Following European away games, Arsenal usually fly back the same night to London, but after tomorrow’s encounter with Olympiacos, the team will stay the night in Greece and return to England the next day.
It’s a significant change in the travel routine, and one that Mikel Arteta has given some thought to ahead of this weekend’s game against Everton at the Emirates.
He feels the players will benefit from a good night’s rest, allowing them to sleep and eat properly, before they make their way back to England.
“We have two games in four days,” he said. “It’s a long flight, with two hours difference as well.
“We’re going to play at 10pm local time and after that, if we had to take a flight, we would arrive to London really, really late.
“Apart from that, I believe that the first window – the first hour to hour and a half – is really important for the players to eat with the quality of nutrients that we need.
“I think it’s better to do it in a hotel. I think it’s better to rest in a bed, rather than stay in a flight when you are travelling and the next day, everybody does some recovery together and we fly back in the afternoon.
“We try to adapt the trip in the context that we have at the moment and we bear in mind that we want the players in the best possible condition after the game, to be able to recover as quickly as possible to play against Everton.”
It will be interesting to see if it helps, and with Everton coming into Sunday’s fixture off the back of their two week winter break, we’re already at something of a physical disadvantage.
Nevertheless, Arteta is looking for his players to respond after their own break, having recharged their batteries.
“We’ve had a break of 15 days and we’ve played just one game,” he continued.
“So tomorrow I’m going to put out a team that I think is the best to play. Then the rest of the games will take care of themselves.
“You cannot control that sometimes you are thinking about resting somebody and in training he gets a little issue or he gets sick.
“Tomorrow we are going to put out the team that we think is the best to play Olympiacos and the rest of the teams and games will follow.”