UPL PREDICTOR 2017/18 – MATCHDAY 7


UPL PREDICTOR MATCHDAY 7
The last 100% record in the UPL has fallen. Dynamo Kyiv join the rest of the league in having failed to win at least of their fixtures so far this season. Chornomorets Odesa were the perpetrators that brought Dynamo down to Earth and given them some food for thought in terms of how much the team is progressing and how seriously problems need to be addressed. Whilst Dynamo did play a weakened line up, with one eye on their UCL play off second leg, the reserves were unable to capitalise on their starts as they ended up drawing 1-1. The one positive for Dynamo was that promising talent, Nazariy Rusyn scored again and overtook Biesedin’s season tally in the process. On the other hand, Chornomorets continue to cause shocks. Despite being tipped to struggle this season, they have so far been resilient and this result reinforces that. 
Fabrizio Ravanelli
Elsewhere in the UPL, Oleksandriya continued their storming start to the season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Vorskla, whilst Shakhtar triumphed in a goal filled 5-2 Donetsk Derby win over a stagnating Olimpik side. After picking up their first point the week before, Ravanelli’s Arsenal Kyiv have gone onto pick up their first win after seeing off Karpaty Lviv. It seems the Barnsley fans on Twitter last week, who raised the alarm over new Karpaty manager, Jose Morais’ managerial record, are being proven right from the outset!
Away from the league, it was another hugely important week for Ukrainian clubs in Europe. Both Dynamo and Zorya had tough second legs to get past in order to make their aspirational group stages. Dynamo were first up against Ajax. Although they were 3-1 down on aggregate, it was all to play in Kyiv. Despite an electric opening 10 minutes, Dynamo faded and folded quickly. If it were not for a missed penalty from Dusan Tadic and the heroics of Denys Boyko then Dynamo would have been humiliated at the Olympiyskiy. In typical Dynamo fashion of recent years, they bowed out without a whimper with a 0-0 draw, minimally threatening the Ajax goal in what was a must win game. 
On the other hand, Zorya put up a much better fight against RB Leipzig. Having fended off their corporate backed opponents in the first leg in a 0-0 draw, this second leg proved to be a goal fest. Leipzig went ahead, Rafael Ratao drew Luhansk level. Gordienko edged Zorya in front after break after a stunning counter attacking move. Unfortunately, history repeated itself for Zorya, as Leipzig drew level and got their winner from the penalty spot in the 90thminute. Sheer devastation. This means that Shakhtar will be the sole representatives of the UPL in the Champions League this season, whilst Dynamo and Vorskla head for the Europa League group stages.
Andrew Todos of Zorya Londonsk Weekly will be making predictions for every UPL game this season, against a variety of guests. 
Aberdeen and Pittodrie
Our seventh guest of the 2018 – 19 season is Clark Gillies. Clark has been a long time travelling Scotland supporter, whilst following Aberdeen and Wimbledon as his club sides. We asked Clark for a little background into why he is so fond of these two teams. Clark told us “I grew up in West Kilbride in Ayrshire and as a child of the 1980’s living in Scotland can be seen as something of a glory hunter, what with the successful Sir Alex Ferguson Aberdeen team of the time!” Aberdeen is Clark’s main team, but he grew an affection for AFC Wimbledon due to having cousins living in Staines in Surrey. 
The Crazy Gang
Clark added “They were all Arsenal fans, and we used to visit them a lot, and around 1988-ish we were down and planned to attend an Arsenal match, but could not get tickets, and looking at the other fixtures, Wimbledon were playing Coventry. So as a 7-year-old I was introduced to Plough Lane and the Crazy Gang, and just grew to love it!” With the commitments of family life these days, Clark does not get as many opportunities to see them both at the present but he tries his best when he can.
As mentioned previously, Clark is an avid and passionate Scotland fan! He has supported them both home and away for years. Clark cast his mind back to when he first started travelling to Scotland matches “I began in my university years, me and a few friends travelled to Riga in Latvia in 2000 for a World Cup qualifier, which Scotland won 1-0.
Since then he has attended around 52 away games right across Europe (and even as far as Yokohama in Japan), including Ukraine in Kyiv in 2006. Clark still goes to home and away games, and has exciting trips to Israel and Albania booked for later this year. 
Aside from the physical aspect of watching football, as a travelling fan, Clark is also currently involved with the Scotland fans charity, the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal. Clark explained “We are a small charity from Scotland who make donations at EVERY game the Scotland national team play at. Since 2003 we have made 67 donations and handed over £100,000 in money to organisations and charities that help children and young adults.”
Clark (L) in Hungary with TASA, March 2018
The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal’s success stories are awe inspiring. Clark noted that “over the years we have helped others in ways like building a playground at a psycho-neurological hospital in Moldova, providing computer training for children suffering from cancer in Austria, medical care for a Special School of Arts for Children with Impaired Vision in Ukraine, and incubator units for premature babies in Croatia.”
