Arsenal meet Chelsea in
the final of the Europa League in Baku on May 29 aiming to claim
their first major European trophy since 1994.
The Gunners would
secure a spot in next season’s Champions League with a victory over
the Blues – an outcome that would cement the progress made under
manager Unai Emery this season.
Arsenal are priced at
odds of 6/5 to lift the trophy and many fans will be eager to use the
Bet sign-up code to back them to achieve that feat.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan will
miss the final after he failed to receive satisfactory assurances
from UEFA over his safety in Baku.
The 30-year-old has
refused to travel as a result of ongoing political tension between
his native Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The UK ambassador for
Azerbaijan, Tahir Taghizade, has blasted Mkhitaryan over the
decision, claiming there would be “absolutely no problem” if the
midfielder played in the final.
His decision is a blow
to Emery who already has plenty of other absentees to contend with.
These include Aaron Ramsey who has been ruled out of the game with a
Danny Welbeck, Denis
Suarez, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are also on the sidelines for
Arsenal’s first European final since 2006.
The Gunners started
this season’s Europa League in fine form, picking up 16 points from
a possible 18 to win Group E ahead of Sporting Lisbon.
They suffered away
defeats against BATE Borisov and Rennes in the first two knockout
rounds, but strong performances at the Emirates Stadium ensured their
progression on each occasion.
A tough test was
expected against Napoli in the quarter-finals, but Arsenal swept into
the last four with an impressive 3-0 aggregate success.
A 7-3 overall victory
over Valencia in the last four was a further statement of intent and
Arsenal are likely to be difficult to beat in the final.
They last faced Chelsea
in Europe back in 2003/04, losing out 3-2 on aggregate in the
quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Arsenal have never
previously beaten an English side in Europe, but they will take
plenty of heart from their recent record against Chelsea.
The Gunners’ have
lost just one of their last eight meetings with Chelsea in all
competitions and defeated them 2-0 in their last match in the Premier
League back in January.
Having claimed the
trophy three times with Sevilla from 2014 to 2016, Emery knows what
it takes to win this competition.
Chelsea are unlikely to
go down without a fight, but Arsenal look a good bet to end the
season on a high note and win the 2019
Europa League final.
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