Chelsea run riot in Europa final

UEFA Europa League

Chelsea were crowned Europa League champions with a 4-1 victory over Arsenal in Baku on Wednesday evening.

Arsenal had the first decent opportunity of the game in the eighth minute. Ainsley Maitland-Niles played a one-two with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and delivered the ball in to the box, with Kepa Arrizabalaga punching the ball out to Aubameyang on the edge of the box, whose first-time attempt on the volley went wide.

In the 16th minute, Granit Xhaka played a delightful ball over the top down the left flank for Sead Kolasinac, whose cross was brilliantly prevented from going in to the box by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

It was the Gunners who were on the front foot, pinning their London rivals back in their own half. Shortly before the half-hour mark, Xhaka's stinging right-footed effort skimmed the crossbar.

Soon after, Blues left-back Emerson found space on the overlap down the left and struck an effort at goal but it was straight at Petr Cech, who comfortably parried the ball away.

Kolasinac was getting plenty of space down the left, with Unai Emery's side using the diagonall ball to good effect. But Chelsea had the next opportunity. Some slick one-touch passing between Eden Hazard and Jorginho got the ball to Olivier Giroud, who tried to go across Cech, but the keeper got down smartly to his left to save.

Maurizio Sarri's side began the second half in the ascendancy and capitalised on this dominance three minutes after the break when ex-Arsenal striker Giroud expertly headed Emerson's delivery in to the bottom left-hand corner past former Chelsea keeper Cech.

The Blues doubled their lead on the hour mark. Jorginho played Hazard in down the left, with the Belgian squaring the ball in to the box for Pedro, whose first-time left-footed effort crept in to the bottom left-hand corner.

Soon after, Chelsea won a penalty. Hazard broke on the counter-attack, with the ball finding its way to Pedro, who slipped the ball in to the feet of Giroud. Maitland-Niles brought the Frenchman down clumsily in the box, with referee Luca Rocchi pointing to the spot. Hazard sent Cech the wrong way to grab the third.

Alex Iwobi was brought on as a substitute and made an immediate impact, netting a brilliant volley in to the top right-hand corner in the 69th minute to give Arsenal a glimmer of hope.

But Arsenal's faint hopes were dashed soon afterwards when Hazard grabbed his brace after playing a one-two with Giroud and coolly finishing in to the bottom left-hand corner on his weaker left foot.

Hazard was giving Arsenal the runaround and almost grabbed his hat-trick when he forced a good save out of Cech with Giroud once again the creator. Substitute Willian then brought another good save out of Cech with an effort directed towards the bottom right-hand corner.

Arsenal academy graduate Joe Willock had a chance to pull one back in the closing stages after being played in by Lacazette, but the substitute curled a gilt-edged opportunity inches wide of the left-hand upright.

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