WENGER DIDN’T EXPECT CHAOTIC MATCH TO GO ON
Arsenal down Cologne amid crowd trouble
LONDON ground, with an estimated 20,000 supporters having travelled from Germany despite there only being 3,000 away tickets.
Arsenal fell behind early on to a brilliant long-range strike from Jhon Cordoba before bouncing back in the second half, substitute Sead Kolasinac equalising before goals from Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin saw the Gunners to victory.
Afterwards Wenger said he was getting ready for the game to be postponed but was uncertain if the delayed kick-off was to blame for the Gunners’ poor start.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “It was similar for Cologne but we had some problems to get off, to start, yes. I don’t know, was it mental?
“We waited patiently in our dressing room but what was difficult for me was I had all kind of plans to think about at some stage.”
Wenger added: “I had to think if we play tomorrow at what time do we want to play, do we play next week but they had the Bundesliga again midweek and we had a League Cup game midweek as well.
“But in the end at some stage I thought they would not play the game, because I can’t see the police taking any risk.
“We live in a society of 100 per cent security and I thought they would never take a gamble to play this game when I saw the images around the stadium.
“But I must say our supporters dealt well with the situation as well and there was no aggravation.”
Wenger said Cologne supporters had been “very clever” to get into areas reserved for home supporters.
“I don’t know how they managed to infiltrate our fans and get everywhere but they did that very well. I don’t know if they went through Arsenal membership, on the internet... they did very well.”
Cologne coach Peter Stoeger refused to be questioned on the actions of the club’s supporters: “I have no comment about the fans,” he said. “I’m the coach, my job is the team, my job is football not the fans.”
Meanwhile, Cologne and Arsenal have been charged with various offences as UEFA began disciplinary proceedings yesterday.
UEFA said Cologne had been charged with crowd disturbances, the setting off of fireworks, throwing objects and acts of damage to the stadium.
Arsenal were charged with a breach of safety and security regulations because of a blocked stairway in the away end, European football’s ruling body said in a statement.
UEFA’s Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on Thursday. Agencies
Cologne fans light flares during the Europa League Group H match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.