Europa League Final Preview
For the first time ever we’re going to witness a final of a European competition, albeit it’s the Europa League final, take place in a non-European country. The final will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, much to the dismay of thousands of Arsenal and Chelsea supporters.
This Wednesday, Chelsea, and Arsenal will battle it out in an all-English Europa League final in Baku for the title of Europa League Champions.
This is the first time since 1971’s EUFA Cup/Europa League’s competition where two English teams will go head to head to be crowned champions of UEFA’s 2nd tier competition.
It has been well pointed out that the final will take place almost 4,600 km away from eighter Stamford Bridge or The Emirates Stadium. UEFA have done some jaw-dropping things in the past, but this might just tip the icing.
If that was not an issue, then how about the fact that Arsenal player Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be able due to play, even tho he is fully fit to start. This is because Azerbaijan, the country where the final will take place, is in open conflict with Henrikh’s home country, Armenia.
It was said by Azerbaijani officials that the player can play; however, they will not vouch for his safety if he does indeed make it to Baku.
To add things even worst, UEFA have allocated a total of 12,000 tickets to both Chelsea and Arsenal. The stadium which the final will be held, the Olympic Stadium in Baku, has a capacity of 68,700 seats! To add that into perspective, that’s less than 6% of the total capacity allocation.
Much to the displease of both Arsenal and Chelsea supporters, the clubs have officially returned a total of 5,000 tickets both to UEFA. Chelsea returned 2,000 tickets, while Arsenal returned 3,000.
This certainly tops the hat of ridiculous UEFA decisions, even stranger than FIFA’s decision to have Qatar host the 2022 world cup.
But enough of politics and stupid UEFA decisions, time to get straight into previewing the Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea vs Arsenal Preview
There is a great narrative written over the game, and no it’s not the fact that UEFA are corrupt, but that both clubs are English. That means that neither of the clubs would want to lose this match.
Arsenal finished the season at 5th place, while Chelsea finished 3rd 2 points above Arsenal and a goal difference of just 2 goals. So it’s safe to say that both teams are somewhat identical in strength.
Arsenal will have to rely on both Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to get the job done, while Chelsea will put all of their attacking options in one basket known as Eden Hazard.
Both clubs have exceptional attacking talents and both defenses are pretty awful. It would seem that the winner of this match is going to be the team that scores the most goals – it was a joke.
But in all fairness, both teams are having pretty average seasons, and you can even go as far as to say pretty awful seasons, but they’ve made it this far so props to them. This final definitely means more to Arsenal, as winning would get you straight into the group stages of UEFA’s top competition, the Champions League. Chelsea are already qualified, so this game definitely means more to Arsenal.
Chelsea vs Arsenal Predicted Line-ups
The Blues go into this game as less favorites of the two, having lost Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to injury prior to this game, and it is even reported that Ngolo Kante will be out as well. Rudiger, Chelsea’s best defender, is also going to be out for this game, so Maurizio Sarri doesn’t have many options.
Arsenal, on the other hand, will be without Henrick Mikhtaryan, because of obvious reasons, and Bellerin, Ramsey and Holding are all out.
Chelsea FC Expected XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Giroud, Hazard
Arsenal FC Expected XI: Leno; Kolasinac, Koscielny; Papastathopoulos, Mustafi Maitland-Niles; Xhaka, Torreira; Aubameyang, Ozil; Lacazette
Chelsea vs Arsenal Prediction
We believe that when both teams are in full strength, Chelsea is the better one. However, Chelsea were hit with a string of bad luck prior to the final, and the omissions of Loftus-Cheek, Kante, and Hudson-Odoi are too great for us to predict a Blue’s victory. So because of that, we believe that Arsenal will win the match 3-1.