MX23RW : Tuesday, August 20 01:35:37| >> :600:7193504:7193504:
May 29, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Baku Olympic Stadium
Attendance: 51,370
Chelsea
4-1
Arsenal
Giroud (49'), Pedro (60'), Hazard (65' pen., 72')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Iwobi (69')

Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from the squads of Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final clash in Baku.

For just the third time in UEFA Cup/Europa League history, two English sides will face off against each other on Wednesday when Chelsea and Arsenal meet in the Baku final.

The Blues finished two points better off than their London rivals in the Premier League and can be happier with their domestic campaign on the whole.

Whereas Chelsea have the safety net of a Champions League berth already being secured for next season, Arsenal need to win this midweek tussle to achieve the aim set by Unai Emery when appointed last summer.

Both teams have performed well on their way to the final, but something has to give on Wednesday.

Here, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI using only the players definitely available for both sides.


CHEARSXI© Reuters

This will be an emotional occasion for Arsenal's Petr Cech as he plays his final game in professional football before retiring. The veteran stopper comes up against the club where he made a name for himself, but his powers have gradually waned since then, which is not the case for up-and-coming keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga - the star of Chelsea's semi-final shootout win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Arsenal will likely go with a back three on Wednesday, a formation that Chelsea know well from Antonio Conte's time in charge, but we are setting out with a four-man defence. Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the most reliable right-backs around and is an obvious choice given Arsenal's lack of options in that position.

On the opposite flank, Emerson Palmieri has usurped the inconsistent Marcos Alonso but has not done enough during his run in the side to get the nod over Sead Kolasinac, who has performed well as a wing-back.

In the centre of defence, there is no Antonio Rudiger for Chelsea this week because of a knee injury so David Luiz - who does admittedly still have a mistake or two in him - is joined by Laurent Koscielny.

Usually one of the first names on these lists, N'Golo Kante is almost certain to sit out the final due to an injury sustained in training. Arsenal's Lucas Torreira has done a good job in the holding position during his debut campaign in English football, though, and he is selected here ahead of teammates Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka.

Beside him is Jorginho who, despite coming in for regular criticism, is one of the finest ball players around and should work well alongside a player like Torreira. Besides, with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Aaron Ramsey and Kante absent, there is a lack of other candidates.

Eden Hazard quite simply has to be in this side - the Belgian has enjoyed another impressive campaign and will arguably be the biggest game-changing player on the field in midweek. In order to shoehorn in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who have worked brilliantly in tandem together this term - especially in Europe - we have gone with three attacking midfielders and one lone striker.

That leaves a place up for grabs for a central attacking-midfielder, with Mesut Ozil the most obvious choice due to Ramsey's injury absence.

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Who will win the 2019 Europa League - Chelsea or Arsenal?

Chelsea
Arsenal
Chelsea
35.0%
Arsenal
65.0%
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Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante reacts after missing a chance during the EFL Cup final against Manchester City on February 24, 2019
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