London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal both have a chance to finish the season with silverware when they face off in Baku, Azerbaijan for the Europa League final.
For Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, winning the trophy will make it his first major trophy in his over 20 years in management.
His opposite number, Arsenal’s Unai Emery, on the other hand, has become a bit of an expert in this competition, having won it 3 times already with Spanish side Sevilla.
But more importantly for the Gunners, victory over Chelsea will also guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League group stages, having missed out in a place in the top 4.
In terms of team news, Henrikh Mkhitaryan won’t be playing for Arsenal due to Armenia’s dispute with Azerbaijan. That’s about the only major absentee for the north London side.
As well as Ngolo Kante being a major doubt for the game, Chelsea will also be without Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, all crucial players for Sarri, who are all injured.
But the Blues can count on star man Eden Hazard, perhaps for the last time, as he is heavily linked with a summer move to Real Madrid.
Prediction, Tips and Odds
With Alexander Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in such fine form, coupled with Chelsea’s defensive frailties, Arsenal are my favorites to secure the win.
Yes, Chelsea are unbeaten in the competition so far this season, but they did show in their semi final win against Frankfurt, as they have all season, that they are very vulnerable against any team with sharp movements in the final third.
I’m predicting a 2-0 win for Arsenal. You can back an Arsenal win at 3.52 odds on Betway with a Chelsea win pegged at 2.16 odds.
If you’re a fun of goals, Over 2.5 stands at 1.85 odds and Under 2.5 odds are at an enticing 1.93 odds.
Chelsea to score first is 1.74 odds while backing an Arsenal first goal is at 2.27 odds (this I’m confident about).
Who are you back? Head to Betway.com.gh to place your bets on this game and all the other games with unbeatable odds.
Kick off is at 7pm.
Chelsea v Arsenal Opta 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has scored 10 Europa League goals this season, the most by a Blues player in a single European season (excl. 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Arsenal’s last eight Europa League goals have been scored by either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (4) or Alexandre Lacazette (4).
- 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.