In a week of two huge English European cup finals, the first one has arrived. Tonight, Arsenal take on Chelsea in what is an extraordinarily massive game for the Gunners. Its a big game too for Chelsea as it is a cup final. But it's the Europa League. It's not a disaster if they lose. Arsenal have so much to play for tonight. They've never won a European Cup (although winning the Europa League is no impressive feat in my opinion) and they NEED Champions League football. They need it for the money and they need it to attract top players. Arsenal aren't going to win the Champions League but if they want big funds to sign top players, they need this. Chelsea simply have a cup final to play for. But with this being Hazard's last game and Sarri yet to win a trophy, they will be most certainly up for this too.
To me, I'd be very surprised if Arsenal don't win. I know I know it's a one off cup final, but I believe Arsenal have a better ALL ROUND team than Chelsea. I really don't rate this Chelsea team in the slightest and I think they're an absolute chore to watch. There is a severe lack of quality in the players. Alonso, Luiz, Kovacic, Barkley, Giroud are far from top players and people like Willian and Pedro are headless chickens capable of the odd moment of brilliance. Chelsea have a poor team and an oddly stubborn manager. Don't get me wrong Arsenal have an average team too. Kolasinac, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi are all liabilities and Ozil is a shadow of the player he was... Well when he used to turn up. But he's not even capable of that anymore. But don't forget Emery's experience in this competition. Three back to back wins shows he knows how to win this trophy.
Although Arsenal have a better team than Chelsea, there is one reason and one reason alone Chelsea are where they are. How did they get third place? How did they get to the League Cup final? Who sent them through at Anfield? We may be asking tonight, who won the Europa League for them? The answer is Eden Hazard. He is Chelsea's one and only hope. But what a hope to have. A phenomenon of a footballer capable of winning any game on his own on a regular basis. Sarriball has been: get the ball to Hazard and let him do the rest. Simple. No Chelsea player has performed that well this season barring that man. And with a move to Real Madrid certain, he will want to go out with a bang. Aubameyang and Lacazette are very good players and will be pivotal for Arsenal, but they're not a quarter as good as the Belgian. It is simply up to him. Arsenal can man mark him and keep him quiet but how easy will that be?
If Arsenal play well as a team and keep Hazard quiet, they win. If Hazard shows up, Chelsea win. It's as simple as that. But I just can't help but feel there's more for Arsenal at stake and the players will be so united and revved up for this. Also, rumours of a bust-up in training between Higuain and Luiz and Sarri storming off is never a good thing the day before a match. I think Arsenal will win. But will Hazard have anything to say about that we will have to wait and see.
I am aware of the news of Ramos wanting to leave and Spurs making a massive bid for Le Celso. I will probably address these tomorrow or the day after. But I'll be back tomorrow so see you then.