Europa Round Up

I didn't expect it to happen like that. Arsenal cruised through. Chelsea scraped through. Arsenal were good. Chelsea were bad. But at the end of the day, we are having another all English final. It doesn't matter how you get there, but they're there now. And in a one off final, anything can happen.

Arsenal played really well. Aubameyang and Lacazette were superb. Arsenal have a really good front line partnership. Really good is all it is. Nothing more. Two good players who are nowhere near the world class mark. They found their level in this competition. Look at Auba's big game record. Look at Lacazette's away big game record. In the biggest of big games, when really needed, neither really stand up. Neither player is as good as Kane or Aguero or Firmino. Seeing comparisons of Aubameyang to Thierry Henry made me physically sick. In Aubameyang's wildest dreams where his abilities get multiplied by 100, he still isn't a 100th as good as Henry. Bare in mind, this Valencia team isn't very good either. Although both strikers played well, Premier League games aren't gonna be against teams like that. This was a cup game where Valencia needed to score. Premier League teams make it harder to break their defences down, as we saw against Brighton. I thought Parejo looked a pretty impressive player with an incredible passing range. Aside from that, Valenca didn't impress me at all. This is why I say Arsenal winning the Europa League is good for the Champions League football, but it isn't an great achievement. Beat a bunch of B-list team and suddenly you find yourself in the final. It would be hugely papering over the cracks.

Their opponents, Chelsea. They were poor. Really poor. And to be honest, they have been like this for most of the season. That transfer ban is going to hurt them big time. Frankfurt can count themselves unlucky. They had some really good chances to win that tie. The substitution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a bizarre one. A player high on confidence, had just scored, was hauled off when Kovacic was having nowhere near as good as a game. Sarri seems like a man who sticks to certain players and immediately gives them more chances than others - even if they are inferior. RLC is a huge talent and most definitely a bigger goal threat than Kovacic - who, if I'm being honest, I have no idea what he actually does. In the end they scraped through on a penalty shoot out after some Kepa heroics. He had to make up for *that* Wembley moment.

In a one off final it is hard to call the winner. It'll be a battle of two hugely flawed teams. I don't think Chelsea have much attacking threat to scare Arsenal, as we saw at the Emirates. I also think Arsenal's attack could scare Chelsea's weak back line. I make Arsenal the favourites, but there's one thing that could change that. Eden Hazard. If he decides he will single-handedly drag Chelsea to the Europa League trophy, I think he can. In what could potentially be his last match as a Chelsea player, it seems like it could be a fitting way to go.

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