MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 11:11:00| >> :120:5958:5958:
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')

Live Commentary: Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Chelsea's 4-1 win over Arsenal, as the Blues produced an improved second-half display to claim more silverware.
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Eden Hazard scored twice in the second half as Chelsea blew away London rivals Arsenal with a 4-1 win in the Europa League final.

The Blues opened the scoring four minutes into the second half through Olivier Giroud and Pedro added a second on the hour.

Hazard then netted twice, including a penalty, either side of Alex Iwobi's brilliant strike as Chelsea claimed bragging rights and another major European honour.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.


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Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League final showdown between Chelsea and Arsenal at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.

This is just the second all-English final in UEFA's secondary competition, after Tottenham Hotspur against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1972 UEFA Cup, and is considered a make-or-break match for both sides.

A fifth-placed league finish in Unai Emery's first campaign at the helm will only be considered a success if Arsenal come out on top in Azerbaijan this evening, while Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has been under pressure all season long and could do with winning some silverware in what could be his final match in charge.

All things considered we could be in for a pretty explosive night! Let us get started by checking out some confirmed team news from Baku.


CHELSEA TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard

SUBS: Caballero, Cumming, Alonso, Barkley, Higuain, Zappacosta, Willian, Cahill, Ampadu, Gallagher, McEachran


There is some big team news as far as Chelsea are concerned as N'Golo Kante has been passed fit. The midfielder had recovered from a hamstring injury that had ruled him out of his side's last few matches, on top of the Stateside friendly last week, only to damage his knee in training.

Sarri described the Frenchman as "50-50" on the eve of the match but, having trained alone for just 20 minutes or so yesterday, it seemed certain he would miss out today. His inclusion is bad news for Ross Barkley, with Mateo Kovacic preferred to the left of Jorginho.


Sarri also had a couple of decisions to make in attack. Olivier Giroud has found the net 10 times in the Europa League this season - the most by a Chelsea player in a single European campaign - and he gets the nod over the benched Gonzalo Higuain.

The other big call is on the right of the front three as Pedro is preferred to Willian, having performed well in the semi-final clash with Frankfurt. There is no surprise to see Eden Hazard complete the attack - this could be his last game for the club he has represented so well.


While we have been left guessing about Emery's formation in the build-up to this game, there was no chance Sarri was going to field anything other than his tried and trusted 4-3-3 today.

There were decisions to be made in midfield and attack, but the back four has effectively picked itself. Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz are regulars, while Emerson Palmieri recently usurped Marcos Alonso and Andreas Christensen profits from Antonio Rudiger's long-term layoff. Kepa Arrizabalaga continues in goal, meanwhile.


ARSENAL TEAM NEWS!

STARTING XI: Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang

SUBS: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Jenkinson, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Amaechi, Iwobi, Nketiah, Welbeck


Arsenal boss Emery has fielded the starting lineup that many expected him to. The biggest decision he had to make came in goal, where Petr Cech is selected over Bernd Leno.

This will be Cech's final match in professional football before turning to coaching and, ironically, it looks as though he will begin his post-playing career with today's opponents. Some called for the veteran to be dropped today, but Emery has let his heart rule his head, it seems.


Emery has gone with a three-man defence, which was always likely to be the case, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal forming a decent-enough understanding at the back - at least in Europe.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac continue to operate at wing-back and it is Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka who get the nod in holding midfield - again, as expected - with Matteo Guendouzi on the bench.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette has been very impressive this season, notching 50 goals between them in all competitions - the majority of those being scored by the former.

They have worked well in tandem in the latter stages of the Europa League, too, and they are responsible for each of their side's last eight goals - four apiece.

Their inclusion from the start today was a must, and fielding Mesut Ozil just off them was pretty much the only option for Emery given the injury absence of Aaron Ramsey and the loss of Henrikh Mkhitaryan because of political reasons.


Kante has passed a fitness test for Chelsea to return to the starting lineup, meaning only a place on the bench for fall guy Barkley.

