Chelsea and Arsenal will go head to head in the all-London UEFA Europa League final at Baku on Wednesday. Blues manager Maurizio Sarri will be aiming to win his first silverware for his new club. As for Arsenal, winning the Europa League will be imperative if they are to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Here is our combined lineup ahead of this exciting final on Wednesday.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has been one of the best goalkeepers in the recently concluded Premier League campaign. He has also been a regular for Chelsea in all competitions. Hence, he gets the nod ahead of Petr Cech, who will be playing the last game of his career this midweek.
Cesar Azpilicueta will start ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the right-back position. The Spaniard is a well-rounded defender and will offer solidity when compared to his Arsenal counterpart. Sead Kolasinac, on the other hand, will be preferred to Emerson on the opposite flank.
In central defence, David Luiz is a guaranteed starter alongside Arsenal’s Sokratis, who edges out Andreas Christensen. The Dane will be returning from a knock and it remains to be seen whether or not he will be able to play to his full potential this week.
Jorginho has been highly criticized due to his inability to provide adequate defensive cover for the backline. But, the Italian international is still a better option when compared to Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
As for N’Golo Kante, he might miss out with a knee injury, paving the way for Lucas Torreira to walk into our combined lineup. These two will form the double-pivot, with Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Xhaka all missing out.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been ruled out due to political reasons, which means Mesut Ozil is a guaranteed starter. The German international will operate in the wide-attacking role alongside Eden Hazard, which means both Pedro and Willian will miss out.
This could be Hazard’s last game for Chelsea before he completes his move to Real Madrid. Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether the Belgian international will be able to help Chelsea win the Europa League.
And finally, the attack will be led by Arsenal’s offensive duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These two have combined 50 goals between them in all competition and seem to be better options when compared to Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain even though Chelsea’s French forward has indeed been excellent in the Europa League but Lacazette slightly edges ahead of him in overall attributes.