Arsenal have started moving up the table after our defeats in Unai Emery’s first two games as Arsenal coach, and we have a nice run of winnable games in September which will hopefully take us even closer to the League leaders. So there is every possibility that by November we will still be in the mix for a Top Four place, and the North London derby on December 2nd could be a very crucial fixture in our hopes of staying in touch.
But the Europa League draw has not been very kin to us and we have to face Vorskla in a remote corner of Ukraine just three days before the big game against Tottenham. The Standard reports today…
However, poor transport links makes Poltava a difficult destination to visit, leading to suggestions the Gunners may consider requesting a change of venue to either Kharkiv, Kiev or Dnipro.
But a Uefa spokesman told Standard Sport the game will not be moved, meaning fans must negotiate an extremely difficult journey to make the game scheduled for November 29, just three days before the north London derby against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.
Poltava has an airport but it is not possible to fly there on a commercial airline from London given it is one of the oldest airports in Ukraine with one single landing strip.
Fans would therefore have to fly to Kiev or Kharkiv and then take a train but Kharkiv flights are rarely direct and the trains from both destinations to Poltava run at infrequent times throughout the day. Accommodation is also of a low quality and relatively scarce.
I think we must assume that Emery will not be bringing many of the Arsenal first team to play in this game with the derby in mind, so there will be very little appeal to fans to even try going to the game. And surely any players on the pitch that day in probably sub-zero temperatures will be fit to play again three days later!