The Blues are the first team to play a major European final without a player from their home nation in their starting XI since Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final.

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


It has to be pointed out ahead of kickoff - and this is something that has been well publicised - only around 6,000 Arsenal and Chelsea fans have made the trek to the other end of the continent for this match.

UEFA were criticised for only awarding the two sides 12,000 tickets, but half of those have been sent back and serious questions have been asked of just why the game was staged here.

Anyway, the show must go on, as they say, and those in attendance should be treated to a good contest.


The pre-match talk with regards to the sides themselves has been dominated by the future of Chelsea head coach Sarri, who could well be giving his final team talk as Blues boss tonight. In many ways it can be considered a win-win scenario for him - he will either be in the Champions League with Chelsea or Juventus next season.

That is if reports from Italy over the last few days are to be believed, suggesting that an agreement is already in place between the Italian champions and the unpopular Chelsea chief. Sarri has denied that is the case, but I guess we will find out just how true the rumours are in the next few days.


Sarri has been unable to truly win over Chelsea's fanbase with his style of play. As defender David Luiz pointed out this week, though, Sarri - who walked out of a public training session on the eve of this huge match - has guided the Blues to a third-placed finish in the Premier League this season and also came within a penalty shootout of beating Manchester City in the EFL Cup final.

This debut campaign in English football can be considered pretty mixed up to this point. Victory tonight, though, and there can surely be few complaints. Then again, this is football we are talking about...


Chelsea are aiming to go all the way in the Europa League for the second time in two attempts, having lifted the trophy in its current guise six years ago with victory over Benfica in the final.

In fact, there have been plenty of similarities between that season in 2013 and this one. Caretaker boss Rafael Benitez got the Blues over the line in UEFA's secondary competition but he was on his way out just a few days later due to fan unrest.


As we have come to know, though, winning trophies alone has never been enough to appease owner Roman Abramovich, who is expected to be in attendance for a competitive Chelsea match this evening for the first time in a year.

The most recent example came last year when Antonio Conte was sacked after guiding the Blues to FA Cup success, 12 months on from lifting the Premier League in impressive style. Sarri, then, cannot say that he had not been warned if he has to fall on his sword.

Or, alternatively, he cannot be blamed for jumping ship to Juventus if they are prepared to hand over the £5m compensation required to lure him away from Stamford Bridge!


Chelsea have won four of their five major European finals, including the 2-1 win over Benfica under Benitez in 2013. Among English teams, only Manchester United (five) and Liverpool (eight) have won more such matches.

This is not exactly new territory to Chelsea, then, having also triumphed in the biggest tournament of them all not so long ago when lifting the Champions League, whereas Arsenal's most recent chance of claiming continental success came in the 2005 Champions League final when losing to Barcelona.


Chelsea have won 11 matches already in this season's competition. The West London outfit progressed through the group stage with ease and then overcame Malmo, Dynamo Kiev, Slavia Prague and Eintracht Frankfurt in the knockout stages.

Sarri's men required penalties to get the job done against Frankfurt, though, having played out a couple of 1-1 draws in the two legs of the semi-finals. Kepa was the hero of the hour in that one as he saved a couple of pens in the shootout - not the first time he has been the centre of attention this season, of course!


Sarri is the first Italian to manage in a UEFA Cup/ Europa League final since Parma's Alberto Malesani in 1996. The 60-year-old will leave a strange legacy in English football if this is indeed the last time he will take charge of Chelsea, though he will argue it has been a very positive season should his side come out on top.

Incidentally, the two previous Italians to manage an English club in a major European final have managed Chelsea to victory - Gianluca Vialli in the 1998 Cup Winners' Cup final and Roberto Di Matteo in the 2012 Champions League final. The less said about the latter the better.


PREVIOUS MEETINGS!

This will become the first fixture to be played in the FA Cup final, EFL Cup final and a major European final.

Tonight's clash will also mark the third time that two teams from the same nation have faced off in the Europa League final, after Porto vs. Braga in 2011 and Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao in 2012.

