After way too many days of waiting, the Europa League Final is finally here, bringing along with it Eden Hazard’s final game and Eden Hazard’s final Final game (for Chelsea).
Chelsea unfortunately have been rather decimated by injuries, which will make winning harder, but predicting the lineup easier.
THE PREDICTED LINEUP
Unlike Arsenal’s uncertainty in goal, there shouldn’t be any surprises between the sticks for Chelsea. Let’s just cut out the whole ‘MUTINY’ situation this time, Kepa, unlike the last time we played a final!
Antonio Rüdiger may have traveled with the squad to Baku, but his recent surgery means he’s definitely out. Andreas Christensen is his obvious replacement, while César Azpilicueta and David Luiz are certain starters. However, it’s anyone’s guess who who Sarri goes with on the left. My bet’s on Emerson.
In midfield, N’Golo Kanté’s “50-50” chance of starting will determine whether to panic or not. If he’s deemed fit enough, he simply has to start. Sarri didn’t sound too confident in yesterday’s pre-match press conference however. With Loftus-Cheek also injured, and definitely out, the only three fully healthy midfielders will probably get the nod.
Up front, Eden Hazard and 10-goal Olivier Giroud are safe guesses. Pedro started three of the last four Europa League matches, so let’s go with him on the right flank.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kovačić | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE
The WAGNH community didn’t have too many difficult decisions, with Pedro edging out Willian (50%) in the only close race. Kanté got a hopeful 33% of the vote, while neither Alonso (30%) nor Higuaín (19%) came close.
Arrizabalaga (98%) | Emerson (70%), David Luiz (98%), Christensen (90%), Azpilicueta (97%) | Barkley (78%), Jorginho (97%), Kovačić (82%) | Hazard (99%), Giroud (79%), Pedro (58%)
MY PREFERRED LINEUP
Given the restrictions due to injuries, my preferred lineup is almost the same as that of the community. The only exception is that I don’t want to give up hope on Kanté being deemed fit enough to play, replacing Kovačić.
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, David Luiz, Christensen, Azpilicueta | Barkley, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Giroud, Pedro
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!