As our season lurched from one nightmare to another, the final nail in the 2018/19 season coffin was hammered home by Chelsea who emphatically beat us 4-1 in Azerbiajan on Wednesday night.
Chelsea put us to the sword with ease in the second half as we capitulated in the showpiece final in Baku, meaning we not only missed out on the trophy, but also another golden chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League and for the best odds on next season, make sure you check out minimumdeposit.com.ng, and stay inside the sports world.
Predictably enough, it was ex-Arsenal man Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a header, and soon after Pedro doubled the lead after some good work from some bloke called Hazard. The same bloke called Hazard banged in a couple, while Alex Iwobi ironically scored the goal of the night, blasting home from fully 25 yards.
Petr Cech playing his final game for Arsenal had kept us in the game in the first half with a great save from Giroud, and we could have taken the lead had Xhaka’s thunderbolt not skimmed the top of the bar. Lacazette, on another night could have won a penalty after Kepa looked to have bought him down, but the Italian referee waved away the Arsenal protests. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also went close after Kepa’s awkward parry fell into his path, taking the Gabonesian by surprise, Auba snatching his shot wide.
The first half finished goalless but it didn’t take long for Chelsea to break the deadlock with Giroud’s goal, and before Cech had time to straighten his helmet, Hazard found Pedro who slotted past Cech for 2-0 and we were rocking, and not in a good way.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles who had played fairly well until this point, upended Giroud in the box and Hazard made no mistake from the spot, Cech definitely not retiring as a keeper known as a penalty specialist.
Unai Emery bought on some subs, Willock, Iwobi and Guendouzi, and it was Alex Iwobi who scored a screamer to make it 3-1 and sparked a tiny glimmer of hope. This glimmer was soon extinguished by Hazard who got his second and Chelsea’s fourth of the night to put the game to bed.
The result now leaves us assured of Thursday night football next year despite numerous missed chances to qualify, via the Premier League and this chance via the Europa League final.
Overall, it’s fair to say that this season has been a car-crash of a season, after a poor start (albeit against Man City and Chelsea) then an unbeaten run, then inconsistency, mainly born from our poor defensive performances, and slow first halves. This season was billed as a transition season following Arsene Wenger’s departure and overall Emery has done ok, but we have nothing to show for our efforts, despite many chances to turn the season around and even end it with some silverware.
Arsenal: Cech, Papastathopoulos, Koscielny, Monreal (Guendouzi 66), Maitland-Niles, Torreira (Iwobi 67) Xhaka, Kolasinac, Lacazette, Ozil (Willock 77), Aubameyang.
Subs (not used): Leno, Iliev, Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Iwobi, Mustafi, Welbeck, Jenkinson, Nketiah, Saka.