This is the 198th meeting between the sides in all competitions but only the third in Europe - they also met in the 2003-04 Champions League quarter-finals, with the Blues progressing 3-2 on aggregate.


Perhaps more importantly than all that, Arsenal eased to a 2-0 win when the sides last met - a Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium in January. The Gunners were by far the better team that day, leading to Sarri openly criticising his players after the match.

Emery also fielded Aubameyang and Lacazette up top that day in this same formation, so it is no surprise to see him retain the dangerous duo tonight.

The reverse league fixture, incidentally, finished in a 3-2 victory for the Blues in the second week of the season. Far less can be read into that game as both teams were still trying to find their feet under new managers.


Emery got the better of Sarri when the rookie Premier League managers faced off four months ago. The Gunners head into this match as slight underdogs, however, as they finished a couple of points behind their opponents in their domestic division.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery pictured on May 12, 2019© Reuters


Arsenal's first season under new management, after the two-decade tenure of Arsene Wenger, has a negative slant to it following their poor end to the campaign when going off the rails in the Premier League.

Emery's men were favourites to finish fourth with a month of the season to go, only to win one game out of six prior to their final day dead-rubber against Burnley to finish in fifth. That only increases the pressure on the Gunners to prevail tonight.


This is a competition that Emery knows well as he won it three years running with Sevilla. As mentioned a little earlier, it now offers a direct route into the Champions League, so it acts as a safety net of sorts for the Spaniard.

It is fair to say, then, that it all comes down to this one match for Emery. Like Sarri, he is under pressure to achieve success while instilling his own style of play on his group of players; unlike his opposite number, though, he is not having to fend off questions regarding his job status - he will surely be at the Emirates Stadium next season whatever happens today.


Emery is aiming to become only the fourth manager to win the UEFA Cup/ Europa League with two different sides, after Giovanni Trapattoni (with Juventus and Inter Milan), Jose Mourinho (Porto and Man United) and Benitez (Valencia and Chelsea).

Having fallen well short in both domestic cup competitions this term - they were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals and by Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup - the Gunners have a shot at redemption tonight, albeit in front of a small band of their dedicated supporters.


Arsenal's 2018-19 campaign can be given a positive spin by simply picking up victory tonight over their London rivals. This will be the Gunners' sixth final in a major European competition, equal with their opponents, with only Man United and Liverpool - seven and 14 respectively - reaching more among English clubs.

The North London outfit, it should be pointed out, have lost four of those last five major finals - their only victory came in the 1994 Cup Winners' Cup against Parma. In fact, they have lost three in a row when including the 1995 Cup Winners' Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup and 2006 Champions League finals.


It goes without saying that Arsenal need to improve on that underwhelming return. Unlike against Barcelona in the 2006 showpiece in Paris, though, the Gunners can consider themselves to at least be on a par with their opponents this time around.

Emery's side have not exactly enjoyed all that much continental success down the years. On top of that, there is also the opportunity for the Spaniard to make some history today if he lifts the trophy for a fourth time, which would be the ultimate reward for taking the competition seriously.


Arsenal, like Chelsea, cruised through the group phase, before initially struggling in the knockout rounds. It is easy to forget now but they lost 1-0 away to BATE Borisov and 3-1 at Rennes in the first legs of their round of 32 and round of 16 ties.

Emery's men managed to recover at the Emirates Stadium on both occasions and, with home advantage in the first leg of the quarter-finals and semi-finals, they saw off Napoli and Valencia with a bit left in the tank.

That, in the most respectful way possible, is very unlike Arsenal!


DID YOU KNOW?

Azerbaijan will be the 24th different country to host a major European final and the third consecutive year a country will host a major final for the first time - Wales for the 2016-17 Champions League final and Ukraine for the 2017-18 Champions League final.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have won 11 Europa League games this season, meanwhile - only three teams have ever won more major European games in a single season (excluding qualifiers); Real Madrid in 2001-02 (12), Porto in 2010-11 (12) and Atletico Madrid in 2011-12 (13).


