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UEFA Europa League Final 29 May

spkutano

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Chelsea vs Arsenal Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Chelsea:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard

Arsenal:
Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette

Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal will meet in an all-English Europa League Final in Baku, Azerbaijan. This is only the second all-English final in the Europa League or UEFA Cup. Tottenham beat Wolverhampton with 3:2 on aggregate in 1972's two-legged final. This match means a lot for Chelsea as it is a chance to end the chaotic season with a trophy. Plus, their manager Maurizio Sarri, who is yet to win a trophy during his coaching career, could save the job. A Europa League triumph, together with the third place in the Premier League, would represent a fine campaign for the Italian tactician. The Blues were dominant during the group stage and finished the group with five victories and one draw. The opponents were PAOK from Greece, MOL Vidi from Hungary and the Belarus side Bate. The knock-out stage started with double victories over Allsvenskan side Malmo. Chelsea won 3:0 at home and 2:1 in Sweden. Another two victories were obtain in the second round, this time against Dynamo Kiev. Chelsea won 3:0 at Stamford Bridge and 5:0 in Ukraine. The semifinal brought another two victories as the Blues outplayed Slavia Prague with an aggregate 5:3 win. The hardest job came in the semifinals as Chelsea need penalties to eliminate the Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt after both matches ended with identical 1:1. For this match Sarri has lot of issues. Antonio Rudiger is definitely ruled out after undergoing knee surgery, as is Callum Hudson-Odoi following Achilles surgery. Midfielder N'Golo Kante is struggling with a thigh injury and he is rated as doubtful. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has suffered an Achilles injury during the Blues' trip to Boston to face New England Revolution in a friendly and he is also rated as doubtful. Sarri has a 'sweet problem' whether to start with Olivier Giroud or Gonzalo Higuain up front. The Argentinian is a first-choice striker, but the Franchman is the Europa League's joint-top scorer with 10 goals.

Arsenal were excellent in UEFA Europe League this season. The Gunners first topped their group that also consisted Sporting Lisbon, Vorskla Poltava and Qarabag. The North London outfit were quite good in the knock-out phase too. In the first round they managed to eliminate the Belarus side BATE Borisov with 3:1 aggregate victory. French side Rennes were the second victims as Arsenal won 4:3 on aggregate. In the quarterfinal Arsenal outplayed Napoli winning both games, 2:0 at the Emirats and 1:0 in Italy. The semifinals brought another fantastic display of Unai Emery's men. They won twice against La Liga side Valencia, 3:1 at home and 4:2 at Mestalla. Arsenal finished as fifth in the Premier League, so UEFA Europe League is their only chance for securing the Champions League football for the next season. Emery is an experienced coach that won this competition three times with Sevilla previously. The Spaniard has lot of injury and "political" issues ahead of this match. Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck remain long-term absentees. In addition, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the match after Arsenal failed to receive sufficient assurances from UEFA over his safety in Azerbaijan. The Armenian international were left out of the squad amid political tensions between Azerbaijan and Mkhitaryan’s birthplace, Armenia, over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. His absence is a big handicap. Aaron Ramsey, who will join Juventus during the summer, is ruled out with a thigh injury. Denis Suarez is also sidelined through a groin injury. Interesting, this will be the last game for the veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech and it comes against his former club.

Chelsea vs Arsenal Prediction:

I expect Chelsea to win the final. So far Arsenal have played six matches against other English sides in European competitions, but failed to win any of them. Their two draws and four losses include a 3:2 aggregate defeat to Chelsea in the season 2003/04 in the Champions League. Unai Emery is an experienced coach, but I still believe Chelsea will lift the trophy.

Chelsea vs Arsenal Pick: Chelsea to win @ 2.45 with Bet365
 
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