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Old Trafford
Manchester United v Arsenal
Saturday March 13th 2011
FA Cup 5th Round, 5.15pm
By Harry Shaw
(Arsenal fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Having only visited Old Trafford once before (for a meaningless England friendly) I jumped at the chance for a trip up to watch the Arsenal. An added bonus being theyíd be even more Gunners fans there because of the bigger ticket allocation for cup games.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Got the train without hassle. Getting to the ground was a doddle albeit the tram from the city centre to the ground was quite busy. Not that you mind that after a few beers on the journey up!  Iím sure getting there earlier would see lesser crowds on the tram.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Didnít have time to track down a pub but grabbed a burger from a van before going into the ground, standard grub, what youíd expect.  Didnít have any trouble at all from the home fans.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

You canít help but be impressed by the groundís exterior, as much as I tried not to! But first time visitors may be expecting too much, whilst pundits on the telly can go over the top about it. Itís a vast, great stadium, but itís definitely not going to make your jaw drop like the Bernabeu or San Siro for example, but then thatís just my opinion.  Inside the ground is even more impressive, totally enclosed, the impossibly steep stands meet the pitch mere yards from the players. It looks intimidating from the stands, Iíd imagine itíd be even more so from the playersí point of view.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Stewards were polite and helpful which was good, pointing us to our seats with a smile! Toilets were clean and big, queues for pies etc. went down quickly as far as I could tell. 

The game itself was unfortunately one to forget, in typical Arsenal fashion we dominated possession had shots on target but never really threatened, one thing I suppose you could say was van der Sar had a very good game. United soaked up our pressure with little effort and scored their first on the break through Fabio, then shortly after the restart Rooney headed in from close range. Both goals came from rebounds if I remember correctly which was a bore. At half time only bottles of Singha were on sale for a mammoth 3 or 4 pounds so I gave them a miss. It was annoying they didnít sell pints but there you go. There were the usual pies and hot dogs on sale.  Despite the magnitude of the game the United fans never got going, a shame with the Ďammoí theyíve got at their disposal.  Us Arsenal fans didnít stop all game and towards the last 20 mins turned it up a notch chanting non stop that we won the league in Manchester, absolutely fantastic.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground wasnít a problem, however I covered my colours up after being accosted by a few Man Utd fans for a cigarette!  Getting the tram back into town to get the train back was a drag, unlike at Arsenal where everyone filters out to the different tube lines/stations etc. It seemed a vast percentage got the tram back to the town centre, we eventually squeezed into about the 6th one that came along, and that was still packed like sardines. Next time weíre losing two-nil I think Iíll leave a few minutes early!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a great day out as the Arsenal fans were in full voice throughout, a shame about the result but hey thatís the way it goes. It definitely wonít be my last visit to Old Trafford, thoroughly enjoyable and no trouble whatsoever.

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