MANAGERS' COMMENTS!

Maurizio Sarri: "I want to think only of the final. I have a contract then for two years. Now is not the moment [to discuss my future]. Our feeling is that we want to win.

"In this moment, I love them. I have 22 wonderful men and players. I am really very happy. I have to consider it for the future. I have to consider that I love English football and the Premier League."

Unai Emery: "Our possibility is to win a title and play in the Champions League next year. Now I can say the same as when we started.

"It's going to be difficult. We can be, first, happy for this challenge and with a very big responsibility to do all to achieve that."


PREDICTION!

Arsenal impressed in the latter stages of the knockout rounds by overcoming Napoli and Valencia with convincing displays as they went one better than last season when crashing out in the semis under Wenger.

Chelsea have proven pedigree in UEFA's secondary competition, having gone all the way in their only previous participation in 2013, though they have some injury problems to contend with.

Only two points and two places separated the sides at the end of the regular campaign so a tight match can be expected in Baku.

We are tipping this one to finish all square, and then it comes down to a battle of nerves from the penalty spot - something Sarri's men have more recent experience with, which could prove telling. 1-1. Chelsea to win on pens.

Unimpressed Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on January 30, 2019© Reuters


KICKOFF:  Arsenal get this all-English Europa League final up and running!

There is plenty on the line for both teams tonight in what is one of the strangest London derbies ever contested between these sides. It is a pretty flat atmosphere in Baku with the ground not completely sold out.


Luiz plays a diagonal pass over the top towards Pedro but Cech smothers it. That is likely to be a ball that the Brazilian centre-back will try a fair few times today.

Arsenal work the ball to Kolasinac out wide down the left but the wing-back is forced backwards. Chelsea form a solid wall at the back and there is no way through for the Gunners at the moment.

I think it is probably a case of the two sides weighing each other up in these early stages, even if they do know each other well from the Premier League.


It has been a slow start in Azerbaijan. Luiz fouls Lacazette, shortly after Hazard had been brought down by Maitland-Niles.

Neither team has been able to find any rhythm to their game yet as Giroud gets his head on the end of a hopeful pass to help out his side defensively.


SHOT!  This is not convincing at all from Kepa. Maitland-Niles creates some space for himself down the right and his cross into the front post should have been caught.

It wasn't, though, and Aubameyang was well positioned to meet the loose ball, only to fire off target from a good position.


Arsenal appear to have settled slightly better than their opponents. Chelsea have started to knock the ball around over the last couple of minutes, though, and Hazard looked to be tripped on the edge of the box - the referee feels otherwise.

Both teams are just toiling at the moment. There has been one shot so far, coming via Aubameyang a few minutes ago, but that aside there has been very little action in the final third at either end.

Chelsea have edged possession 54% to 46%. Arsenal are looking slightly more threatening, but Lacazette's pass is played behind Aubameyang, who had started his run early.

Giroud is fouled by Sokratis and the Blues have a chance to send in a free kick from a wide position, 30 yards out.


Hazard's delivery is pretty poor, evading everyone in the box. Not that it mattered - the referee spotted Luiz's shove on Torreira in the box and a free kick is awarded to Arsenal.

A simple ball in behind catches the Blues out but Kolasinac takes too long and Azpilicueta blocks it behind.


That ball in behind from Xhaka to Kolasinac is a positive sign for Arsenal. Azpilicueta left the wing-back all alone, perhaps a little concerned about instead leaving one of Lacazette or Aubameyang spare in the middle.

PENALTY APPEAL!  Arsenal have a strong shout for a penalty rejected. Kepa, who has looked shaky so far, races off his line and appears to catch Lacazette without getting anything to the ball.

It presumably went to a VAR check but it was over in seconds and no penalty is given. That is a controversial one, to say the least!


Maitland-Niles is having plenty of joy down the right-hand side against Emerson, who was made to look silly by the wing-back's footwork.

