Arsenal’s home game against the relegation-threatened Southampton this season was initially scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 7th, but it was later moved to Monday evening in order to enable live coverage by Sky television.
Now, due to Arsenal playing a Europa League game against CSKA in Moscow the following Thursday, it has been rescheduled again. It will be played on Sunday, April 8th, kicking off at 2:15 PM.
Having previously sacked Mauricio Pellegrino, the Saints have appointed Mark Hughes as their new manager. How much sense exactly it makes to sack a manager for being involved in a relegation battle only to hire a manager that has already been sacked elsewhere for the same reason (Stoke City) remains to be seen.
Be that as it may, the Gunners are sure to welcome such a change in the timing of the game, as it gives them an extra day an a half to prepare for what is set to be a difficult trip to Moscow.
Through a statement on their website, the club have instructed the fans that are planning to make the trip to Russia to follow the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and be prepared for “the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time”. The fans are advised to avoid any public protests or demonstrations, and to refrain from commenting publicly on the current political situation between the two countries.
The Russian team have qualified for the quarterfinals of the Europa League by coming from behind to knock Lyon out. They are by no means an easy prospect, but the recent good performances by Arsenal should make them confident of going through the tie.
The Gunners can be backed at 2/9 to reach the semifinals of the competition.