The final between London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea was certainly a wonderful experience for Chelsea fans and a heartbreak for Arsenal fans. With the first half being somewhat contested, there wasn’t a lot to go on when it came to choosing a winner based on first-half performance. The second half saw Chelsea turn into something remarkable as they ground down the Arsenal back-line until all 3 center-backs were running on fumes. It was truly an astounding performance from Chelsea, with 4 goals scored in less than 25 minutes.
There were a few players that stood out throughout the game for a number of reasons. There’s a lot of choices when asked to pick the best performer of the final, with the likes of Hazard scoring twice, Giroud scoring, winning a penalty and making life difficult for the opposition, and Emerson (Palmieri) dribbling and passing his way through Arsenal’s right-side. We’ll explore the options below:
- Hazard (Chelsea). The Belgian international and world-class player certainly put in an epic last performance for Chelsea, keeping his promise to help leave a parting gift in the trophy case. Now, however, Hazard is making a move to Real Madrid. His first goal came from a penalty, courtesy of Giroud, and his second came from connecting well with a lobbed ball from a team-mate to leave the bottom-right well and truly exposed.
- Giroud (Chelsea). The closest Chelsea came to scoring in the first half was from an attempt on the bottom-right from Giroud’s left foot. Then, in the 49th minute, he found the goal he was looking for. Later on in the game, he was awarded a penalty after Maitland-Niles was a little over-zealous with his shoulder in the box.
- Iwobi (Arsenal). Arsenal’s efforts were almost entirely in vain. The only goal-scorer, Iwobi fired off a rocket from the edge of the box that sailed into the top-left.
- Jorginho (Chelsea). There are few better at the technical side of playmaking. He may not be the fastest or the tallest, but his dribbling skills and movement make him a nightmare for defenders and midfielders alike. His turns and spins with the ball created plenty of playmaking opportunities that he utilized often.
Hazard may have won the man of the match with 2 goals scored, but Giroud definitely put in the best performance. From the first half, all the way through the second, he was in command of the attack. If not for Cech putting in an admirable performance, Giroud would also have a brace from the final. What really tops it off is the amazing header that took some effort and skill to get on the end of, not to mention some contortion on his part.
The French international striker really did deserve a man of the match more, but because Hazard took the penalty, Giroud was overlooked for the man of the match. If he performs like that next season, then Chelsea has a chance at the Champion’s League.