The cross comes into the box and Jorginho is waiting to help it behind for a corner, which Xhaka curls in for Luiz to head away - that was a good defensive clearance.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard in action with Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos during the 2019 Europa League final on May 29, 2019© Reuters


Another ball over the top nearly catches out the Chelsea defence. Lacazette is unable to bring it under control, though, and Azpilicueta and Kepa deal with it between them.

The two Chelsea players collide in the process and are both a little groggy but will be fine to continue.


There is no doubt that Arsenal have been the better side so far. A free kick is won out wide and it is sent into the middle, where Sokratis is waiting.

The Greek defender could not adjust his feet in time, though, and the opportunity went begging.

Up the other end, Giroud is picked out in the box at the end of a swift counter but he miscontrols the ball.


Kante's burst down the right in the build-up to the chance for Giroud was the best we have seen from Chelsea so far.

The Blues have been second best in the opening half an hour but it remains all square and they will surely only improve.


CLOSE!  Aubameyang is unable to get past Luiz but he does get a cross towards the six-yard box, which is just out of Lacazette's reach.

From the same move, Xhaka seriously puts his boot through the ball from range and clips the crossbar with his belter. So nearly the opener for Arsenal!


Cech looks uncomfortable when asked to come off his line and his clearance is poor. Chelsea quickly get the ball forward and Hazard tees up Emerson for the shot.

The attempt is on target but Sokratis throws his body in the way to concede a corner - good defending.


SHOT!  Kolasinac's shot is blocked behind for another Arsenal corner. The set piece is met by the head of Sokratis but he cannot keep the attempt on target.

One of these efforts from the Gunners will end up in the back of the net. Chelsea need to get out of first gear before they are punished.


SAVE!  Emerson is popping up in some dangerous positions. The full-back, preferred to Alonso today, is played in on the overlap and tests Cech at his near post.

The Blues are enjoying a good spell on the ball but some neat, one-touch play ends with the ball hitting Giroud and trickling behind for a goal kick.


The game has become more balanced over the last five minutes or so, with Chelsea managing to test Cech through that shot form Emerson.

Kolasinac curls the ball into the six-yard box and Kepa, for some reason, elects to slap it away rather than catching. The Chelsea keeper has been pretty poor today.


Lacazette holds the ball up well and is barged into by Emerson, who has pretty much been Chelsea's most threatening player so far.

That says a lot about how this first half has panned out. There are around six minutes to go until half time in Baku.


SAVE!  Chelsea are definitely growing more and more into this match. Cech produces the best save of the match so far as he gets down to his left to keep out Giroud's well-struck shot.

Giroud took it on early to try to catch out the ex-Blues keeper, but he used all his years of experience to read the danger.


Cech was actually on his way to his right when he had to readjust and go to his left after Giroud attempted to pick out the far corner, making the save even more impressive.

Chelsea are ending the first half on top. The ball is played into the feet of Emerson's feet down the left but he is in an offside position.

Arsenal have still edged the opening 45 minutes, I'd say, but the Blues have looked a lot better in the last 10 minutes.


HALF TIME:  CHELSEA 0-0 ARSENAL

The London rivals go into half time all square in the 2019 Europa League final. It was not the most eventful of first halves, in fairness, though it did have its moments.

Some 2,500 miles from home, it was the Gunners who started the better of the London rivals as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang blazed wide from a good position and Alexandre Lacazette had a strong penalty shout rejected.

A nervy Kepa Arrizabalaga raced off his line and appeared to clip his opponent's legs, but the referee Gianluca Rocchi did not feel that there was enough contact. Replays suggest he had a point.


Granit Xhaka then clipped the top of the crossbar with his powerful attempt from range and Sokratis Papastathopoulos guided a header over the bar as Arsenal started to dominate.

Chelsea ended the first half on top, however, with Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud both testing Cech - the latter nearly picking out the far corner from the edge of the box, only for Cech to produce a fine save down to his left.


