It all ends with this game!
The final of the Europa League will be a London derby played in Baku as Chelsea take on Arsenal. Arsenal finished 5th in the Premier League, their last game was a 3-1 win away at Burnley. Wenger left in the summer and was replaced by Emery and Emery’s trajectory has been quite similar to Sarri’s although while the media has shown pretty of sympathy for Emery and given him time to build a future, Sarri has not received any such favours. Finishing 5th means that Arsenal won’t be playing Champions League football next season but that is where the stakes are higher as the winner of the Europa League gets an automatic place in the Champions League.
Arsenal began their Europa League journey in Group E with Sporting Lisbon, Vorskla, and Qarabag making up the rest. Arsenal topped the group with 5 wins and 1 draw as they faced Bate Borisov in the Round of 32. Arsenal lost 1-0 in the first leg but won the 2nd leg 3-0 and so progressed. Arsenal then faced Rennes in the Round of 16 and lost the first leg 3-1, but came back to win the 2nd leg 3-0. In the Quarters Arsenal faced Napoli and beat them 2-0 at home and then 0-1 away to progress to the semis. Valencia were next and Arsenal beat them 3-1 at home and then 2-4 away to reach the final. Arsenal’s defence and midfield have been poor this season but their attack is where the Gunners have thrived with Lacazette and Aubameyang causing havoc up front. Emery is an expert at the Europa League having won it three times with Sevilla, and so Arsenal are the favourites especially after recent events at Chelsea.
Chelsea travelled to Boston after the season ended to play New England Revolution and we beat them 0-3 but returned back to London with an injured Loftus-Cheek who will be out for 4-6 months. As Juventus’s season came to an end news broke that Allegri will be leaving and so Sarri has becomet the favourite to take over in Turin. Chelsea’s opinion the matter is that they won’t sack Sarri but if Juventus want him they will have to pay for him. Following that Kante then suffered a knee injury in training and now is 50-50 to start the final. To finish off Florentino Perez held a press conference and made it clear that their aim was to get Hazard to Madrid this summer. All in all its not been great even though we finished 3rd the pressure is on Sarri and the players. Arsenal are the favourites but Sarri would love to win his first trophy and if he does leave Chelsea then he leaves having silenced the critics.
Chelsea Team Preview
CHO, Rudiger, Kante, and RLC are all out of the game. Kepa should start in goal, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, and Emerson should start in defence. Jorginho, Kovacic, and Barkley are literally our only options in midfield and so they should start with Kovacic taking Kante’s position. Hazard, Giroud, and Willian should start up front. It is not our best lineup especially with RLC and Kante missing but it will have to do. The bench should feature some youngsters.
Arsenal Team Preview
Expect Lacazette, Ozil, and Aubameyang to start up front. Leno should start in goal after news has come out that Cech will be rejoining Chelsea as a director of sorts in the summer. Torreira, and Xhaka should start in the midfield with the defence pretty much being a mystery.
Starting XI Prediction