Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Arsenal v Reading
Barclays Premier League
Emirates Stadium
Saturday 30th March 2013

Journey Time to the ground: 2 hours 30 minutes.  We left home at 10:40am and walked to Winnersh Triangle.  We caught the train from Winnersh Triangle to Clapham Junction then got the overground to Highbury & Islington.

The ground is a ten to fifteen minute walk from the station and is signposted. 
Ticket Price: £25.50

Programme Price: £3

Having never been to the Emirates before, I was quite looking forward to my visit.  The stadium is impressive from the outside and you have to walk up some steps to get to the entry gates, similar to Wembley Stadium.  We were seated in the Clock End Lower Tier in the away section to the right of the goal.  This stand is shared between home and away supporters, with small metal fences and a line of stewards separating the two.  The seats were the biggest I have ever seen at a football ground, and were padded.  There is a lot of leg room, but where the seats are as big as the backs of the seats, they catch when you stand, and can cause some problems when people are walking passed to get to their seat.  For such an impressive stadium, I was disappointed at the height between rows.  I felt this was too shallow and having a few tall people sat in front, it was difficult to see the whole of the pitch without standing up.  The Clock End has four tiers, with two small executive tiers between the upper and lower tier. 

To the left of the Clock End is the West Stand, which again has four tiers.  This is the main stand where the teams come out from, and also has the dugouts in front of the stand.  Opposite the West Stand is the East Stand, which is identical to the West Stand minus the dugouts.  Opposite the Clock End is the North Bank, which is identical to the Clock End, but just houses home fans.  There is a definate mini-Wembley feel inside the ground, especially with the oscillating upper tiers.
The game started with Arsenal playing in their usual fashion, passing the ball around easily.  Surprisingly Reading also tried to pass the ball around a bit, more so than I have seen for the rest of the season, although not quite as sucessfully as Arsenal.  Arsenal took the lead after 11 minutes, when Gervinho tapped in Santi Cazorla's cross.  For the rest of the half Arsenal continued to keep possession, but created few chances and Reading managed to keep the scoreline down to 1-0. 
The second half started poorly for Reading, with Arsenal scoring the goal that ended the game as a contest, Santi Cazorla curling in a delighful shot from just inside the penalty area after 48 minutes.  Just after the hour mark, Reading managed to concede from their own corner, with Olivier Giroud driving low passed Stuart Taylor following a sweeping counter-attack.  Almost immediately Reading got back into the game, with Hal Robson-Kanu heading in Jobi McAnuff's cross at the far post.  Sadly that was as good as it got for Reading, with Arsenal being awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when Adrian Mariappa brought down Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  Mikel Arteta converted from the spot and the game finished 4-1. 

Attendance: 60,082 with 3,018 Reading fans.

Atmosphere:  There was no atmosphere!  The Arsenal fans lived up to their reputation and were very quiet throughout the game, and although the Reading fans tried to get a few chants going, the sound seemed to get lost in the stadium. 

Journey Time home: 3 hours 30 minutes.  After spending some time looking in the club shop, we made our way back to Highbury & Islington and caught the Overground to Clapham Junction.  We stopped at Clapham Junction to get some food from KFC, then caught the train from Clapham Junction to Winnersh Triangle.  We then got a taxi from Winnersh Triangle, and got home at about 8:30pm. 

This was another easy day.  The Emirates is very easy to get to, and considering how big the capacity of the stadium is, there was little congestion at the station after the game.  It was another poor performance though from Reading, and things will be much better next season when there is a chance of seeing the team win some games!  Although the Emirates is very impressive both inside and out, I was disappointed by the view of the pitch from my seat.  Considering it is a new stadium and everything else is great, this is the one thing that lets the stadium down.