ARSENAL’S Europa League clash with Cologne descended into chaos last night as 20,000 German fans INVADED the Emirates.
Cologne supporters without tickets stormed the turnstiles and forced the kick-off to be delayed an hour until 9.05pm.
Thousands of others bought tickets for the HOME end and there were incidents of crowd skirmishes between rival sections.
Both clubs will now face a Uefa probe. The Bundesliga side could also be fined for their fans having flares.
Shocking footage showed Cologne supporters fighting and pulling down barriers outside the ground – after 20,000 marching fans earlier shut down London’s Oxford Street.
Police announced after the game that five arrests had been made.
Yet the Met, the Gunners and Uefa officials decided to go ahead with the match at 8.20pm with thousands of ‘away’ fans in the lower and upper tier of the Clock End.
The club’s head of communications Mark Gonnella said: “We were aware about the large numbers of fans coming and try to avoid a situation where they wold be large numbers of supporters without tickets.
“The decision to go ahead was the best option and the safest option.”
Cops were forced to use their batons outside the ground – and they have arrested four people on suspicion of public order offences.
Dozens of extra officers have been called to control huge crowds.
One away fan was seen bleeding from a head wound.
Fights have been breaking out in the away end as fans are let into the stadium.
Arsenal fan Mick Peters, 63, from St Albans, Herts, said: “There was just so many Cologne fans that all of a sudden nobody could move.”
Another Gunner Walid Mohamed Bin Abdul-Hai, 31, said: “It’s absolute chaos.
“Cologne fans have brought Arsenal shirts and Red memberships and have somehow got into the ground.
“How it’s going ahead is anyone’s guess, it should be cancelled.
“We had to wait outside for ages and it was dangerous. It’s an odd atmosphere inside the ground.
“There has to be thousands of Cologne fans in the home end.”
Some Arsenal fans could face losing their club membership after “flogging matchday tickets”.
A huge army of Cologne fans brought Britain’s busiest shopping street to a standstill earlier today.
Police officers had to stop all traffic as some German fans threw bottles and let off flares.
Cologne followers then stormed the Emirates – pictures and videos showed huge crowds of supporters stuck outside.
There are also reports of brawls breaking out around London’s West End — and some fans were even seen throwing punches on Wardour Street in Soho.
Many had their faces covered as they chanted songs and let off red smoke bombs.
Police officers had to escort them away from shoppers and tourists.
A police statement read: “At around 15:00hrs on Thursday, September 14 a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street, W1.
“The group were at the location for about 30 minutes whilst they boarded public transport to travel to a football match this evening.
“They did throw bottles and let off flares, but there was no significant disorder, police were on scene and there have been no arrests.
“The group has now left the area.
Twitter users have shared videos of the supporters running through the city centre.
Many fans of the German club stopped to relieve themselves on a hoarding beside a London street.
Veteran film-maker Ken Loach videoed the fans marching down a street in Soho.
He tweeted: “We just had this coming down the street. Koln fans arriving for a trip to the Emirates Stadium. Long walk!”
Gunners supporters have not seen their side play in Europe’s secondary competition since they reached the Uefa Cup final in 2000.
Since then, they have always played Champions League football.
Last season, a fifth-place finished condemned them to the Europa League.
This isn’t the first time Arsenal have welcome Cologne fans to London.
The two sides met in the European Fairs Cup semi-finals during their Double-winning season of 1970-71.
Arsenal were beaten 2-1 in front of 40,007 fans at Highbury, before going down 1-0 in Germany.
Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga table, having lost all three of their opening games in this season’s German top flight.
But they qualified for the Europa League after finishing fifth last term.
Cologne coach Peter Stoeger, asked on the eve of the Group H opener if he had a message for the thousands of travelling fans, replied: “Enjoy the pubs!”
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