Vorskla Preview & Goalkeeper Anecdotes

Arsenal head to Kyiv for the final away game of the Europa League group stage. FC Vorskla face an inexperienced squad, even by League Cup standards. A bespectacled Unai Emery, who you just know is going to the Christmas fancy dress party as Jacob Rees-Mogg, made no bones about his selection:

When there are matches like tomorrow’s in a very big week for us, where we are playing a lot of matches, we have players to cover here.

It was a polite way of saying Spurs and Manchester United are more important fixtures. And in any case, if we screw it up here, there’s always Qarabag at hom to wrap the group up.

Quite right too. Not only do we face Tottenham, it’s also Mike Bloody-Dean as twelfth man. Or the referee, as PGMOL like to call him. To be fair, we have apparently won the last three North London Derbies he officiated so it’s not all bad.

Emery isn’t thinking that far ahead; tonight is important to him. I guess for the continuation of momentum; a long unbeaten run breeds confidence throughout the squad but would losing damage confidence in the sixteen players who didn’t travel.

It’s a tough game for both sides. A sparse crowd in a 70,000-capacity will provide an eerie backdrop for the players. Maybe Arsenal’s academy players are used to matches with few spectators so they might find it less unusual than first-teamers?

You have to feel sympathy for Vorskla. Their biggest game in the Europa League this season and it’s going to feel like an away match in every respect. It won’t be much fun financially for them either; perhaps Richard Scudamore could pass his £5m bonus to the Ukrainians?

Just a thought, eh, Tricky Dicky.

Bitchy and Scratchy

Which brings us to other news this morning. A Polish programme co-hosted by Wojciech Szczesny carried a chat with Lukasz Fabianski about their time at the club. It’s safe to say Gerry Peyton didn’t come out of it well:

We assume the use of video is a lot more scientific now. The exchange confirms Peyton as a man out of time. However, that doesn’t excuse players not taking responsibility for their own development. They are as culpable with Szczesny’s problems stemming from other incidents as much as stunted improvement as a goalkeeper.

Even so, a look at his career since leaving north London shows a decent goalkeeper in there waiting to escape. First choice at Roma ahead of the now-eulogised Alisson and now Juventus. You don’t stay at either club if you aren’t up to scratch.

Equally, Fabianski did well with a struggling Swansea side as well as with West Ham, who find themselves in a similar boat. There are more reservations over him staying with Arsenal than Szczesny in my view. A decent goalkeeper but ‘Arsenal-class’? I’m not convinced.

But we could and should have done more for both. It’s another lesson to be learned by the club and Javi Garcia, who joined as part of Emery’s ‘revolution’ is highly rated by Fabianski.

Is Petr Cech’s view of Peyton similarly jaundiced? Probably; Cech was disappointed Christophe Lollichon wasn’t offered a role at Arsenal when he left Chelsea.

Finally, a series on ITV well worth catching up with is Out of their Skin, which is available here.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

48 thoughts on “Vorskla Preview & Goalkeeper Anecdotes

  1. C says:

    Top stuff Yogi and I’m excited to see some of the youngsters play tonight.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing:

    Lichtsteiner–Holding—Zech Medley–Osei-Tutu
    Maitland-Niles—Guendouzi—Elneny(though I’m sure Emery will go with Ramsey)

    Charlie Gilmour(DM so doubt he makes thr match day squad)
    Tyreece John-Jules(front 3 player)
    Bukayo Saka(flying winger who would come on for Mhkitaryan or Ramsey)

  2. C says:

    The Szczesny debate is always interesting because people judge him om his early appearances when anybody who knows anything about futbol know GK’s get better with age and coaching. Then he was really good the season before he won the Golden Gloves, and was primarily put out because of the smoking situation. 2 sublime years at Roma and Arsene still said he wasn’t good enough despite Szczesny making it perfectly clear he wanted to stay.

    When you take a look back at the last years of Arsene, some of the players he sold are really headscratching decisions.

  3. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Their remarks of Peyton were quite something else. Remarks of a man so out of date that no one of them knew if he was joking or serious. If it was serious they couldn´t believe it and if it was a joke, well, not that obviously funny.

    They were laughing at him and his Antics. He was the goalkeeping coach for how many years and for how many years after Jens have we been wondering about sub standard goalkeeping?

  4. C says:

    Actually, now I wonder will Emery use Osei-Tutu as a LB since he is normally a RB but is good enough to play either FB position OR will Emery go with Jenks as he has been or the most natural of the 3 in Dominic Thompson.

    I do really hope that Medley gets the nod at CB because he is a big powerful CB but is very composed on the ball (can be almost too casual but that comes with being that gifted at that age and he will learn with experience or watching tape of vanDijk) but is a defender through and through.

