Dominic Fifield was our man in Baku. His report has just landed … and here it is. Click now to enjoy!
Unai Emery, the colour drained from his face, ushers his team up to collect their runners-up medals. Chelsea form a guard of honour as they glumly trudge up to the podium. Nobody seems happy to have the medal draped around their neck, as you’d imagine. Emery walks off ahead of his team, then stands well apart from them. He’s either lost in contemplation, or simply fuming. Or both. My money’s on both. Expect some changes in the summer … though it’s a harder job now, with no Champions League next season, and the Thursday-Sunday grind to look forward to.
Olivier Giroud speaks! “I think it was a good final. We were better and more efficient in the second half. I am very proud because this team deserved to win something. We lost the League Cup against City, but this one is special, the second-best European championship. Obviously I left so many friends in Arsenal, the club changed my life, gave me the opportunity to live my dream of playing in the Premier League. I owe them a lot, so I will never forget and that’s why I didn’t want to celebrate. But on another side, I am so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea, I’m now a true blue. I feel blessed.”
On the touchline, Unai Emery strokes his chin pensively and stares at the floor. He’s won this competition three times with Sevilla, but now feels the sting of defeat. Chelsea are bouncing around in celebration, though their joy will be somewhat tempered by the interview Eden Hazard has just given to BT Sport on his future. “I don’t know yet, we will decide in a few days. I’ve made my decision already. It’s depending on both clubs. We will know in a couple of days. I think it is a goodbye, but in football you never know. Maybe it is time for a new challenge.”
FULL TIME: Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal
CHELSEA WIN THE 2019 EUROPA LEAGUE! The whistle goes, and Maurizio Sarri holds his arms out in triumph! The first trophy of his managerial career! To a man, Chelsea erupt in joy; Arsenal crumble en masse to the grass.
90 min +1: Iwobi sends the ball towards Aubameyang, to the right of the Chelsea goal. Aubameyang’s shot is flying wide left. Lacazette hooks it back into play, only for it to pinball back off Willock and out for a goal kick. It’s been that kind of evening for Arsenal.
89 min: But there’s to be no hat-trick. Hazard is replaced by Zappacosta, and departs to the warmest ovation from the Chelsea faithful. If he is going to Real Madrid, he’s leaving with their blessing after seven years of top-drawer service. If he’s really going … what a way to sign off!
88 min: Hazard is over, having been clipped by Willock. He looks in a bit of pain, but he also looks like he wants to continue.
86 min: A free kick for Arsenal, 30 yards out. Lacazette fancies it. He curls hard towards the top left, but it’s always high and wide. “Apart from being listed on the team sheet, your first mention of Ozil was his substitution,” notes Robert Shrimplin, the post-mortem already underway. “Same with the BBC online commentary. Sky Sports was more generous with a total of three mentions. So much for being Arsenal’s playmaker.”
84 min: It’s not breaking news, but this is not Arsenal’s night. Lacazette slips Willock into the area down the left. Willock opens his body and sends a lovely fierce curler around Kepa … and inches wide of the top right. Two great chances in a couple of minutes, both spurned.
82 min: Corner for Arsenal on the right. It’s worked back to Iwobi, who thinks about shooting but chips carefully down the right channel for Lacazette, in space in the box. His shot is saved by Kepa, and the rebound falls to Aubameyang, who can’t sort his feet out in time. Christensen blocks the eventual shot and Chelsea clear.
81 min: From the corner, Hazard tickles a lovely pass down the inside right to spring Azpilicueta into space. The Chelsea captain lashes a shot across Cech and inches wide of the left-hand post. A little curl on that and it would have been five.
80 min: Chelsea are looking to put some serious hurt on Arsenal. Barkley flicks a lovely pass down the inside-right channel to release Willian into space. Willian smashes a first-time shot from just inside that box; it’s deflected out for a corner.
79 min: Willian dribbles hard down the inside-right channel and enters the area. For a second, it opens up for him. He fires low towards the bottom left. Cech does extremely well to get a fingertip to the shot, turning it round for a corner, from which nothing comes.
77 min: Willock comes on for Ozil, who has achieved very little today. Ozil has the good grace to look embarrassed as he trudges off.
75 min: Aubameyang has a frustrated lash from the right wing. It flies harmlessly high and wide.
