The game between Arsenal and FC Zurich has been moved away from Arsenal’s home stadium, which gives Granit Xhaka an unexpected advantage.
This Thursday, Arsenal will start the group stage of the Europa League away at FC Zurich. Fans who travel to the game should know, though, that the Gunners won’t be playing in their home city.
Instead, Arsenal will play at St. Gallen’s stadium, which is 78.7 km away from Zurich’s home ground. Letzigrund in Zurich can hold 26,104 people, while Kybunpark, which is a bit smaller, can only hold 19,700.
The reason for the change is probably a bit strange. On September 7 and 8, an athletics event called the Diamond League will be held in Zurich’s stadium, so FC Zurich won’t be able to use it for the game.
FC Zurich’s home field, the Letzigrund, is shared with Grasshopper, a team from the same area. The stadium was built because the bid to host Euro 2008 was successful, and both clubs benefited from having a new stadium.
Even so, even music has become more important than football. Zurich beat Hearts in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier in the St. Gallen stadium. This was because the Letzigrund had to be set up for a concert by Swiss rock and folk duo Gola and Trauffer on Friday, which brought the stadium’s capacity up to 50,000.
The Switzerland national team plays a lot of games at St. Gallen’s stadium, so it meets UEFA standards. Since this is the case, Granit Xhaka will feel right at home if he plays.