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Arsenal announce squad to travel to Poltava, er, Kyiv

It’s mostly what we’d hoped.

Previews in Kiev - UEFA EURO 2012
I mean, it’s nice?
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsey leads a cast of unique characters of varying ages and experience, as Arsenal officially announced the Kyiv traveling party for tomorrow’s Europa League match versus, uh [does a quick Google search], ah yes, the mighty mighty Vorskla Poltava But Now Technically They’re Also Vorskla Poltava-Kyiv ahem surely you get the point yes.

In what should have been more a formality than something fans actually anticipated, head coach Unai Emery has opted to name a squad comprising mostly of reserves (namely, Petr Cech, Stephen Lichtsteiner, and Mohamed Elneny) and youth, but it’s the inclusion of Ramsey that further illustrates the point being made regarding his stature at the club.

Having been told he’s no longer required at Arsenal and is thus free to find another place of employment elsewhere, Ramsey’s exclusion from starting lineups and, occasionally, not even finding the pitch as a substitute has led to him being used in situations where Emery and the coaching staff are clearly wanting to rest starters and key bench players for upcoming big matches. Arsenal of course have two of those coming up following tomorrow’s match (home versus Tottenham on Sunday; away to Manchester United next Wednesday).

The other name to note in the squad for the match versus the Fightin’ Vorsklas of Various Ukranian Cities is Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian has had, by all accounts, a howler of a season following two rather decent performances at the start of the league campaign, which culminated in a disaster of a match this past Sunday at Bournemouth. His inclusion for tomorrow’s match versus Vociferous Vorsklas suggests that Emery doesn’t see him in his plans for the weekend’s north London derby, at a minimum.

At any rate, if everyone who does play can come back healthy with no frostbite and not caught up in mistaken enforcement of the current Ukranian government’s martial law declaration, that would be quite good and nice.