Whilst I’m a Liverpool fan, I could not turn down the opportunity to sit with Mike and the away Watford fans in their 6th round FA Cup clash against holders Arsenal at the Emirates this Sunday, March 13th.
Mike and I met a few years ago in Rio de Janeiro and travelled down the coast of Brazil together for a month. We have remained friends ever since and this was our second Watford game together; the last time we headed to Wembley for the play-off Championship match though Watford failed to turn up on that occasion. This time, however, they certainly did.
Watford were allocated 9,000 tickets for this game and tickets only went on sale a week before as Arsenal had to beat Hull in their fifth round replay just last Sunday! Some 8,300 tickets were sold in 6 days and the atmosphere inside the Emirates amongst the big group of away fans was buzzing.
The Emirates is a beautiful stadium to watch football with fantastic views throughout and super comfy and spacious chairs. You pay for it though and I believe Arsenal games are the most expensive in Europe. Thankfully Mike was able to secure tickets at reduced rates being a season ticket holder with a large number of loyalty points for attending many matches.
It was a quiet-ish first half with few chances on either side and the teams went into the tunnel 0-0. Watford took the lead in the 50th minute and then doubled that lead some 13 minutes later to send the fans crazy. Noise levels continued to rise until Arsenal pulled one back with two minutes to play to set up a nail-biting finish.
The fourth official added on four minutes and it was a crazy finish with Arsenal missing a golden chance to level the scores when Danny Welbeck shot over the bar of an open goal. Watford held on and as the final whistle went and some 8,000 fans let out a collective sigh of relief, the away section at the Emirates was pandemonium.
For scenes at the final whistle and chants of ‘Wembley, Wembley’, here’s a short video I took – the Watford fans are chanting they’re off to Wembley as that is where the semi-finals will be played.