Hazard stars as Chelsea hammer Arsenal in final
A brace from Eden Hazard helped Chelsea to secure a comfortable 4-1 victory over Arsenal in the final of the Europa League in what is expected to be the Belgian’s final game for the Blues.
After a dour opening half Olivier Giroud opened the scoring against his former side, stooping low to direct an expert header past former Chelsea stalwart Petr Cech, playing his final game of his career.
Pedro doubled the lead with a fine finish after the assist from Hazard before the Belgian tucked home a penalty after Giroud was finished.
Pedro of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan-Getty Images
Substitute Alex Iwobi’s fantastic strike briefly entertained ideas of a comeback but more delightful link-up from the Blues saw Hazard notch his second.
Chelsea win the competition for the second time, following their success in Hazard’s first season with the club in 2013.
Giroud had the best chance of the half, drilling a shot at goal from the edge of the box after good work from Jorginho, but Petr Cech – due to rejoin Chelsea as a technical director, was able to push it away.
Olivier Giroud of Chelsea shoots as Petr Cech of Arsenal dives to save during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan.Getty Images
Alexandre Lacazette could have had a penalty after Kepa Arrizabalaga appeared to take him down, but both VAR and the referee were uncovinced.
In the second half, Olivier Giroud glanced an excellent header in at the near post against his former club, and 15 minutes later Pedro made it two. A third came for Eden Hazard – set to leave for Real Madrid in the summer – from the spot, before he made it four.
Alex Iwobi managed to grab a consolation, but Chelsea had evidently recovered from whatever spat saw Maurizio Sarri storm out of training on Tuesday night.
For Arsenal, it is another year of promising jam tomorrow, but never really delivering. For Chelsea, this is a game that could mark Hazard’s exit with triumph, and may even save Sarri’s job.