Arsenal, in Unai Emery’s first year as manager of the Gunners, have progressed to the Europa League final, where they will face off against Premier League rivals Chelsea. Emery has past experience in managing in a Europa League final, having won it thrice on the trot with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016. Chelsea, on the other hand, have won it once back in 2013.
The two sides negotiated tricky fixtures in the semis, as Arsenal defeated Valencia, while Chelsea prevailed over Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties. The Gunners won their last encounter with Chelsea earlier this year in the Premier League, winning the game 2-0.
Let’s take a look at how Arsenal will line up when they face Chelsea in the Europa League final.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the trip due to political reasons while Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Aaron Ramsey and Denis Suarez will miss out due to injuries. Danny Welbeck is a doubt although he is unlikely to play any part either way.
PREDICTED ARSENAL LINEUP VS CHELSEA (3-4-1-2)
Petr Cech, who has been Arsenal’s goalkeeper in cup competitions this year, is expected to continue in goal, despite the former Chelsea legend set to retire and reportedly return to Stamford Bridge in a backroom staff role.
The Gunners will most likely play a 3-4-1-2 formation, with three central defenders and two wingbacks against Chelsea. Club captain Laurent Koscielny will start at the heart of the defence, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Nacho Monreal either side of him, while Shkodran Mustafi could be another option. Sead Kolasinac will start in the left wing-back position, while youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles will start on the right side. The Gunners conceded just twice in the group stages, and 7 in the knockout stages of the Europa League this season.
The two-man midfield will see Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka start in the middle of the park, and they will be buoyed by the news that N’Golo Kante, Chelsea’s key midfielder, may miss out. One player that the Gunners will sorely miss is Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey who won’t feature for the final time for the Gunners due to a thigh injury. We could possibly see Mesut Ozil return to the starting line-up, playing in his preferred central role behind the two strikers.
The two strikers for Arsenal against Chelsea will be the in-form strike partnership of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who have scored 50 goals between them in all competitions this season. Aubameyang has 8 goals in the Europa League this year, two less than Luka Jović and Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud who are top of the goalscorers chart with 10 goals.