Chelsea and Arsenal are set to do battle in an all-English affair in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League final at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan tonight – here is how both teams line up!
UEFA Europa League Final
Teams: Chelsea vs Arsenal
Venue: Baku Olympic Stadium, Azerbaijan
Date: 29 May 2019
The Premier League duo are set for an enthralling London derby, with the winner of the clash set to be crowned the 2019 Europa League champions.
The Gunners, who have never won a Europa League title, booked their spot in the final with knockout stage victories over the likes BATE, Rennes, Napoli and most recently Valencia, whom they defeated with an aggregate scoreline of 7-3.
Arsenal are arguably under more pressure to win the coveted European trophy, given that they finished the 2018/19 Premier League season in fifth position. Victory over Maurizio Sarri's side will guarantee their spot in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League.
Manager Unai Emery will be without the services of Aaron Ramsey, Denis Suarez, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding, who are all nursing injuries, while former Manchester United star Danny Welbeck is doubtful for the encounter due to an ankle injury.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan will also play no part in the clash due to the fact that he is Armenian. The former Borussia Dortmund star's imminent absence is owed to the political tension between his home country and Azerbaijan, with Armenian citizens believed not allowed be allowed to enter Azerbaijan.
While the odds seem to somewhat favour the Blues, Arsenal do hold an ace for their clash against Chelsea.
No manager in world football has won the Europa League more times than Gunners boss Emery, who made history with former club Sevilla when they won the competition three times in a row between 2014 and 2016, while his opposite number Sarri is yet to lift a major trophy.
Chelsea, who will be competing in their first European final since lifting the Europa League trophy in 2013, booked their spot in the decider with knockout stage victories over Malmo, Dynamo Kyiv and Slavia Praha, while needing the lottery of penalties to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals.
While the Blues may have the experience of having clinched this title previously, they will no doubt be wary of facing off against opposition from their league, given that they suffered a UEFA Champions League final defeat to fellow Premier League club Manchester United in 2008.
The two sides' only past meeting in a UEFA competition came in the quarter-finals of the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League campaign, with the Blues running out 3-2 victors on aggregate.
Chelsea will be without injured quartet Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Antonio Rudiger and Ethan Ampadu, while N'Golo Kante and Gary Cahill are doubtful for the encounter with knee and Achillies tendon injuries, respectively.
The match will also be a fitting farewell for Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who will hang up his boots after facing his former team Chelsea.
Eden Hazard could also be paying his last-ever game for the Blues, with various reports indicating that the Belgium international will complete his transfer to Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid outfit after the final.
Here is how both teams line up:
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho, Kanté, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Arsenal: Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Özil; Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Which side are you backing to win the 2018/19 Europa League final, Chelsea or Arsenal? Have your say in the comments section below.