Our favourite Thursday night entertainment is back.
Oh the Europa League, how we’ve missed you.
Prepare the tin hats, everyone’s go-to insult to hurl at rival teams will be fired across social media for the rest of the season.
Arsenal and Chelsea make up the Premier League contingent who will begrudgingly give up their Thursday nights to play in the second-rate competition this season.
Let’s not be football snobs and ridicule the Europa League too much though. It’s a big deal for a lot of sides.
Luxembourg minnows F91 Dudelange have secured themselves glamour ties with AC Milan, whereas Arsenal have their very own giant killing to worry about.
If the Gunners are to go one better than last season’s semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, they will have to take all their opponents seriously.
A potential banana skin awaits Emery in his first European game in charge of Arsenal, with FC Vorskla Poltava first up.
Although their name makes you think a cat has just walked across the keyboard, they will be keen to stop the Gunners from playing with them like a ball of string.
Here are 5 utterly endearing things about Arsenal’s first Europa League opponents of the season…
1 You have more Twitter followers than them
Their official Twitter account is just as active than the one Yer Da set up to follow Tommy Robinson and Piers Morgan.
At the time of writing this, they have just 718 followers to their name. Arsenal are one of those followers. Stat padding behaviour.
It took them almost a month to even acknowledge the fact that they were drawn against Premier League giants Arsenal.
Seemingly their fans have little desire for dank social media content.
Major BDE from Vorskla. Fair f*cks.
2 They already play in a league with Arsenal
The prospect of facing Arsenal will be nothing new for Vorskla.
It turns out, they are already fairly used to facing Arsenal… Kyiv.
Yes, the Ukrainian Premier League is blessed with a side who boast the same name as Emery’s men.
Arsenal (Kyiv) had been out in the wilderness of Ukrainian football before securing promotion back to the top flight last season.
Vorskla last met Arsenal (Kyiv) in 2013, when the Gunners’ namesakes nicked a 2-1 victory on the day.
If they needed further incentive for them to get one over on Arsenal tonight.
3 Their manager worked his way up to the top job
Admittedly, he didn’t start off working in the club shop, but Sachko’s rise is still admirable.
The 43-year-old was banging in goals for fun in a Vorskla shirt just ten-years ago.
After taking up a role as a coach and then assistant manager following his retirement, the Ukrainian earned the top job.
He insisted that his side are not in London as “tourists” and that they will pose a serious threat to the Gunners.
You have to respect his confidence.
Sachko > Guardiola. You heard it here first.
4 Their stadium is as tidy as a teenager’s bedroom
The Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium. It’s where every footballer grows up and dreams of playing.
The multi-purpose sports venue has been adopted as the home of Arsenal’s Europa League opponents.
It holds just shy of 25,000 fans, however it seems as though it’s in desperate need of a lick of paint.
Who needs the Emirates Stadium and it’s £7.99 hotdogs?
We can joke, but at least they actually have a stadium. CC: Spurs.
5 Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be reunited with some old friends
Mkhitaryan had some bad news to digest surrounding the ties against Qarabag, however this should cheer him up.
Arsenal’s Armenian star will come face-to-face with a few familiar names when the Gunners host Vorskla, including several ex team-mates.
The 29-year-old played alongside Vorskla goalkeeper Bohdan Shust at both Metalurh Donestsk and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mkhitaryan will also be reuinted with Olexandr Chyzhov, another former Donetsk team-mate, as well as Gegam Kadimyan, who he has played alongside at international level.
Presumably the WhatsApp chat between them has been going off this week.
Emery has urged that his side take the clash against Vorskla with the utmost respect.
#EmeryOut if they lose?
READ MORE FROM THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WORLD OF DREAM TEAM:
- F91 Dudelange are the only side you need to support in the Europa League this season
- Why did Real Madrid fans give Roma’s Kostas Manolas an ovation before their Champions League clash?
- QUIZ: Europa League player or knock-off alcohol brand?
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