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Wednesday evening will see the first of two all-Premier League European finals as Chelsea take on Arsenal at the Baku Olympic Stadium. As ever, you will be able to follow all of the action across our website and Live Stream with beIN CONNECT.
Much of the build-up to Wednesday’s Europa League final in Baku has been mired in controversy, as both teams return a hefty allocation of tickets with fans deciding to stay at home rather than make the long trip east.
Arsenal has also decided to leave Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan amid political tensions between his own country and the Azerbaijani authorities. Still, the final is set to take place and a win would drastically alter their season as they look towards the summer.
Chelsea will look to wrap up the season with a trophy, ahead of a summer of uncertainty at the West London club. With rumours of both Eden Hazard and manager Mauritzo Sarri leaving for Real Madrid & Juventus whilst the club under a transfer ban it could be a tricky close season for the Blues.
Despite the reported upheaval ahead, Chelsea enjoyed a strong first season under Sarri finishing in third place in the Premier League and have guaranteed Champions League football next season. Sarri has never won a major trophy in his career and a Europa League win could be just enough to convince the Chelsea hierarchy to stick with the dogmatic Italian coach, who has been criticized by fans for his reliance on his possession style of play and only using a core of players.
In team news, Chelsea will be without Reuben Loftus Cheek, Calum Hudson Odoi & Antonio Rudiger who have been ruled out with long-term injuries. French midfielder N’Golo Kante is also a major doubt after injuring his knee in training. Eden Hazard should start in what looks likely to be his final ever game for the Blues.
Chelsea Predicted Team
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley; Hazard, Willian, Giroud
Channel - HD 11
Online - beIN CONNECT
Kick-Off - 22:00
As for Arsenal, The Europa League represents their only chance of Champions League football next season. After falling short in the league, Europa League specialist Unai Emery will be hoping it will be hoping he can win a fourth continental title with victory over Chelsea, sealing a place in next seasons Champions League in the process.
A win would also see the Spaniard join a unique club of managers who have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League with two different sides. Whilst lifting the trophy in Baku would put a positive slant on a league season which certainly faltered towards the end of the campaign.
Victories against the likes of Rennes, Napoli & Valencia have seen the Gunners progress to the final in Baku, and despite the poor league form Emery and his squad will certainly fancy their chances against a Chelsea side who are dealing with plenty of uncertainty heading into the game.
In team news, Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan is absent for political reasons. Aaron Ramsey is ruled out with a thigh injury and has played his last game for the club before a summer move to Juventus. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Denis Suarez will also miss out due to long term injuries.
One positive for Emery is the return of Danny Welbeck to the squad. The striker broke his ankle during the group stage game against Sporting Lisbon. Although having not played since November it’s uncertain if the England international will play a part in the Baku final.
Arsenal Predicted Team
Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette
It certainly promises to be a fascinating encounter as Chelsea and Arsenal battle it out in Baku for the Europa League trophy. You can follow all the updates Live & Exclusive with beIN CONNECT.