Arsenal will have their sights on Champions League qualification when they meet Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final at Baku on Wednesday. The Gunners ended their turbulent Premier League campaign, finishing sixth in the league table. But, a win against Chelsea could help them secure qualification for Champions League next season.
Manager Unai Emery will have to make one forced change after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was omitted from the squad due to safety and political reasons. However, the Spaniard is likely to opt for a 3-4-1-2 formation that has been so successful in Europe this season.
3-4-1-2 Arsenal lineup vs Chelsea
Petr Cech will return in goal, in what will be the last professional appearance of his career. The veteran goalkeeper confirmed he would be retiring at the end of the season and winning the Europa League could be a fitting way to call an end to his decorated career.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles will also return to the starting lineup. The youngster will replace Stephan Lichtsteiner and will play a key role in the right wing-back slot. Sead Kolasinac is likely to start on the opposite flank, with Nacho Monreal shifting into a more central role.
Monreal will be partnered by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny in central defence. These three will form Arsenal’s backline, which will have to deal with the dangerous Chelsea attack on Wednesday night.
Granit Xhaka is a guaranteed starter in central midfield along with Lucas Torreira. The two midfielders will form the double-pivot in Arsenal’s 3-4-1-2 setup.
Xhaka’s ball circulation will be vital as Arsenal look to dominate the midfield. But, Torreira’s ability to win back possession and drive forward will be equally important against a Chelsea side that would be keen to secure a trophy this season.
Aaron Ramsey has already played the final game for his club and will not feature against Chelsea. This will pave the way for Mesut Ozil to operate as the attacking midfielder. The German international has been vital for Arsenal in recent games, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in this Europa League final.
The Arsenal attack will be led by the trusted offensive duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The latter ended the domestic campaign as Premier League’s joint top-scorer while Lacazette has also netted a handful of goals. And stopping these two strikers will be imperative for Chelsea if they are to win the Europa League next week.
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