Featured Members’ Trips to The Arsenal – Muhammad Nasir

Our member Muhammad Nasir shares his visit to The Arsenal to watch the team take on Sporting Lisbon and Crystal Palace

Penalty Heartbreak and The Saka Show
Trip report by Muhammad Nasir

It’s been 10 years since my last trip to the Emirates, everyone knows a lot has changed since then. Hence about time to return and thanks to the tickets by Arsenal Singapore, I planned my short London trip to catch both the Europa League match as well as the league game against Crystal Palace.

Everyone talks about the new imagery on the outside walls of the Emirates Stadium and it really is something to behold, especially in the evening as I walk to the stadium for the game against Sporting. While all the artworks are great, the one that really caught the eye is the multi flag supporters artwork, illuminated by the pink Emirates Stadium sign – awesome!

As for the match itself, wow what a long game! To be honest we didn’t play well for large parts of the game and that was evident in the crowd as well – doing our best to encourage the team with a slight edge of frustration at the mistakes and decision making. Fortunately (or not) we had great seats at the side of the pitch where both goals were scored and the penalties were being taken. That meant that I had a clear view of the long range shot and also had to watch the Sporting players celebrate in front of their away fans! Nonetheless, despite the defeat and the long cold night (which resulted in a large crowd at the tube station before the last train) – nothing beats watching the team live after such a long time!

The Crystal Palace game was such a contrast – brilliant weather, dominant performance and as Amy Lawrence mentioned – continuous chanting in support of Patrick Viera. The atmosphere felt a lot ‘stronger’ in a way – it’s as if everyone in the stadium subconsciously wants the league title a lot more than the Europa League. Where we were seated – we also had a bit of smoke come our way from the away fans’ flares (another new experience) but we had superb views of the first 2 goals too from Saka and Martinelli. The first goal really sparked crazy celebrations, it’s as if we all knew that the game was more or less ours already! Aside from the win, when watching the team live, a few players stood out – Ben White and Xhaka for their pure athleticism; they looked really strong and aggressive the whole game, and also Martin Odegaard. Our captain is clearly super skillful, but also obvious how much ground he covers and to follow it up with his magic in the final third is really outstanding (Chapeau!)

Apart from the games, I had a memorable time walking around the stadium – I managed to find my ‘Arsenal stone’ at the North Bank, which was a gift from my wife back in 2015. Such an amazing feeling when we finally located it, we were wondering what had happened since our order several years back, happy to see its part of the stadium now. Also great to meet fellow Singapore Gooners – Simon, Billy and Aloysius (when are you guys going back again? :P)

Finally, massive thanks for Arsenal Singapore for supporting us with the tickets – Dhanesh and Connie, big appreciation! Email communications were smooth and no issues at all with payment, etc.