Football News

Vitoria v Arsenal: Europa League grants Gunners a return to Wednesday-night action

By Chris Smith

arsenal-vitoria-wednesday-kick-off-europa-league

Published: 15:59, 29 October 2019 | Updated: 11:11, 5 November 2019

Arsenal’s trip to Vitória de Guimarães in the Europa League has been given the unusual kick-off time of 15:50 (local and UK time) on Wednesday, November 6.

The Gunners beat the Primeira Liga side 3-2 at the Emirates two weeks ago to retain top spot in Group F and will now make the return trip to round off the double-header.

Why is Vitória v Arsenal on a Wednesday? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal are due to face Vitória away on Wednesday, November 6 at 15:50.
  • Europa League games are usually played at 17:55 or 20:00 on Thursdays, while the Champions League is played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • But Uefa rules state that two teams from the same region cannot play home games on the same date, while broadcasting rights mean UEL and UCL matches cannot clash.
  • Braga are located just 20 minutes from Vitória and are due to face Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday, November 7.
  • So Uefa have rescheduled Arsenal’s trip to Vitória to Wednesday, November 6 with the unusual kick-off time of 15:50.

Of course, Europa League games usually kick-off at 17:55 or 20:00 on a Thursday, with Champions League fixtures usually being scheduled for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

But two teams from the same region cannot play their home games on the same date, while for broadcasting purposes, matches cannot clash with Champions League fixtures.

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Fellow Portuguese outfit Braga are located just 20 minutes away from Vitória by car and are due to face Turkish giants Besiktas in their Europa League Group K clash on Thursday, November 7.

And so, Uefa has scheduled Arsenal’s game at Vitória a day earlier, with the rather unusual kick-off time of 15:50 in a bid to increase fan safety and reduce congestion in the area.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under pressure after a string of disappointing results, including a 1-1 draw with Wolves, and can ill afford another slip up in Portugal.

Granit Xhaka could be recalled for the first time since his public spat with fans while Mesut Ozil is likely to start the game as he attempts to work his way back into the manager’s good books.

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