Fun in the Welsh Sun

Sunday 1st November 2015

Although ultimately extremely satisfying, Saturday afternoon was a much tougher affair than the scoreline suggests. The difference between both halves in fact was quite remarkable.

Previous trips to this part of the country have yielded a variety of results. Our most recent encounters in fact have produced defeats both home and away. That along with our lengthy injury list were comfortably enough to give the fixture a real difficult feel to it.

For our previous fixture this time round I am going back to May 1966 and a testimonial.

Taking place 4 years before I was born it is not a fixture I can claim to have attended and there is little I can tell you about the game other than we won 3-1!

3-1 to the Arsenal!

3-1 to the Arsenal!

Fifty odd years later however, so much has obviously changed for yesterday’s hosts. The ‘Town’ part of the name was ‘upgraded’ back in 1969 in recognition to Swansea being awarded city status at that time and they left their Vetch Field home in 2005.

The programme notes described the ‘Mighty Arsenal, for many years Britain’s finest sporting ambassadors. In village and township throughout the World, the game of soccer, at its finest, is synonymous with one club. ARSENAL’

No change there then….. 🙂

As for Brian Hughes, his testimonial for which we made the trip to south Wales had been awarded for the usual ten years service, a career where he made well over 200 appearances for The Swans.

Our journey west proved trouble free but whilst enjoying our pre match fare in our usual haunt, I wouldn’t say the air amongst the travelling Gooner army was filled with confidence. It is difficult to work out exactly why given our recent League form but our injuries, recent results against Swansea and the media vultures waiting to pounce if we lost our second game in a week were all enough to approach with a certain amount of trepidation if not negativity.

Even though it is extremely obvious by the 8 or more team changes we make for every League Cup tie I find it amazing how the media don’t seem to recognise that fact. Our ‘first choice’ team went into Saturday on the back of 4 successive league wins, a run that included beating arguably the best side in Europe and that could only give an air of confidence. Yet had we lost against The Swans we all know the media would have created a sense of mini ‘crisis’ despite there being 2 completely different teams playing in the 2 competitions.

90 minutes or so from 3 points

90 minutes or so from 3 points

We created a couple of chances in the first half but generally we could be nothing but delighted to go into the break on level terms. We had been second best throughout, dug in and rode our luck at times. We could and possibly should have been losing. But most importantly of all, we weren’t.

Playing like that again in the second period we probably would have lost. But from minute one it was obvious whatever had been said in the dressing room, it worked.

Olly’s header, Laurent capping another great performance by tapping home and Joel Campbell finishing well on his full League debut gave us 3 quality away jostles and secured those massively important 3 points.

Mesut was my man of the match though, he simply purred in the second half and produced the kind of football I could watch all day long.

A great result then and celebrating long into the night felt the right thing to do. So I did.

Online check in is my next job this evening as Munich is our destination. A city we have visited on a number of occasions now we have proved we can match Bayern in our previous encounters. We are also aware however, getting another result is a hugely tough ask.

Enjoy the usual German hospitality if you are joining me in attending…..and make some noise as always.

Come on you yellows!!!



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