Frank Stubbs: A Fine Finnish!

Aaron Ramsey

A Fine Finnish!

Suggesting we read too much into our victory on Saturday evening would be hugely hypocritical given I don't read much into our defeat last week. I would be lying however if I didn't say it was hugely satisfying!

Having never been to Helsinki or indeed Finland it was a weekend I was very much looking forward to. It is far from the cheapest city we have played in, but entertainment-wise it certainly hasn't disappointed.

Our travelling group left Heathrow early on Friday morning so the first thing we had to deal with was booking a trip for our popular and hot Champions League play-off destination, not an easy project in the middle of summer and during the school holidays!

Although I throughly enjoyed my last visit to Istanbul it probably would have been my last choice of the five possibilities given the reasons above while on the pitch it offers a stern test. More on that particular jolly at a later date.

The people of Finland's capital city have certainly made us very welcome and they sure do know how to party at the weekend!

There aren't many cities I have visited down the years with pubs offering such a huge variety of wines, beers and the like, in such a small area. A capital city where literally everything is within walking distance is also a rarity and as a result the entertainment has been both crazy on the party front and hugely interesting, varied and cultural during the day.

Matchday was fantastic for many reasons. The city was a total sea of red and white from early morning, indeed it was only as kick-off approached that we saw a single City fan. The sense of pride that gives you as a Gooner is impossible to measure.

The venue for the match was awesome too, dating back to the 1954 Olympics. The stadium was extremely atmospheric and with at least 80 per cent of those with any bias supporting the mighty Arsenal it was hugely pleasurable.

That brings us to the game and we were impressive for a number of reasons. Clinical with the chances we created with some quite beautiful football, we also looked relatively solid when defending against undoubtedly one of the favourites to win honours.

Three great goals, a sell-out crowd and lovely warm sunshine, as far as pre-season gets, it couldn't have been any better.

Saturday night followed and that was an 'experience' too, joining the locals as they partied hard virtually until sunrise!

The remaining two days have gave us a chance to explore what is a compact but quite beautiful city and has brought a thoroughly enjoyable weekend to a close.

Now, however, things get serious.

Get your matchday rituals ready, be positive, stick together, add passion and that pride to wear the cannon on your chest and we will go forward together.

We are ATWD folks.


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