Monday, November 29, 2021

Arsenal will face Benfica in Athens after all

For the second time this week, Arsenal have confirmed that the second leg of our Europa League clash with Benfica will be played at Olympiacos’ Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis in Athens.

The Gunners, in conjunction with Uefa, had originally revealed the decision to play in Greece on Tuesday afternoon at the same time it was confirmed the first leg would be played in Rome.

Later in the evening, after the Greek government announced the need for stricter lockdown restrictions in their capital city, the article removed mention of the second leg; presumably because assurances over the venue’s suitability had to be sought.

Both matches are having to be played on neutral territory due to the UK government’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. Portugal has been placed on a ‘red list’ meaning Arsenal would have to quarantine for 10 days on returning from Lisbon while Benfica aren’t allowed in the UK at all.

Confirmed kick-off times

Benfica vs Arsenal
Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
18 February, 20:00 (GMT)

Arsenal vs Benfica
Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis, Athens, Greece
25 February, 17.55 (GMT)

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Nick Willows

Surely if it’s on a neutral venue, why not just play a one-off tie?

Daveo

Cha-ching!!

chepetin

You are much too logical to be a football official…

canon fodder

…if we lose in a one off tie, there is no second chance for us. My thinking is that as no one has home advantage, why not play the two games in the same venue?

Non flyong dutchman

Its genuinely outragous the prospect of going out on “away” goals in these circumstances. UEFA are a joke

C.B.

It’s just another empty stadium, I hope we can get really up for htis tie, I think we’ll need to be. And not have anyone make the silly errors that have occurred recently.

Biggles

I hope that we’re up for it as well. Our PL form appears to have collapsed (again) and that should still be our main priority. However, if we can’t pull things around to any degree in the league then our remaining, realistic, chance of European football is the EL. Benfica are unlikely to be pushovers though. We had a particularly easy group stage so I hope we’re not complacent or, even over two legs, we’ll be in trouble.

Johnny 4 Hats

These fixtures in Greece can be slippy affairs.

Yeah. I know. I’ll get my taxi and call for a coat.

Ranbo

I still don’t understand why they would keep the away goals rule.

John

Never underestimate UEFA’s capacity for total stupidity.

Hantal

This whole situation is ridiculous, neither team can travel to the others country so both teams are travelling to a third country. Absolute nonsense

Rogerbij

A third and forth country no less 😉

Robin

Mad to think we played in Greece last year and it was so far away that we stayed overnight rather than fly home so late. This was considered good management.

We’re now playing there as a home tie. Mental

Naked Cygan

Why the long trip to Athens? Surely there are countries that are closer and more convenient with relaxed covid rules?

Arseman

Our “home” game is further away than our “away” game 👌🙄

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