Despite not having to go quite as far as Poltava to play tonight’s match against Vorskla, Arsenal are going to have to face freezing temperatures for the 90 minutes they are on the pitch. The Forecast for Kiev is an amazing -10c, with a ‘real feel’ of minus 12 with the wind factor thrown in. I can imagine that the locals are used to playing in weather like that, but how will affect the Arsenal youngsters who have probably never experienced anything like this before.
Unai Emery says he has taken this into account when training for the game. He said: “It’s very cold here like it is in Poltava but we’re going to play with this weather. We prepared for the match in this context with our players and also with the respect for Vorskla. We only want to play the match, to win and to show every supporter that we can do well.
“In the 90 minutes, it’s not a very big change. It’s clear [Vorskla] are playing in Ukraine and not in their town, but here in Kiev they can also move their supporters. In the 90 minutes, we want to do our work here. We want to prepare for Poltava with the respect to them.”
Playing in temperatures like that give a whole new meaning to the ‘Cold rainy night in Stoke’ syndrome that affects some of our star players, so I would not like to predict how our youngsters will cope with it. But also we have to play a good team that gave our reserves a shock by scoring 2 goals at the Emirates. Emery is well aware of the threat that Vorskla pose to us. He said: “We have respect for every team and we have respect for Vorskla because they are here in the Europa League with us. They earned the right to play here against us. They also have players with quality, and they are a very organised and competitive team.
“We know it’s not going to be easy to win here. We know their results against Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, and also here against Qarabag and Sporting. Every match against them is very close in the result and we know tomorrow is a very good opportunity for them to play against us and give their best performance. We need to produce a good performance to beat them.”
I am sure that they will put up a big fight against the Arsenal kids on a cold night in Kiev. And can you imagine being in the stands?? I don’t think there will be many beer bellies on show!