Chelsea vs Arsenal - Europa League Final Preview

Friday, May 24th, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
Europa League Final Chelsea vs. Arsenal

This London Derby will have massive stakes. When Chelsea and Arsenal meet in the Europa League Final on Wednesday, there isn’t just a trophy at stake. Arsenal’s hopes of returning to the Champions League, and thus receiving a much-needed influx of cash during the transfer window, are on the line. The Gunners must beat Chelsea for the Europa League title to make it back to the richest competition in all of Europe.

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Chelsea vs. Arsenal

  • Date and Time: May 29, 2019, 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • US Television Coverage: TNT
  • Betting Line: Chelsea PK and -0.5, O/U 2.5
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Run to the Final

Unlike other major clubs that dropped down to the Europa League after finishing third in the Champions League Group Stage, Arsenal and Chelsea have been in the competition proper since its outset.

Neither club had a problem finishing atop their group, but the similarities in their respective runs to the final end there. Chelsea had no trouble with any of their opponents until the semifinals. They hammered Malmo 5-1 on aggregate in the Round of 32 and eviscerated Dynamo Kyiv 8-0 in total in the next round. The quarterfinals saw them light up Slavia Prague at home after a narrow road victory in the Czech capital. However, the semifinals was a different animal. Luka Jovic almost led Eintracht Frankfurt to an upset win, but Chelsea managed to make it through after penalties.

Arsenal had no worries against BATE Borisov in the Round of 32, but in the Round of 16 they lost 3-1 in their first leg to Rennes. The Gunners managed to overcome that deficit to advance after a 3-0 win in the Emirates, and they followed that up by shutting out high-flying Napoli over both legs in the quarterfinals. Arsenal breezed through Valencia in the semifinals, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette combining to score seven goals over two legs.

Key Absences

The Blues won’t have Ruben Loftus-Cheek available for the Europa League Final after a lower leg injury at the end of the season. Antonio Rudiger, Marco van Ginkel, Ethan Ampadu, and Callum Hodson-Odoi are all set to miss the match too, but N’Golo Kante and Gary Cahill are both probable. Aaron Ramsey is going to miss this match for Arsenal, and that’s a huge loss for the Gunners. Additionally, they will be without Denis Suarez, Konstantinos, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, and Danny Welbeck because of injury concerns. The most unfortunate absence will be that of Henrikh Mkhitaryan though. Mkhitaryan is not able to travel to Baku because of ongoing security concerns between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Chelsea Player to Watch

Eden Hazard is the key to it all for Chelsea. The Blues midfielder has been instrumental in setting up his team with scoring chances all season long, and he will need to be on his game for Chelsea to raise the trophy in Baku. Hazard notched double-digit goals and assists in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal Player to Watch

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shared the Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mo Salah this season, and he is Arsenal’s main scoring threat. Aubameyang has been fantastic in the Europa League, and unlike Alexandre Lacazette, he has finished more often than not.

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Chelsea vs. Arsenal Free Picks

Goalkeeping may play a huge part in this match. Kepa has been worth every penny that Chelsea spent to acquire him, while Petr Cech is starting to look his age. Considering both these teams have solid offenses and somewhat shaky back lines, I’ll call for Chelsea to get the win because of this edge.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal Prediction: Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1

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