74 min: Arsenal have the look of a team who just want to go home. Hazard and Giroud combine well down the left. Hazard, on a hat-trick now, curls hard towards the bottom right. Cech saves well.
GOAL! Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal (Hazard 72)
So much for that dramatic comeback. Hazard wins the ball off Xhaka near the centre circle. He bustles goalwards, then slips a pass to the left. Giroud draws his man, then chips it back into the centre for Hazard, who sweeps the ball into the bottom right. That was wonderful from Chelsea’s perspective; not so impressive from Arsenal’s.
71 min: Kante nearly releases Giroud with a fine curled pass from the right. Koscielny stretches to divert the ball away, last ditch. Corner. Before it can be taken, Willian comes on for Pedro. And then the set piece comes in to little effect. But once again, no matter, because …
GOAL! Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (Iwobi 69)
Some head tennis in the box. The ball breaks to Iwobi, to the right of the D. The sub meets the dropping ball with the side of his foot, and creams a stunner into the top left, Kepa with no chance! What a goal that was! This can’t be on, can it? They couldn’t, could they?
68 min: Iwobi’s first act is to tear down the left and draw a foul for Christensen, who is booked for his cynicism. And from the resulting free kick …
66 min: Arsenal respond by making a double change. Monreal is repalced by Guendouzi, while Torreira – in floods of tears – makes way for Iwobi.
GOAL! Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal (Hazard 65 pen)
Hazard sends Cech one way, then rolls the penalty into the left-hand side of the goal. Could that be a final parting gift? Arsenal have fallen to bits.
Penalty for Chelsea!
64 min: Kovacic is allowed to dribble miles, left to right. It nearly opens up for him, but Pedro takes up possession instead, heading back to the left across the front of the box. He slips a ball down the channel for Giroud, who is clumsily bundled over by Maitland-Niles. A no-brainer for the referee.
62 min: On the touchline, Emery jigs around in high irritation. He’s not happy with the way his team have twice allowed Chelsea to suddenly press on the accelerator and score in a flash. His counterpart Sarri hides in his dugout, nervously scribbling on his notepad. He can almost touch the first trophy of his career.
GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (Pedro 60)
Another simple but fine goal, and Chelsea are in control in Baku! Kovacic works well down the left, and shuttles the ball forward for Hazard, who slips a pass back inside for Pedro. A first-time swipe, and Pedro whips the ball into the bottom right, Cech with no chance.
59 min: They ask a question here, though. Maitland-Niles works his way down the right. The ball is cut back to Torreira, who batters goalwards from the edge of the box. Kante blocks, but the ball loops towards Aubameyang, preparing to execute a bicycle kick. Christensen sticks his head in bravely to clear, and wins the free kick to boot.
57 min: Arsenal have enjoyed plenty of possession since going behind, without creating too much. Chelsea seem happy enough to sit back and wait for the opportunity of a counter-attack. The pattern, one senses, is already set.
55 min: Lacazette twists and turns just inside the Chelsea box, but can’t quite make enough space for a shot. Chelsea clear their lines. Pedro then falls over, and he’s furious about some garden-variety challenge. It’s a disproportionate response to not very much, and he’s booked for dissent.
53 min: Hazard tests himself in a footrace with Sokratis, knocking it past the defender down the left. The Arsenal man does just enough to stay on Hazard’s shoulder.
51 min: Arsenal try to respond immediately, winning a free kick down the left, Xhaka swinging it into a crowded box. That results in a clumsy brouhaha and a free kick for Chelsea, the pressure immediately lifted.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal (Giroud 49)
Chelsea come back at Arsenal, who fail to clear their lines. And when the opening goal comes, it’s so simple! Emerson curls in from the left. Giroud stoops and flashes a header into the bottom left, under pressure from Koscielny. Brave, too, because Koscielny was trying to hoof clear. What a header that was! A goal out of nothing, and Giroud keeps the celebrations to a minimum against his old club.
48 min: Hazard dribbles down the centre and slips the ball left for Giroud, whose shot is deflected out for a corner on the right. The set piece doesn’t clear the first man. Hazard wanted a free kick at the end of his dribble, incidentally, having been blocked cynically by Monreal. He had a point. It’d have been a free kick right on the edge of the box. But it doesn’t matter! Because …
47 min: Kante works his way down the right and nearly nips past Xhaka, but the Arsenal man stands his ground and shepherds the ball out for a goal kick. A nice open start to the half.
