Were Cologne fans out of order at Arsenal?

Five arrests were made over the course of the evening.

Arsenal’s opening Europa League game resulted in a 3-1 win against Bundesliga side Cologne, but the debate after the game was not about the football, rather the presence of thousands of Cologne fans that the Emirates Stadium struggled to accommodate.

Kick-off was delayed by an hour, as ticketless Cologne fans looked to gain entry to the ground – the visitors were issued with 3,000 tickets, but around 20,000 Cologne fans are believed to have made the journey to London.

The hours before the game had seen thousands of the Bundesliga club’s fans walking through London ahead of the Group H fixture.

Guardian writer Barney Ronay reported that there had been “scuffles among the visiting fans” as well as intermittent fighting with stewards in the delay before kick-off

Furthermore, issues persisted with reports of large numbers of Cologne fans in the home end, and stories of how they’d managed to get in circulating.

Five arrests were made over the course of the evening, and Arsenal issued a statement on Friday insisting the safety of supporters was the main concern at the time.

Meanwhile, both clubs now face disciplinary charges from governing body Uefa – which include crowd disturbances, setting off fireworks, throwing of objects and acts of damage by Cologne fans, while Arsenal face a probe for “stairways blocked in away supporter sector”.

Some condemned the Bundesliga club’s fans for their part in a chaotic night.

Others pointed both to the good and the bad of the evening.

And Arsene Wenger had this to say on the presence of away fans in home sections.

Freelance sports reporter Archie Rhind-Tutt wrote of the culture of fan mingling in the Bundesliga, in an eye-opening Twitter thread on the subject.

Meanwhile, others pointed to the real issue being the effects of crowd segregation at football matches.

Clearly there was good and bad in evidence in the crowd, but the incidents that occurred at the Emirates Stadium were perhaps the thin end of a complex wedge.

Cologne supporters during a Europa League game against Arsenal
Cologne supporters during a Europa League game against Arsenal (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

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