Sunday 8th August 2010
Warsaw airport is very much a mixture of old and new, probably testament to the fact the city has become an ever-popular destination. It also gives me a location to write my latest thoughts before boarding my flight back to Blighty.
If I must use one word to describe the weekend as a whole it would have to be 'entertaining' and this very much applies to events both on and off the pitch.
Arriving early on Friday evening, totally due to good fortune it quickly became apparent we were staying in the same hotel as the players and staff! A fact confirmed when the whole travelling squad filed through reception shortly after we had checked in.
An excellent evening meal was followed by an ever so typical European night out, the Friday 'weekend' aspect meaning the whole party feel was more exaggerated than usual. A quite incredible thunderstorm made an already sticky night feel all the more sultry.
Matchday as a result arrived with most feeling a little delicate but spirits were buoyed when a dreary morning turned into a beautiful sun-drenched afternoon. It was also graced with a lunchtime situation that felt more than surreal. A coffee in the presence of Arsène Wenger, his staff and the entire squad doesn't happen every day of the week!
The city's quite superb old town area played host both pre- and post-match and by the time we entered Legia's brand new (and three-quarters finished) stadium we were all relaxed and ready to enjoy what for our hosts was quite a historic occasion.
The fans in this part of the world have always been known for the velocity of their vocal support and even with this still being an experimental pre-season friendly, it proved both loud and entertaining.
As for the match I'm not sure what exactly can be said! If you let in five goals you cannot say anything other than we were poor defensively but just like I never read too much into a friendly when we score six I'm not going to with the amount we conceded.
It certainly made for a highly-entertaining couple of hours especially as eight of the 11 goals were scored at the end where our mixed bunch of British and European Gooners were located.
Saturday night took the usual course and other than Sunday's brunch pretty much brought our first venture into Poland to a close.
I for one hope we get to return.
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