|Donetsk Way (L-R):
Andriy & Stepan Luczka, Petro & Ewhen Chymera
Our third guest of the 2018 – 19 season is Petro Chymera, one of the four founding members of the well known British based Ukrainian football group and online presence, Donetsk Way. Born out of a road trip between four friends; Petro, Ewhen, Stepan and Andriy, the group is named after the road in Sheffield where their 2012 trip began. Since travelling from England to Ukraine for Euro 2012, Donetsk Way has established itself as a respected source on all things Ukrainian football on social media. In addition to this, the group are renowned for being a popular presence at Ukrainian club and national team away games across Europe and are also known to dress up as kozaks on occasion. Petro, primarily runs most of the Donetsk Way social media channels on a day to day basis and has followed all forms of Ukrainian football closely for years as a result. With such an in-depth knowledge of the UPL, Petro will be feeling the pressure in this week’s UPL MATCH PREDICTOR.
|Metalist Kharkiv Ultras v Dnipro – 27/9/2015|
As Petro has followed the UPL for years and persisted through both the highs and lows, we decided to ask him about his views on current state of Ukrainian football and in what direction he sees the UPL moving toward, in the near future. Petro answered “The UPL isn’t anywhere near the standard it once was in the early part of the decade, when Dnipro and Metalist were challenging the duopoly of the UPL and performing well in Europe. The current race behind the top two isn’t as convincing, so it is very much back to a two horse race. Shakhtar and Dynamo are regularly playing in Europe in the spring so this is a positive but the next level teams still need to do more.”
Petro personally thinks that talk of a potential 16 team league, coming into play from next season, would be beneficial as it would avoid teams playing the same side four times a year. “SIX Clasicos a year, with the Super Cup and an inevitable Ukrainian Cup game is too much!” That said Petro admits “it is no good raising the league up to 16 teams if it is going to mean teams are pulling out mid-season like they did previously. Attendances last season were generally poor too, so getting the fans back in stadiums needs to be a priority.”
With the first UPL El Clasico of the season occurring on Friday, Petro was also asked whether he believed the result of this early derby would have any impact on who wins the championship in May? Petro responded astutely; “With another potential three Clasico’s left, I don’t think this will be the decider! Last season Shakhtar didn’t win a single Clasico but still won the league and Dynamo did the same a few years back under Rebrov, so getting the job done elsewhere is just as, if not more important.” Despite being a Dynamo fan, Petro remains realistic when it comes to assessing both of the teams’ current standings. “Dynamo and Shakhtar have won their opening games, albeit the Donbas side have done so in more convincing style. Shakhtar are currently more experienced with Dynamo having lots of new faces and young players, so the Miners probably edge it at the minute, despite Dynamo’s Super Cup win and my prediction of a Dynamo win this weekend!!”
Finally, before we move onto the predictions, keeping with Zorya Londonsk’s topic of conversation this week; young Ukrainian talent, we asked Petro for his opinion on who he thought looks most promising for the future. “Andriy Lunin has obviously grabbed the headlines with his move to Real Madrid. He’ll probably be 2nd choice but it’ll be interesting to see if he gets any game time or even a loan move. It’s about time someone replaced Andriy Pyatov as Ukraina No.1!”
Moving onto the UPL, Petro feels it’s time for the likes of Tsyhankov and Besedin to show their true worth at Dynamo, “they may be promising but can they deliver?” He adds that the same goes for Viktor Kovalenko at Shakhtar, “he looked a world beater a few years back, but his progression has seemingly stalled.” Petro also thinks it will be interesting to see if any of the Ukraine squad who reached the semi finals of the U19 Euros get any game time this season.
DONETSK WAY’S SOCIAL LINKS:
Dynamo Kyiv v Shakhtar Donetsk
RESULT: 1-0 – Verbic (65′)
RESULT: 1-0 – Careca (83′)
RESULT: 1-1 – Rafael Ratao (23′) / Savchenko (59′)
RESULT: 2-2 – Di Franco (32′), Shved (36′) / Kravchenko (58′), Teixera (86′)