Vorskla Review: Teenage Rampage

FC Vorskla Poltava 0 – 3 Arsenal

Arsenal made short work of a dismal Vorskla side who played like they wished they were anywhere other than Kyiv. Not even the appearance of Carl Jenkinson could liven up the Ukrainians attack. And in fairness to Jenks, he had a comfortable night of it. That’s how poor Vorskla were.

How good were Arsenal? As makeshift teams goes, very. Eddie Nketiah led the line well and but for poor finishing, would have scored the goal his work deserved. Joe Willock did score, beautifully stroking home his shot to wrap up the win.

That was the third and thanks to a lino whose arm movements were straight out of the Jack Douglas school of running the line, final goal. Smith Rowe had a goal incorrectly chalked off in the second half. He opened the scoring, slotting home after Nketiah and Ramsey bundled their way through the home side’s defence.

Ramsey added the second. Touched in the area, he went down. Why not? Everyone else does and it became one of those ‘it’s a foul anywhere on the pitch’ moments. Which made it a penalty. The Welshman stuttered his run and scored. Which upset Vorskla who threatened to take their ball home.

The second half passed slowly. We’d done enough and Vorskla had had enough; their will was sapped and their tempers snapped. Unai Emery then decided that saving players for the weekend; Rob Holding made way for Medley, Ramsey for Saka and Guendouzi for Gilmour. The latter was youth making way for the colts.

Petr Cech made a couple of good saves and looked more comfortable with the ball at his feet than before. Vorskla tried to press, Petr chipped and they gave up. It was going to be a long night and they knew it.


All of which left Unai Emery jolly pleased because “the individual quality was good and it was a big performance for us.” And all things considered, he learned a fair bit about some of the youngsters.

Smith Rowe was no surprise to him.

He is taking confidence, he is taking responsibility and also I think today his performance in 90 minutes is very good. He is a good example for the other young players. We think they can help us but they need the confidence of playing matches, not only working with us in the training sessions. They needs to take minutes in matches like today. We want and have the responsibility with the young players like Emile but also the others for them to stay, work and show us that they can improve and stay with us. 

I would add Nketiah into that group as well. His movement and general link-up play was good, providing plenty of scope for the supporting cast to advance into attacking roles. Willock, in particular, wasn’t shy in careering forward.

With the group sewn up, there’s no reason not to think we won’t see a similar line-up in a fortnight’s time against Qarabag. That should be a good moment for Laurent Koscielny to get a full ninety minutes alongside Medley perhaps?

It’s a good position to be in, however. Last night was a ‘job done +’ on the school report. We did a bit more than was needed and certainly learned a lot about the kids. It would be interesting to see one or two in more taxing circumstances but for the moment, this will do.

Now, we’re free to concentrate on the swamp dwellers at the weekend.

’til Tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “Vorskla Review: Teenage Rampage

  1. buckagj says:

    Afternoon YW,
    Well done to the boys, would also like to see them getting playing time

  2. C says:

    Excellent stuff to match an excellent performance by the youngsters.

    Nketiah really looks like he has the makings but also has been listening, learning and watching Aubameyang and Lacazette. He is young, so that CF3 role suits him but I think he will score goals and will have plenty of matches such as the FA Cup and the next Europa League to build on this.

    You watch Willock and Smith-Rowe and they just look like they are ready. Medley and Osei-Tutu(though he didn’t feature) are 2 of my favorite young defenders in the past couple of years at the academy. When you look at our midfield both present and future….things are really looking bright and you can absolutely see why Arsenal said, ‘Ramsey, this is the offer….nevermind, thank you for your service and hopr you find a new home quickly’.

  3. C says:


    I think we will see Willock, Nketiah, Maitland-Niles and Smith-Rowe during the busy holiday period and to be honest, I think they will all play well. Unlike under Arsene, they will be given specific jobs and roles in the team. Sure, Arsene was good to let some youngsters flourish like Nasri and Cesc but some youngsters need that direction and you can tell this lot needs it.

  4. C says:

    Speaking of Spuds, its funny they are all saying Arsenal should worry because Spuds have some momentum…..I guess they don’t consider 18 unbeaten to be better momentumūü§Ē

  5. lari03 says:

    I was pleased with Willock, the lad seems bulkier than last season which is good for him. His cameo on the right wing seemed to reveal that Emery has spotted something exciting about his game and he got a goal to cap his performance. Happy days ahead for the youngsters.

