The Europa League final is set to be played in Baku, Azerbaijan between English Premier League sides Chelsea and Arsenal. This will be the second all-English Europa League final after Tottenham and Wolves faced off in the 1972 final. The winner of the Europa League automatically qualifies for the group stage of next season’s Champions League, so should Arsenal win they will move from the Europa League to the Champions League, but if Chelsea win the Champions League spot with go to a Ligue One team as Chelsea automatically qualified with their third place finish in the Premier League.
English teams have the third most Europa League finals, with 14, trailing just Spain and Italy. Chelsea have been to the finals one time, in 2013, and they came away with a 2-1 win over Juventus. That win made Chelsea just the fourth European club to have won the Champions League, Europa League and Cup Winner’s Cup. Arsenal enter their second Europa League final looking to win the completion for the first time in club history. The Gunners made the final of the 1999-2000 Europa League, called the UEFA Cup at the time, losing on penalties to Galatasaray.
Unfortunately, injuries and politics are playing a role in this one as some key players will be missing from both sides. Chelsea will be without N’Golo Kante, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who are all out with lower body injuries. Loftus-Cheek was injured in a friendly leading up to the final. One of the big stories leading up to this final was whether Arsenal defender Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be able to play or not due to political tensions between his home country of Armenia and the host country Azerbaijan. Arsenal made the decision to not risk his safety, so the defender will be staying at home and not playing on Wednesday.
Here is my pick for the Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea (+145) vs Arsenal (+210): Draw (+240)
Chelsea enter Wednesday on an eight match unbeaten run and have lost just one time in their last 13 games. Three goals or less have been scored in eight of Chelsea’s last 10 games. Chelsea gave up the 4th least goals in the Premier League this season, conceding just 39 goals in 38 games.
Arsenal enter the Europa League final on a four match unbeaten run and with six wins in their last 10 games. Three goals or less have been scored five of their last 10 games overall. During the Premier League season Arsenal scored 73 goals, good for third in the league, and conceded 51 goals.
I like Arsenal to come away with the win and a Champions League berth.
This will be the 165th meeting between these two clubs with Arsenal leading the all-time series 63-49-52. Arsenal have scored 230 goals while Chelsea have scored 212.
YTD Soccer Results: 72-63