Chelsea face Arsenal in the Europa League final on Wednesday night in what is being billed as one of the biggest London derbies in history.
The Blues already have Champions League football in the bag but will be keen to sign off on Maurizio Sarri’s debut – and perhaps only – season in style.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are searching for their seat at Europe’s top table after missing out on the top four and a trophy would rubber stamp the progress they have made under Unai Emery.
Ahead of the big clash in Baku, we’ve tackled all of the major talking points…
The Premier League is known – and loved – for its full throttle approach. However, proceedings in Azerbaijan may be a more conservative affair.
Sarri’s methods will not change regardless of the occasion as the Italian rarely strays from his preferred tactical approach.
As a result, Emery will know exactly what his team will be up against. But how will he look to stifle Sarri-ball?
The Spaniard knows what it takes to win this tournament, having enjoyed significant success with Sevilla, and will be aiming to lift the trophy for the fourth time.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out while N’Golo Kante remains a fitness doubt, but the pair’s absence is unlikely to lead to a formation change by Chelsea.
Sarri is set to stick with a 4-3-3 formation with Jorginho pulling the strings in midfield and the lion’s share of attacks being provided by Eden Hazard on the left flank.
The Belgian has long been touted with a summer move to Real Madrid and will be determined to secure a fairytale ending to his Chelsea career if such transfer predictions prove to be true.
3-4-1-2 may well be Emery’s system of choice as it will allow him to deploy both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Mesut Ozil would then have huge responsibility in attacking midfield while success may well hinge on the expected wing-back pairing of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac.
Arsenal face a dilemma in the form of Petr Cech and Bernd Leno. The former has been chosen as goalkeeper throughout this season’s Europa League campaign – but can Emery afford to overlook the latter?
With so much riding on the result, any error made by Cech would immediately be seized upon by both fans and the press, and so, the German may well represent the safer pair of hands.
For Chelsea, their line up will be defined by the choice between Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuain. The Frenchman will relish an opportunity to score against his former club while the game may well represent the Argentine’s final appearance for the west Londoners.
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