BENCH WATCH!

CHELSEA SUBS: Caballero, Cumming, Alonso, Barkley, Higuain, Zappacosta, Willian, Cahill, Ampadu, Gallagher, McEachran

ARSENAL SUBS: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Jenkinson, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Amaechi, Iwobi, Nketiah, Welbeck

Danny Welbeck in action for Arsenal on September 23, 2018© Reuters


KICKOFF:  Only two of the previous 17 UEFA Cup/ Europa League finals have been goalless at half time - one of those was Chelsea's triumph over Benfica in the 2013 edition.

Things can surely only get better in the second half. Remember, extra time and penalties await if required.


Kante has had a few promising moments down the right-hand side. The Frenchman tries to create something but Xhaka shuts him out and the ball rolls out of play for a goal kick.

Hazard glides forward - the first time we have seen that today - and plays in Giroud. The striker's shot is deflected behind for a corner, though Chelsea ask why a free kick was not given for a shove on Hazard.


That is not a good sign for Arsenal - Hazard finally appears to have woken up! The corner is a poor one, though, cleared by the first man.

GOAL!  CHELSEA 1-0 ARSENAL (OLIVIER GIROUD)

GIROUD GIVES CHELSEA THE LEAD! The Blues have started the second half on top, just like they ended the first half on top, and they have a lead to hold on to.

Olivier Giroud celebrates with Pedro and N'Golo Kante after giving Chelsea the lead against Arsenal in the 2019 Europa League final on May 29, 2019© Reuters

Emerson's cross was flat, but Giroud managed to stoop down in front of Koscielny and guide his header away from Cech into the bottom corner. A goal from nothing!


Giroud is now the top-scoring player in the Europa League this season with 11 goals to his name. Sarri is rewarded for sticking with the Frenchman tonight.

The striker scored 103 goals for Arsenal prior to joining Chelsea, so the Gunners fans in attendance here will be hurting even more. Can Emery's side respond?


Goalscorer Giroud peels away from his man in the box but the ball over the top to him is overhit. The Frenchman chases it down, fails to keep it in play and then trips.

He initially stays down and signals towards the bench but he is now back on his feet and able to continue.


YELLOW CARD!  The ball somehow finds its way to Lacazette in the Chelsea box. The Frenchman has barely had a touch in this second half and he is unable to work the angle to get a shot away.

Pedro is the first player to be cautioned for dissent.


Christensen shows great bravery to head the ball away in the box after Torreira's powerful shot was blocked by Kante inside the box. Arsenal are enjoying a spell on the ball.

GOAL!  CHELSEA 2-0 ARSENAL (PEDRO)

CLINICAL FINISH FROM PEDRO! Cech is given no chance as Pedro opens up his body and sends a first-time shot spinning into the far corner after being picked out by Hazard 10 yards out.

Arsenal have it all to do now having failed to get going since the restart. Is that game over?


How much longer will Emery hold off before making a change? Ozil has had no impact on the game and is surely a contender to make way, with Iwobi an option to come on if the Spaniard opts to alter formation.

The way this one is shaping up, Chelsea are going to get chances to hit their opponents on the counter.


PENALTY!  Arsenal have completely fallen apart here. Pedro slips the ball into the path of Giroud and Maitland-Niles barges into the Frenchman. It is a clear penalty and a chance for 3-0...

GOAL!  CHELSEA 3-0 ARSENAL (EDEN HAZARD, PEN)

HAZARD SIGNS OFF WITH A GOAL! This has been billed as Hazard's final match for Chelsea before signing for Madrid in the next few days.

The Belgian forward sends the penalty pretty much down the middle, with Cech unable to get a foot to it.


ARSENAL SUBS! Emery makes a double change, around 10 minutes too late. Torreira is replaced by Guendouzi and Iwobi is on for Monreal as Emery seemingly changes formation - or goes with a more attacking version of it.

