Three key talking points from Chelsea’s win over Arsenal

Chelsea 4 – Arsenal 1

Chelsea and Arsenal clashed in Baku on Wednesday evening for the right to lift the Europa League trophy.

Prior to 2019’s final, Arsenal had never won the Europa League, while Chelsea won it back in 2013, when they saw off Benfica in the final.

The final certainly attracted headlines in the build-up to Wednesday, largely because Henrikh Mkhitaryan chose not to travel over safety concerns.

But despite the politics heading into the game, the final was very entertaining, at least the second-half was anyway.

Here are three of the key talking points from the 2019 Europa League final.

A general view of UEFA Europa League logo prior to the UEFA Europa League final at The Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

1. Has Hazard played his final game for Chelsea?

One of the biggest talking points coming out of the final will likely be if it was Eden Hazard’s last game for Chelsea.

The Belgian has had an excellent 2018/19 season, scoring 16 and assisting 15 in 37 Premier League outings.

However, Hazard was kept fairly quiet during the opening 45 minutes in Baku. But the Chelsea forward would liven up in the second-half, providing the assist for Chelsea’s second goal of the final.

Hazard would then get in on the goals himself, scoring in the 65th and 72nd minutes.

Nevertheless, Hazard could well now be on his way to Spain.

The attacker has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for some time now, but on Wednesday, Spanish outlet AS reported that Los Blancos will announce Hazard as their player on June 3rd.

Chelsea have already signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund, who could, in theory, be replacing Hazard. But it’s extremely hard to replace someone of his quality.

Hazard also spoke to a BT Sport reporter after the game, who asked about his future, to which he replied:

“I think it is a goodbye. My dream was to play in the Premier League and I did that for 7 years with the best team in the world.” As quoted by the Evening Standard.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 29: Olivier Giroud of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

2. Could Giroud be Chelsea’s main striker next season?

Chelsea have really struggled in their search for an in-form number nine this season.

Alvaro Morata played a fair few games in the first half of the 2018/19 campaign under Maurizio Sarri.

The Spaniard was not in great form, though, and was loaned out to Atletico Madrid in January.

Morata has also reportedly said he wants to finish his career in Madrid.

Chelsea would then loan one of Sarri’s former players, Gonzalo Higuain.

The Blues are said to have the option to extend Higuain’s loan deal for another season, for a fee of £15.6m.,

But the Argentine doesn’t look like he has really settled at Stamford Bridge. He has scored just five goals in 17 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea.

Also with Chelsea staring down the barrel of a transfer ban, they may not be able to sign another forward this summer.

So, this begs the question, should Chelsea make Olivier Giroud their main striker next season?

The Frenchman doesn’t have a great record in the PL this season, scoring just two in 27 appearances.

However, it should be noted that 20 of those appearances came from the bench.

Furthermore, as was once again shown in Baku, Giroud has been in excellent form in the EL this campaign.

Giroud impresses in Baku

After a slow first-half, Giroud opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 49th minute with a superb header.

Giroud would also assist Hazard for his second and Chelsea’s 4th of the night.

This brought the Chelsea forward to 11 goals and four assists in 14 Europa League appearance this season.

With that type of goal-scoring record, combined with Chelsea’s potential transfer ban, surely the Blues should give Giroud more first-team football in the league next year.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 29: Unai Emery the head coach / manager of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

3. Arsenal set to lose out on CL revenue

The Europa League final had more significance for Arsenal than Chelsea.

While both managers were competing for a trophy in their first season in England, the Gunners had something else on the line as well.

After a poor end to the season that, at one point, saw them lose three games in the space of a week, the Gunners would finish 5th in the PL.

This meant that Arsenal were aware that they would be missing out on the Champions League next season, unless they beat Chelsea.

Missing out on CL football is bad for two main reasons. Firstly, it makes harder to attract bigger players when you can’t offer them Champions League football.

Secondly, qualifying for the UCL earns you a lot more money than making it into the EL.

According to the Telegraph, Arsenal missing out on Europe’s top competition and its high revenue could result in their budget being as little as £40 million this summer.

Related: Juventus president Andrea Agnelli sits down with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck before the Europa League final

Alexandre Lacazette to analyse Arsenal future after Chelsea final

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