You can find out more about the donation in Kyiv in 2006 via the links that can be after the interview.
Clark has a big fascination for football beyond the old Iron Curtain. We asked him to shed light on how this intrigue came about and how he has developed and grown his links to football in the Central and Eastern European regions. 
“I’ve always had an interest in those areas of the footballing world, which I think stems from when Celtic played Partizan Belgrade in the early 90’s. These teams from behind the Iron Curtain just seemed so exotic to me, and I just grew to find out more and more.”
However, his introduction to Ukraine was actually by total accident.
In 2003, his then future wife Victoria was in Lithuania with Christian Aid, and Clark was there for Lithuania v Scotland in a Euro 2004 qualifier.
“I asked this blonde girl at the table next to me in a restaurant if she could translate the menu and she said she could not read Lithuanian as she was from a country I probably had never heard of…. I asked where and she said “Ukraine”…. to which I replied “Shevchenko, Rebrov, Dynamo Kyiv etc etc” and she was actually really impressed that I know about her country.”
“Later that year me and a friend from University planned a trip to Moscow, but I missed my connection in Amsterdam, and so they sent me to Moscow via Kyiv, and while I never left the airport, it stuck with me that I must visit Ukraine properly some day. So when I got home from Russia I started planning a trip to Ukraine, and remembered Victoria who I met in Lithuania.”
“After exchanging a few emails it was agreed that I would visit her in her city of Ternopil, and she would show me around Western Ukraine, including Lviv.”
One thing lead to another, we visited Moldova and also attended a Belarus v Scotland match in Minsk, and in 2006 we got married and have two great kids these days!
On the topic of Eastern Europe, Clark also told us a rather typical and amusing anecdote from his Moldova trip that was mentioned in the latter paragraph. 
Moldova v Scotland, October 2004
“One story that always stick out is when we played Moldova in 2004. I had just met Victoria (my wife from Ukraine) the previous year, and with young love said if she wanted to visit Moldova to meet my friends (as I was booked to travel via Kyiv any way). Victoria to my surprise said yes, but as she lives in Ternopil, we decided to get the bus from Lviv to Chisinau. 
At 3am we arrive at the Ukraine-Moldova border and the guards take my passport… 10 minutes later some big Ukrainian border guard asks me to follow him off the bus. As I spoke no Ukrainian at the time Victoria did all the talking…They got into a pretty heated argument, then suddenly she stops talking with a blank look on her face… 
It turns out that he did not believe any fans from Scotland would travel to Moldova for a football match, and certainly not at 3am in the morning from the Ukrainian side… On top of all this Victoria added “oh and he wants one of your shirts!”.”
It turns out that he thought I was one of the Scotland football team players travelling to Moldova to meet up with my team mates, as he was convinced I must play for Dynamo Kyiv or Karpaty Lviv, and was basically trying to get a signed shirt off me! Thankfully I got to Moldova without any further problems after that, but that particular trip has always stuck in my mind.
Oleksiy Mikhailichenko at Rangers
Clark has dabbled in a bit of football writing in the past. His article for ‘These Football Times’ was really insightful and interesting looking into the links between Scottish and Ukrainian football that flourished during the 1990s as Ukrainians took the SPL by storm. We would highly recommend that anyone interested in Ukrainian football gives it a read! A link to it will be found in the links section below which can be found after this interview.
With Scotland, Ukraine and football being so close to Clark’s heart it seemed only right for us to ask what he saw was coming next for both country’s football scenes. “I think Scottish football is on the rise, but as for Ukrainian football it is not helped by the current climate over there just now. Hopefully Dynamo can recover from getting knocked out of the UCL by Ajax and do well in the Europa League whilst it was a shame about Zorya coming up just short tonight.
Furthermore, we wanted to know Clark’s overall hopes and predictions for the UPL this season. “In terms of the league, Dynamo look to have improved a lot from last season, and if early form is to continue, they should nick it from Shakhtar, but with Dynamo, you know they have a habit of switching off in the wrong games at critical stages of the season!” 
As for Ukrainian clubs’ exploits in Europe, we asked Clark who he thought would reach the furthest stage. “I think Dynamo will probably progress the furthest out of all the teams, as CL seems heavily stacked to favor that elite group that Shakhtar do not fall into in Europe, but hope all do well.”
Keep up to date with the latest from Clark, The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal and and don’t forget to check out his written pieces via the links provided below. 

