Eden Hazard bowed out of his Chelsea career with a European trophy and a typically masterful performance. One of the world's best players turned up in a game where Arsenal just couldn't afford for him to. In a game that felt like a pre-season friendly, the Belgian lit up the show with help from Olivier Giroud.
First and foremost, this game really summed up what I think of the Europa League. Slow, boring, literally no quality. It felt like a pre-season friendly. And the fact that the crowd had so many empty seats contributed to this. You could hear the players shout and the atmosphere was abysmal. It didn't help that there was a huge running track round the pitch leaving the fans miles away from the pitch. This is the Europa League.
The first half I thought Arsenal were ever so slightly the better team. But that isn't saying much. Tepid and slow, both teams struggled for rhythm. The Arsenal strikers weren't in the game whilst Giroud was winning every aerial battle but the ball was falling to no one. That's really it. Arsenal had a penalty shout that in my opinion, if it was given wouldn't have been overturned. But there also wasn't enough to overturn the 'not a penalty' call. The second half livened up. Sorry, Chelsea and Hazard livened up. Koscielny allowed Giroud to get to the ball first to head home brilliantly from a Emerson cross, who I thought looked good. When the first goal went in, it was game over. 4 goals in 23 minutes put Arsenal to bed. Hazard scored a brace and set up Pedro to score the other. Arsenal fell apart. No heart, no desire. Where was the much talked about Aubemayang and Lacazette? Ozil was hauled off and subject to lot of criticism. Chelsea turned on the style and ripped through Arsenal's defence. Hazard and Giroud were outstanding and that was the ultimately the difference. Chelsea have that 1 superstar footballer and as well as that, a huge winning mentality throughout the club - something Arsenal lack.
Sarri seems certain to go to Juventus but that seems very strange after the season he's had.
Honestly, I'm not too impressed with him and they've been so reliant on Hazard. But a 3rd place finish alongside a trophy and domestic cup final doesn't seem like a sackable offence. But as mentioned, I'm not the biggest fan and his football has been horrendous. Even yesterday they were pretty bad for the majority of the game. So maybe that's why he's off.
Where does this leave Arsenal? In deep, deep trouble. A terrible squad accompanied with an average manager, Europa League football again and limited funds this summer to attract sub par players doesn't sound nice. I worry for them HUGELY. They were in the best position to get top 4 then capitulated, just like today. Things will get worse. Arsenal need to start looking behind them and no longer in front of them. The only way for them is down. And imagine Spurs win the Champions League this Saturday...
So that's the Europa League done. Tomorrow I'll talk about the transfer news that's been going on in the last few days then do a Champions League preview Saturday morning. See you then.