Michael Owen predicts Arsenal v Chelsea FC in Europa League final
Former Liverpool FC striker Owen is backing Chelsea FC to beat Arsenal in the Europa League final on Wednesday night
Michael Owen is backing Chelsea FC to beat Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday night.
Chelsea FC booked their place on the Uefa showpiece thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their semi-final.
The Blues won the Europa League in their last participation in the competition in 2013 when Chelsea FC beat Benfica thanks to David Luiz’s late winner to secure a 2-1 victory.
Maurizio Sarri’s side finished in the Premier League’s top four thanks in part to the abysmal performances of Arsenal and Manchester United in the final weeks of the Premier League season.
Arsenal have never won the Europa League and fell at the semi-final hurdle in Arsene Wenger’s final season in charge at The Emirates last term.
The Gunners have a slight advantage over Chelsea FC in the shape of their manager Unai Emery.
The Spanish head coach won the Europa League on three occasions, including a 3-1 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool FC side in 2016.
Former Liverpool FC striker Owen believes Chelsea FC will edge past Arsenal in the Europa League final.
“It will be fascinating to see if the Gunners thrive with the carrot of Champions League football next term if they prevail?” Owen told BetVictor.
“Unai Emery is looking to add a fourth Europa League to his CV following a hat-trick of wins when in charge of Seville from 2014 to/16, but I just favour Chelsea in what is increasingly likely to be the final game of the excellent Stamford Bridge career of Eden Hazard.”
Owen continued: “Arsenal’s last eight goals in the competition have been shared by Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang and Alexandre Lacazette and Emery – after much soul-searching and debate – has found a successful system to accommodate both stable stars in his starting XI.
“The Gunners have won their last five games in the competition and any side who win home and away against Napoli in the quarter-final and Valencia in the semi-final deserve their place in the final.”
The BT Sport pundit added that Hazard will prove to be the key difference between the two London sides in the Europa League final.
“Maurizio Sarri must do without Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi in Azerbaijan, but they do have Hazard,” Owen added.
“I feel the brilliant Belgian will be the difference between the sides in Baku.”
MORE: Latest Arsenal news and views