Friday 19th February

To be honest, I thought 3/1 at the bookies was generous odds for a home win in the week. You could call that slightly deluded on my part but I would back our team against anyone in the world at home. Even arguably the greatest team since football began.

We all knew the various aspects that needed to be in place if we were to get a positive result on Wednesday night. We needed to be totally on top of our game when it came to fitness and sharpness, tactically correct in our decision making, defensively strong, offensively efficient, patient, have Lady Luck on our side and, on top of that of course, have us lot making some serious noise to get behind the team.

Overall, on the night I think we can be pretty satisfied that we achieved the majority.

The anticipation for the game in recent days has been immense, a combination of the fixture itself and the whole rematch situation after last year's encounter.

As a result you could feel the atmosphere approaching Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal versus Barcelona is always going to be a special night but even we couldn't have predicted quite how memorable it would turn out to be.

Reading both Mr Wenger and Cesc's programme notes that made it very clear we may well see a totally different aspect to the games we are used to witnessing by the fact there may well be periods where we wouldn't touch the ball. The fact they openly admitted to being aware of this gave me confidence.

The game itself was absolutely awesome. There is no other way to describe it. Our visitors were quite simply the best footballing side we are ever likely to witness. But we were ready, we rode our luck a little and, after RVP came close, on more than one occasion in the first period they were also aware of our threat.

When time was running out we were immense, took our chances and put ourselves into a half-time lead in the tie.

Our second was a magnificent counter-attacking move, brilliantly finished by the Meerkat. The jostle and noise that followed was arguably the craziest we have seen since we moved home. Believe me, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end, a simply incredible moment.

Of course, we are only half way there but we can travel out to Spain knowing that this incredible team are beatable. We will still be massive underdogs of course but, with the elements above all present, you never know. One thing is for sure, we will never forget Wednesday February 16th 2011. It was special.

In a strange kind of way Sunday's trip to Leyton Orient is of equal importance. An FA Cup Fifth Round tie that is a perfect example of what the greatest ever Cup competition is all about.

The stadium just about holds a similar amount of people as to how many Leeds brought to the Emirates in the Third Round. That perhaps, is the best indication as to what we face.

I expect it to be an extremely tough encounter and one where, once again, we need to be on top of our game to progress. The last eight is a huge prize as an incentive.

Come on you Yellows!!


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18 Feb 2011