Arsenal and Chelsea do battle in Baku on Wednesday night in what promises to be an exciting all-English Europa League final. Here, Charlie Mullan provides insight on what we can likely expect.
Both Chelsea (13/10) and Arsenal (2/1) have played 14 ties to get to the final in Baku and goals have been a regular feature for both. Chelsea, who guaranteed Champions League football for next season by finishing third, have yet to be beaten in the Europa League while the Gunners, who need to win the final to ensure Champions League football next season, have been on the wrong side of the scoreboard twice at BATE and Rennes.
Between them, they have scored 59 goals with the Blues edging it by 30 to 29. Arsenal has scored in their last seven matches which have seen Unai Emery’s side find the net 17 times. BTTS has happened in six of Chelsea’s ties – including both legs of their semi-finals with Eintracht Frankfurt. They have won three and drawn three and Chelsea are 33/10 with SportPesa to win with both teams scoring. Arsenal has won three of the four ties where both teams have scored including both legs of their semi-final against Valencia, and they are 19/4 to win with both them and Chelsea scoring. A score draw is trading at 3/1. The two sides met five times in the 2017/18 season with four of them finishing all square. A draw after 90 minutes is trading at 9/4.
Chelsea has scored in all 14 ties scoring the first goal 13 times with Eintracht the only side to deny the Stamford Bridge side the opening goal when the two sides met in the first leg of their semi-final in Germany. Chelsea is 10/13 to continue their first goal dominance and open the scoring in Baku while Arsenal is 11/10 to score first like they did at the Emirates when they beat the Blues 2-0 in January. Winning to nil has been a key for both sides on their way to the final. Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Sparta Prague in the quarter-finals was the eighth time they beat their opponents while keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Napoli, also in the quarter-finals, was the eighth game they won to nil.
If Chelsea does get the first goal, Arsenal won’t panic too much having won both legs of their semi-finals against Valencia after conceding the first goal. The Gunners are 15/2 to win from behind for the third successive tie while Chelsea is 13/2 to come from behind to win. In two of the last four Europa League finals, the winning team has come from behind to win the trophy and that team happened to be Emery’s Sevilla who rallied to beat Dnipro 3-2 in 2015 before beating Liverpool 3-1 the following year. When the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea won a five-goal thriller. If you think this final will produce goals, odds of 6/5 are available for both teams to score with at least three goals scored. Chelsea is 5/2 to win in a game with over 2.5 goals while Arsenal is 15/4 to win after 90 minutes and more than 2.5 goals scored. Six of the nine Europa League finals have seen three or more goals scored.
The first half could be very close given the goals scored and conceded by both sides in previous ties. Chelsea has outscored their opponents 17-3 in the first 45 minutes of their Europa League matches while Arsenal has out-gunned their opponents 17-4. Maurizio Sarri’s side is 9/5 to lead at half-time while their north London rivals are 49/20 to be in front at the break. A draw at the interval is trading at 21/20. Both teams’ record at half-time when leading is very impressive with Arsenal going on to win all nine while Chelsea, who have yet to trail at half-time in any of their 14 ties, have won seven and drawn one after leading at the break.
Olivier Giroud started the semi-finals two goals clear as the Europa League’s leading scorer, but Luka Jovic’s two goals against Chelsea helped the Serbian draw level with the French World Cup winner on 10 goals. Nine of Giroud’s last 10 goals from the Blues have come in the Europa League and he is 11/2 to be the first goalscorer in Baku. Eden Hazard, who may be playing his last game for Chelsea, 4/1 to open the scoring. For Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (4) and Alexandre Lacazette (4) have scored Arsenal’s last eight goals in their run to the final. Aubameyang who netted a hat-trick at the Mestalla to seal a 4-1 win is 4/1 to be first on the scoresheet while Lacazette is 5/1 to get the game’s first goal. No goals to be scored in 90 minutes is trading at 33/4.
(All bets within 90 minutes)