Arsenal given huge disadvantage in Europa League after UEFA ruling

It was looking really good for Arsenal in the Europa League when we were drawn quickly out of the hat to play away at Napoli, which always gives the advantage to the team that plays the second leg at home. But thanks to a new ruling by UEFA, the Gunners will now have to play the first leg at the Emirates, while Chelsea keep the advantage of playing their second leg against Slavia Prague at Stamford Bridge.

UEFA released a statement explaining their decision, it read: “Following a decision made by the relevant local authorities, Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC cannot play at home on the same night.

“Should both clubs be drawn within the same sequence (home or away), the team having the lower priority – in this case Arsenal FC because Chelsea FC won the FA Cup – will be reversed in accordance with the UEFA Club Competitions Committee principles.

“The match schedule for the quarter-finals (including a potential reversal involving Arsenal FC) will be communicated to all parties at approximately 14.45 CET on Friday 15 March.

“The calendar for the semi-finals (including a potential reversal involving Arsenal FC, for the same reasons, if both clubs from London are still remaining in the competition) will be communicated to all parties on 20 April at the latest.”

So, in other words, even if Arsenal manage to overcome Napoli, they will have exactly the same disadvantage in the semifinal as well!


  1. It doesn’t matter whether we play at away first or not…..
    What matters is, we must win at home at least 2.0…
    The players must maintain their discipline if we are to come out of the second leg unscattered…

    Bayern Munich that first played away, how did they fare after the second leg…
    The end justifies the means

    the players must be very efficient with the ball and be ready to press and fight for every ball…

    Napoli style of play is like Manchester City…..
    They will punish you if you give them the chance to play their game….

    Napoli players are so good with the ball on their feet…

    1. Touche, there is no advantage in playing at away first. Arsenal got red-carded in Rennes and could not use Sokratis at the Emirates

      First speculation was about the sabotage because of the match days and now this home-away matter

      I’m just worried that Arsenal’s creative players would be devoid of creativity again when facing Napoli, as what they showed against Atletico Madrid last season. Hopefully the 3-4-1-2 formation can change this

    2. “Bayern Munich that first played away, how did they fare after the second leg…”

      Just because you can think of a singular example where a team played away first and didn’t go through that doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t offer a huge advantage.

      “The end justifies the means” Eh? That makes absolutely no sense used in this context.

  2. I don’t see it as a disadvantage and prefer to play the first game at home. The big disadvantage is us having to play a Prem League game on the Monday before each Thursday game as has been already dictated by tv.

    1. I agree with your point. Another inhibiting factor which has more to with bad luck than any conspiracy theory is after playing the home tie, we have to face Watford away (which will be tough especially as we are fighting for fourth position and we will have to take it seriously) whilst Napoli will face Chievo who are cut adrift and rock bottom of their league and to boot, Napoli are comfortably sitting second in their league without any threat of falling out of the Champion’s League places. They can therefore conceivably rest players for our away tie. SMDH.

  3. Does it really matter who plays first? I think what is more worrying is our away record. We must keep a clean sheet at home so that a draw at Napoli will see as through (I doubt we will win away at Napoli).

  4. For all my dislike of Emery, one thing he has above every manger competing for Europa League is his experience of winning the trophy. So am sure he will be a master planner and he will understand that home or away games do not really make a lot of differences. But my problem is if we fall to do very well at home and lay a good marker down, we might not be able to correct it in Italy. So I am hopeful Emery will use all of his experience, plus he seems to now have a better understanding of his players and how to make them work together. But I still have my doubts. I hope he proves me wrong.

    1. Don’t think on it too hard (Emery’s way) take deep breaths and keep your fingers crossed. A little bit of consistency is all we need.

      1. Jah son, You really take the biscuit this time! You suggest that Emery does not think on it too hard, seemingly. I suspect that what you meant, though did not phrase it that way, was that Emery thinks too hard. Would you think a sensible person in a highly responsible job COULD, even were he to try, think on ANY problem TOO HARD? I DO HOPE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THIS CORRECT USE OF ENGLISH , THOUGH I RATHER DOUBT THAT YOU CAN.

  5. I apologise if this has already been discussed but could there be a correlation between our poor away form in Europe and our mint green kit. Our last two performances have been unexplainably poor with passing ability at best woeful. At pitch level against the bright lights of the advertising boards our players have been difficult to pick out. I’ve no dought that analysis has been carried out but that little could be done due to sponsors contracts etc……Just a thought.

        1. Sue and the green kit ?????I absolutely love your take on it. Buttttttttttttt. I don’t think so. Let’s see what will happen. If we don’t win any game in it then I will believe there is something to it.

          1. Pat if I remember rightly we beat Bournemouth in it….. that’s the only win I can remember!! Plus I wouldn’t be seen dead in it ????

      1. It is a bit camouflage Eddie, green is my favorite color outside of football, but I don’t like this green, we look a different team, we don’t look Arsenal. I’d like a jet black away kit, I think it would suite us, with the red and white badge and maybe a badge on each sock too. I think Adidas could make a nice one. Puma gave us this green one to screw us because we dropped them after they made us their priority team, they went all out for us with unveiling’s and all but we dropped them for a rival.

        1. “we look a different team” “we don’t look Arsenal”

          “I’d like a jet black away kit”


  6. I don’t see any problem playing home then away because at this stage of the competition,you need to be ready to fight any team.People should stop over rating Napoli.Gunners we gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    1. ..i agree entirely.

