Iwobi’s strike not enough as Chelsea thrash Arsenal 4-1
Substitute Alex Iwobi scored what later became a consolatory goal as Chelsea dominated Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku yesterday.
The game, overshadowed by criticism over the choice of the Azerbaijani capital for the game, looked balanced in the first half with Arsenal missing some scoring chances through Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But the tide changed completely in the second half with Eden Hazard pulling the strings for a Chelsea side, which started exploiting the holes left by Arsenal defenders.
Former Arsenal striker, Oliver Giroud opened the goals gate early in the second half when he stooped to beat Petr Cech with a header before Pedro doubled the advantage.
Hazard then struck twice, either side of the Alex Iwobi goal, to seal the victory for Chelsea.
The manner of yesterday’s defeat left many Arsenal fans questioning the usefulness of some of the players to a team dreaming of getting back to the big stage.
Many of the Arsenal fans also claimed that Lacazette should have been awarded a penalty when Kepa Arrizabalaga brought him down in the box, but the Gunners failed to raise their game when it mattered most. But Arsenal were well beaten by a side that know how to win big games.
It could have gotten worse, much worse, for Arsenal, as their defence opened up as they pursued a way back into the match, but Cech and a couple of wayward Chelsea shots ensured it would not be total humiliation.
What it means is that Arsenal will spend another season in the Europa League. But more importantly, it also means Unai Emery will have only £40 million to spend on a team that need urgent overhaul if they must challenge for major trophies.