Back in the Europa League after their first ever appearance in the competition’s group stages seven years ago, Vorskla Poltava’s first hurdle will be overcoming Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
However, the Ukrainian side, who finished third in their league last season, 24 points behind second placed Dynamo Kiev, aren’t here to be the competition’s pushovers and want to show the world they deserve to be exactly where they are: among some of Europe’s better teams.
Relayed by Ua-Football, the club’s captain, Volodymyr Chesnakov explained what it felt to have come this far, having trained at the Emirates on Wednesday ahead of the game.
He said: “I came out on the pitch and immediately there was a feeling of pride for myself and the team, that we won the right to play in the group stage of the Europa League against Arsenal.
“All the boys, it’s their childhood dream to play against a world class club. We want to go on the field and show that we haven’t accidentally got this ticket to the competition”.
On top of that, the club’s captain wants to ‘dignify’ not only the city of Poltava, but the whole of Ukraine, against Arsenal, putting behind the awe they felt when they were in the competition for the first time in 2011.
Their opponents back then were Hannover, Standard Liège and Copenhagen. This time around, they’ll be facing Arsenal, Sporting CP and Qarabag.
It’ll be tough, and Chesnakov knows it, but where’s the fun when it’s easy, right?