UEFA Europa League Final: Arsenal vs Chelsea, 3 key battles
The 2019 Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea will be played on Wednesday, 29 May in Baku, Azerbaijan. The London-based rivals will battle it out for the only silverware they can win this season at the Olympic Stadium in Baku. This is the second final for both the clubs in this competition. Chelsea won it in 2013 while Arsenal finished as runners-up in 2000.
The final has been already been marred by controversy beforehand due to the absence of Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the tie due to political tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Chelsea is missing out the likes of Callum-Hudson Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger which is a huge blow for Maurizio Sarri, leaving him with a very limited midfield to choose from. Unai Emery will be missing out on Mkhitaryan and Bellerin making Arsenal look a better team based on bench strength.
The final is set out to be a very exciting affair and there's a lot in stake for both the managers. For Sarri, a loss might mean him getting the sack, while a loss for Arsenal would mean that the Gunners won't be able to participate in the Champions League next season and Emery will have fewer funds to rebuild the squad in summer.
Here are 3 clashes to look out for in the final.
#3. Granit Xhaka vs Jorginho:
Jorginho is the key cog in the Chelsea midfield. He's the one who keeps the midfield ticking and helping the team move into the final third. Giving him less space and time to operate would result in a disruption in the Chelsea gameplay.
Chelsea is mostly without N'Golo Kante, so Italian international Jorginho will have added duties on the defensive side as well. Jorginho needs to keep an eye on Granit Xhaka as the midfielder has tendencies to go forward and try his luck with an occasional belter from outside of the box.
Granit Xhaka is a powerhouse in the Arsenal midfield. The Swiss international needs to put an energetic performance and try and stop Jorginho from making the forward passes that make the Chelsea attack tick.
He needs to press Jorginho hard so that he commits mistakes and this would allow the Arsenal forwards to blast ahead and create a havoc in the Chelsea defence.