Why are Arsenal playing in Athens? Benfica Europa League venue explained


The Gunners have travelled to Greece, rather than stayed in London, for their home leg of this knockout tie.

Now they travel to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, home of Olympiacos – the side who knocked Arteta and Arsenal out at this stage of last season’s Europa League – for what the Spaniard concedes is a massive game.

“It’s a big season and a really important game, mentally and confidence-wise,” he said ahead of the game.

“It’s going to dictate if we’re in another competition or not for a few more weeks. This is really what we need. It’s a really tough opponent.

“It’s a Champions League team who have been playing in these types of games for many years with a manager with huge experience. For us tomorrow, it’s a final.”

Defender Rob Holding (concussion) will not be available, however, as the Gunners look to secure safe passage to the next round.

Why is Arsenal vs Benfica in Athens?

The tie has had to be switched to a neutral venue after the UK government’s decision to place Portugal on a red list of countries affected by new coronavirus variants.

Government regulations mean those arriving from any red-list country must self-isolate for 10 days, with no exemptions for elite athletes.

That meant the game, originally scheduled to take place at the Emirates Stadium in London, had to be moved with the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens chosen.

Was the first leg moved too?

Have any other games been moved?

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