Date: Wednesday 29.05.2019 22:00 (Pretoria time, GMT +2)
Stadium: Baku Olympic Stadium
Chelsea and Arsenal, two local rivals will clash in one European final. The stake is enormous. Not only the trophy, the prize, or the publicity. It is about reputation, and rivalry, it is more than a game for these two sides. It is about a long history of matches, which often decided many things in English football.
The Blues are coming into this event a bit more relaxed than the Gunners, who need to win it and earn the Champions League ticket. Though, Chelsea’s manager Maurizio Sarri is in a tough position, because of constant speculations that he might lose the job. The latest ones are suggesting that if by any chance Chelsea loses this match, Sarri’s stint in London is automatically over. A bad thing for the Italian is the fact that his team struggles with injuries. Several very important players suffered injuries in the past month or so, and the latest one is a huge blow. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be absent until September, and the worst possible thing is that he picked up an injury during a friendly contest against the New England Revolution in the USA. In the last 10 matches, Chelsea has just one loss, and they were looking solid during that stretch. Meanwhile, when talking about the efficiency, 2 or 3 goals were seen in five of the last six games this team played.
Gunners’ finish of the season was one of the worst experiences for their fans in the last few seasons. And they did survive quite a few bad ones. Everything was in Arsenal’s hands when talking about the Champions League race, but for some unknown reason, Emery’s team just collapsed in the critical moments and failed to collect points against teams who are much weaker than his crew. A draw against Brighton and Hove Albion is the best example for that, and we, as well as more prominent experts, just can’t explain what caused for Arsenal to slip in that event. The defensive part of the lineup is fragile, and in latest four meetings they allowed at least one goal. Luckily the attackers were able to score themselves too, and to cover up their teammates. Another thing which frightens the fans is a tradition. Arsenal won only one of five European finals, and that was Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. Other five have ended with disappointments for Gunners. Just to mention one more data, six of seven previous games Emery’s team played saw over 2.5 goals.
Chelsea can’t count on Callum Hudson-Odoi besides Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger. But the positive thing is N’Golo Kante’s recovery, and the tireless midfielder will be able to play.
Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Rob holding and Denis Suarez are all ruled out for this event.
Head to Head
These two sides have played an impressive 197 games in their history so far, and at the moment, Arsenal has the edge over the Blues. The Gunners recorded 77 victories, compared to Chelsea’s 63, while 57 events ended without winners. There were two games played this season, both in the Premiership. Both sides had one win each, and they came in front of their own fans. Chelsea was better at Stamford Bridge, 3-2, while Arsenal won at Emirates, 2-0.
For us, the favorite in this match is Chelsea, mostly because they have fantastic Eden Hazard. The flamboyant forward will have a huge motive to play well since this is his last game for the Blues. Plus, his team looks much better than Arsenal, despite many injuries. Because of that, we are proposing to bet on Chelsea’s win. What is even more realistic is high efficiency. Over 2.5 goals would be the best possible solution having in mind head-to-head games these teams played this season. The difference between attacks and defenses is pointing in that direction and we might as well use that.
Tip: Chelsea wins, over 2.5 goals.