Watch all the key plays as Chelsea beats London rival Arsenal for the Europa League trophy.

By Avi Creditor
May 29, 2019

Chelsea ends its season with a European trophy, while Arsenal has been consigned to another season of Thursdays on the continent.

Two goals from Eden Hazard after strikes from Olivier Giroud and Pedro put Chelsea in command in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the Blues winning the Europa League final 4-1 after a goal-filled second half. Alex Iwobi's sensational strike was but a consolation goal for Arsenal, which had been hoping to win in order to qualify for next season's Champions League after a fifth-place finish in England but will instead find itself back in the Europa League next season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, claims its second Europa League crown in seven seasons, despite having the safety net of already qualifying for the UCL with a third-place run in the Premier League. Hazard, in what could well have been his last match with Chelsea as reports of a move to Real Madrid swirl, was sensational on the night, and if he does exit the club, he'll do so with a European title.

The match had been clouded by controversy, with Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan not traveling with the squad over fear for his safety, due to political tensions between Azerbaijan and his native Armenia. Small fan ticket allotment to both clubs has also been a point of contention in the build-up to one of two all-England European finals this week.

After some uncertainty because of injury, N'Golo Kante wound up starting for Chelsea, while former Chelsea goalkeeper and Arsenal veteran Petr Cech wound up getting the start in goal. It's been widely reported that Cech, playing in his final match, will actually join Chelsea in a front-office capacity after this season, adding another layer of complication to the match.

With thousands of empty seats in the stadium and the fans further away from the field, which has a track around it, the atmosphere to start the final was largely dull, and that was replicated on the field. Aside from a speculative long diagonal ball from Chelsea that Cech came off his line to collect with ease, neither side managed anything too threatening in the opening minutes.

Arsenal finally showed glimpses in the ninth minute, when Ainsley Maitland-Niles fired in a teasing ball that forced Kepa Arrizabalaga to parry it away. The goalkeeper's hit fell right to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who hooked his first-time effort off the rebound wide of the post.

Arsenal thought it had won a penalty in the 18th minute, when Alexandre Lacazette went down under pressure from the on-rushing Kepa. It appeared the contact was incidental at best, with the back of Lacazette's heel hitting the sliding keeper's head after he had already begun to go down. A brief video of review confirmed that no penalty would be given.

Arsenal continued to be the more threatening of the two sides, and Granit Xhaka came close to opening the scoring in sensational fashion, ripping a right-footed blast that whizzed right over the crossbar in the 28th minute.

Cech was finally called into action in the 40th minute, when Giroud dragged a low shot that forced the Czech Republic veteran into a diving save.

Giroud managed to beat Cech early in the second half, though. Less than five minutes in, Giroud's glancing header off a cross from Emerson broke the deadlock, giving Chelsea the 1-0 lead with his 11th goal of the competition. Giroud, a former Arsenal striker, went into a subdued celebration after opening the scoring.

Chelsea doubled its lead soon at the hour mark. Hazard was the creator, serving it up for Pedro on a platter, and the Spanish international beat Cech from the center of the box to make it 2-0 on the night.

Things got worse for Arsenal five minutes later. Giroud drew a penalty on Maitland-Niles, allowing Hazard to step up to the penalty spot. He rolled a shot by Cech, who went the wrong way, extending the Chelsea lead to 3-0.

Arsenal pulled one back four minutes later, doing so in stunning fashion. Alex Iwobi, just on as a substitute, lashed a long-range blast by a helpless Kepa, bringing Arsenal within 3-1 and sparking thoughts of perhaps another three-goal comeback in what's been a wild season across Europe's competitions.

Those thoughts were extinguished soon after. Hazard scored his second of the night, slotting home from close range after working a combination with Giroud to beat Cech and restore the three-goal edge, giving Chelsea an unassailable 4-1 lead.

Hazard exited to a standing ovation, in what may well have been his last act on the field in a Chelsea kit.

Here were the lineups for both sides:

Chelsea will face off against either Tottenham or Liverpool in the summer's UEFA Super Cup, which pits the Europa League and Champions League winner against one another in August.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)