  5. ferkov says:

    Is The Leech really ready ready? I think he may be given some minutes, but I’d like to have him available for the bench on Monday.
    The line up conundrum is likely to be more fun than the game . Hope our travelling fans make some good noise.

  6. Pete the Thirst says:

    Looking through Charlie Gilmour’s eyes…



    Wouldn’t mind seeing:

    Charlie Gilmour(DM so doubt he makes thr match day squad)

  7. Pete the Thirst says:

    If he plays it will prove Uncle Dave right:

    He didn’t need no education!

    Pete the Thirst:
    Looking through Charlie Gilmour’s eyes…


  8. C says:


    Cech, jenks, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Willock, Ramsey, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Elneny

  9. Damon says:


    Or what about Lichsteiner, with Maitland Niles at FB?

  10. lari03 says:

    4-3-3 it seems. This might be one interesting game to watch, or it could also be as boring as the game that produced Giroud’s scorpion kick last season.

  11. Ferkov says:

    BT spurt have Jenks at CB. They don’t know shit I guess, but stranger things have happened . His latest big break. Be nudging Mustafi off first team bench next week. Come on Jenko

  12. Ferkov says:

    Well played Rambo and Eddie. Goal to ESR .

  13. Noon Gunner says:

    Willock cool as a cucumber for his first senior goal!! Thanks to beautiful interception and through pass by Elneny. Lovely stuff for 3-0

  14. Noon Gunner says:

    Vorskla have been pressing hard all this half, albeit a bit chaotically, and we’ve remained sharp and quick to retain and move the ball forward. Good to see the youngsters working well off each other. No sleepy start here, either…I guess they would have frozen solid if they had.

  15. Noon Gunner says:


    Ha! I know – the curse of the ‘journeyman’ who fits in all over the place. But he’s helluva reliable.

  16. ferkov says:

    Can only play what’s in front of you, and these boys are playing some lovely footy. Enough messing around at the back to keep them honest aswell.
    Jenks doing well with the ball. Not so hot without it. Potential though. Both feet work!

  17. Michael says:


    Would never imagined you would like punk rock 🙂

  18. C says:

    Nketiah has been superb as has all the youngsters.

  19. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Exactly, he just goes about his business not always spectacular but consistent and does his job.

  20. C says:

    Again, with Smith-Rowe, Willock, Guendouzi, Maitland-Niles and Nelson….you can see why Arsenal didn’t want ti overpay Ramsey.

  21. Noon Gunner says:

    Guendouzi’s post-infringement expressions are so French!!

  22. Noon Gunner says:

    Medley on for Holding, who’s played well.

  23. C says:


    Nevermind its been ruled offside but have absolutely no idea on who

  24. Noon Gunner says:


    …and his first two touches are sublime. Small sample, I admit, but sweet on the eye all the same.

  25. consolsbob says:



    First punk band that I saw was the Sex Pistols, touring as SPOT, outside of pub gigs of course. It is an era now expunged from the BBC and radio in general.

    Music, like much else for the beeb, is subject to their very narrow world view.

  26. ferkov says:

    Well done boys. Hungry for a clean sheet. Respect. Ferkin freeeeeezin.

  27. C says:

    He hasn’t scored but my God has Nketiah been a joy to watch all night.

  28. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Medley plays like that everytime I have seen him.

    Fyi….he made the right decision leaving Chelsea for us!

  29. Noon Gunner says:

    Really enjoyed watching our next gen boys tonight – super fit, disciplined, positionally disciplined and clearly accustomed to finding each other under pressure. Good spirit lifter before the Spuds. How many’s that unbeaten now? 18?

  30. consolsbob says:


    You are right but I haven’t for a while. Thanks for reminding me.

  31. nicky says:

    Spare a thought for the Vorskla fans. Because of Putin and his bullyboys, the game had to be played in Kiev for safety reasons. So no home advantage. 😉

  32. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Yup and not only that but you can tell that the style we see in the Senior side is being filtered down. Not only that but our youth seem to have an understanding and confidence on the ball to match the tactics. Shame we didn’t get to see Osei-Tutu but if you just happen to catch him in the U23’s, my goodness that boy looks a complete FB.

    I know Welbeck will be missed but Nketiah everytime you see him, he looks the part of a CF3 for matches like this to allow him to develop but still get senior matches.

  33. C says:

    Though they don’t play the same position ad Willock looks like he wants to claim a midfield spot soon….that finish was very Henry-esque in the way he just out of nowhere opened his hips and placed that goal literally just beyond the GK.

  34. ferkov says:


    AMN needs to shake the rust off quick. Willock impressed all game. Looks like he’s put on a bit of poundage, and is much more overtly physical . That’s a hell of a competition for our backup midfielders.
    Loved how Eddie gives everyone shit for not giving him his goal.

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