The Gunners go to Portugal in the Europa League this week, and there is something a little different about their trip.
Arsenal’s Europa League tie at Portuguese side Vitoria is being played on a Wednesday afternoon this week, and that seems to have caught a few people off-guard.
The Gunners go to Portugal sitting top of Europa League Group F, and knowing that a fourth straight European win will earn them qualification for the knockout stages.
Unai Emery’s side didn’t have things all their own way against their winless opponents at the Emirates Stadium last month though, twice falling behind in the first half before a late brace from Nicolas Pepe secured a 3-2 win .
With the pressure increasing on the Spanish boss after more Premier League points were dropped at home to Wolves at the weekend , the Europa League – in which the Gunners reached the final last season, only to lose to Chelsea – has become an important competition to them.
Some of their fans might find it difficult to catch their match against Vitoria this week though, with it kicking off at 3.50pm on Wednesday.
The Gunners knew that the game was going to move to the Wednesday, rather than the Europa League traditional Thursdays, when the draw was made in September .
The reason for that is Vitoria’s close proximity to Braga, with the stadium just 15 miles away and hosting the clash between Braga and Besiktas on Thursday night.
Portuguese police have forbid two teams from the same region playing on the same night, with the strain on their resources making the situation unworkable.
With the game having been switched to Wednesday, UEFA have insisted that it doesn’t kick off at the same time as Champions League matches, meaning the move to the oddly early time of 3.50pm GMT.
There are eight Champions League games on Wednesday night, with two kicking off at 5.55pm GMT and the other six at 8pm GMT.