The final of this year’s Europa League will be an all-London affair as Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea go to war in Baku. The Blues have already bagged a place in next season’s Champions League thanks to a top four finish in the Premier League, but for Arsenal, who finished fifth, this represents their last chance to break into Europe’s elite and see them grab a share of the riches.
The match will take place at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan’s largest city, and the arena will be packed to its near 69,000 capacity. Those who can’t make it to the venue will be able to follow the play live on BT Sport from 8.00pm GMT on Wednesday 29 May. Chelsea are 11/8 favourites with bet365, the draw 2/1 at William Hill, Arsenal available at 12/5 (Bet Victor).
Both Teams Have Injury Concerns
All the talk in the build-up will focus on the injury news coming out of both camps but the managers involved have enjoyed a bit of a break between the end of the Premier League season and start of this match, so there should be no shocks in the pipeline. Chelsea and Arsenal will each play friendly matches to keep the squad sharp and focussed before they travel out to Azerbaijan where they will put the finishing touches to their preparations.
Chelsea player N’Golo Kante was forced to sit out of the semi-final match with Eintracht Frankfurt recently due to a knock and was also granted the day off from the final Premier League outing of the season when his teammates huffed and puffed their way to a goalless draw at the King Power v Leicester City. That was their third league draw in four games, although they did win the spare.
Kante remains a doubt for this match and he’ll be joined by Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who are likely to take no part. Opponents Arsenal must make do without Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck, while Konstantinos Mavropanos will be given until the last minute to declare himself fit. Keep those absentees in mind when making your Arsenal v Chelsea betting tips.
Head-to-Head Locked at One Win Each
Arsenal and Chelsea met twice this season in the Premier League and the head-to-head was settled at one win each. Chelsea won by the odd goal in five at Stamford Bridge back in August of last year, the three points achieved thanks to goals from Pedro, Morata and Alonso. Arsenal returned the favour on their own patch when snatching a convincing 2-0 win at the Emirates in January of this year. Lacazette broke the deadlock inside 14 minutes that day and the match was over as a contest when Koscielny doubled up before the break.
Chelsea travel for this encounter unbeaten in their last four league games, but they did stumble to three draws during that run and came painfully close to missing out on the top four. The poor form of Tottenham, Arsenal and Man Utd worked in their favour and Maurizio Sarri’s side were able to claw their way to a third-place finish. Despite a top four spot in the Premier League and two cup finals achieved, manager Sarri is not without his critics in English football and bookmakers have him as one of the favourites to be the next top-flight manager to lose his job. That puts pressure on the Italian to deliver silverware in Baku.
Just one win in their last five league matches – three defeats and a draw – saw Arsenal’s early good form unravel down the home-straight and they had to settle for fifth in the pecking order. They did record an overdue win in their last league match of the campaign, however, beating Burnley 3-1 on the road thanks to a double from Aubameyang and Nketiah strike near the end. Manager was happy with the way his boys performed but knows they must improve if they are to win on Wednesday before the eyes of the watching world.
Take the Bigger Price
When making your Arsenal v Chelsea betting tips it’s worth knowing that both teams have scored in two of the last three games involving these sides, as well as three of the last five. We’re hoping this one falls into line and the final gives us plenty of goalmouth action. You can back both teams to score at 4/5 with bet365 – perfect for accumulators – or over 2.5 goals at even money (William Hill).
Those who want to pick sides should take confidence from the fact Arsenal are a bigger price in a match that looks closer to a 50/50 and that’s value worth taking. Chelsea’s lengthy injury list means they are missing some key players and the fact they have already qualified for the Champions League should take the edge off their play.