…as Hazard says goodbye to Stamford Bridge
Chelsea destroyed Arsenal with four second-half goals that handed coach Maurizio Sarri his first major trophy although even that might not be enough to silence the speculation that he could also be leaving Stamford Bridge imminently.
After a tepid first half, former Arsenal hero Olivier Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 49th minute with an angled header and the Blues doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Pedro diverted a cross from Hazard beyond Petr Cech.
With Arsenal on the ropes, defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles collided with Giroud to concede a penalty that Hazard stroked home after 65 minutes.
Alex Iwobi clawed a goal back for Arsenal but Chelsea restored their three-goal cushion in the 72nd minute when Hazard swapped passes with Giroud to score his second.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery said:”First is congratulations to Chelsea. In the first half we played with good opportunities to take a good result. We got to the box with good options and chances to score but the first goal changed the game.
“We tried to stay in the match but their second goal made it difficult for us. It was going better for them and when we wanted to do something, we couldn’t find what we needed to score. They deserved to win.”
UEFA say attendance for the Europa League final was 51,370 – “the third highest attendance ever for the UEFA Europa League final”.
Chelsea are the first team to win a major European competition without losing a game during the campaign (W12 D3 L0) since Manchester United won the 2007-08 Champions League unbeaten.
Well it’s the last thing Chelsea supporters will want to think about but Eden Hazard has just given an interview with BT Sport about his future at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian tried to be as respectful as possible by diverting the attention to Chelsea’s heroics tonight – but he let things slip.
Hazard to BT Sport about his future: “We will decide in a few days. I told the club my decision. I told both clubs so I am now waiting, like the fans, to find out. I think it’s a goodbye but, in football, you never know. Maybe it’s time for a new challenge.”