As it happened: Chelsea v Arsenal - 2019 UEFA Europa League Final 

As it happened: Chelsea v Arsenal - 2019 UEFA Europa League Final 

VAVEL UK's minute-by-minute coverage as Chelsea took on Arsenal in the 2019 UEFA Europa League final (20:00 BST)

Gabriel Meytanis
That’s all folks!
So Chelsea have been crowned Europa League champions as Arsenal lose their fourth European final in a row. What will this mean for the club? Has Maurizio Sarri been vindicated? Stay tuned to VAVEL UK for all the post-match fallout and analysis. Many thanks for your company for tonight’s match, have a very good evening.
Full Time Stats

    CHELSEA   4                   -                      1   ARSENAL

                      49        Possession %        51

                      14          Attempts             13

                       8             On Goal               2

                       7             Corners               5

                     13           Free Kicks            14

Chelsea’s Pedro has become the fifth player to score in a Champions League (European Cup) and Europa League (UEFA Cup) final, joining Allan Simonsen, Dmitri Alenichev, Hernan Crespo and Steven Gerrard.


Queen blares from the speakers as Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta lift the cup aloft; Maurizio Sarri looks visibly starstruck by his winners' medal.

Rob Green and Gary Cahill are poised, in full kit...
Chelsea form a customary guard of honour as Arsenal slump up to the podium to collect their runners-up medals. Emery sidles away, visibly disgusted. A penny for Petr Čech's thoughts...
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Eden Hazard appeared to confirm his Chelsea exit:

"My target in my mind today was to win this final. I have made my decision [on my future] already, I'm waiting on both clubs. I think it is a goodbye, but in football you never know. My dream was to play in the Premier League and I have done that for seven years for one of the biggest clubs so maybe now it is the time for a new challenge."

Maurizio Sarri celebrates the first trophy of his managerial career. Arsenal players tumble to the floor, dejected. They will be playing in UEFA's secondary competition for another year.
It's all over! Chelsea have completely battered Arsenal in this second half.  They are the first unbeaten champions of the UEFA Europa League.
90' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Arsenal's agony prolonged for another three minutes. Meanwhile, the Chelsea subs are celebrating in the background.
88' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Eden Hazard limps away from a challenge with Willock as his number comes up on the touchline; Davide Zappacosta his replacement. If this is goodbye, it's not a bad farewell - he has been an absolute scourge for the Arsenal backline.
86' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Lacazette stands over a free kick, 30 or so yards out. He steps up... and smashes it over. It simply isn't Arsenal's night.
84' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Another chance spurned. The lively Joe Willock, on for Mesut Özil, plays a one-two with Lacazette but curls wide with only Kepa to beat.
82' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
A massive chance goes begging, only this time for Arsenal. Lacazette's strike at goal is well saved by Kepa. The rebound drops to Aubameyang a few yards out but he is unable to craft a shot on target from the follow-up.
81' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
The Blues are seeking a fifth here. This time, Hazard finds Azpilicueta in acres of space but the Spaniard drills his shot narrowly wide of the mark.
79' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Petr Čech is keeping the score down here. Willian bursts down the right and into the box. His effort is destined for the bottom corner until Čech produces another good low save to thwart the Chelsea substitute.
72' Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
Game over, surely. Great buildup again between Hazard and Giroud, who chips a cute return pass to the tricky Belgian to sweep it home with aplomb.
GOAL! CHELSEA 4-1 Arsenal (Hazard)

68' Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
Oh what a response! Some scrappy play in the Chelsea box before Alex Iwobi, having just been introduced for Torreira, lets the ball drop from 20 or so yards out and lashes a stunning effort into the top corner. Game on?
GOAL! Chelsea 3-1 ARSENAL (Iwobi)

GOAL! CHELSEA 3-0 Arsenal (Hazard - pen)
Was it ever in doubt? Hazard rolls the ball into the bottom-left. Arsenal have well and truly unraveled.
64' :PENALTY TO CHELSEA Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
It's going from bad to worse to disastrous for the Gunners. Maitland-Niles, who perhaps over-committed to leave Hazard space in the buildup to Chelsea's second is undoubtedly at fault here. Wrong side of Giroud, he bundles the big Frenchman over. Stonewall pen.
60' Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
Clinical stuff again from Chelsea. Hazard works some space on the edge of the box and pulls it back for Pedro, who tucks it into the bottom-right corner.
GOAL! CHELSEA 2-0 Arsenal (Pedro)

59' Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal
Pedro talks himself into the referee's book after reacting to a robust challenge. Arsenal have tried to work their way back into the game and Lucas Torreira thunders an effort goalwards. It's blocked before the move breaks down; Andreas Christensen taking an Aubameyang bicycle kick to the face.
49 Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal
First blood to Chelsea as Emerson drifts down the left and digs out a low cross into Olivier Giroud, who gets down low to power a header well beyond Čech. A muted celebration, but that's a wonderful goal, and one which puts Giroud out in front on 11 Europa League goals this season.
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 Arsenal (Giroud)

47' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
The pace has picked up quickly in the second period. Aubameyang sets off down the right but his deflected cross is gathered by Kepa. Hazard responds, driving at the heart of the Arsenal defence. He wants a corner after Monreal's block, he's not going to get one.
Chelsea restart the final as the clock strikes midnight in Baku.
Half-time stat

The referee has added a grand total of five seconds of stoppage time before blowing the whistle to end an entertaining but, as yet, goalless half. Arsenal had the better of the early exchanges but Chelsea have responded well. It's very delicately poised at 0-0.
42' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
The Blues are finishing the half strongly here, engaging Arsenal high up the pitch. They've won a few corners for their troubles but nothing more.
39' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Chelsea's best chance of the match as some great combination play between Jorginho, Hazard and Giroud releases the striker just outside the box. He shoots early but Čech dispels any pre-match doubts with an impressive low stop to his left before Monreal hacks clear.
34' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Back come Chelsea as Emerson is free down Chelsea's left again. Jorginho picks him out and the left-back produces a snapshot which is well parried by Petr Čech.
32' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Sead Kolašinac goes close. His deflected shot loops high and wide but not by much. Kepa was rooted to the spot.
29' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Things are opening up now. Hazard is gifted some space on the edge of the Arsenal area and Koscielny moves across to prevent a slide-rule pass through the centre. Instead the Belgian threads it left to Emerson, whose shot cannons off the outstretched leg of Sokratis for a corner.
27' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Back come Arsenal. Aubameyang sells David Luiz a few stepovers but can't find a teammate with a dinked cross. The ball finds its way to Granit Xhaka who launches an effort narrowly over the crossbar from several yards out.
25' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Half-chance for Chelsea. This time Arsenal's largely effective high press is broken and Kante scampers into space. His cross for Giroud is mis-controlled by the striker as the ball bounces off his legs and harmlessly away.
24' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Arsenal have come into the game a lot more now. Ainsley Maitland-Niles in particular is causing problems for Chelsea down the right flank as he forces another throw. Pedro pushes Monreal and the Gunners have another promising-looking free kick.
18' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Arsenal have come into the game a little more now, and launch a dangerous counter which ends with Alexandre Lacazette on the deck in the Chelsea area. It certainly looked as though Kepa made contact with the striker's trailing leg but Signor Rocchi isn't convinced after a VAR check.
15' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Chelsea win a free kick on the left wing as Koscielny stands on Giroud. Arsenal have conceded 23 from set pieces this season but it's not 24 here as David Luiz shoves Lucas Torreira. Still goalless.
09' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
First real chance as Maitland-Niles darts away and swings in a cross from the right. The ball is a decent height for Kepa but the keeper decides to punch rather than gather. It falls to Aubameyang who can only shank wide from the edge of the box.
07' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Chelsea seeing far more of the ball in the opening exchanges. Arsenal win a free kick in Chelsea territory as they find their feet after a rather nervy start. Torreira returns the favour on Hazard and Chelsea have a free kick of their own. Cagey, scrappy stuff at the moment.
02' Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
A few aimless long balls as each team settles into the game. Sokratis miscues a clearance and Chelsea have a throw.
Here we go! Arsenal kick us off, from left to right. A huge game in prospect.

The opening ceremony is under way...

Not long to go until kick off now

Countdown to kick off

20 minutes to go in Baku as the teams conclude their warm up. N'Golo Kante has his knee in a patch: he has reportedly received an injection to play through the match.


N'Golo Kante is deemed fit enough to start alongside Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić; Petr Čech starts his final professional game agaist his former side.

Stat Pack​​​​​​​


The two teams will meet for the third time this season in Baku, with one league win apiece. Chelsea battled to a 3-2 win in August, while Arsenal won the most recent fixture 2-0 in January. The Gunners have won the last two competitive matches on neutral ground, though Chelsea won the last European meeting between the sides – a 2-1 away win at Highbury in April 2004. This fixture is the first to be played in the FA Cup final, League Cup final and a major European final.

Chelsea Team News

Chelsea, meanwhile, are facing a possible dilemma in midfield. With Callum Hudson-Odoi already out long-term and Ruben Loftus-Cheek facing a year on the sidelines after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the Blues’ charity friendly against New England Revolution, N’Golo Kante will face a late fitness test after injuring his knee on Saturday. Kante's potential absence would leave Chelsea with just three fit midfielders in Jorginho, Mateo Kovačić and Ross Barkley. 10-goal Olivier Giroud is likely to keep his place in the side having started their semi-final 2nd leg against Eintracht Frankfurt, while this may be Eden Hazard’s final game in a Chelsea shirt as speculation continues around a potential transfer to Real Madrid.

