Chelsea vs Arsenal Predictions – Three key battles
Right, so the Europa League final is not far away, with two English teams set to fight out for Europe’s second-tier cup competition this Wednesday night far away at Baku.
While Arsenal’s quest to play Champions League football next season rests on winning this game, Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri would be aiming to win the first trophy of his managerial career.
Unai Emery has a good record of winning Europa Leagues, hence, he should be confident of setting up the Gunners to approach the final in the right way.
On the other hand, Chelsea have some quality players in their squad, in spite of injuries to key players in midfield. However, they would more often depend on Eden Hazard to create magic in the final third.
Below, we take a look at the three possible key battles, that could decide the outcome of this game:
Eden Hazard vs Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Hazard is without doubt Chelsea’s best player. He starts on the left wing, but moves around to find space and work the magic. The Belgian maestro is at his best when he is one-on-one against the opposition fullback/wing-back in wide areas.
For that reason, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is expected to start as a right wing-back for Arsenal, will have to be at his best. The youngster has had a great season playing there, but defending against Hazard would be a different challenge.
If the Chelsea man gets the better of this duel, then the Blues may get inroads in the Arsenal back line. If the opposite happens, then the Gunners would have stopped the opposition’s main threat
Jorginho vs Mesut Ozil
Ozil is expected to play as a number 10 behind the front two of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The former German international would look to float around the space in between the lines and create chances for the Gunners.
He should most probably be up against Chelsea’s defensive midfielder – Jorginho. The Italian international likes to dictate the game from the deeper position on the ball, but he needs to be good without possession against a canny player like Ozil.
If the Arsenal man gets the better of this duel, then the strike duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang are expected to get chances at the Chelsea goal.
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Arsenal’s front two vs Chelsea centre-backs
Arsenal’s front two of Aubameyang and Lacazette have been in great form as individuals and also as a pair. They ripped apart Valencia in both legs of the semifinal.
Hence, the Chelsea back line have to be careful of this duo having much impact in this game.
The absence of Antonio Rudiger would hurt them. It is up to David Luiz to be the leader at the back and help out his centre-back partner Andreas Christensen throughout the course of the game.
If Arsenal’s front two get opportunities in the box, expect them to bulge the Chelsea net. Sarri’s men have to stop that happening more often than not.