Asia Tour Insider - Day Four

Tour Insider

The entire squad went for a sightseeing tour in Hanoi this afternoon, but very soon they themselves became the city's main attraction.

As the branded team coach made its way through the streets to the One Pillar Pagoda - an historic Buddhist temple in the heart of the capital - word quickly spread that Arsenal were hitting the town.

It seemed every moped in Hanoi was soon flanking the bus, while thousands of fans on foot cheered and waved at the players.

'The Running Man' meets the Arsenal squad

'The Running Man' meets the Arsenal squad

One enthusiastic fan ran alongside the bus for at least six kilometres, colliding with a lamppost and then a tree as he attempted to keep pace with the police escort. At one point he even hopped on the back of one of the thousands of unofficial 'outriders' in order to keep up.

Meanwhile, inside the bus, the players shouted encouragement at the energetic fan, chanting 'sign him up' as he sprinted along. Eventually the coach pulled over, and Arsène Wenger invited 'running man' onboard, where he shook hands with all the players before planting a kiss on Mikel Arteta's cheek. Well, Arsenal did pledge to get close to the fans during this tour.

'The Running Man' with Mikel Arteta

'The Running Man' with Mikel Arteta

The players then disembarked and there was time for a quick photocall at the One Pillar Pagoda, and more autographs, before returning to the picturesque hotel.

The team had only arrived in Vietnam at 5am that morning, and the masses of fans at the airport - many of whom had slept out in anticipation - gave a clear indication of what was in store for the players in Vietnam. Arsenal are the first Premier League team ever to visit the country, and the locals were desperate to make it a welcome fitting of such a significant occasion. As such each member of the touring party filed through the airport, they were presented with a tradition Vietnamese conical hat, which players and staff sported proudly.

The team visited the One Pillar Padoga in Hanoi

The team visited the One Pillar Padoga in Hanoi

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrives in Vietnam

After a late morning sleep, the second leg of the tour began in earnest with a press conference, attended by Arsène, Ivan Gazidis, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta.

The manager was the main focus of the questions from the packed conference centre, and he once again demonstrated his ability to command a room, even when unfamiliar with the native tongue "I hope your football isn’t as fast as your language," he joked, "otherwise we will be in trouble on Wednesday night."

But before that match against the Vietnam XI, there is another day of fans' activities to look forward to. You sense Hanoi was only just warming up today…

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