Twenty months down the line, the manager still has no vision and visit of Chelsea unlikely to be played in a full Emirates

On Sunday the Emirates Stadium will finally be at full capacity for the visit of the European champions, Chelsea. It promises to be a stirring, moving homecoming after 18 months of empty stands and cavernous silence, and certainly Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, could scarcely contain his excitement. “I can’t wait to have our fans back after 18 months,” he said. “This is why we are here, to experience those moments.” Alas, it appears that Arteta’s excitement is not universally shared. As of Friyday morning, two days out from the game, tickets were still available.

The overwhelming likelihood is that Arsenal’s first game back with a full stadium will not, in fact, take place in a full stadium. In the good times, this would have been utterly unthinkable. Under normal circumstances, a crackling London derby in the first home game of the season would probably have sold out within a couple of hours, even at the current prices of £64-£95.50. Instead, the club’s platinum members received an email this week offering them the opportunity to buy four further tickets for the game. There are numerous anecdotal reports of members who have been marooned on the season-ticket waiting list for years suddenly jumping thousands of places and being offered a seat this summer.

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