Arsenal’s trip to the Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava on Thursday has been complicated by an ongoing political and military action in the country. The game has now been moved to the capital Kiev, which in all honesty is still a difficult trip.
Arsenal are already through to the knockout stages of the competition and if they win or match Sporting result, the team from north London will win the group.
A trip they could have done without
In truth, Arsenal could have done without the long trip to Kiev ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against arch-rivals Tottenham. While Gunners boss Unai Emery is likely to rest a number of key players, he still has to field a team in Ukraine.
Arsenal’s strength-in-depth is decent, but players who could feature on Sunday against Spurs such as Rob Holding or Sead Kolasinac may have to be risked in a game that means very little to the Gunners, who could still seal top spot in gameweek six.
Emery will pick the right team
Arsenal just have to do a professional job and get back home safely with no injury problems or niggles ahead of the Spurs game. Gunners boss Emery has got the team balance right in the Europa League so far this season.
The Spaniard has fielded strong enough teams to win the games and progress from the group, without jeopardising some of his better player’s health and fitness. No doubt, Emery will be picking his team with an eye on the weekend it is only human nature.
This game is a hurdle that Arsenal needs to get out of the way before some vital Premier League encounters over the next few weeks.
Making steady progress in all competitions
At the start of the campaign, if you would have asked Arsenal fans if they would be happy with the current position, I think most would have said yes. The majority of Arsenal fans are realistic about where the team and club are at the minute.
I doubt many believed the team would challenge for the title in Emery first season. However, a top-four place and winning the Europa League were both more realistic aims.
Both of those objectives are still achievable this season. The game in Kiev is hopefully just another step to the Europa League final in May, as the Gunners seek silverware and qualification for the Champions League.
Can Arsenal win back-to-back games against Vorskla and Tottenham?