Just like in the UEFA Champions League, it will be an All-English showdown for the UEFA Europa League tiara.
Chelsea and Arsenal defeated their respected foes to arrange a UEFA Europa League title showdown last May 9th (May 10th in Manila).
Chelsea defeated Eintracht Frankfurt with a score of 4-3 on penalties after the two-legged series ended on 2-2 aggregate. Arsenal, on the other hand, beat Valencia 4-2 (7-3 on aggregate) to take the other finals seat.
The second leg of Chelsea-Eintracht is just like the first leg ended at the 1-1 draw with Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored for Chelsea in the 28th minute while Luka Jovic tallied a goal during the 49th minute for Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Blues at the end of the day is still marching to the championship round.
Ross Barkley, Jorginho, David Luiz and Eden Hazard fired goals in favor of Chelsea in a highly- contested penalty shootout to finally seal the match, 4-3 after Eintracht Frankfurt managed to produce three goals in five attempts courtesy of Jovic, Sebastian Haller and Jonathan De Guzman.
“I don’t think about that,” Hazard said via Associated Press after the game especially it could be his last game at Chelsea’s home pitch – Stamford Bridge after a move to Real Madrid is reportedly next for him at the end of the campaign. “I’m only thinking about winning something for this club and this squad. If it’s my last game, I will try to do everything for this club to win a trophy. In my mind, I don’t know yet.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang registered a hat-trick for Arsenal after firing goals during the 17th, 69th and 88th minute, while Alexander Lacazette added a goal during the 50th minute.
Kevin Gameiro had a brace for Valencia thanks to goals clocked in 11th and 58th minute that served as consolation to the home crowd at Mestalla Stadium.
The Gunners also dominated their Spanish counterpart during the first leg at Emirates Stadium, 3-1 with Lacazette achieved a brace with goals recorded during the 18th and 25th minute and Aubameyang chipped in the 90th minute.
“I think the Europa League has improved a lot,” quipped Arsenal manager Unai Emery via The Independent. “We were strong in our mentality and can be very, very proud of the players and their hard work. But we have not finished the success, because we still have to play in the final.”
“They are very good strikers and I am proud of them both,” Emery commented on his players. “We needed them today — our big players. When their commitment is as it was today, they are amazing, and I think every player did perfectly.”
Arsenal and Chelsea will battle for the championship and the chance to compete in the UEFA Champions League next season in winner-take-all finals set to take place on May 29th (May 30th in Manila) at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan.
It will be the first time since 1972 the Europa League Finals will feature both English clubs competing for the crown. Tottenham and Wolves battled for UEFA Cup title- the predecessor of Europa League which the Spurs won on 3-2 aggregate after figuring in a two-legged final.