PREDICTOR TIME 


A correct result (WIN / DRAW/ DEFEAT) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns an extra 40 points.


FRIDAY

Vorskla Poltava v Chornomorets Odesa
Todos’ prediction: Chornomorets may have grabbed a point against Dynamo last week and continually seem to trump me when I’ve gone against them so far this season but I shall be going against them once more. With Vorskla being at home and needing to vindicate their loss to Oleksandriya last week, they will edge this one.1-0
Clark’s prediction: ‘This should be a good mid table game and pretty hard to call, but saying a low scoring Vorskla win’2-0
RESULT: 2-1: Kulach (49′), Ryzhuk OG (87′) / Chorniy (63′)

SATURDAY


Shakhtar Donetsk v Mariupol

Todos’ prediction: Shakhtar are now firmly in their groove. Junior Moraes and Marlos are both on red hot form at the moment and I don’t see them slowing down against Mariupol. The Azov side aren’t a pushover but Shakhtar will be just too overwhelming. 3-0
Clark’s prediction: ‘Nice “romantic” tie and something of a derby, but honestly can not see past Shakhtar steamrolling to victory in this’.4-0
RESULT: 2-0: Moraes (43′) , Dawa OG (56′)

SUNDAY


Desna Chernihiv v Olimpik
Todos’ prediction: Desna looked a formidable side last time out as they routed Zorya away. They’ll look to build a win streak as they host an underperforming Olimpik Donetsk. Olimpik’s busy summer of acquiring numerous transfers has as of yet not led them to any scintillating football or form. 2-0
Clark’s prediction: ‘Again, another mid table fixture that could go either way, but suspect draw most likely scenario1-1
RESULT: 0-1: Bilonoh (55′)


FC Lviv v Oleksandriya
Todos’ prediction: Oleksandriya are flying. Dynamo defeat aside they haven’t needed to chase a game yet. They won’t need to this time round either. Oleksandriya will edge it. 0-1
Clark’s prediction: ‘Interesting tie, with Lviv actually having some not bad showings this season, but can not see past an Oleksandriya victory.’ 0-2
RESULT: 2-2: Duarte (8′), Taylor (21′) / Hrytsuk (54′), Sitalo (83′)

Arsenal Kyiv – Zorya Luhansk
Todos’ prediction: After the devastation of their Europa League exit, Zorya will look to put that behind them by focusing solely on the league. Their European exploits seem to have curtailed their league performances and as such will be desperate to get back on track. Arsenal Kyiv seem to be on the up after grabbing 4 points from 2 games but that will end here.  0-2
Clark’s prediction: ‘Arsenal are really struggling since getting back to the top flight, and I imagine this will be a strong Zorya victory, but would be nice for Arsenal to get something.’ 0-3
RESULT: 0-5: Karavaev (5′), Khomchenovsky (13′, 69′), Rafeal Ratao (44′), Lednev (51′)

Dynamo Kyiv v Karpaty Lviv 
Todos’ prediction: I have been blindly backing and expecting Karpaty to pull off wins left, right and centre so far this season but all they have succeeded in is perpetual disappointment. Dynamo will want to make up for last week’s dropped points and will be relentless in hoping to please supporters after the poor showing in the midweek play offs. 3-0
Clark’s prediction: ‘This should be the tie of the weekend! Karpaty do have a habit of raising their game in this fixture. You would not think both teams are at opposite ends of the table, but Dynamo should win.’ 3-0
RESULT: 0-2: Shved (19′, 45+2′)

MATCHDAY 7 – H2H WINNER: DRAW

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GUEST LEADERBOARD (UPDATE IN PROGRESS)

Total scores after week 7
Todos
250
Guests
430
Todos v Guests
P7
W2
D1     L4

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