Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery – Europa League 2018/19 Tournament Recap, Facts and Stats
The Europa League came to a close with an all-English affair in Baku, Azerbaijan. The match itself was surrounded by a lot of problems off the field with fans critical of UEFA for allowing a significant final to be played in a country that was very difficult to get to. Not only this but in a stadium that had a capacity of 60,000; only 6,000 tickets were given to Arsenal and Chelsea fans. The talk surrounding the final took a lot of the gloss away from what should have been an entertaining final between two very good sides.
The match itself was a formality for Chelsea as they ran out 4-0 winners; delivering a one (and only) trophy for Maurizio Sarri at the club. There were heart-warming pictures after the final showing Sarri being affectionate and emotional with the win. The trophy marked the first success as a manager. It was a night to become filled with emotional farewells as Eden Hazard’s two goals in the final would be the actions in the blue of Chelsea before moving to Real Madrid a few weeks later. He had hinted at the move following the final as he told BT Sport: “We will decide in a few days and the only target in my mind tonight was to win this final,” he said. “I have made my decision already, and now I’m waiting on both clubs.
“My dream was to play in the Premier League, and I have done that for one of the biggest clubs, so maybe now it is time for a new challenge.
“I want a new challenge. Now it is up to the two clubs. We will see in the next couple of days. This is the perfect end. I want to say to the fans that I love them, they are part of my family, and I will always support Chelsea. If it is goodbye; thank you for these last seven years.”
He will undoubtedly go down as one of the finest players to ever put on the blue shirt of Chelsea and the Europa League final was a perfect parting present; in 90 minutes that highlighted just how talented the Belgium international is.
Europa League 2018/19 Stats
- The win in the final marked the fifth major European success for Chelsea. This is a record only beaten by Liverpool in terms of English clubs.
- This was Arsenal’s heaviest European defeat since a 5-1 loss in Munich in 2017. It was also the first time that a team had lost 4-0 in a European final since Middlesbrough lost 4-0 to Sevilla in 2006.
- Chelsea won the Europa League without losing a single game; they were the first team since Manchester United in the 2007-08 season to accomplish this achievement.
- Arsenal have now lost four European cup finals in a row. This record began with their 1995 Cup Winners’ Cup defeat. Furthermore, they have lost five of their six major UEFA finals.
- Oliver Giroud’s goal in the final was his eleventh of the competition. This made him only the second player from an English side to record that amount of goals. The previous player to do that was Alan Shearer in 2004-05.
- Pedro became only the fifth player to score in both European cup finals (Champions League and Europa League). The other four players are Hernan Crespo, Steven Gerrard, Dmitri Alenichev and Allan Simonsen.
- Eden Hazard’s two goals marked the first time an English club had a player score a brace in a European final since Mark Hughes for Manchester United in the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup.
It was a damaging defeat for Arsenal in the final, and Unai Emery was hugely critical of his side after the final whistle. The Gunners didn’t keep the ball well, and all the goals that Chelsea scored could have been easily avoided. The defeat also meant that the Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League, after also missing out on the top-four in the Premier League.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Emery said: “First it’s congratulation to the Chelsea, the first half we worked and played with good challenge to take a good result. We get the box with some options, some chances to score and the match was going as we can think.
“The second half the first goal changed all, we tried to keep in the match finding one goal but the second goal was challenging for us and I think it was going the things better for them. When we want to do something we didn’t find the consistency to score. The result is like that, they deserve to win, we deserve some more from the game, but we didn’t do.”
The game also marked the end to the playing career of Petr Cech. The goalkeeper was voted as the Arsenal man of the match ahead of leaving the club to take up a board position with Chelsea. Speaking to reporters after the game he was clearly disappointed with the result.
He said: “I’ve done everything, I have no regrets about today apart from we worked so hard the whole year and in the end we have nothing. It’s something this group of players doesn’t deserve. Behind the scenes, the staff, the fans can’t see how much work is done behind the scenes.”
The 2019-20 season will begin with Arsenal once again in the Europa League, 22Bet currently has the Gunners as one of the favorites to go one better next season. 22BET is the only place to find the best odds for all the Europa League games in the 2019-20 season.