Thursday, June 1, 2023

Report: One-off tie a possibility when Arsenal face Benfica

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.

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Sounds like the most sensible thing to do. Get ‘er done!

AMN's cheeky grin

I’d be nervous about changing to a one leg tie. I’d back us to (probably!) come out on top over two legs, but over 90 minutes it’s more unpredictable


I see your point but even if Arsenal were to lose and drop out of the Europa League, they could focus more on finishing in the top four or six in the premier league which is fairly open to be honest. Personally, I want Arsenal to win the EL title for a little redemption and this may be our last chance winning the EL before Arsenal’s back in the champions league! COYG

AMN's cheeky grin

I like your optimism! I wish I shared it…


Wish we had Yaya Sanogo to score some goals. 😅 The last time we met Benfica Sanogo had scored 4! The final score was 5-0 or 5-1 I suppose.


And he slipped over celebrating his hat-trick if I remember rightly. What a way to do it!


Yaya Sanogo is currently a free agent. Could he come back and do it again…


Didn’t Arteta play with first team football with him? I wonder if he rates him? Haha


Given the seriousness of the situation and the variants emerging it’s morally suspect that European competitions should even be taking place until greater vaccine roll-out is in place across the EU. As usual the money will win I suspect.. An interesting angle on this very point, is that the Arsenal email I got a week ago, pointint out that there were 5 games on BT Sport over the next month convinced me to part ways from the usual “alternatives” I use to watch games and pay £25 for the month, knowing I’d likely cancel at the end. It’s not going… Read more »


One-off at neutral ground is the most sensible solution

Flights between the UK and Portugal are currently suspended. Visitors who have been in or transited through Portugal i.e Benfica players in the previous 10 days cannot enter the uk


Feel like a single leg could put our progress at risk. In general, the better team progresses over two legs, but an upset is much more likely with just one.

That said, the saving of minutes from one game could be huge as we come up to a dense period. Intriguing times.


Exactly my thought mate.

Public Elneny

Yeah, usually does. Although tbh I have no idea whether we are considered the better team going in to this anyway. On paper, squad-wise, we are – but only if we leave the handbrake off

It will feel like such bullshit if we go out on pens in the only 1 legged tie of the round though! Lets hope it doesn’t add to our long list of painful European exits

Bossman Bill

“In general, the better team progresses over two legs, but an upset is much more likely with just one.”

Solid point, which is why we need a single match.


Although they’re not setting the Primeira Liga alight this season, we shouldn’t underestimate Benfica over over one or two legs. I think we can beat them, but I thought we could beat Southampton in the FA Cup!


Very risky if we play just one game, benfica aren’t the worst team and we have lost against teams not as bad as them. If we lose we would be putting our champions league progress at risk. Let’s just find a way to play both legs, I’d really fancy us over the two games.

David C

Play a 180 minute match with 10 subs allowed 🙂


or a 90 min match with 5 subs but two balls?


Everyone loves Multi-ball mode!


haha lol


I take it the down votes on this comment are from members who didn’t realize you were joking. You were joking right….? 😉

David C

yeah, I was joking but then again….haha.

Hopefully 3 big points today!


We are pretty good at one ties and pretty rubbish over two legs so why not.


We could also play it like it was the Emirates Cup over one weekend. How I miss that competition.


Looks like there’s no alternative so we’ll have to go with it.


The only issue I have with a single legged tie is it means I have one less excuse when it comes to engaging with my children. Maybe I’ll make it special and stick the tv in the garden to recreate that Europa league feeling. Follow it off by cramming myself in a windowless cupboard for 40 mins afterwards while listening to talksport phone ins to simulate my journey home.


How is it Benfica’s responsibility to get around a rule imposed by the UK government? Seems very harsh!


I’d be interested to know if the Portugese Government have similar rules in place for those returning to Portugal from the UK as we have for those returning to the UK from Portugal. If not, Benfica could be absolute bastards and insist on playing their home leg at home – with the thought that “this sounds like an Arsenal problem, rather than a Benfica one”. If they have similar rules in place then it’s of mutual benefit to find a neutral ground alternative. Still don’t understand why only one leg though. Surely could play both legs on the scheduled dates,… Read more »


This is far too sensible to have come from UEFA

Billy bob

One tie would be great if at our ground and we win 👍


If we don’t beat benefica at neutral ground what chances we have of winning this


Off on a tangent here, but why no Mat Ryan at the weekend or tonight? Anybody know? It fills me with dread that Runarsson is the back-up!




You sir have a mighty crystal ball.


We will need to go for broke on europa IMO. It looks unlikely we can claw our way into europa contention in table never mind CL. I mentioned this when many were wanking off to us in 8th. There are too many teams around and above us with a game or 3 in hand. And we are not focused or sufficiently controlled to suggest we can be efficient and less forgiving when it counts to take all points ahead of us. It will still be a big question mark with europa but we need to play our strongest team. If… Read more »

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