Alexis Sanchez Scores as Arsenal Beat Cologne 3-1 at a Fiery Emirates Stadium
Arsenal put off-field chaos behind them to come from behind and claim victory in their Europa League opener against Cologne.
Crowd trouble outside the Emirates meant kick-off was delayed by an hour with 20,000 German supporters having descended on London.
And when Jhon Cordoba fired the visitors ahead early in the piece, it looked like being a nightmare evening for the hosts.
But Arsene Wenger’s side rallied in the second half with Sead Kolasinac levelling shortly after the break.
Alexis Sanchez’s stunner made it 2-1 before Hector Bellerin killed the game nine minutes from time.
Wenger had named a surprisingly strong side, spearheaded by Sanchez and Olivier Giroud and Bellerin on the right flank.
Earlier, the atmosphere inside The Emirates soured with several away supporters trying to get in home areas of the ground, forcing officials to close the gates before re-opening them an hour later.
Elsewhere, a disastrous first half defensive collapse put the skids under Everton as they began their Europa League Group campaign with a crushing 3-0 defeat by Atalanta.
Serie A side Atalanta, playing their first European game in 26 years, had a ball running riot on the ground of their Italian rivals Sassuolo with their own ground 120 miles away undergoing refurbishment.
But it was Everton who were taken to pieces with defender Andrea Masiello opening the scoring with a close range 21-minute tap in.
A stunning strike by Alejandro Gomez made it 2-0 while Bryan Crisante burst through Everton’s wide open defence to make 3-0 on the stroke of half time.
Everton only managed one shot on target all night from Gylfi Sigurdsson as hell shocked boss Ronald Koeman saw his stars suffer a third straight defeat.