Arsenal’s Europa League last-32 clash with Benfica could become a one-off tie rather than a two-legged affair as the clubs struggle to find a solution to the issues caused by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Last week, it was reported that the Gunners had asked Benfica to move the Lisbon-leg to a neutral venue outside of Portugal after the UK government imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine period for anyone returning from the country.
While Uefa’s rules state the responsibility to sort the problem lies with Benfica – which seems a tad harsh if you ask us – the Press Association has confirmed that they also allow the administration to “assign an alternative venue for any particular match or even to decide that either or both legs of the relevant round to be rescheduled and/or played in a neutral country (within the territory of a Uefa member association) and/or organised as a single leg”.
It’s not clear at this point whether Arsenal have a preference for what happens next but you could understand why a one-off game might be appealing given the amount of football we’ve got on this month.
Presumably, there will be an update sooner rather than later. The two ties are scheduled to take place on the 18 and 25 February respectively.