Arsenal take on Vorskla Poltava for the first time in their history in the Europa League, with not much known about their Ukrainian opposition.
They finished third in the Ukrainian Premier League and are currently in competition with a host of other equally unpronounceable teams such as Karpty, Zorya and Vorskia but strangely enough, they are in the same league as Arsenal Kyiv.
Like Wenger before him, Emery sees this as an opportunity to experiment with his side, so those that have missed the cut in the last few months will get their opportunity.
He must feel that a win is almost inevitable because the dip in quality merits starts for Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding, Bernd Leno, Alex Iwobi and Henrik Mkhitaryan. Apart from the last two on the list, the others have much to prove and although Welbeck is persistent and eager, he just lacks quality in the one area he is employed to do so -in front of goal.
The writings on the wall here for Emery, only a resounding spanking will do, anything else and Arsenal will struggle in the second best tournament in European club football.
As we saw last season, the competition only becomes relevant once the Champions league trap door opens for those that failed spectacularly in the Champions League.
On the other hand, Emery has been successful in this competition before and knows exactly what it takes to get the job done. Unlike Wenger before him, who became the near man in both competitions.
This is a banana skin of epic proportions which will vindicate the team selection or lead to much scratching of a shamefully hidden head. One suspects that Emery will find a way to navigate past Vorskla Poltava, especially at home, so that he can look forward to the game with Qarabağ FK.
Indeed, another awesome sounding team of plumbers, car mechanics and kitchen fitters. It wasn’t long ago we faced the prospect of playing Barcelona, Real Madrid or Juventus but these ties are far too good to turn down. Yes, I’m being sarcastic but let’s hope this potential firecracker doesn’t blow up in all our faces.
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