Why is Arsenal’s Europa League match at 3.50pm on a Wednesday?

Arsenal are back in European action this week as we head to Portugal to face Vitoria Guimaraes in matchday 4 of this season’s UEFA Europa League.

We have taken maximum points from our opening three matches and would book our place into the second round by taking more points than Standard Liege this week. The Belgian side are at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. The German side were 2-1 winners on home soil a fortnight ago.

Two weeks ago, Nicolas Pepe scored two free kicks in the final 10 minutes to earn us a hard fought 3-2 victory over Vitoria at the Emirates.

Europa League matches are traditionally played on a Thursday evening, but our match this week has a unique kickoff time. We will be playing at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques at 15:50 on a Wednesday.

The reason is because 20 minutes down the road are Vitoria’s rivals, Sporting Braga. Braga are also in the Europa League this season, and will be hosting Besiktas on Thursday. UEFA have therefore moved our fixture to prevent traffic congestion, and perhaps prevent hooliganism between the two sets of Portuguese fans also.

As UEFA have Champions League matches at both 17:55 and 20:00 GMT these days, our game is earlier than both for broadcasting reasons.