Wednesday 24th November 2010
Braga is a quiet place. In fact over the 18 years I have followed us around Europe I'm not sure I've visited anywhere quieter! Couple that with last night's performance and result and it has created one of those rare occasions football-wise where I would rather be back home right now.
Our original plans had us returning today, however a Portuguese general strike sees us here for another 24 hours and gives us more time to reflect on a disappointing performance to say the very least.
So, what does one get up to for a couple of days in a town that is basically shut?! Fortunately we have found a couple of very good tapas bars and restaurants and they have proved more than hospitable so all in all it hasn't been that bad.
Yesterday's matchday build-up saw the usual main square scene of the majority of travelling Gooners enjoying the local fare and after Saturday's disappointment I think we were all confident of a positive response.
Entering Braga's unique stadium, our optimism was to prove grossly inaccurate.
Of course things could and probably would have been different had we been awarded a ridiculously blatant penalty but this doesn't hide the fact we were poor on the night.
Consequently we have gone from Champions League perfection to needing a result in our last game to qualify, a situation that certainly didn't look likely a month or so back.
Our sixth defeat this season before the end of November, definitely something we are not used to.
The only good news to come out of that situation is we are definitely still well in the hunt on all fronts.
That continues with the always tough trip to Villa Park on Saturday.
Before that, we have one more night to 'enjoy' in Portugal. Apparently Wednesday is a big night according to the locals. Just how big remains to be seen!
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