There is something comfortingly familiar about UEFA’s European football schedule.
Champions League games are spread over Tuesday and Wednesday for our enjoyment before the Europa League games on a Thursday bridge the gap between the midweek and weekend football.
But this week, Arsenal fans’ schedules were thrown into disarray with the realisation that their game against Vitoria SC kicks off at 15:50 GMT on a Wednesday afternoon.
With most Gunners stuck in work at this time, they will be begging their bosses to let them watch the game, an age-old tradition that is usually limited to World Cups and European Championships during the summer.
The reason for this switch comes as Braga host Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday night and although the Braga Municipal Stadium is 15 miles from Vitoria’s home ground, the game has been moved to avoid traffic congestion in Portugal and ease pressure on the authorities.
That explains the change of date for the fixture but what about the strange kick-off time?
Due to the existing Champions League fixtures kicking off at 17:55 and 20:00 tonight, broadcasting regulations rule that Arsenal cannot play at the same time as these Champions League games. The game must be finished before the first Champions League game kicks off, hence the rather strange kick-off time of 15:50.
The game will be shown live on BT Sport 2, which means if you are a real football nut, you can take in four games today from all over the continent, thanks to BT Sport.
Atalanta U19s take on Man City’s U19s in the UEFA Youth League at 1 pm, followed by Arsenal’s Europa League game. Then the Champions League swings into action with Bayern Munich taking on Olympiacos in the early kick-off before Tottenham’s tough trip to Red Star rounds off an action-packed day.
In case that still isn’t enough football for you, the other 23 Europa League fixtures, including the Braga match, will take place on Thursday as usual.