46 min: Aubameyang immediately tears down the right and looks for his partner Lacazette in the centre. His low cross is deflected and nearly creeps into the bottom right but Kepa adjusts well to smother. That would have been quite the dramatic start to the second half.
Right, it’s just gone midnight in Baku. Time for the second half, then! Chelsea get the party restarted. No changes!
Half-time entertainment. Another big tournament coming up this summer! Once this match and the Champions League final are out of the way, attention shifts to the Women’s World Cup. If you’re not yet up to speed, the Guardian’s network of experts will see you right. Click and enjoy!
HALF TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
It’s not a classic. Yet. But neither is it one for the purists. It’s been entertaining enough, with both keepers forced into action. Set up just so for an entertaining second half.
45 min: There will be … six added seconds of play. There goes the whistle for half-time!
43 min: Hazard romps upfield and slips the ball wide left for Emerson, who wins a corner off Maitland-Niles. Ah hold on, the flag’s gone up for offside. Emerson went too early, needlessly so. Chelsea are finishing the half strongly, though.
41 min: Chelsea come again at Arsenal. A couple of corners that don’t really cause too much fuss. This game is deliciously poised, though, both teams taking turns to apply a bit of pressure before being forced to soak some up themselves.
39 min: Chelsea open Arsenal up down the middle with some lovely one-touch play. Hazard to Jorginho, who pings it to Giroud, to the left of the D. Giroud shoots low and hard towards the bottom right. Cech saves brilliantly at full stretch and Monreal is on hand to batter the loose ball clear.
38 min: Emerson has a wee nip at Lacazette while the Arsenal man is on the floor. He’s probably lucky to get away without a booking, after making some wanton contact.
36 min: Arsenal ping it around awhile, seemingly going nowhere. Then suddenly Xhaka spreads play down the left for Kolasinac, who curls dangerously into the box. Kepa once again punches awkwardly, and once again gets away with it. The keeper’s nerves have betrayed him once or twice tonight.
34 min: Jorginho flicks a pass down the inside-left channel to release Emerson into the box. Emerson has another dig. Cech spreads himself and parries. Hazard picks up the rebound and drives at Arsenal down the left. He’s well shepherded away from danger by Maitland-Niles.
32 min: Kolasinac is once again found in plenty of space down the left. He shoots. The ball balloons off Azpilicueta and nearly loops over a stranded Kepa into the top right. But it flies wide, just. The keeper was rooted to the spot there, he was never getting to that. It’d have been an outrageous fluke, though. The resulting corner … well, you can file them with the rest. Not very good. No danger.
31 min: Here, that Xhaka shot was even closer than I thought. It shaved the top of the crossbar. It really was a wonderful effort, it’d have been a goal fit to grace any final.
30 min: The corner isn’t anything to write 2,500 miles home about.
29 min: Now Chelsea come back again. Pedro is in an awful lot of space down the right, with Hazard free in the middle. Koscielny does very well to block the pass inside, or that’d have been the opening goal surely. Hazard does get second-phase possession, though, and slips a pass down the left for Emerson, who looks for the bottom right with a diagonal fizzer. Sokratis slides in to divert the on-target shot out for a corner.
27 min: This is a very entertaining final now. Aubameyang dribbles down the right but can’t find anyone in the middle with his cute cross. Azpilicueta does extremely well to eyebrow clear. Torreira nearly bursts through the centre. Not quite. Then Xhaka nearly scores a screamer, sending a rising shot towards the top left from 25 yards. It’s beaten Kepa but flies millimetres over the bar. That would have been a sensational opener.
25 min: Xhaka whips the free kick into the mixer. Sokratis can’t quite get any purchase on his effort on goal, the ball looping into the sky, easy pickings for Kepa. Then Chelsea launch their first attack for a while, Kante sent into a lot of space down the right. He curls in low for Giroud at the near post. Giroud tries to … well, what? Trap? Flick? Backheel? Whatever his intention, the ball bagatelles between his knees and clanks harmlessly out for a goal kick. On the touchline, Sarri holds his head in theatrical despair. That was a good chance.
24 min: Arsenal continue to pile forward. Monreal bursts down the left and is barged to the floor by Pedro. A free kick out on the wing, and a chance to load the box.