Arsenal‘s Europa League clash with Vorskla Poltava is to happen on Thursday, UEFA have confirmed, despite the political unrest in Ukraine and freezing weather which has left the stadium under a foot of snow.
Vorskla Poltava v Arsenal Relocated
What Actually Happened?
Ukraine has imposed martial all over the country due to the recent Russian aggression towards Ukraine’s naval interests recently.
The Gunners are in talks with UEFA, Vorskla and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) over the situation, which came about after Russia captured three Ukrainian vessels off the Crimean coast on Sunday.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko describes Russia’s behaviour as an “act of aggression.” The Ukrainian parliament has also overwhelmingly supported the President’s call for 30 days of martial law in parts of the country.
UEFA confirmed the scheduling of the match will not be affected and insisted that “all the necessary security measures will be undertaken.”
What is the Major Inconvenience for the Clubs and Their Fans?
However, UEFA’s emergency panel announced on Tuesday night that the match will now take place in Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium rather than the pre-planned venue, Poltava.
But that has caused chaos with travel plans with a leading supporters’ group declaring it a “major inconvenience” to both fans and the club.
Thursday’s match is set to take place with temperatures falling as low as -12 degrees in the night. Pictures from the Olimpiyskiy Stadium this weekend showed ice caked to the stands and a cover on the playing surface, with volunteers helping to prepare the stadium.
What are the Players Feeling About This?
Sokratis Papastathopoulos was very optimistic about Arsenal’s performance and form against the Ukranian side. He quoted,
“We are around 70 to 80 per cent. We need to improve sometimes to not lose the ball or when we have the ball to finish the action and score. That is the difference. We need to improve and we know this.”
Arsenal are already through to the Europa League’s last 32 and will win the group with victory over a side they beat 4-2 in London in September.
The match will now take place at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on Thursday, November 29 at 18.55 CET (17.55 GMT)
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