Arsenal’s terrible run in the Premier League earlier in the season increased the significance of the Europa League. A top-four finish looked impossible at one point, but if we can continue our recent form until the end of the season, we might get there.
However, the Europa League also offers a way into the Champions League, and it looks like this competition is our only hope of a trophy this season.
Arsenal were drawn against Portuguese giants Benfica in the round of 32. This isn’t an easy game by any means, but Mikel Arteta’s men are the favourites to qualify over two legs.
However, things could change now. The implications of the pandemic have blocked any sort of transportation between the United Kingdom and Portugal – even if you are an elite sportsperson.
That means the game will have to take place in a neutral venue, and if UEFA’s new rules are anything to go by, it could be a single-legged affair.
The Press Association have revealed today via BT Sport that UEFA reserve the right to convert this fixture into a one-legged clash in a neutral venue somewhere in Europe.
The winner of that game – be it in normal time or after extra-time or even after penalties – will move onto the next round, making this a straight knockout.
Arsenal fans are not happy
Over two legs, Arsenal are the absolute favourites to beat Benfica. However, if it’s just one game and everything depends on it, things could go really badly for either team – knowing our luck it’ll be us.
Many fans have come out and claimed that this would be really unfair to the team who ends up on the losing side. Hopefully, UEFA stick to their usual rules and we play both legs in a neutral venue.