  6. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Willock has been doing fantastic this year at u23. I think he will start. To feature more alongside Saka. Sakas athleticism and directness is something we’ve missed for years. I just hope he keeps developing as he is. Nketieh looked good last night, wish Ramsey could have let him take that pen to get his confidence up by but in suppose a makes sense he took it.

  7. Ras says:

    McTaggart……Top post YW.

    Been a while work and family commitments have limited ones opportunities to post. A good win Hier Soir. This weekend is going to be tres tres intéressant..

  8. ferkov says:

    Took a double take. Thought it was Fergie! Wtf. There’s bin a murrrrrduh.

    Think Medley and Kosh played 45 together on Monday ,before the meltdown. So that would be interesting. Be nice to see having a steady nerve next to him will help Laurent’s game.

    The midfield trio are all looking good to go. AMN looking the least so ,still recovering full fitness, but he’s shown enough previously anyway.
    Certainly all ready for the bench at very least.

  9. Pete the Thirst says:

    Reminds me of United past…


  10. C says:


    Maitland-Niles has shown quite a bit in midfield and I wouldn’t be surprised if Emery uses him at LB too.

  11. thrillbo says:


    I think you are right about the youngsters being able to contribute in a more controlled environment. Imagine a young Kieran Gibbs coming up against Nani in the UEFA Quarter Final. Wenger probably just told him to go expressive himself on the pitch. Gibbs trips over himself trying to defend Nani and we are out of the match within 10 minutes…

    Nowadays you throw a youth in there and have more confidence. They will be drilled on a specific job to do and hopefully can go make it happen. They dont have to beat the world, just control your man and win your individual battles. Show composure, intelligence on the ball, discipline in your positioning etc.

    IN SHORT, i think you tell the youngsters to keep it simple and play solid D. Unai will instruct the on how he wants them to keep the ball and play defense. This opens the gates for the more senior players to wreak havoc. The other bonus of youth is you BETTER be sprinting back on defense every god damn time. No excuses. On the opposite end, if you get the ball in attacking position you can take your guy on with pace!

  12. C says:


    All to often youth are expected to simply ‘fit in’ and play but not all of them are built like that. Under Emery, he gives them specific roles, especially the younger ones and within that tbe youth are able to express themselves. I am a fan of Arsene and what he did but I think he couldn’t always differentiate between youth that are able to simply go play and those that needed instruction and direction.

    The good thing is that the youngsters that are going now seem to all be midfielders who understand the defensive side of things. You look at Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, hell even Smith-Rowe and they all understand that you have to defend but all do the simple things well.

  13. ferkov says:


    Even ESR.
    I agree. Something I’d meant to post last night, but drinking got in the way. He was tracking his man all night. Impressive stuff.

  14. Limestonegunner says:

    I think Eddie was actually terrific–great movement, excellent interplay, energetic pressing, crafty moves on the ball when dribbling. One shot skewed wide and his connection was off on another shot. Otherwise he did force a save on another. Mostly, I noticed him getting into great positions but other young players getting a little selfish and not making the pass they should have to him in the box a few times. Saka and Willock were both guilty of this even though Eddie was pretty unselfish and played link up and created for others on several occasions. He definitely deserved a goal.

  15. C says:


    Exactly, its something that is worked on in the youth system. I have followed the youth for many years and have constantly said that our youth play the best futbol at the club and play different than the senior side…until now.

  16. Blue Yonder says:


    Yes, it is strange. Earlier on in the run Arsenal were getting a lot of media attention but not so much now. Was it the string of draws or the fact that they consider Arsenal part of the conversation again, or something else? Good performances and points against Spurs and United would confirm a corner having being turned.

  17. C says:

    Blue Yonder,

    Maybe it was the draws but not sure; I mean I don’t mind Arsenal being low key and continuing to churn our results and points. Results against Spuds are first on the docket and they are there to be had.

  18. Arsetralian says:


    I am very curious as to our NLD line up

    Keep back 3 with Kol as LWB?

    Return to 4 and use AMN as more solid but is he fit enough?

    And back to 4 = Ozil?

    Is Lac fit again?

    Questions questions

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