Arsenal v Vorskla facts

Arsenal's first European contest without Arsène Wenger since 1996 pits them against Ukraine's Vorskla Poltava.

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery
New Arsenal manager Unai Emery ©Getty Images

2017/18 semi-finalists Arsenal return to the UEFA Europa League with a new coach in competition specialist Unai Emery and with a home fixture against Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava who, like the Gunners, qualified automatically for the group stage through their domestic league position.

Previous meetings
• Whereas Vorskla are meeting English opposition for the first time, Arsenal have faced Ukrainian clubs on ten previous occasions and have a perfectly even record of four wins, four defeats, 15 goals scored and the same number conceded.

• At home the London side are unbeaten against Ukrainian visitors, winning four of the five games, all in the UEFA Champions League group stage, and drawing the other – 1-1 against Dynamo Kyiv at Wembley Stadium in 1998/99, when the visitors scored an added-time equaliser.

Form guide
• The Gunners finished sixth in the 2017/18 Premier League – their lowest final placing under Arsène Wenger in his swansong season as manager after 22 years. It did earn them a second successive qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 successive seasons until last term, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt, going out to eventual winners Atlético Madrid. Their home record during that run was W4 D2 L1, the only defeat coming in the round of 32 against Östersund (1-2) after they had won the first leg 3-0 in Sweden.

• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up won last season's UEFA Europa League group stage opener 3-1 at home to Köln. The last time the Gunners failed to win at home on matchday one was in 2003/04, when they lost 3-0 to Internazionale Milano at Highbury in the UEFA Champions League.

Top ten goals of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League season
Top ten goals of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League season

• Vorskla secured a place in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage by finishing third in the 2017/18 Ukrainian Premier League – their joint-highest ever final placing, matching their achievement in 1996/97, when they qualified for Europe for the first time.

• This is the club's seventh European campaign and their second in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They had to win three qualifying ties to make the grade in 2011/12, including a play-off success against Dinamo Bucureşti, but their six group games yielded just two points and bottom place in a section featuring Standard Liège, Hannover and FC København.

• It was in that tie against Dinamo that Vorskla claimed their last European away win (3-2). Since then five trips abroad have brought two draws and three defeats.

Links and trivia
• Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in Ukraine from 2009–2013 for Metalurh Donetsk and Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring twice in the league against Vorskla for each club.

• Mkhitaryan played alongside Vorskla goalkeeper Bohdan Shust for both Donetsk clubs and was a team-mate of Olexandr Chyzhov at Shakhtar. He has also played with Gegam Kadimyan for the Armenian national side.

The coaches
• After two years with Paris Saint-Germain that yielded seven domestic trophies, Unai Emery was appointed as Arsenal manager in May 2018, replacing long-serving Arsène Wenger. The Spaniard oversaw Sevilla's historic hat-trick of successes in the UEFA Europa League from 2013/14 to 2015/16, having assumed control following a four-year tenure at Valencia and a brief stint at Spartak Moskva. He has been in charge of more UEFA Europa League games than any other coach.

• A tall centre-forward, Vasyl Sachko played in the Ukrainian top flight for Volyn Lutsk and Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih before moving to Vorskla in 2008. He has been with the Poltava club ever since, four years as a player then two as assistant coach before taking on the head coach role in the summer of 2014. As a result of leading Vorskla to third place in Ukraine in 2017/18, he qualified the club for the UEFA Europa League group stage, of which he had a brief taste as a player in 2011/12.