Eden Hazard scored a brace and assisted in another goal as Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League Final at Baku, Azerbaijan on May 29. The Blues played out a dull first half but did not let their opponents take charge in the second half of the match. The star of the night was undoubtedly Hazard who contributed a stellar performance in probably his last match for Chelsea.
The game was played out in front of a very small crowd as Uefa had only alloted 5000 tickets for the Arsenal and Chelsea fans. The rest of the gallery was half full and the atmosphere was not up to the mark. The first half of the match was rather uneventful as both teams were not creating chances and playing out a bland game.
The match burst open in the second half with Chelsea striker Oliver Giroud, after wasting two great chances in the first half, opened the scoring by glancing home a fine header from Emerson's cross against his former club in the 49th minute. Emerson who was silent throughout the first half delivered a perfect cross and Giroud left Petr Cech with no chance to make a save.
The Blues doubled their lead when Pedro netted home a beautiful cross from Hazard at the one hour mark. With the two-goal cushion, Chelsea was looking invincible and Hazard took charge while Kante gave the Arsenal midfielders no space to move.
The third goal arrived in the 65th minute with the Belgium striker scoring his first of the night from the penalty spot after Aines Maitland Niles fouled Giroud by pushing him to the ground inside the box. The penalty by Hazard was not one of his best and Cech could have done better.
Then, Alex Iwobi, who came on as a substitute for Lucas Torreira in the 69th minute scored a blinder of a goal to give the Gunners' fans something to cheer for. He scored through a half volley from outside the box and by the outside part of his foot. This goal revived some hopes for the three time Europa League champions.
But the man of the night Hazard finished the match off much to the dismay of the Arsenal fans by scoring in the 72nd minute through a one-two with Giroud.
This defeat for the Unai Emery-managed side meant that they lost out on a Champions League spot for next season and they will be back to play the Europa League again in 2020. Emery's hopes of breaking the 25-year-old European trophy drought for Arsenal failed this time. He will look forward to win the coveted trophy next season but this loss will affect his transfer window plans.
For Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, this victory marked his maiden triumph as a manager. He is probably going to the Turin giants Juventus next season but his term ends with the Blues on a perfect note after having troubles with some players throughout the past season. Belgian striker Hazard has probably ended his Chelsea career like the way he wanted. His stint for seven years with the Blues concluded, if it has, on a high note. His probable next destination is Real Madrid.
Petr Cech, on the other hand, ended his playing career on a sad note. The goalkeeping legend wouldn't have wanted this. It was a nightmare for him on the pitch but he made some vital saves to provide temporary respite to the Gunners. However, on the night, it was far from proving enough.