Last night Chelsea won the Europa League for the second time in their history beating London rivals Arsenal in Baku. There was much criticism and lack of optimism from Chelsea fans on the day of the game, after news had leaked that the Chelsea FC players had a bust up in the training session, a day prior to the game.
Arsenal fans were at the other end of the scale, many feeling very confident that their team would lift the trophy in arguably their biggest game in over a decade. Their fans had good reason to believe so, considering Arsenal have got the better of Chelsea in the last few fixtures and now they were being managed by Emery who had won the competition on three occasions with his former club.
The game was evenly matched in the first half with both keepers forced into action, but no one breaking the deadlock. The second half was a completely different story, 5 goals scored in just one half.
The first goal came from Olivier Giroud just 4 minutes after the restart, the former Arsenal forward heading past the former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. The second goal came just over ten minutes later, an Arsenal counter being broken up by Jorginho, who let Eden Hazard take the ball, the Belgian linking up with Kovacic before picking out Pedro in the box with a pass – the spaniard finishing the move off excellently. Chelsea added a third when Giroud was brought down by Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Who would step up to take the penalty? No other than Eden Hazard! The No.10 calmly slotted the ball past his former team Cech.
Arsenal got a consolation goal back just minutes after with a sensational strike from Alex Iwobi, coming off the bench to make an immediate impact off the bench. However the celebrations were short lived as Chelsea’s man of the match Hazard linked up with Giroud before smartly finishing into the back of the net, killing any Arsenal comeback.
The last twenty minutes were a cruise for Chelsea, who really should of added more goals to the scoreline as Arsenal pushed men forward. However no one can take away the unbelievable second half performance from Chelsea with a fitting way for Eden Hazard to leave the club for Real Madrid if the deal finally goes through.
Chelsea continue to hold the record of being the last English side to win both the Champions League and Europa League, which they have held for 7 years, however this will come to an end with the all English tie in the Champions League Final on Saturday.
Overall a great season for Maurizio Sarri who has had huge criticism over the course of the season, but the facts remain, that he has brought Champions League football back to Stamford Bridge, won the Europa League and came narrowly close in the League Cup Final against arguably the best club side in Europe.