UEFA have insisted that Arsenal's Europa League group match against Vorskla Poltava will go ahead on Thursday night in Ukraine, despite the country's president imposing martial law this week.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko was backed in his calls for a 30 day period of martial law in the country on Monday, after Russia captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews off the coast of Crimea.
This is the current state of the Butovsky Vorskla Stadium, where #AFC are playing Vorskla Poltava on Thursday night. Temperatures are set to fall as low as -13 on Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/D2kQ9XQaCD— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) November 26, 2018
However, the Telegraph report that UEFA have insisted that the match will go ahead in Poltava, about 200 miles east of Kiev, without any scheduling changes, adding that 'all the necessary security measures will be undertaken'.
The Arsenal fans who make the journey – with reports indicating that around 500 will head to the Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium – will face hostile conditions, with temperatures expected to drop below -10ºC on the night of the match.
With the unpleasant conditions, weaker opponents and the fact that the Gunners have already qualified for the competition's first knockout round with a game in hand, Unai Emery is likely to name a severely understrength squad for the trip later this week.
Not only is the English football calendar less than a month away from the start of its most congested time of the season, but the Gunners have crucial and emotionally significant games against Tottenham and Manchester United coming up within a week of their trip to Ukraine.
Russia-Ukraine sea clash in 300 words https://t.co/d2krDC4yYP— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 26, 2018
Sunday afternoon's north London derby will likely see the Gunners put an 18-match unbeaten run on the line against their oldest foes, before they travel to Old Trafford – where they have failed to pick up a league win since Emmanuel Adebayor struck in the 86th minute of a 1-0 win all the way back in 2006.