JW Diaries: A long trip to Baku takes its toll

It seems a lifetime ago that we had to overcome another inept refereeing performance against a confident Watford team who were resolute and outplayed us for large spells; a couple of inspired substitutions saw us win late on 2-0.

It’s good to see our triple training sessions paying off.

After another Sunday off due to a reoccurring cold, late Tuesday I checked in to Heathrow terminal 4 for an overnight flight to Baku, Azerbaijan.

Meeting fellow Gooners at the airport pub, around 35 of us were on the 5 1/2 hour flight which saw us land around 6.30am.

After dropping bags at the hotel, we completed the sightseeing before a liquid lunch and checking in at 1pm.

Following a couple of hours sleep, we hit a local bar at Fountain Square followed by a fantastic Azerbaijan meal with wine that came to about £20 a head!

After another bar, I left early at 10pm to catch up on my sleep, only to be woken at 6am by my room mate crashing home worse for wear.

Matchday saw us at The Red Lion along with 50% of the English gooner contingent, then moving on to a bar near the stadium well before kick-off.

I thought we played well with the team we put out and deserved our win. We were let straight out after the match, celebrating our win until gone 4am.

On the Friday we were all planning on doing a sightseeing trip which I ended up blowing out! I spent most of the day in my room only venturing out for a brief walk and some food.

By 8pm I was back in the pub with around 20 other Gooners where once again we took over the bar as well as the laptop playing the music we wanted until the very early hours of Saturday – I was reliably informed that I got in at 6am!

As we had an evening flight, we met up once again at the usual bar until they got us taxis to the airport. The good thing about going to the same place is that we convinced the owner that if we get to the Final, this will be an Arsenal fans only bar.

If we do get to the Europa League Final, Baku is the perfect location for it.

Arriving home at 11pm, I was up at 6.30am for a trip to Fulham which, due to being tired, I was extremely close to blowing out. I’m so glad I didn’t; a wonderful 2nd half performance with well worked goals made up for my fatigue.

After I went straight home and for the first time in recent memory no alcohol passed my lips on a first team match day.

With the international break yet again upon us, there will no senior matches to be had during the week. There will be a few youth team games to fill my time, but with Lisbon only a few weeks away, I’m certainly glad of the rest.


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