GOAL!  CHELSEA 3-1 ARSENAL (ALEX IWOBI)

HOPE FOR ARSENAL! Two minutes after being brought off the bench, Iwobi scores a sublime goal to give Arsenal a lifeline in the Europa League final.

Xhaka's free kick was only half cleared and Iwobi sent a sweetly-struck half volley flying past Kepa from outside the box.


GOAL!  CHELSEA 4-1 ARSENAL (EDEN HAZARD)

HAZARD KILLS OFF ARSENAL! Chelsea win the ball back high up the pitch. Hazard and Giroud exchange passes in the box and the latter kills off the tie with a clinical finish past Cech.

Great link-up play and a great finish. That should do it for Chelsea!


SAVE!  Cech gets down low to beat away the shot from Hazard, once again after exchanging passes with Giroud high up the pitch.

Arsenal get the ball forward quickly but Aubameyang is forced wide by Luiz and cannot keep his shot on target. It has been a very open second half.


CHELSEA SUB! This is the change Sarri was always likely to make as he brings on Barkley for Kovacic in a like-for-like change on the right side of his central midfield.

The Blues lead 4-1 with a little over 10 minutes to play in Baku. It is game over.


ARSENAL SUB! The stats may suggest otherwise, but from what I've seen this has been another disappointing display from Ozil.

The German playmaker is replaced by Willock as the clock continues to tick down. Another goal for Arsenal in the next few minutes and maybe, just maybe, the comeback could be on.


SAVE!  Chelsea are threatening to run away with this final. Willian unleashes a powerful, low drive that Cech does brilliantly to turn past the post.

There is a case to be made that the veteran goalkeeper has been the Gunners' best player on his final appearance before retirement.


CHANCE!  The chance are piling up for Chelsea now as Azpilicueta fires wide of the target from close range - he should have at least been testing Cech.

Arsenal have almost given up and they are at risk of shipping a fifth and possibly a sixth before full time at this rate.


SAVE!  This second half has been pretty incredible. Lacazette controls the ball superbly in the box and his shot is saved by Kepa - that is a fine stop.

Aubameyang is first to the rebound but his shot is blocked on the line by Christensen. We have had five goals in the second half but there could easily have been double that amount!


CHANCE!  Willock and Iwobi exchange passes and the former has just Kepa to beat. He opens up his body and curls the ball inches wide of the far post.

Joe Willock has a go at goal for Arsenal in their Europa League final defeat to Chelsea on May 29, 2019© Reuters


CHELSEA SUB! Hazard has picked up a knock and has to be replaced. This is expected to be his final match for Chelsea and he is given a good reception as he makes his way off the pitch.

Zappacosta comes on in his place as Sarri throws on an extra defender for the closing stages.


The 90 minutes of time are up - three more have been added on at the end. There could easily have been a few more goals in this second half though I don't think there can be any doubt that Chelsea are deserved winners after recovering from their slow start.

Willock wins the Gunners a late corner which comes to little.


Arsenal are knocking the ball around but they are not getting very far with it. Chelsea's players are now celebrating down on the touchline.

The referee is not ready to blow his whistle just yet but there are only around 15 seconds to go in Baku...


FULL TIME:  CHELSEA 4-1 ARSENAL

CHELSEA ARE THE 2019 EUROPA LEAGUE WINNERS!

Chelsea win the Europa League for the second time in two attempts thanks to a 4-1 win over Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Following a goalless first half in Baku, Giroud opened the scoring early in the second half, Pedro added a second and Hazard made it 3-0 in a calamitous 20-minute spell for the Gunners.

Iwobi pulled one back through the best goal of the game shortly after coming off the bench, only for Hazard to double his personal tally to kill off the tie in what is likely to be his final game for the club.


That concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from the Baku Olympic Stadium.

An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, and be sure to stick around as we bring you reaction from both camps.

We will be back with live updates from the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. See you then!


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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States13141037
ChinaChina136928
JapanJapan134522
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia810725
AustraliaAustralia821020
Great BritainGreat Britain57618
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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