Manchester United and Arsenal Europa League matches switched to neutral venues

PA Sport Staff

Manchester United and Arsenal’s Europa League last-32 first legs next week will be played at neutral grounds due to coronavirus restrictions.

United were due to travel to Spain to face Real Sociedad next Thursday, while Portugal was the venue for the Gunners’ clash with Benfica on the same night.

But UEFA has announced that United will now take on Sociedad at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in Turin following Spanish Government restrictions on travellers entering the country from England.

And Arsenal will face Benfica at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome as the UK implements strict coronavirus quarantine rules around people returning from Portugal.

The second leg of United’s tie will take place at Old Trafford as planned the following week, but Arsenal’s home game will have the same issue as their away trip, with Benfica barred from entering the country.

Arsenal initially said the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens, the home of Olympiacos, would host the second leg but have since deleted that post from their website, with a final decision not yet taken on a venue for the match.

The developments come after Liverpool and Manchester City also had Champions League ties due to be played in Germany moved to Budapest.

Liverpool’s clash with Leipzig on February 16 and City’s encounter with Borussia Monchengladbach on February 24 will now both take place at the Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital on their respective scheduled dates.

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