The Emirates has a capacity of over 60,000 making it the second largest league football ground in the country. The stadium is comprised of four tiers although the middle two are very small and purely for club members and executive box holders. There is also an underground car park for staff and any commercial vehicles that need access. I was privileged enough to park in here when shown into the ground to take photos.
Up to 3,000 visiting supporters can be accommodated and they're housed in the lower tier of the south east corner of the stadium. Cup matches will see bigger allocations given, if required. The tickets, and food/drink within the ground, are pricey. An exception is made for the League Cup, when the home side often vastly reduce the admission price to ensure a greater attendance (tickets sometimes available for as low as £10).
Emirates Stadium seating plan:
The Drayton Arms is away friendly, and is usually absolutely chocker on a match day with fans spilling out onto the streets around it. There's usually a couple of burger vans there, too, to keep the blood-sugar levels up.
Another option is to drink around Finsbury Park tube, to the north of the ground, where The Blackstock and The Twelve Pins (both easy to find as soon as you come out of Finsbury Park tube station) are both welcoming of home and away supporters, and are not much more than a 10 minute stroll away from the ground.
Parking is almost impossible to find around the stadium. Permit holder signs adorn the lamp posts of many a street and to be honest, unless you're willing to pay £10 to park in any of the near by 'football' car parks, travelling in by tube always seems to be the best option.
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The nearest / closest train station to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium is Drayton Park, which is about 150 metres from the ground. However, the station is closed on weekends and on match days so the only use it will be to you is if you're going to pick up match tickets or do the stadium tour.
The nearest tube stations are Holloway Road and Arsenal, which are on the Piccadilly line. Both of these are around a 5 minute walk from the stadium. The other stations serving Ashburton Grove are Finsbury Park, roughly ten minutes walk away and served by both the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, as well as suburban rail services; and Highbury and Islington, also approximately ten minutes away, which is served by the Victoria Line and the North London Line.
Rivals - Tottenham Hotspur, Man Utd, Chelsea
Travel: Driving from Berkshire, we parked up in the car park at Hatton Cross Underground station. I expected to pay a fiver for the parking but discovered it was free for Blue Badge holders. I had purchased a couple of Oyster Cards the week before, two cards which were obtained for £5 deposit and each loaded with £10. Paying for tickets at the station would have cost £5.80 each way, but using the Oyster Card reduced the single fare to £3.10. I am still in two minds as to cancel the Oyster Cards and get the remaining balances plus the deposit refunded or keep them for future use. Hatton Cross is on the Piccadilly Line, as is the Arsenal Underground station, so no need to change to trains. The train was virtually empty when we got on, but by the time we arrived at Arsenal an hour later, it was crammed. We turned right as we came out of Arsenal station and the stadium was just a few minutes walk away.
Refreshments: There were plenty of burger and hot dog stalls between the station and the stadium. The turnstiles were open when we got to the stadium so we entered it without much mooching about outside. The locals were friendly and both sets of fans mingled with no problems.
Impressions: Being quite new, the outside of the stadium was impressive with lots of glass. Our bags were searched and we were frisked before entering the stadium. The concourse was not quite spacious enough and we had to squeeze our way through the scrum to get to our seats. We were seated in the last but one row from the back of the lower tier, under the overhanging second tier. The seats were wide and padded with adequate legroom. TV screens were hanging from the ceiling and they were showing the Everton v Manchester United game which was being shown live on Sky Sports. The stadium is four-tiered. A large lower tier, with a small second tier partially overhanging the lower tier. This second tier was for the prawn sandwich brigade. The third tier was for the caviar munching types, being just executive boxes with a row or two of seats in front of them. The fourth tier was large, with a curved design. I am not a fan of curved stands personally.
Atmosphere: We grabbed a pie and cuppa, which cost £5. The steak & ale pie was delicious, and my granddaughter said her chicken & mushroom pie was also very good. The stewards, who were very friendly and helpful, noticed I had mobility issues and moved us to a raised wheelchair area where there were a few vacant seats. Being raised we were able to see the pitch above the heads of the standing Palace fans. The Palace fans were very noisy from the start so we couldn't hear much from the locals. Although Arsenal had the lion's share of possession, Palace were very quick to counter attack, and went ahead in the first half from a Benteke header, his first goal in over a year. The Palace fans went wild. Arsenal equalised very early in the second half, and we did hear the home fans then. I thought that was it, Arsenal are going to go on and win their tenth home game in a row. Wilf Zaha proved me wrong by scoring Palace's second goal, assisted by a Benteke flick on and very poor Arsenal defending. Wilf Zaha is idolised by the Palace faithful, and he celebrated in front of us. A few minutes later McArthur scored our third from a close in header. Arsenal managed to score a second close to the end of the 90 minutes. Somehow, the refereeing team decided 5 minutes of added time was needed, during which Arsenal tried to rescue the game, but when the ref finally blew, Palace had held on and won 3-2, and that caused pandemonium in the away section. It was the first Palace win away to Arsenal for 25 years, and their first ever win at the Emirates. The result ensured Palace were mathematically safe from relegation, although we knew we were virtually safe a few games earlier.
Exit: We took our time leaving and we slowly walked back in the direction of the Arsenal Underground station. A Palace fan in front of us as we left the stadium was loudly letting the world know Palace had won. A police officer politely advised him to zip it as it might have provoked some of the many Arsenal fans around us. There was a massive queue outside the Underground Station so we had a burger and cuppa from a van opposite the station and we waited for the queue to subside. After about 30 minutes things had quietened down and we got seats on the tube back to Hatton Cross.
Enjoy: For us Palace fans, it was a great game and a great result. In spite of Arsenal having the majority or possession, Palace had more attempts on goal, and also more attempts on target. My arthritic knees and hip are giving me serious grief today, the day after the game, but seeing Palace win away at Arsenal made it worth it! The attendance was 59,229.
Ground Name: Emirates Stadium
Capacity: 60,432 (all seated)
Address: Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London, N5 1BU
Main Tel No.: 0207 619 5003
Team Nickname: The Gunners
Year Ground Opened: 2006