Arsenal’s round of 32 game shifted: Arsenal have been drawn with Belarusian side BATE Borisov in the knock-out round.
The Europa League draw was made earlier today, and group toppers Arsenal were drawn with Belarus’ BATE Borisov. The Gunners met the Belarusian side in the group stages of the competition last year, and cruised to victory in both the legs.
The group round of the Europa League finished last week with Arsenal securing the first position in their group, which comprised of Sporting CP, Vorskla and Qarabag.
Unai Emery’s side will play the first leg of the tie in Belarus on February 14. However, Arsenal faces complications over the second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
The home leg for the tie is likely to be shifted to Wednesday to accommodate Chelsea’s game against the Swedish side Malmo.
Arsenal’s round of 32 game shifted:
Like Arsenal, Chelsea also topped their Europa League group with ease. Maurizio Sarri’s side was drawn with Malmo. Being the toppers in their group, Chelsea will also play their second leg at Stamford Bridge.
First leg: Belarus 🇧🇾
Second leg: England 🏴
🏆 #UEL fixture and ticketing information to follow 👇
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 17, 2018
Both London clubs cannot play the European game on the same night, as per the official regulations of UEFA, and so, Arsenal’s game would be shifted to Wednesday, at 5 PM.
A statement from UEFA has explained the reason behind Chelsea being given the preference in hosting their home leg on Thursday night.
Arsenal defeated Bate last season in the group stages. Easy opponent to have. Lucky to have not got bigger teams.
— P™ (@Cechque) December 17, 2018
“In accordance with the principles set by the Club Competitions Committee, Chelsea have priority, having won the national domestic cup,” UEFA said.
“Arsenal will therefore play their return leg in the round of 32 at home on Wednesday 20 February 2019, irrespective of their opponents.”
Arsenal to play the first leg against BATE in Belarus on February 14.
Looking at the temperature in Barysaw on that day earlier this year, there was a maximum temperature of -5 and a low of -11.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) December 17, 2018
The Gunners, hence not only face a shift in the home leg, but also prepare to bear time constraints. Arsenal will play their game at 5 PM on Wednesday to avoid a clash with Champions League games which are scheduled later in the night.
Arsenal are currently 5th in the Premier League and their 22-game unbeaten run came to an end last night against the relgation-threatened Southampton.
Charlie Austin scored the winner after Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a brace to level the scoreline.