One of the most anticipated matches of the year did not disappoint the fans – Europa League final was full of goals, emotions, and surprises! Both teams that played in the final had their motivation to win, but in the end, only one was crowned victorious. Check out everything you need to know about the final game of Europa League, Chelsea vs Arsenal!
This UEFA Europa League season will forever stay in the memory of devoted football fans. It brought us a lot of unforgettable emotions – for some, it was despair and disappointment, while others experienced hope and pride.
The stakes in the UEFA Europa League final, Arsenal vs Chelsea, were incredibly high. Both teams gave their all to become triumphant and take the prestigious trophy home. However, football is a competition where two winners are not an option. The official Europa League results are already known, so you can have a look at them and ask yourself: could you have thought that this team can win at the beginning of the season?
UEFA Europa League final 2019: Chelsea vs Arsenal
In the culmination of this football season, Chelsea became the rightful winner of Europa League! The Blues won the trophy after beating Arsenal with a 4-1 score.
- The four goals for Chelsea were scored by Olivier Giroud (49'), Pedro (60'), and Eden Hazard (65', 72'). Arsenal responded with one goal by Alex Iwobi (69').
- Overall, Chelsea managed to deliver 14 shots, while Arsenal did 16. However, eight of Chelsea's shots were on target, while Arsenal only managed two.
- The ball possession was almost equal, with Chelsea taking a small lead in 51% as opposed to Arsenal's 49%. Chelsea made 443 passes with 85% accuracy, while Arsenal passed the ball 436 times with 86% accuracy.
- The negative statistics say that Chelsea made 14 fouls, while Arsenal made 11. There were no red cards in the match, but Chelsea earned two yellow cards. The offside score is 1-3, and the corner count is 7-5.
Chelsea vs Arsenal: before the match
The final of Europa League was one of the most anticipated games for the football fans, especially those who come from London. It took place in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, at the large Olympic Stadium which is able to accommodate nearly 70,000 people. The big game took place on Wednesday, May 29th.
One of the most exciting things about the game was the rivalry between Chelsea and Arsenal, as they are both London teams. Chelsea already had two prestigious international trophies: UEFA Champions League and Europa League, even though Arsenal had more national awards than their competitor. The fans were intrigued to see whether Chelsea will add another trophy to their collection, or perhaps Arsenal will win their first one.
Both clubs went through a long and complicated way to reach their dream final. In the playoffs, Chelsea left behind Malmo, Dynamo Kyiv, Slavia Prague, and Eintracht Frankfurt. Arsenal conquered such teams as BATE, Rennes, Napoli, and Valencia. Because of Chelsea's slightly better statistics and zero losses on their way to the final, they were quickly predicted to be the favourites of the game by the bookmakers and experts. The fans of Arsenal were hoping their team will create a football miracle, but the experts turned out to be right – Chelsea was the stronger side in the Baku final.
Chelsea - Arsenal match overview
The players were highly motivated before the match. Both the Blues and the Gooners had something to achieve. For Chelsea's star midfielder Eden Hazard this was the last possibility of a trophy before his move to another club. The coach, Maurizio Sarri, has never won big trophies before. As for the Arsenal squad, there was a goalkeeper Petr Cech who wanted to gain the prize against his old team as an excellent finish to his professional career. The Gooners were also playing for their final opportunity to win the spot in next year's Champions League.
The stadium, which was expected to be full for such a big game, turned out to be only half full. This phenomenon could be explained by both teams failing to distribute the tickets among their English fans, as they felt it would be difficult and expensive for them to fly to Azerbaijan and support their club. So, the atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium was not as loud and noisy as expected, but it did not prevent the teams from giving their all on the pitch.
Chelsea and Arsenal came out in their traditional colours – blue and red, which added some aesthetic pleasure to the match. The mutual respect between the coaches, Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery, was evident as they exchanged a warm chat ahead of the game.
The first half of the game was not too eventful, as both teams were only getting acquainted with each other's intentions and play style. There were a few potentially dangerous moments, but neither side managed to lead them to their logical conclusion. The fans were eagerly expecting the second half, knowing that both Chelsea and Arsenal have nothing to lose and will probably take more action.
Right after the half-time break was over, Chelsea took the initiative into their own hands. At the 49th minute of the game, the Blues created an incredible header goal basically out of nothing. The moment was impressive, with Emerson curling in from the left side and Giroud finishing the moment by directing the ball into the bottom left corner, avoiding the pressure from Arsenal's defender Koscielny. Giroud, who used to play for Arsenal in the past, did not celebrate the goal too excitedly.
