The independent London newspaper

Gunners fans back at stadium

Two-thousand see Arsenal play Rapid Vienna, after nine months of matches behind closed doors

04 December, 2020 — By Richard Osley

GROUP stage matches in the Europa League have rarely been described as the hottest sports ticket in town.

But Arsenal supporters didn’t need to be asked twice when racing to get one for the first match back at the Emirates Stadium in front of fans.

Matches have been cancelled or played behind closed doors for nine months.

Only 2,000 were allowed inside to see the Gunners play Rapid Vienna, a match which had no relevance in terms of whether Arsenal would qualify for the next round because they have already progressed.

The stadium’s capacity is around 60,000.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, one of the first high profile figures to get coronavirus back in March, said: “We are ready to host as many as we possibly can.

“It is going to depend on how the pandemic develops, and the new measurements when we start to open things up a little bit and see how people react to that. Hopefully we can do that.”

Rivals Spurs will be allowed to host 2,000 supporters for the North London Derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon. London is in Tier 2 in the govern­ment’s coronavirus measures, but clubs in Tier 3 areas will still have to play to empty stadiums this weekend.


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