The hard way but got the job done!
It took normal time plus extra time plus penalties but Chelsea managed to reach the Europa League Final. Sarri selected the best possible lineup with Kepa starting in goal, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson starting in defence, Jorginho, Kovacic, RLC starting in midfield, and Hazard, Giroud, and Willian starting upfront. Chelsea began the first half very well and dominated possession as we pinned Frankfurt in their own half but Frankfurt had the odd counter attack which caused panic at the back for Chelsea. The opener came in the 28th minute as Hazard fed a through ball into RLC who expertly finessed the ball into the bottom left corner. Chelsea led but for the rest of the 1st half it was the story of our season as we failed to take advantage of opportunities. Frankfurt came out to play for the 2nd half and got a goal in the 48th minute after some sloppy defending by Luiz allowed Jovic to level. In typical fashion Chelsea conceded in the opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half and for the rest of the half Chelsea were the team on the back foot. Somehow after two goal line clearances from Luiz and Zappacosta Chelsea took the game to extra time.
Extra time consisted of more hard work as Chelsea tried to create chances but could not break the Frankfurt defence. Frankfurt had little to no chances in extra time and so the game went to penalties. Haller stepped up for the first penalty and slotted in perfectly, Barkley then responded by doing the same for Chelsea. Jovic converted his penalty, but Azpi missed his and so Chelsea trailed 1-2. De Guzman then stepped up for this penalty and gave Frankfurt a 1-3 lead but Jorginho with his trade mark skip restored the deficit to 1. Hinteregger then stepped up and hit his penalty right down the middle and either by luck or knowledge Kepa stood still and saved the penalty. David Luiz then smashed his penalty in to bring Chelsea back into the game. Pacienca stepped up and saw his penalty saved by Kepa and then the man himself Hazard scored his penalty to send Chelsea to the final.
Frankfurt were amazing and have had a brilliant tournament but in the end the experience of Chelsea took them to the final coupled with moments of individual class. Chelsea had a good first half but an abysmal 2nd although they recovered for extra time. Kepa was brilliant with his saves throughout the game and has gone from strength to strength post Wembley. Azpi was great as he rallied the players, Christensen was shaky and came off injured, Luiz was in and out but redeemed himself for the mistake and showed great leadership, and Emerson was decent but still better than Alonso. Jorginho was probably my man of the match, he is going through a brilliant run of form and was immense all over the pitch as he controlled the game and made tackles when needed. No one should be booing Jorginho anymore. Kovacic was not great, RLC was great in the first half and was brought off late in the 2nd to the fans chagrin but it was explained post match that his back had cramped up. Giroud, and Willian were missing while Hazard had a decent game but was not at his best.
Carabao Cup Final, top four secured, and now the Europa League final, as far as results are concerned Sarri has not had a bad first season and there has been plenty to be optimistic about. The job is not done yet as a trip to Leicester and then a final in Baku remain but Chelsea fans should be encouraged by where things are going although several wont be. Chelsea now prepare for the final Premier League game of the season, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!