The Gooners immediately understood they needed to fight back, and for the next few minutes, they tried to pressure the Blues. Chelsea was mostly waiting in the back for the counter-attack, and such a strategy worked perfectly when at the 60th minute of the match Pedro scored the second goal from Hazard's assist. In both situations, Arsenal's goalkeeper Petr Cech could not do much to save his team from the inevitable.
The attitudes of the coaches were different at this point. While Unai Emery looked irritated, the less experienced Maurizio Sarri was nervous because he did not want to lose the two-goal benefit of his team and the perspective of his first big trophy.
Only a few minutes after Pedro's goal, he took the ball away from Kovacic and slipped it down to Giroud, but he did not manage to do much before he got bundled to the ground by the Arsenal midfielder Maitland-Niles. The referee saw the moment and decided to give Chelsea a penalty kick. Eden Hazard was the one to take the opportunity, and he successfully completed the penalty by tricking Cech into jumping to the other side. This was when Arsenal's management and fans started feeling hopeless, but the game still went on, and they had another twenty-five minutes to try and create the football wonders.
The substitutions for both teams began, and Arsenal let the Nigerian forward Alex Iwobi play. A few minutes after coming out as a substitute, Iwobi scored a stunning goal without leaving any chances to Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa. However, the Gooners fans only had three minutes of their hope for the epic comeback until it completely faded away. The high motivation of Eden Hazard, who wanted to leave his team a suitable farewell gift, resulted in the fourth goal for the Blues.
For the rest of the game, Arsenal players were visibly distraught, but they were still trying hard to create at least some dangerous moments. Unfortunately for them, their attempts failed, and none of their chances came through. Closer to the final whistle, the Chelsea hero Eden Hazard was substituted, and the fans gave him a warm ovation, which indicated that they entirely give him a blessing to move on to another club after seven years of fantastic play.
After the whistle, Unai Emery looked defeated: he got used to winning Europa League with his previous club Sevilla, but now had to taste the bitterness of the loss. On the other hand, Maurizio Sarri looked triumphant: his first season with Chelsea brought one of the most prestigious European trophies. Olivier Giroud stated that he would never forget what Arsenal did for him during his time there, which is why he restrained himself from celebrations after his goal, but now he is happy to be a part of Chelsea and win the trophy with them. He said he was a "true blue" now, which many Arsenal fans viewed as mocking his former club.
The Blues were thrilled to lift their well-deserved Europa League cup together with their manager. After Sarri's complicated season, he was joyous as he held the winner cup proudly with his players.
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What is next for Chelsea and Arsenal?
Chelsea won their first title since 2013 when they became the winners of the Europa League in the Amsterdam final. They now have five international titles in their collection, with only Liverpool, who have eight, being ahead of them out of the English teams. Though they are still celebrating their victory, which is even more rewarding after beating the fellow London club Arsenal, very soon Chelsea will need to think of the more significant issues. One of those would be finding a worthy replacement for Eden Hazard, who is most definitely leaving Stamford Bridge. He was the player who made a difference in Chelsea's game, and the big European clubs never stopped chasing him and offering huge money for him. Now, someone needs to take his place and become a game changer for the Blues.
Hazard confirmed that he wanted a new challenge and that he will never forget the fantastic experience that Chelsea gave him. Still, he did not say exactly which club he was going to, but we will find out for sure over the summer. The Chelsea fans will always remember how he went in style, winning a trophy for them one last time.
Chelsea will also have to play against the UEFA Champions League winner in the UEFA Super Cup, which will take place on August 14th, 2019, at the Vodafone Park stadium in Istanbul. By this time, Eden Hazard will most likely be gone, so the Blues will need to adapt without him.
Arsenal's future looks like a lot of work, as they need to fix all the weak spots that became clear after their defeat in the Europa League final. Petr Cech's career ironically ended with losing the important final to his former team Chelsea, and while it was not the dream resolution to his long football run, he is not the one to blame for the goals. In fact, he deserves credit for making some firm saves to limit the damage from the Blues. Petr was devastated by the cruel ending to his career, but at least this legendary player will finally be able to have a rest from football now.
One crucial thing that Arsenal will need to work on is competitiveness. The UEFA Europa League final against Chelsea showed that they looked lost when their opponent started taking the initiative and scoring goals. It was one of Unai Emery's main challenges to improve the fighter mentality in his team and teach them to handle the pressure better, and he still needs to put more effort into it, as do the players. Arsenal will need to make a few more reliable purchases over the summer, as well as recruiting the young talented players from the academy.
The big Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal is over, and the Blues came victorious. Both teams have surely learned a few valuable lessons from this match and will work hard on the improvements. For now, congratulations to Chelsea FC!
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