Arsenal v Chelsea MatchGains Match Preview, Soccer Prediction, and Betting Tips
Arsenal take on Chelsea on 29 May in the Europa League final. It’s a massive match for both sides as they attempt to take the final step in the showpiece final. Baku is the destination as both sides look to secure a welcome piece of European silverware.
For both sides, it’s an attempt to end the season on a high. Chelsea finished the season well but it was a campaign which disappointed many fans. Maurizio Sarri’s first year in England was a difficult one but things improved. Two defeats in 19 secured the Blues’ place in the top four of the Premier League and this European final.
It’s a similar if mirrored story for Arsenal. They too spent the season under the guidance of a new manager. Unlike Chelsea, Arsenal’s form went off a cliff at the end of the season, particularly away from home. The Gunners have won six of their last 18 matches away from the Emirates, a trait carried over from last season.
Arsenal’s away form woes have carried over to the continent. It’s been a mixed bag for the Gunners in Europe. They’ve secured wins at Napoli and Valencia as well as some embarrassing defeats. The 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in the first knockout round was a particular low.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have gone from strength to strength. They haven’t lost any of their last 17 Europa League matches in a run stretching back to 2013. Of course, the Blues lifted the trophy that year and are yet to taste defeat since. The fixtures have been kind but their semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt went to the brink. Two 1-1 draws meant extra-time and a shootout which they almost lost.
Like the Champions League, two English sides will face off for the UEFA Europa League. It’s nothing new for the teams who have been competing for a Premier League top-four spot all season. Arsenal and Chelsea have been within touching distance for months but the Blues won in the end. Sarri’s side secured their place – and Champions League qualification – with a game to spare. This is despite Arsenal’s victory over the Blues in January.
Sharing a domestic league means there has been no shortage of matches between the two sides. Arsenal and Chelsea have been fierce rivals for decades but the Gunners have come out on top lately. Chelsea’s 3-2 win over their opponents this season was their only one in eight matches.
Arsenal came out on top the last time they met in a final. That was for the FA Cup in 2017 but you’d have to go back further for a European tie. That was way back during the era of the Invincibles and Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea. The Blues progressed in the Champions League thanks to a late Wayne Bridge goal at Highbury.
Arsenal will be without several key players for this match. Long-term absentees Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding will miss this one but they aren’t alone. Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck aren’t expected to play while loanee Denis Suarez has returned to FC Barcelona.
Chelsea have their own long-term absentees who will miss out. Marco Van Ginkel, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Anthony Rudiger are amongst them. Key man N’Golo Kante is a doubt while Ruben Loftus Cheek will miss out too.
European matches are difficult to predict, especially with Arsenal’s inconsistencies this season. The Blues are the slight favourites for this all-English affair. Sarri’s side are 5/4 on Betway as of 16 May with their opponents out at 11/5.
Two of the last 15 matches between these two sides have ended goalless. With two leaky defences, both sides to score seems a decent punt at 8/11.
Finals are difficult matches to predict. The task gets harder given the two sides involved. Arsenal and Chelsea have been amongst the most inconsistent sides in England this season. Performances have ranged from the sublime to the staggering on both sides of London.
There are also some subplots to take into account. It seems likely to be Eden Hazard’s final match for the Blues and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the scoresheet. The Belgian has a fine record against the Gunners who have a few fairy tales of their own. Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck could make miraculous returns to play their final matches while Petr Cech – the former Blues stopper – should play in his final match as a professional footballer. A few Cech saves to deny Hazard would deserve a place in any movie script.
Chelsea are the favourites for this clash and their 2013 success will help. However, Arsenal have often come out on top in matches between the two teams of late. The 2-0 win at the Emirates back in January was comfortable and Emery’s side dominated much of the 3-2 loss at the Bridge. This one is a bit of a coin toss.