Maurizio Sarri’s rollercoaster first season as Chelsea manager could yet end in silverware with The Blues set to face London rivals Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday evening.
Despite being separated by just 10 miles across England’s capital city, the two clubs have been made to travel almost 2,500 miles to Azerbaijan, a journey which has not pleased either club.
Chelsea go into their first UEFA Europa League final in six years without the services of defender Antonio Rudiger and attacker Callum Hudson-Odoi with both players having been sidelined by injury for several weeks. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also out with the player nursing an Achilles problem which he sustained in the club’s recent trip to the United States. Influential midfielder N’Golo Kante has been struggling with a thigh injury but is likely to be fit to play.
Arsenal’s Armenian international midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not travelled to Baku with concerns over the player’s safety. Rob Holding, Denis Suarez, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck are all sidelined with injury.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey could make their final appearances for The Gunners.
The match is scheduled to kick-off at 8pm (BST) and will be screened live on BT Sport 2.