By Rob Kelly in Hong Kong
The Arsenal bandwagon rolled into Hong Kong on Day seven of the 2012 Tour, presented by Emirates - and the players received an incredible reception from their supporters here.
The squad flew direct to Hong Kong after last night's match at the Bird's Nest stadium where, despite the defeat to Manchester City, the outlook was positive after an encouraging display.
The arena itself is huge, and I was not the only one to get swallowed up in its bowels while trying to find my way back to the seat mid-game. After a sweaty dash through the intricate maze that makes up the stadium's concourse area, I returned just in time to see the heavens open to almost biblical proportions and the two teams suddenly involved in a very different game. It was farcical at times as the standing water played havoc with Arsenal's passing style, but the match proved a useful run-out and offered just the type of intensity hoped for by the management.
After a brief(ish) delay on the runway at Beijing airport, the Arsenal squad flew overnight to Hong Kong and were greeted by glorious sunshine and a city determined to show its adulation for their heroes. Once again, fans lined up outside the team hotel and gave the players and staff a rapturous reception upon arrival.
After a press conference at the hotel, the team split up for a variety of different events, ranging from a tour on a traditional 'Junk' sailing boat, to a Tai Chi lesson, to a manic, thrilling Nike retail and fan event in the centre of town where the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny were treated like all-conquering heroes. There was also a fan party in the team hotel - always fun for both the players and supporters - before the team stretched their legs with an early-evening training session and then attended a gala dinner.
Once again it had been a busy, exciting day - and another filled with memories of the Far East that will last a lifetime.
TOUR BLOG ARCHIVE:
- Day Six - Bird's Nest
- Day Five - Meeting the fans
- Day Four - Beijing
- Day Three - Game day
- Day Two - Batu Caves
- Day One - Kuala Lumpur