Even as he goes down as one of Chelsea managers who were not loved by fans, Maurizio Sarri remains to be a figure to remember at Stamford Bridge with his superb record of the century.
This season has been tough indeed for Chelsea as the club have had a poor run in the Premier League and narrowly survived to finish in the top-four position, thanks to the carelessness of their main contenders for the top-four finish.
However, the Blues have tirelessly fought for the UEFA Europa League and since they started the campaign, they have never lost any match.
Their final against Arsenal was perhaps the most awaited match that could see Sarri’s side lose. Fortunately, they managed to edge their opponents in a sensational manner.
After a miserable first-half, Chelsea turned on the style after the break.
The Blues scored three goals within 16 second-half minutes through Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Eden Hazard.
Arsenal did pull one back through Alex Iwobi’s brilliant strike but Hazard scored another to clinch the trophy.
Chances were few and far between in the opening 45 minutes.
Arsenal had a penalty shout turned down when Alexandre Lacazette went down under the challenge of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The best chance of the first half came when Olivier Giroud forced Petr Cech into a fine save.
But it was the former Arsenal striker that opened the scoring just minutes after half-time.
Giroud met Emerson’s low cross with a terrific header past Cech.
On the hour mark, Chelsea doubled their lead.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles lost possession and, seconds later, Hazard fed Pedro who finished cooly into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later, it was well and truly game over. Maitland-Niles clumsily fouled Giroud in the penalty area and Hazard sent Cech the wrong way to make it 3-0.
Hazard scores the penalty and it’s now 3-0 for Chelsea here in Baku pic.twitter.com/DE14Zps9Yr
— Just Kamil (@_Just_Kamil) May 29, 2019
But the goal of the game came from Arsenal’s Iwobi.
Just minutes after he had come on, Iwobi scored a terrific half volley to give his side a bit of hope. But Giroud and Hazard combined well to allow the Belgian to score his second and put the final beyond any doubt.
The victory represents Maurizio Sarri’s first ever trophy as a manager and could well see him remain in the job for next season.
Again, Chelsea now becomes the only club in the 21st century to lift the Europa League trophy without losing any match in the entire competition.
Moreover, the Blues will join Barcelona and Manchester United as the only three teams who have won a European title without losing a single game during the campaign.
Only three teams in the 21st century have won a European title without losing a single game during the campaign:
🏆 2005-06: Barcelona
🏆 2007-08: Manchester United
🏆 2018-19: Chelsea
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 29, 2019