Thursday 15th September 2011
Return air travel tends to be the norm when it comes to our various ventures into Europe and consequently that often includes those tedious waits in airport departure lounges. This is often when I write my latest thoughts.
Our latest trip however, involved a road trip in a nine-seater with yours truly at the wheel. Me tapping away on my handset while rolling through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France yesterday made writing pretty much impossible (and totally illegal of course!)
It has given me time to reflect on what was yet another fantasticaly entertaining trip off the pitch while yielding a result on it that I think pretty much all of us would have taken before a ball was kicked.
It all started early on Monday morning when we picked up our hired transport for the trip, headed through Kent and the Eurotunnel before a simple and quick journey along the E40 all the way from Calais to Cologne.
A city I am fond of, it did feel kind of strange to be back so quickly after our pre-season weekender back in July and the same venues that proved so popular on that trip were enjoyed once more, even if they were understandably quieter given it was a Monday night!
After a successful way to start proceedings we then took the short drive up to Dortmund to enjoy the pre-match entertainment on offer.
Our hotel’s location, literally 400 yards from the away end, proved extremely convenient as within minutes of arriving we were taking in the quite fantastic hospitality in one of the Fan Parks next to the stadium.
Big TV screens, music and oodles of refreshment of both the liquid and solid variety were thoroughly enjoyed among the always friendly and welcoming host supporters.
The stadium was noisy and colourful as expected but I felt we played extremely well under considerable pressure. Dortmund had plenty of possession but other than one or two moments we defended superbly limiting them to no more than half-chances.
And when a chance to break came our way didn't RVP bury it?! A cracking finish from Theo's fine through-ball and one corner of the Signal Iduna Park went crazy.
Again we defended extremely well in the second half and Gerv was extremely close to doubling our lead with another break.
It was always going to take something special or unusual to level things up and unfortunately this happened. The chap who scored is unlikely to ever get one like that again so although we have to applaud the strike, we couldn't help but feel a little unlucky.
Still, a draw is an excellent result out there and we were only a few moments from going one better. For me that has to bode well as we go forward.
The late goal certainly didn't change the mood as we enjoyed the after-match fare, that's for sure!
Back to our bread and butter next as we take the long trip north to Blackburn.
To be honest, I don't exepect it to be any easier than Tuesday.
Come on you mighty reds!
FrankCopyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Sep 2011