Football | Chelsea thump Arsenal in Europa League final

David Smith

Chelsea have beaten Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final.

Olivier Giroud, Pedro, and Eden Hazard (two) grabbed the goals as Mauricio Sarri’s side ran out as comfortable winners, with Alex Iwobi finding the net for the Gunners.

Both sides had chances in a competitive first half.

Alexandre Lacazette felt he was clipped by Kepa Arrizabalaga in the first half and thought he should have had a penalty, but the Gunners’ appeals were waved away.

Granit Xhaka also went close for Arsenal with an effort from distance which clipped the crossbar.

Former Arsenal striker Giroud had a chance to fire Chelsea into the lead in the 39th minute, but his low drive was well saved by Petr Cech.

However, after a scoreless first half in Baku, Giroud headed Chelsea in front with a diving effort from Emerson’s cross in the 49th minute.

It was the French striker’s 11th goal in the Europa League this season, and Chelsea doubled their advantage seven minutes later.

Eden Hazard – likely playing his last game for the London club – played a low ball across the box for Pedro, who swept home a left-footed finish into the bottom corner.

The clinical finish marked the Spain international’s sixth goal in a final, and was further evidence that the former Barcelona attacker is a man for the big occasion.

Five minutes later, the referee pointed to the spot after Ainsley Maitland-Niles barged into Giroud inside the box.

The Arsenal defender’s momentum carried him into the back of Giroud, who was lining up to finish Pedro’s through ball.

Hazard stepped up to find the back of the net from 12 yards, sending Cech the wrong way and putting the game beyond doubt in the process.

Iwobi pulled one back for Arsenal in the 69th minute with a fantastic strike from distance, but it was too little too late from Unai Emery’s side.

The Nigeria international smashed a half-volley into the far corner from outside the box after Xhaka’s free kick bounced kindly for him.

Hazard added another goal – his second – in the 72nd minute when he found the net following a clever one-two with Giroud.

The 4-1 win caps off a debut season for Sarri which also saw Chelsea finsih third in the Premier League and reach a League Cup final.

Sarri’s future remains in doubt, however, with the Italian linked with a return to Italy to take the vacant managerial position at Juventus.

The Europa League triumph was Chelsea’s fifth European title, a record only bettered in England by Liverpool (eight).

Arsenal’s defeat means they will compete in the Europa League next season, having finished fifth in the English top flight.

The Gunners have now lost four European finals in a row, losing five of their last six in total in Europe.

Unfortunately, the official attendance for the match was just 51,370, despite a 68,700 stadium capacity, due to the issues and controversy surrounding the fixture.