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20,000 FC Koln fans descend upon London as West End is brought to standstill ahead of Arsenal clash

The Independent logo The Independent 14/09/2017 Samuel Lovett
© Provided by Independent Print Limited

Thousands of FC Koln fans were seen marching through the streets of central London ahead of their side’s Europa League opener against Arsenal tonight.

An estimated 20,000 supporters have descended upon the capital and briefly brought the West End to a standstill as they marched down Oxford Street, waving scarves and flares. Bottles have also been thrown.

No violence or trouble has been reported, though, the Met Police has confirmed.

This is the first time in 25 years that FC Koln have played in a European competition, having finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season.

Despite the impressive turn out from the club’s supporters, only 2,900 tickets at the Emirates have been allocated to away fans.

Following the incident, the Met police released a statement: “At around 15:00 BST on Thursday, 14 September a large group of football fans gathered in Oxford Street.

"The group was 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."

Arsenal get their Europa League campaign under way against the Bundesliga side, though manager Arsene Wenger is expected to rest a host of first-team players as he prioritises the Premier League over Europe’s second-tier competition.

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