Vorskla Poltava 0-3 Arsenal - Clinical first-half secures comfortable Europa League victory
- Credit: Picture: MARTYN HAWORTH
Arsenal cruised past Vorskla Poltava 3-0 on Thursday night with a clinical first-half performance.
The Group E clash – which had to be moved 185 miles at the last minute from Stadion Vorskla to the Olimpiyskiy Stadium due to security concerns – saw a professional Gunners performance, as Unai Emery’s side extended their unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitons.
Emery’s starting XI against the Ukranians mixed youth and experience, with Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emile Smith-Rowe starting alongside the likes of Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Aaron Ramsey – while the bench was packed with academy talent.
Both sides had chances saved early on but the visitors were ahead with only 10 minutes gone. Smith-Rowe found space in the box to shoot high into the net for his third goal in three games.
The lead was doubled when Igor Perduta conceded a penalty by fouling Ramsey in the 26th minute, and the Welshman struck the spot-kick calmly into the bottom-right,
Vorskla were out of sight with four minutes left of the first-half. Arsenal’s quick counter-attack saw Mohamed Elneny find Willock outside the box, before the 19-year-old struck and expert strike into the bottom right.
A professional Gunners second half saw them contain the Ukrainians, with 17-year-old Buyako Sako, 18-year-old Zech Medley and 19-year-old Charlie Gilmour all getting on the pitch.