The doubts over whether this game would go ahead have been quelled by UEFA, and it has seen the game switched to the capital city of Kiev, as Arsenal travel to Ukraine to take on Vorskla in the Europa League.
Unai Emery has taken a very young squad for this game, and our eleven could perhaps be ur youngest ever, with Emile Smith-Rowe being one of the most experienced in the pool of players travelling to the troubled country.
As martial law has been declared in Vorskla’s home town, there were concerns for the planned game, but now the match venue has been switched to the capital city, it means Arsenal have the chance to claim top spot in the group with a game to spare.
Emery has taken some experience to take on Vorskla, and will know that these players will be needed, as the corresponding fixture earlier this season finished 4-2 at The Emirates, with a very strong eleven named, including Ozil, Aubameyang and Welbeck as the scorers. Our team will be very different for this round.
Petr Cech will be in the sticks and captain most likely for this fixture, but our defence will be fresh faced. Rob Holding, Carl Jenkinson and Stephane Lichtsteiner will most likely be in defence, but there could be chances for Pleguezelo and Zach Medley.
In our midfield, Mohamed Elneny will underpin the centre of the park, and his partner could well be Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the youngster making leaps and bounds and impressing everyone since last season. Joe Willock could also make a start after impressing in the reserves so far this campaign. There is also a case for starting Matteo Guendouzi, after his electrifying start so far.
Emile Smith-Rowe is certain to play a part, the youngster has been an almost ever-present in this competition and has impressed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will add the sparkle and the experience to hopefully gift the chances to Eddie Nketiah, should he get the nod in Danny Welbeck’s absence.
There are many kids who will line the bench too. Osei-Tutu, Iliev, John-Jules, Thompson and Saka are all on the plane and with a chance for some minutes.
How this will go
We could see some of our brightest young talents, should we make a strong start. If we obtain the lead, then Emery could feel generous and blood some of the kids.
A strong start is not exactly our strong point this season, so they shouldn’t hold their breath either. Vorskla are no pushovers, but the switch of home stadium could do us a massive favour. The potential partizan atmosphere that would have come with a trip to the remote area of Poltava is now not an issue, and while it is still in the same country, it will have a negative impact on Vorskla.
They showed in their 4-2 loss at The Emirates that they can pose a threat, and with our much changed defence, we could have a tough night. The pressure to some degree is off though for our team, with qualification guaranteed - although a sub-par performance is something that Emery will not accept.
Much will hinge on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eddie Nketiah. The Armenian will be chiefly responsible for creating the chances for the young Nketiah, and a start for the England Under21 international is the chance he has wanted to cement his growth. A goal in this game will go a long way to doing that.
Then there is the wildcard of Smith-Rowe. He has shown he has magic in his boots, and a stellar display could well shine a bigger spotlight on his development. Watch him shine in this game.