Chelsea 4 Arsenal 1
Giroud 49, Pedro 60, Hazard 65 pen, 72, Iwobi 69

Arsenal suffered a Europa League nightmare in Baku, as Chelsea inflicted a 4-1 thumping of their London rivals to claim a fifth European trophy.

Eden Hazard was instrumental in the Blues’ dominance, this after the score was goal-less at the break. That changed in the space of 16 second half minutes, as former Gunner Olivier Giroud’s swooping header beat the attentions of Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech for the game’s opener after 49 minutes. Chelsea were two up when Pedro swept home from Hazard’s cross, and when Ainsley Maitland-Niles fouled Giroud in the box, Hazard beat Cech from the penalty spot and Chelsea were cruising at 3-0.

Arsenal looked out of sorts and almost disinterested as their final chance of Champions League football was torn from their grasp. That in effect was what had already transpired with the Gunners’ inability to beat either Crystal Palace and Brighton in their final two Premier League home games of the season.

Unai Emery has won the Europa League three times with Sevilla, but in Baku he was unable to make it four career wins, as Maurizio Sari claimed the first  silverware of his managerial career.

Hazard  made sure of that fact and the big victory, when playing a one-two with Giroud and firing home Chelsea’s fourth goal.

There was much criticism over UEFA’s decision to award the Europa League to Baku, and given the complexity of getting to the city, only 5,000 fans from both sides were able to make it to Azerbaijan. The atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, was subdued which appeared less than half full, while reports of the gates being open to let in more local fans for free seemed to change that as the game progressed.

It was not the sending off that Arsenal would have wished for on Cech, playing his last game before retirement. Arsenal’s European final stats make for grim reading. The Gunners have now lost five of their six major Uefa finals, including their last four in a row (1995 Cup Winners’ Cup, 2000 Uefa Cup, 2006 Champions League, 2019 Europa League).

Emery’s Arsenal will have to re-group and go again and use the hurt from missing out in the Premier League and Europa League next season.

“Chelsea deserved to win,” said Emery.

“We got to the box with good options and chances to score but the first goal changed the game.

“We are in one process and we need to be strong in our way. The idea at the start (of the season) was to get more competitive as a team, get closer to the other teams, and we did that.

“It is not enough yet, but next season we have to continue in our mind.”I don’t know about transfers for next year but the club is working. We have a lot of players with the possibility to improve – a lot of young players.”