Arsenal Preparations for Napoli Champions League Clash Affected by Safety Fears

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Napoli fans cheer on their team during UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal FC and SSC Napoli at Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

All eyes will be on Napoli and Arsenal's Champions League clash this Wednesday, but the fixture has drawn attention of the wrong sort in its build-up.

The Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel writes that Arsene Wenger's players were told to remain in their hotel in order to address safety fears in Naples, while the 700 travelling fans are also having to abide by strict measures.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during an Arsenal training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League group F match against Napoli at London Colney on December 10, 2013 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Gett
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Concerns over security have been caused by the unfortunate scenes that arose in North London back in October, where a local restaurant became the setting of a pre-game attack, a small section of Napoli's fans allegedly the aggressors, per the Daily Mail's David Kent.

An excerpt from Mokbel's report reads: 

The Barclays Premier League leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the violence that marred Napoli’s visit to the Emirates Stadium in October and Gunners security chiefs have taken strong measures to ensure staff and supporters remain safe in Italy.

In a bid to ensure similar scenes aren't repeated for their group-stage closer, the Gunners have organised transport from a secret location for their supporters.

Wenger's side need only a point from the match to ensure they finish on top of the group, while Napoli will be seeking all three points but will still likely need Marseille to pinch a result against Borussia Dortmund, too.

The fears over security are an unfortunate twist to what otherwise promises to be one of the most entertaining clashes in this season's group stage.

Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille are all considered giants in their respective divisions, making this term's Group F the standout pick in terms of overall quality.

Arsenal and Napoli aren't the only sides to have been faced with fan trouble this campaign, after Celtic and Ajax "ultras" were cited by the Telegraph for getting involved in acts of hooliganism just three weeks ago.

One can only hope that Wednesday's fixture isn't marred by the acts of a small mindless minority, but Arsenal's security staff are rightly opting not to take any chances.