The Emirates has tried to live up to the ‘Fortress Highbury’ in history, but last season yielded an amazing SEVEN home defeats for Arsenal, the most in the Premier League era.
Obviously the whole of the Premier League teams were affected by the lack of home crowds, and in fact it hardly mattered wether you were playing home or away in the very strange campaign.
But hopefully we will be back to full capacity and there is going to be trialling of the “vaccine passport” which should allow nearly full houses in the coming season. Tomorrow, Chelsea will be coming to the Emirates for the first match of the Mind Series, a triangular pre-season tournament in which Tottenham are also involved, and they will be playing in front of a near-capacity crowd for the first time in 16 and a half months.
Many Gooners, including Mikel Arteta, are hoping things can get back to normal-ish and we can start winning more games at home again.
We were given an insight into how much the empty stands affected the players last year when Rob Holding gave an interview to the Guardian. He said: “When we were playing every three or four days and had no crowd, going again in front of an empty stadium, it did feel like a slog,”
“With fans coming back now, it’s crazy how different it feels, how much more energy there is on the pitch. When you make a tackle or a block and a big cheer goes up, then you’re excited for the next bit of play rather than just blocking it, hearing nothing and then thinking, like, ‘Oh’.”
So, tomorrow is going to be a big day for the Gunners. We may have had two easy wins against lower level teams, but these upcoming games again top class rivals can hopefully give us more insight to where we are in fitness and in confidence.
It will great to see and hear a full crowd at the Emirates once again, hopefully to see us play to our very best….