After winning penalty shootout against Eintracht Frankfurt, Chelsea joined Arsenal in the Europa League final. English teams completely dominated European tournaments, as Liverpool and Tottenham will compete for the Champions League trophy as well.
‘The Blues’ haven’t had much problems with advancing further until the semifinals. First they eliminated Malmö, then crushed Dynamo Kiev in both games. Surprisingly despite a great advantage over Slavia, they won only 5:3 in the tie. Londoners lost or decreased their lead many times during the season, and having 4:1 result they lost two more goals, what caused a stressful second half.
The most problems the team had against Eintracht. In both matches the result was 1:1 after the final whistle, so the players needed extra time and penalty shootout. Kepa became Chelsea’s hero, saving twice, while Eden Hazard executed perfectly the crucial penalty.
Arsenal had a more difficult path to the final. First they surprisingly lost against BATE, but in the second game outplayed their rivals. Next step was a tie versus Rennes. The French team won in the first game as well, but even with 3:1 result the advance slipped away from them after the game at Emirates. Shockingly, ‘The Gunners’ won both matches against their toughest opponent so far, Napoli and advanced to the semifinals.
Tie versus Valencia brought a lot of beautiful goals. Arsenal won 3:1 in London, but in the second game they conceded a goal, which could cause stress among their players. Londoners reacted with the best way possible, scoring an equaliser and adding one more after that. The clash ended 4:2 for visitors and set the them through.
It’s hard to say which team will win the Europa League. In the recent matches Chelsea struggled to win against Arsenal, but the final has its own rights. Nevertheless, the competition will be fierce and we can expect a lot of emotions, despite it’s only the second most important tournament in Europe.
[photo: UEFA Europa League]