Arsenal vs Vorskla signals the return to the Europa League. Sporting Clube de Portugal and Qarabag FK complete the line-up in Group E with the two clubs meeting in Lisbon this evening.
The Gunners turned their season around following consecutive defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening weeks of the campaign. Three subsequent victories make the landscape clearer for Unai Emery.
With his pedigree as Sevilla boss in winning the trophy on three occasions, and as one of last season’s losing semi-finalists, the Gunners will be among the favourites to feature in the final in Baku, Azerbaijan next year.
Arsenal vs Vorskla Match Preview
Before the weekend’s victory at St James Park, Emery declared he would put out his strongest XI and that making eleven changes was impractical. He toned down the rhetoric a little after his side’s 2 – 1 win – their fourth game of the season to see over 2.5 goals – announcing that changes were inevitable.
One of those will be experienced German goalkeeper Bernd Leno coming in for Petr Cech whose distribution remains a point of contention. The former Czech Republic international pointed out he made 166 passes, making mistakes with just two. However, the uncertainty he feels seeps into the back four which offer opponents opportunities. It remains to be seen whether Leno is any more assured.
Vorskla come into the match having lost nine of their last 10 European matches and having made as poor a start to the season as Arsenal. Losing three of their opening four (W1), extended to four of six (W2) before they recorded back-to-back wins in their last two matches.
The win at Karpaty was their first away victory of the campaign and the first in five to feature under 1.5 goals with Vorskla keeping only their second clean sheet of the season. Which is one more than Arsenal.
Arsenal vs Vorskla News
Jenkinson, Kolasinac, Koscielny, and Maitland-Niles are out injured but it’s expected Leno, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Torreira, and Welbeck will start with Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Xhaka, and Aubameyang dropping out.
Vladimir Odaryuk and Denis Vasin miss the match for Vorskla with their major concern is midfielder Yuriy Kolomoets.
Arsenal vs Vorskla Head-to-Head
The two sides have never previously met nor have Vorskla faced any English sides.
Arsenal faced Ukrainian opposition five times at home (W4, D1) but have never won against those teams – Dinamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk – away from home (D1, L4).
Arsenal vs Vorskla Form Guide
Last six most recent competitive matches
Arsenal vs Vorskla Key Men
Lucas Torreira entered the fray at half-time and immediately gave the Arsenal team balance, allowing their attacking strength to shine through. Can he have the same impact in a much-changed XI?
He’ll settle behind an attack featuring Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette through the centre, supported by Welbeck and Mkhitaryan. It’s an experienced quartet albeit with just two goals between them. It’s a strength and weakness of Arsenal that they have 10 different goalscorers this season but none with more than one goal.
Similarly, six players recorded a single assist – Iwobi, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan, and Xhaka with a goal each as well – points to a variety in attack.
However, it also leaves spaces behind the full-backs which opponents are keen to exploit and with Arsenal holding the joint-eighth worst record in the Premier League for shots conceded per game.
Given the opponents faced so far, it’s no surprise the Gunners hold a poorer home record in this respect. Stephan Lichtsteiner’s experience ought to bring a calming influence in that respect.
Vorskla could be forgiven for thinking it’s just a case of turning up to win with the negative stats surrounding the Arsenal team. Nicolas Careca is expected to lead the line once again and has one goal to his credit this season in three starts (plus three substitute appearances).
Vladyslav Kulach has reason to feel disappointed if that’s the case. He has two goals in his last three appearances and has featured in a winning side in his last four.
Arsenal vs Vorskla Prediction
This has the feeling of a one-sided match and if Arsenal gets an early goal, the floodgates will open. It’s a good night to be looking at the Gunners forwards for goalscoring odds as well as the over/under goals markets.
Despite their vulnerability in the Premier League, we expect the Gunners to be too strong for Vorskla and to win handsomely in front of their own fans.