Tottenham’s Europa League Round of 16 fixtures have been changed, with the home leg now coming first.
Spurs were initially drawn to play the first leg of the next round away to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb – but the club has confirmed the fixtures have been reversed.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 1, 2021
The Londoners will now play the first leg at home on March 11 before travelling to Zagreb for the away leg on March 18.
The reason? Tottenham and Arsenal cannot play at home on the same night, even without fans being in attendance.
Some would prefer to play the home leg second; if the away leg goes badly, many teams would believe they can turn things around in more familiar surroundings.
However, on this occasion, the fixture reversal could be a very good thing for Spurs – and a bad thing for Arsenal.
That’s because the fierce rivals meet in the Premier League on March 14, meaning Arsenal have a long trip to Greece (or a neutral venue elsewhere in mainland Europe) before the north London derby.
Spurs, meanwhile, won’t have any traveling to do before the short trip to the Emirates.