      If we aspire to compete against the very best then the Napoli game is one to relish. Its high profile and the kind of stiff test required to separate the men from the boys. Come through this and then we’re really on a roll as far as our confidence goes.

    2. On the contrary, i don’t think Napoli are being overated. This is a top rated team in europe, also managed by one of the top 10 managers in the business (if we are to mention 10). However, same can be said about Arsenal. I do not think Napoli, as a team (and their fans) are the happiest having Arsenal to compete with at this stage. Imagine yourself not being an Arsenal fan (a fan of Napoli for example), i bet you will be weary of having to play a team like Ars to get you to the semis.

  7. “Huge disadvantage” is a bit of a reach. I’d argue that given our formidable home form we are better off at Emirates for the first leg. We take a lead to Italy and, unlike previous years, Emery’s pragmatism sets us up to go through.

  8. Madrid,PSG and Bayern all played away first only to loose at home .we be been loosing away in the knock out phase bfr finishing well at home .so I think its even better we win first at home and take the swag away#amafullbloodedgunner

  9. This is a stupid rule, and using the term, lower priority. This automatically is showing bias to the biggest and richest clubs, they shouldn’t be aloud to do this, talk about dodgy. The home tie in the second leg, they should give it to the lower priority club if they must. The lower one is likely in more need of it, over a team that is used to winning, certainly. It’s not the end of the world though, every goal we get in the second match is an away goal, that can also be an advantage if it turns out that the two sides are evenly matched over both legs.

  10. .where’s the sense in expressing swagger ‘gainst bate, spuds, manu, rennes only to get alarmed at facing napoli ? We are one of england’s finest league & cup sides ever (emphasis)…

    with this in mind i would suggest napoli need to be wary of us. We must have the personnel ready to keep the goals scored away to the bare minimal knowing at home we have fire power-a-plenty to annihilate napoli.

    1. i also would have been more worried two years ago, the team they have now is much weaker and older we can run them off the park, don’t think they wil be used to the press, the PL press where you get no time on the ball…a game similar to the one we played against chelsea where we press certain players when they have the ball, emery’s got this!!

      we can win that midfield battle, as they are very direct with the 4-4-2 this season…insigne and milik are the danger man diers is the super sub, and on the left that polish kid is solid..diawara cuts the passes, allan links the midfield with the attack he should be man marked for sure, and they got a solid def, to me same formation of three at the back will hopefully keep the two strikers at bay, then its who wins the midfield battle…torreira is a must in this game to break up play, and use that acceleration to open spaces and so is ramsey’s engine we need to press high and relentlessly untill we are happy with the score, to me we have to dicate this game and watch out for the counters…fabian ruiz pena is the unknown player in their ranks big strong at 190 reminds me abit of that player from lazio Savic with a wicked left foot, he is the only player that can maybe switch it in their favour if he plays. as he still is very inexperienced at this level, havent seen much of him but he looked real good with his forwards runs and passes likes to drive the ball forward a la michu but plays much deeper.

      i would pair torreira with granit as his passes are needed for our forwards to have a fun game running at the defense, especially if diawara plays as he isn’t that quick either so no risk from granit’s mobility if that’s the case, if they play their kid Pena then matteo is my man i rate our kid and he might enjoy that battle…but again the most important player to them the guy that makes them tick is allan so stop Allan and we’ll stop napoli!!

      should be a great game, but we still got to get a couple of wins before then…it would be amazing to head into that game with full momentum, COYG 🙂

        1. Thanks Sal for your detailed post. Napoli would have preferred other opponents rather than Arsenal, so they are under pressure as well.
          The Napoli Ultras are a worry for visiting fans.

  11. Thanks Sal …. I prefer we play away first….the team will know it’s important to play well….so they will….i think arsenal can win away… long there’s no injuries….

  12. It doesn’t make much difference who plays away or home first. One team’s home is the other team’s away and it’s mutually exclusive. So it is either we play away first or home first..
    April is not too close, so we still have the time to plan and strategize on how to overcome Napoli home and away.

    1. wonderfull, we dont have to be brain washed by this issue of starting home and finishing away its all the same but results depend on how one prepares to play.

  13. OT# Some noisy chelsea fans revelled on how further up the epl table they would be by the time they completed their two outstanding matches. Now the two matches are gone and where are they?????

  14. Where’s the advantage in playing at home in the return leg?

    Cast your minds back to last week against Rennes. I don’t know about you, but in the last 15 minutes I was getting very tense, so were our players. They knew that one mistake could lead to Rennes getting a goal that would take us into extra time.

    If Aubameyang hadn’t got the third goal it would have been even worse, as one away goal and we’d have been knocked out.

  15. This irratating theory of it being better to be at home last is nonsense. What effects the result is , firstly, the relative strength of both teams. Second is the fatigue factor with too many games crammed together . Thirdly are injuries and key players missing. Hopeless UEFA have weirdly and pointlessly decided to move our fixture JUST BECAUSE in huge and sprawling London, TWO teams from totally different parts of the capital have been drawn together on that night. What foolish, pointless nonsense . Not though, sadly, any surprise, with that lot of amateur and corrupt bunglers “running ” the Europa. Perhaps they think that all else stops in London that very night just because one of their “oh so privileged teams” are playing that evening! If they had a single brain cell among them that would at least be a start!

  16. We have a great home record, if we get the result at the emirates, we hopefully take a lead and the momentum with us into the 2nd leg. Napoli will then be forced to bring the game to us providing us with opportunities to add to our goal tally. We then just need to be clinical enough to take the few opportunities that present themselves.

    If we defend like we did away at the Spuds, then I rate our chances.

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