says:

    Torreira joins Fiorentina on loan with a buying clause of 15 Mln EUR…not sure if it is a mandatory one

    Willian to be compensated as AFC and Willian agree to part ways. He will go to Corinthians.

  7. RC78 says:

    Crystal Palace interested in Nketiah…come on Pat, help us out and take Kolasinac too 😛

  8. LB says:

    Willian will be laughing all the way back to Brazil.

  9. Pete the Thirst says:

    Cheers LB. Glad you made it to the game. I think Peaches was there too.

    @LBG did you get any joy keeping your seat while cancelling for a year?

  10. RC78 says:

    New post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: