Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

Europa League final: Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal – Blues thrash Gunners in Baku

chelsea europa league trophy arsenal baku 2019 soccerBlues cruise to continental glory as Gunners miss out on Champions League qualification.

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Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal

Chelsea produced a second half demolition job to dismantle London rivals Arsenal and win the Europa League at a canter in Baku on Wednesday night.

It was a victory to seal a major trophy for under-fire boss Maurizio Sarri at the end of his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Success for the Blues denied their fellow English Premier League a spot in next season’s Champions League by virtue of winning the title in far-flung Azerbaijan.

It also sets up nicely the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, as the EPL completes an unprecedented clean sweep on the continental stage.

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Olivier Giroud scored the opening goal against his old club as Chelsea beat Arsenal to win the Europa League in Baku. Photo: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images.

A thoroughly boring opening 15 minutes paired with a decidedly bizarre time of night, with the final kicking off at 23:00 local time.

The Blues had the bulk of possession in the early stages but were nearly caught out on 18 minutes when Alex Lacazette tumbled in the box.

The use of VAR in the competition showpiece wasn’t enough to overturn referee Gianluca Rocchi’s dimissal of the penalty appeals.

It had been a snooze-fest.

But all that changed with a moment of brilliance shortly after half time.

Olivier Giroud stooped at the near post to send a 48th-minute diving header beyond the grasp of Petr Cech and net the opener against his former club.

The trouble was doubled for the men in red ten minutes later as Eden Hazard set up Pedro, who scudded past Cech from close range.

Their haplessness was summed up when Ainsley Maitland-Niles bundled Giroud to the turf inside the area.

Hazard strolled up to slot home the penalty to put the title beyond reach.

Alex Iwobi caused a stir when he walloped in a sumptuous volley seconds after coming off the Arsenal bench.

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Eden Hazard celebrates as Chelsea cruise to Europa League final success over Arsenal in Baku. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images.

But Hazard was on hand to sweep in the fourth on 71 minutes as the Blues cleaved apart their London rivals.

It left Unai Emery’s side flat out on the canvas as a seat at European football’s top table eluded them for next season.

The pathos grew further as Hazard went down injured in the closing stages before hobbling off for what could be a fond farewell after seven years as a Chelsea player.

But a shining trophy doesn’t half help, as Sarri and his Blues lifted the silverware to add to their third-place finish in the EPL.

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