There’s no question Chelsea destroyed Arsenal in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League final. After a slow first half where neither side looked overly dominant, The Blues woke up after the break and secured a huge 4-1 win, clinching the club’s second Europa League title.
But who were the best players for Chelsea in this match? The whole side performed at a high level, but there were a few that stood out above everybody.
Is there any doubt that Hazard was the best player in this match? The Belgian struggled a bit in the first half, but he left glimpses of his quality every time he had an inch of space. But the (potentially-soon-to-be Real Madrid) attacking midfielder took control of the game in the second half, and Chelsea looked unstoppable when led by the former Lille star.
Hazard set up Chelsea’s second goal with a low cross to Pedro. But as if that wasn’t enough, the Belgian netted the third goal with a penalty and closed things out with a shot from close range following a delightful assist from Olivier Giroud. Having played a role in three of Chelsea’s four goals, the Belgian star received Man of the Match honours. If this is his farewell from Chelsea, it couldn’t have gone any better.
Giroud gets lots of criticism due to his play and his lack of involvement in the side’s build-up. But the former Arsenal star appears right when his team needs him the most – and such was the case in this match. Giroud opened the score for The Blues with an impressive header following a cross from Emerson, but he wasn’t done there. Giroud suffered the penalty that led to Chelsea’s third goal, and set up Hazard’s double with a perfect pass.
Plus, Giroud also played a role in Chelsea’s second goal. He didn’t score or assist on that sequence, but he was the one that generated spaces for Pedro’s finish. Some fans might not like him, but the France international was the top scorer in the Europa League with 11 goals. He deserves far more recognition than the one he’s been getting in recent months.
Hadn’t Pedro scored the second goal in this contest, he probably wouldn’t have made this list. But the Spaniard – just like most of the squad – lifted his play in the second 45 minutes. The former Barcelona winger made it 2-0 with a low shot following a pass from Hazard, and set up the sequence that generated the penalty with a through ball to Giroud.
Pedro also made history in this match. He became the first Spanish player who scored at least once in four different continental finals: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
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