Chelsea the London’s Kings of Europe as Departing Hazard’s Double Sinks Helpless Arsenal

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Chelsea players celebrate after beating Arsenal 4-1 to win the Europa League in Baku. PHOTO CREDIT/CFC

Chelsea won a third European title in seven years as Eden Hazard’s brace ensured Arsenal remain out of the Champions League next week.

Second-half goals from former Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud, Eden Eden Hazard’s brace and Pedro Rodriguez were enough to gift under-fire Maurizio Sarri his first trophy in his first season at Stamford Bridge after winning 4-1 in regular time.

The scoreboard had remained idle in the entire first half that had little to pen home about until Emerson Palmeri chipped a humble cross that Giroud headed home past a helpless Petr Cech.

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Alex Iwobi pulled one back in the 69th minute after coming on from the bench.

The fixture which was being held in Baku, Azerbaijan, was the first in history between teams from the same City.

However, travel concerns had bothered the two sides with flight hitches dominating the headlines.

Arsenal’s Henrikh Makhtaryan avoided the 5,000KM trip from London citing his safety following political tension between his native country Armenia and hosts Azerbaijan.

“We will want to win this match for Makhtaryan,” Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka had told the reporters in Baku on arrival.

However, those wishes were washed away with Chelsea’s contemptuous display that cared less of Arsenal’s forwards who only managed two shots on target against the 2012 European Champions’ eight.

A win for Arsenal would have given coach Unai Emre his fourth European title in six years, having earlier done so with Spanish side Sevilla FC thrice in a row.

Chelsea’s win was curtain-raised by ugly scenes in the training camp yesterday with Sarri throwing his Chelsea cap twice on the ground as he stormed out of the pitch in what looked like a protest against an argument between defender David Luiz and on-loan striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The win now becomes Hazard’s 7th trophy at Chelsea in seven seasons since jetting in from Lille in France.

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Hazard, whose name has been linked with a move to Real Madrid had before this match hoped to “bow out” in style.

Ironically, the Europa League was his first trophy in his first season at Chelsea and is likely to be his last trophy at the Bridge should his exit be confirmed in a few days as speculated in tabloids.

For Arsenal, the loss is not only disappointing but also annoying that they missed the only chance remaining this season to qualify for next year’s Champions League after finishing 5th in the English Premier League.

Chelsea will now wait for the winner between Champions League’s final between fellow Premier League sides Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in next season’s curtain-raiser Super Cup next season.

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Congratulations to Chelsea Football Club!

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Simiyu Wakajuaness

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