Chelsea vs Barcelona live from pre-season
After a rather disappointing campaign, Arsenal and Chelsea prepare to do battle in the final of the Europa League. The game represents both sides’ only chance of attaining silverware this season.
Both sides are ushering in a new era of sorts, with Maurizio Sarri taking the helm at Chelsea and Arsenal appointing Unai Emery as Arsene Wenger’s replacement at the start of the season.
While in terms of transitioning the side into a new era both managers have not fared too badly, trophies are all that matter in football and both Emery and Sarri will be looking to end their season on a high.
The final in Baku will also witness the end of storied careers, with Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech playing their final games for Arsenal and Eden Hazard likely playing his last game in a blue Chelsea shirt.
The stakes are as high as can be, but the pressure will definitely be on Arsenal, who failed to qualify for the Champions League via the Premier League, having finished a lowly-fifth on the table.
Barcelona vs Chelsea Match details
Date: Wednesday, May 29
Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Filippo Meli, Lorenzo Manganelli (Italy)
Fourth official: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)
VAR Assistants: Marco Guida (Italy), Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Offside VAR: Paweł Sokolnicki (Poland)
Where to watch Chelsea ?
|DAZN||Austria, Germany, Canada, Japan|
|FOX Sports||Netherlands, Brazil|
Head to head
Chelsea wins: 63
Arsenal wins: 77
Form guide (Most recent first)
Chelsea: D W W D D
Arsenal: W W D W L
Chelsea has a number of injury concerns heading into the big clash. Midfield workhorse N’Golo Kante faces a late fitness test to prove his availability. Kate picked up a thigh injury during Chelsea’s Premier League fixture and was initially expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Antonio Rudiger are long-term absentees. Both Gonzalo Higuain and Oliver Giroud struggled against Eintracht Frankfurt and it remains to be seen who Sarri opts for on match day.
Eden Hazard will feature for what is possibly his last game in a Chelsea shirt, with the Belgian expected to leave for Real Madrid in the summer.
For Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey is ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Petr Cech will play the last match of his professional career, having announced his intentions to retire at the end of the season.
Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin remain long-term absentees. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s availability is contingent upon the Armenian receiving a visa into the country.
Mesut Ozil is likely to get a start after impressing against Valencia while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for the Gunners yet again.
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard
Arsenal: Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette
Arsenal and Chelsea split their meetings in the Premier League, with both sides winning their respective home games which makes this all the more difficult to call.
However, the Gunners have looked far more superior in the Europa League this season. They blew past Valencia with considerable ease and have more firepower than Chelsea going forward.
Moreover, the Blues were rather fortunate to get past Frankfurt, who had two potential goals cleared off the line.
Ultimately, I expect the Gunners to come flying out the box, get an early goal and then sit back and try to hit on the break with the pace of Aubameyang and Lacazette.
They should have too much for Chelsea on the night.
Predicted score: Chelsea 1-3 Arsenal
Chelsea sacked their manager Antonio Conte ahead of the start of the 2018/19 season. With the appointment of Italian manager Maurizio Sarri, a wave of optimism surrounded Stamford Bridge.
However, after getting off to a solid start to the season, Chelsea’s campaign has turned rather sour.
Arsenal vs Chelsea history
Much of that match was marred by controversy when Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted ahead of the penalty shootout. Ultimately, a missed penalty from David Luiz proved costly.
Chelsea has also struggled in the Premier League, crashing to heavy defeats against the likes of Manchester City and Bournemouth. They are firmly entrenched in the battle for a top-four spot which would secure them Champions League football next season.
One positive for the Blues this season has been their form in the Europa League. After cruising through the group stages, they smashed Dynamo Kyiv to make it to the quarterfinals.
In the quarters, they have been drawn with Slavia Prague and won the first leg 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Marcos Alonso.
|Emerson Palmieri dos Santos||Italy||Left||25|
|Willian Borges da Silva||Brazil||Right||31|
|Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma||Spain||Both||32|
|Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín||Argentina||Right||32|
|Jorge Luiz Frello Filho(Jorginho)||Italy||Both||28|
Chelsea transfers (arrivals)
These are the players Chelsea signed in the 2018/19 season:
|ARRIVALS||POSITION||NATION||TRANSFER FEE (€)
|Kepa Arrizabalaga||GK||Spain||£72,000,000||Athletic Bilbao|
|Thierno Ballo||DF||Austria||Undisclosed||Viktoria Koln|
|George Nunn||FW||Republic of Ireland||£300,000||Crewe Alexandra|
|Sam McClelland||DF||Northern Ireland||Undisclosed||Coleraine|
|Ian Maatsen||DF||Netherlands||£100,000||PSV Eindhoven|
|Christian Pulisic||MF||USA||£57,600,000||Borussia Dortmund|
|Mateo Kovacic||MF||Croatia||Loan||Real Madrid|
|Gonzalo Higuain||FW||Argentina||Loan + £8,100,000||Juventus|
These are the players Chelsea offloaded in the 2018/19 season:
|DEPARTURES||POSITION||NATION||TRANSFER FEE (€)
|Thibaut Courtois||GK||Belgium||£31,500,000||Real Madrid|
|Mitchell Beeney||GK||England||N/A||Sligo Rovers|
|Tushaun Walters||MF||England||N/A||Greenwich Borough|
|Jordan Houghton||MF||England||N/A||MK Dons|
|Jérémie Boga||MF||Ivory Coast||£3,510,000||Sassuolo|
|Harvey St Clair||MF||Scotland||N/A||Venezia|
Chelsea’s schedule (confirmed fixtures only):
|Match||Date and Time||Venue|
|vs Liverpool||14 April, 9 PM||Anfield|
|vs Slavia Prague||19 April, 12:30 AM||Stamford Bridge|
|vs Burnley||23 April, 12:30 AM||Stamford Bridge|
|vs Manchester United||28 April, 9 PM||Old Trafford|
|vs Watford||04 May, 7:30 PM||Stamford Bridge|
|vs Leicester City||12 May, 7:30 PM||King Power Stadium|