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Arsenal, Chalsea battle for Europa League crown

Chelsea vs Arsenal is the second all English final in Europa League history. (PHOTOS/AGENCY)

Europa League final
Chelsea vs Arsenal
Baki Olimpiya Stadionu, Baku
Wednesday, 29-05-2019 @10pm
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Arsenal and Chelsea will contest the 2019 Europa League final at the Baki Olimpiya Satdionu in Baku.

It has been a frustrating season for both sides in the Premier League. Chelsea scrapped to a third place finish but were helped by high levels of inconsistency exhibited by their rivals.

For Arsenal, they finished in 5th following a run of horrible results that saw them lose to Crystal Palace and draw at home to Brighton in 2 of their last 4 games.

The Europa League title will be viewed as a chance to return to the UEFA champions league for Unai Emery’s side while for Chelsea, it is an opportunity to end a below-per season, on a high.

Chelsea are sweating over the fitness of French midfielder N’Golo Kante after he suffered a knee injury on Saturday. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are already ruled out, and Kante’s absence would leave Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley as Chelsea’s only three fit midfielders.

Kante is 50-50 to feature against Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Arsenal are definitely without Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who decided not to play for security reasons. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey has already played his last match for the club before his summer move to Juventus but Emery must decide whether veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech will start against his former side in his final game before retirement.

What they are saying

Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea manager

“For me, at the beginning of the season it was really very difficult to understand my players, to understand the mentality.

“But after a very difficult month in January, in February they started to change, I think. Or probably I changed – I don’t know.

“In this moment, I love them because I have 20, 22 wonderful men, and wonderful players. So now I am really very happy with them.

Unai Emery, Arsenal manager

“There are two targets here but the most important target for us is to win a title.

“The second target is to help us to achieve the Champions League.

“Each title is very important for us, and for Chelsea too.

“We want to enjoy this moment, for our fans and also for ourselves. Chelsea will have the same idea.

Match Stats

Arsenal against Chelsea will be the second all-English UEFA Cup/Europa League final in history, after Tottenham against Wolves in the UEFA Cup final in 1972. This is the 198th meeting in all competitions between Arsenal and Chelsea but only the third in European competition – they met in the 2003-04 Champions League quarter-final, with the Blues progressing 3-2 on aggregate. Arsenal vs Chelsea will be the first fixture to played in the FA Cup final, League Cup final and a major European final. This will be both Arsenal and Chelsea’s sixth major European finals – only Man Utd (7) and Liverpool (14 – including 2019 Champions League) have reached more among English clubs. This final will be third time two teams from the same nation have faced in the Europa League final, after Porto v Braga in 2011 and Atletico Madrid v Athletic Club in 2012. Both Arsenal and Chelsea have won 11 Europa League games this season – only three teams have ever won more major European games in a single season (excluding qualifiers); Real Madrid in 2001-02 (12), Porto in 2010-11 (12) and Atletico Madrid in 2011-12 (13). Azerbaijan will be the 24th different country to host a major European final and the third consecutive year a country will host a major final for the first time – Wales for the 2016-17 Champions League final and Ukraine for the 2017-18 Champions League final.

Arsenal have lost four of their five major European finals, with their only victory coming in the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup against Parma; they’ve lost each of their last three, losing in the 1995 Cup Winners’ Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup and 2006 Champions League finals. In all European competition, Arsenal have faced opponents from 27 different nations and beaten teams from 26 of those countries, with the only exception being against English clubs. Arsenal manager Unai Emery has won the Europa League more often than any other manager, winning it three times in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with Sevilla. Arsenal’s Unai Emery could become only the fourth manager to win the UEFA/Europa League with two different teams, after Giovanni Trapattoni (Juventus & Inter Milan), Jose Mourinho (Porto & Man Utd) and Rafael Benitez (Valencia & Chelsea). If Arsenal win this match, only Giovanni Trapattoni (5) will have won more major European finals than Unai Emery (4), while only three other managers would have won as many as four with a 100% record in each final – Nereo Rocco, Bob Paisley and Jose Mourinho. Arsenal’s last eight Europa League goals have been scored by either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (4) or Alexandre Lacazette (4).

Aubameyang (left) and Lacazatte (Right) have scored all of Arsenal’s last 8 Europa League goals.

Chelsea have won four of their five major European finals (2x Cup Winners’ Cup/1x Champions League/1x Europa League). Among English teams, only Man Utd (5) and Liverpool (8) have won more major European finals. Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has scored 10 Europa League goals this season, the most by a Blues player in a single European season (excluding qualifiers) and the joint-most by a French player in major European competition in a season – Nestor Combin in the 1963-64 Cup Winners’ Cup and Just Fontaine in the 1958-59 European Cup also scored 10. Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri is the first Italian to manage in a UEFA Cup/Europa League final since Alberto Malesani in 1999, who won the trophy with Parma that year. The two previous Italians to manage an English club in a major European final have managed Chelsea to victory – Gianluca Vialli in the 1998 Cup Winners’ Cup final and Roberto Di Matteo in the 2012 Champions League final.

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