A gang of Italian football fans attacked a restaurant favoured by their Arsenal rivals ahead of their Champions League clash last night, smashing windows, breaking chairs and swinging belts.

Around 30 Napoli supporters are said to have tore through Piebury Corner in Holloway Road near to the Emirates Stadium in north London, which has been forced to close.

Employee Emily Gould said the Arsenal fans already inside ducked for cover as men with scarves tied around their faces started the ‘unprovoked attack’.

She said one man had to be taken to hospital with what she believed was a deep gash to the head after being struck by a swinging belt buckle.

“There is blood all over the floor,” she added. “We have been told by police we cannot clear up yet because of the investigation.

“There is a lot of damage to the shop. The tables and chairs are wrecked.”

Piebury Corner owner Paul Campbell said the restaurant was packed with Napoli fans all day yesterday ahead of the match in north London, and it was only a ‘violent minority’ who were causing trouble.

He said: “There were three girls sat near me and these thugs just came in and grabbed the chairs from under the girls.

“It was completely unprovoked, I think they just picked us at random because they saw a busy restaurant and they wanted to fight someone, anyone.”

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said a man in his 40s was taken to Whittington Hospital in north London with cuts to his head, but confirmed his injuries were not thought to be serious.

The Metropolitan Police Service described the incident as ‘football-related’, adding a man had been arrested in the area for a public order offence which was unconnected to the damage at Piebury Corner.

Police continue to investigate an incident last night (1 October) in which a man was assaulted and a restaurant in Holloway Road, N7, had its window smashed.

Police Report

The incident occurred ahead of last night’s Arsenal v Napoli match at Emirates Stadium.

A group of around 30 Napoli supporters became involved in a verbal exchange with Arsenal fans as they passed the restaurant on their way to the ground.

The Napoli fans then turned violent, smashing a window and throwing a number of chairs before moving on.

One man, aged 48, who was sat outside the restaurant, suffered cuts to his head after he was struck with a metal chair. He was taken to hospital for treatment and was subsequently discharged.

Officers from Islington borough are now investigating the circumstances of the incident, studying CCTV and speaking to witnesses.

There have been no arrests in connection with the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Islington CID on 020 7421 0298.

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