It’s a London Derby, but we’re not in jolly England. Instead of Chelsea and Arsenal meeting in a London suburb next week, they will be meeting on the other side of the continent. The two clubs are set to meet in Baku for the Europa League title, and a chance to add some silverware to their mantle this season. This match means more than just that for Arsenal though. While Chelsea already locked up a spot in next year’s Champions League by virtue of finishing in the top four in the Premier League, Arsenal must win the Europa League to return to the Champions League next season.
Don't miss the Europa League Final from Baku Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on TNT.
Europa League Final Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Both Arsenal and Chelsea started this competition in the Europa League proper. Neither side had any trouble finishing first in their group, but then their paths diverged when the knockout rounds got underway.
Arsenal swept aside BATE Borisov in the Round of 32, but they needed to overcome a 3-1 deficit over Rennes in the second leg in the next round. The Gunners were able to do that thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but then they were drawn against one of the toughest teams remaining in Napoli. Incredibly, Arsenal shut out Napoli in both legs, and then they punched their ticket to Baku by hammering Valencia 7-3 over two legs with Aubameyang scoring four goals and Alexandre Lacazette knocking in three.
As for Chelsea, the Blues breezed through their first few rounds. Chelsea crushed Malmo 5-1 in the Round of 32. They hammered Dynamo Kyiv 8-0 on aggregate, and they scored four goals in the first 27 minutes of their home leg against Slavia Prague in the quarterfinals to cruise to the semifinals. It was only there that they were tested. Luka Jovic netted in both legs to send Eintracht Frankfurt into penalties with Chelsea, but Kepa came up big to keep Chelsea alive.
Six players have been ruled out of this game for Arsenal due to injuries. The loss of Aaron Ramsey is particularly cutting, and the team won’t have Denis Suarez or Konstantinos either. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, and Danny Welbeck have been long-term injuries, so the Gunners are at least used to being without them in the lineup. Unfortunately, they won’t have Henrikh Mkhitaryan either. Mkhitaryan is Armenian, and due to a long-running conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he will not travel with Arsenal to Baku for this match.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the big name sidelined for Chelsea. He played a big part in the Blues advancing in the semifinals, so not having him here hurts. Antonio Rudiger, Marco van Ginkel, Ethan Ampadu, and Callum Hudson-Odoi will also miss this match. Gary Cahill and N’Golo Kante are both listed as probable.
Player to Watch
It sounds like this is Eden Hazard’s last game with Chelsea. Even though the Blues are back in the Champions League, there is rampant speculation that he is set to leave for Real Madrid over the summer. That would be a big loss for Chelsea, so they are looking to go out with a bang with a win here.
Europa League Prop Bet – Will Both Teams Score? Yes -144
Neither one of these teams has been particularly solid on the defensive side of the ball this season. Arsenal have been able to unlock Chelsea’s defense for two goals in each of their Premier League meetings this season, and the Gunners back line is nothing special either. I think we’ll see at least three goals in this one.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Although this game means much more to Arsenal, I think Chelsea have more talent available and it will show through here. Kepa will make a few big saves, and the Blues will raise the Europa League trophy.
Europa League Odds: Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1
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