Arsenal know what they need to do against Vorskla Poltava in today’s Europa League match. The math is simple: equal or better Sporting’s result, win the group. Winning the group is important - it ensures the Gunners will not meet one of the top Champions League teams that drop into the competition in the first round of the knockout stages.
There was a time earlier this week when it looked as if today’s match might not be played. The Ukraine and Russia are embroiled in a geopolitical conflict, martial law is in place in the Ukraine, and the match was moved to Kyiv. But we’ve made it, they are playing.
It’s even colder than was forecast. At time of writing, it’s 17 degrees Farenheit in Kyiv. That’s -8 degrees Celsius. That’s lose-feeling-in-your-face-and-extremities cold.
Unai Emery has named some young, possibly not-as-familiar faces to his starting lineup. Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, and Eddie Nketiah all got the nod. I’m particularly excited to see what Nketiah has got - if you don’t remember, he scored a VERY late brace against Norwich in last season’s Carabao Cup to help Arsenal avoid an embarrassing defeat. Word is he has the true striker’s mentality - he wants the ball because he believes he’s going to score on every shot. And as long as you’re not Nicklas Bendtner, that’s a good thing.
I’ll also be looking to see what position Aaron Ramsey takes up. The Welshman has struggled to find his place in Unai Emery’s system, and part of that struggle is attributable to not being used correctly. As one of the elder statesmen on today’s team and the best attacking player on the pitch, he should have somewhat free reign to do what he wants.
Arsenal - Cech, Lichtsteiner, Jenkinson, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Elneny, Willock, Ramsey, Smith Rowe, Nketiah
Vorskla - Shust, Perduta, Dallku, Chesnakov, Artur, Sapai, Sklyar, Sharpar, Rebenok, Kulach, Kolomoets
WHAT: Arsenal at Vorskla Poltava
WHERE: Olympiskiy Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine
WHEN: Thursday, November 29th 9:55 AM PT | 12:55 PM ET | 5:55 PM BT
US TV: UniMas (Spanish). Streaming on the B / R Live app ($$$, US only).
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