Both Chelsea and Arsenal have made the most of the UEFA Europa League bids that they earned last season, outlasting 30 other teams around Europe that advanced to the Round of 32 to get to the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan. Both English Premier League clubs are making their second all-time appearance in the Europa League final on May 29: Chelsea won the championship in 2013 and Arsenal finished runner-up in 2000.
Arsenal thriving in Europa League despite slump in EPL play
On the heels of a 5-1-0 unbeaten streak that ran from early February to early April, Arsenal climbed all the way up to third place on the English Premier League table. But in the end, Arsenal went just 2-1-4 over its last seven league games to finish in fifth place in the EPL standings, locking up a return to the Europa League group stage next season instead of a trip to the Champions League group stage.
Despite their struggles down the stretch in league play, Arsenal looked extremely sharp in the quarterfinals and semifinals in the Europa League. Arsenal picked up two straight clean-sheet victories over Napoli to win by an aggregate score of 3-0, and followed that up with a 7-3 aggregate blowout over Valencia. All this after narrowly escaping Rennes with a 4-3 aggregate win in the Round of 16.
Arsenal heads into the championship as a +125 underdog to lift the cup at [custom:bovada-link]. Chelsea, who advanced into the final with a win in penalties over the previously undefeated Eintracht Frankfurt, is a -150 favorite to win the title.
Very little separates these two clubs in recent years
At the end of the 2017-18 English Premier League season, Chelsea finished in fifth place on the league table with a record of 21-7-10, seven points ahead of Arsenal in sixth place with a record of 19-6-13. Chelsea had a goal differential of +24 to Arsenal’s +23 that year.
This year the two clubs were even closer in league points with Chelsea finishing with 72 and a record of 21-9-8 to Arsenal’s 70 with a record of 21-7-10. Their goal differentials were nearly identical again as well with Chelsea’s +24 narrowly edging out Arsenal’s +22 this season. In this tournament, both teams went 5-1 in the group stage.
Chelsea and Arsenal split their two league games this year, with each team winning at home. Three of the last six games between these two clubs have ended in a draw, and the last 17 in this head-to-head series have been split down the middle at 6-5-6 apiece.
On the three-way line, Chelsea is going off at +125 to Arsenal’s +215, while the game being pushed to extra time is paying +235.
Elite strikers should push the tempo on offense
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud is tied with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic for the tournament lead in goals with 10. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isn’t far behind with eight goals in the tournament, and his teammate Alexandre Lacazette is in a four-way tie for sixth place in scoring with five.
The total for the championship game is set at 2.5 goals with the UNDER 2.5 going off as a slight favorite at -125 over the OVER 2.5 (+100). In the last three Premier League games between Chelsea and Arsenal, Arsenal has a 2-0 win, Chelsea has a 3-2 win and the two clubs have played to a 2-2 draw. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see at least one of these talented offensive teams score two goals in this one.
While the OVER 2.5 is a solid option, a prop bet on “will a goal be scored in both halves?” cashing in on YES at -130 is the top selection in this one. Both of these teams have scored loads of early goals in this tournament, and both are too strong on offense to expect a 1-0 or 2-0 first-half lead to hold as the final score.
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