Frank Stubbs: Turkish Delight

13/14: Fenerbahce 0-3 Arsenal - Aaron Ramsey

Turkish Delight

My head hurts this morning. The wonderful hospitality shown by Istanbul is partly to blame. But I take total responsibility for the majority. Given the events of this week and last night's fine performance however, I'm sure I can be forgiven.

Back in 2008 I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and the 5-2 victory was very much part of that. Istanbul is one of the world's great cities and I'm not sure I could ever tire of coming here. When it comes to pressure however, the match this time around was on a whole different level.

School holidays, a hot summer destination and the short notice has meant this has been a difficult and expensive adventure. Over the last 20 years or so I have been lucky with some incredible deals for our European trips so I am happy to take this one on the chin!

It also meant that for the first time ever I made the journey alone, although a good friend had travelled on Monday and the usual suspects at all away games were always going to be present upon arrival.

My flight arrived in the early hours of Tuesday morning and reaching my hotel involved a bus, ferry and walk. Crossing the Bosphorus as the sun was rising was a truly memorable experience - if viewed through very tired eyes - and lifted my spirits after the disappointment of Saturday.

Over the last two days the delights this great city holds have been enjoyed to the full before undertaking that unique experience of travelling into a different continent for a European tie.

Some took the ferry while we and the majority took one of the organised coaches, enjoying our first taste of the colour and passion of our hosts as we approached the stadium.

Back in 2008 I remember the noise around kick-off time made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and this time was no different.

Saying that, despite PMT being present in large quantities I was very confident we could get the result we all longed for.

Totally controlling possession from minute one was crucial to quieten the noisy atmosphere and we did that superbly. If anything we lacked that killer instinct in the final third but overall our first-half performance was professional and gave reason for big optimism in the second period.

We didn't have to wait too long of course, Gibbo providing the finishing touch to a fine move. There might not have been too many of us but the travelling Gooners celebrated with gusto.

In any two-legged European tie an away goal is simply massive. We had ours and didn't have to wait too long for a couple more, the superb Rambo doubling our lead before Olly finished what was an excellent performance all round from the penalty spot.

A massive result under huge pressure from all angles, especially when it felt like the whole world wanted to see us fail.

The fall-out of course, is my headache. Much research and a good deal however, sees me writing these notes in glorious sunshine while lying by a rooftop pool overlooking the vast city that is Istanbul. It certainly helps the pain and has me thinking of Saturday's tough trip to Fulham.

Winning games brings confidence so last night was crucial in so many ways. Taking that feeling into Saturday is vital.

I'm going to finish today with a mention to those Gooners who are out here this week. Of the 300-odd in the away end only very few were from the UK (that includes you Dimitri!)

This was a difficult and expensive one to get to as I mentioned earlier. I think I can speak on behalf of every one of us by saying last night emphasised why we are so proud to wear the cannon on our chest.

This might be a bit selfish but I feel no guilt in saying that result was for us boys and girls.

Now... I need a paracetamol!

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