Arsenal Team News

The marketing slogan of ‘Together to Baku’ hasn’t exactly rung true for Arsenal, who are missing midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan over safety concerns for the Armenian. Along with Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he is the Gunners’ leading assist provider (3). Having played his last game for the club, Aaron Ramsey is not in the squad. The main selection headache is over the choice of goalkeeper, with regular cup ‘keeper Petr Čech set to feature against his former side – and future employers – in his last game before retirement. Denis Suárez (groin), and Hector Bellerín & Rob Holding (knee) remain sidelined.


Rampant campaigns

Both sides come into the final having won eleven times in the UEFA Europa League this season. Only three teams: Real Madrid in 2001/02 (12), Porto in 2010/11 (12) and Atletico Madrid in 2011/12 (13) have won more European matches in a single campaign (minus qualifiers).

Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has found the net on 10 occasions in Europe this season. That’s a record for a Chelsea player in a single European season (excluding qualifiers). If he scores tonight – against his former side – he will surpass the record goal tally for a French player in a major European competition. Nestor Combin (1963-64 Cup Winners' Cup) and Just Fontaine (1958-59 European Cup) also scored 10 times.

The Gunners’ forward line is equally formidable. Premier League golden boot winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has, along with strike partner Alexandre Lacazette, provided Arsenal’s last 8 goals in this competition.

The referee

Embed from Getty Images

The man in the middle tonight is Gianluca Rocchi. This will be Rocchi’s first Europa League final as a referee, having served as fourth official in Manchester United’s victory over Ajax two years ago.  

“It’s a fantastic appointment for me – it’s a London derby, so it’s a special match,” stated the Italian ahead of the game. He will be assisted by VAR, as it is used in the UEFA Europa League for the first time.

On a side note, Rocchi and his assistants will be debuting Macron’s new referee kits, after they signed a three-year deal to replace Adidas as UEFA’s supplier.

The venue

Embed from Getty Images

Baku’s 68,700-capacity Olympic Stadium will host tonight’s final and is a stadium which Arsenal will already be familiar with having beaten Qarabağ 3-0 here back in October. The venue is among twelve scheduled to host matches at UEFA Euro 2020 next year.

Tonight’s atmosphere is shaping up to be somewhat different, though. Around 6,000 tickets – an estimated 2,200 Arsenal and 3,800 Chelsea – went unsold and were returned by the clubs prior to tonight’s final.

Differing histories

The contrast between each club as well as their respective managers couldn’t be more stark…

Of the five major European finals which each side has reached, Chelsea have won 4 times, the last of which was their 2013 Europa League Final triumph over Benfica. Arsenal, however, have lost on 4 occasions; their only triumph being the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup. They have lost their last three European finals and, incredibly, have never beaten a fellow English side in European competition (D2, L4).

The managers, though, tell an entirely different story. Unai Emery is the most successful manager in the competition’s history, winning three times on the bounce with Sevilla in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Should Arsenal win, only Giovanni Trapattoni (5) will have more European honours to his name than Emery (4). Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri has never won a major honour in 29 years of management, though he may seek comfort in the records of Chelsea’s previous Italian managers in European finals: both Gianluca Vialli (1998 Cup Winners’ Cup) and Roberto di Matteo (2012 Champions League) guided the Blues to victory.

High stakes all round

The numerous subplots surrounding the game have only added to its intrigue. The venue itself has come under widespread scrutiny due to a serious lack of practical or affordable travel, alongside the political fallout from Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s failure to travel to the Azeri capital, citing safety concerns. On the pitch, while Chelsea can land a trophy to add gloss to their 3rd-placed Premier League finish, the onus is surely on Arsenal to secure a result and with it UEFA Champions League qualification following their failure to qualify via the league and given the implications on the summer transfer budget at Emirates Stadium.

Whilst Unai Emery will be aware of the fixture’s impact on the Gunners’ European plans for next season, he sought to downplay his side’s responsibility:

"Each title is very important for us, and for Chelsea too […] we want to enjoy this moment, for our fans and also for ourselves”

Across the dugout, rumours have swirled around the future of Maurizio Sarri, who may find himself out of a job regardless of Wednesday’s result. Sarri himself, however, was quick to focus on the game:

"I think that for the fans, we have to play better; win more […] we want a trophy for our group, for the team, for the players, for the technical staff; also for the club of course”

UEFA Europa League Final: Chelsea v Arsenal

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK’s live text commentary as Chelsea and Arsenal face off in the 2019 UEFA Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan. Perhaps fittingly, the ‘Land of Fire’ plays host to the first ever local derby in the final of the Europa League or former UEFA Cup. The match kicks off at 20:00 BST at Baku’s Olympic Stadium but stay tuned until then for build-up and team news.