Arsenal and Chelsea progress through to the final of the Europa League, making it four English teams in the two European finals!
Arsenal and Chelsea will meet each other in the final of the Europa Leauge on May 29th. The two sides will be looking to add some silverware to what has been a disappointing season for both. Chelsea have already been in a final this season, losing to City in the League Cup. Sarri will be hoping to not add more pressure surrounding his job with a second final loss in one season. If Sarri manages to win, this will be the first trophy of his managerial career.
Arsenal will be desperate to win this trophy. They will more than likely finish fifth in the Premier League unless Spurs loss and Arsenal can win and turn around an eight-goal difference. Winning the Europa would guarantee them Champions League football next season. This would be Emery’s first trophy with Arsenal as well as his fourth Europa league in six seasons!
Chelsea have been to a Europa League final once before. They beat Benfica 2-1 in 2013. Arsenal have never got this far in the tournament before. Their last European final was in 2006 when Barcelona beat them 2-1 in the Champions League. The Gunners will also be wanting to break their record of never winning a European competition.
Valencia vs Arsenal
Arsenal went into this game with a 3-1 first leg win. They knew one goal away Valencia would probably be enough but they weren’t going to go there and sit back.
Valencia started the better of the two sides. The atmosphere in the crowd was electric and this helped the players. They got off to a fast start, having several good chances in the first ten minutes. Eventually one of them paid off, as Kevin Gameiro broke the deadlock tapping the ball into an empty net. However, Arsenal didn’t wait around to reply. Aubamayeng with a fantastic finish from the edge of the box. He met Lacazette flick on with a half volley with the outside of his boot. The game finished 1-1 at half time.
Arsenal came out the better side in the second half. Lacazette gave them the lead after Valencia got caught in possession. The French striker spun two defenders in the box before finishing well into the bottom right corner. This time though Gameiro replied quickly and fumbled in a shot from Valencia.
Arsenal ensured there wasn’t going to be a comeback on the 68th minute. A good bit of skill from Maitland-Niles gave him space to find Aubamayeng at the front post. The striker tapped the ball in for his second of the game. The visitors took control from this point and gave Aubamayeng the chance to take home the match ball. A one-two with Mkhitaryan and he was through one on one, smashing it into the roof of the net to get hit hat-trick.
Chelsea vs Eintracht Frankfurt
This was going to be a much tougher game than Arsenals was. Chelsea drew 1-1 away at Frankfurt and even though they had the away goal, it was still going to be an open game.
Chelsea started very well and Giroud had a couple of chances early on to score. Missing the ball on one and forcing a good save from Trapp for the other. The hosts also had a shout for a penalty turned down. Loftus-Cheek was brought down in the box but the replays showed it was more a tangle of legs.
Loftus-Cheek was given the chance to eventually score. A good bit of skill from Hazard played through the English midfielder. He was one on one with Trapp and calmly passed the ball into the bottom right corner. Chelsea had more chances before the half to extend their lead but couldn’t take them. The first half finished 1-0.
Frankfurt came out with real intent in the second half. They got an equaliser in the 49th minute from highly rated Serbian striker Luka Jovic. This was his 26th goal of the season, and the 21-year-old is on many teams radar for this summer. The second half had few chances in it with neither side wanting to give away an easy goal.
It finished 1-1 and went to extra time. Frankfurt were unlucky to not take the lead in the first half of ET. An effort at the back post that luck sure a certain goal was cleared off the line by Luiz. Frankfurt had another cleared off the line, this time by Zapacosta who stopped a header from a corner going in. The game finished 1-1 and it was time for penalties.
Two poor penalties from Frankfurt gave Hazard the chance to win it. He stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, much to Azpilicueta’s delight who had also missed one in the shootout.
Chelsea will now face Arsenal in the final. Sarri’s side are favourites to lift the trophy at 4/6 on Bet365 with Arsenal priced at 11/10. This should be a very good final with two good teams playing each other. It is also going to be Petr Cech’s last ever game, and how fitting it be against the club he made his name at.