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Chelsea trash Arsenal 4-1 to win Europa League; ‘I’m lucky’, says Coach Sarri

Chelsea hammered their London rivals Arsenal 4-1 to win the Europa League thanks to two goals from Eden Hazard on Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Hazard possibly making his last appearance for the Blues scored twice and one apiece for Olivier Giroud and Pedro.

Chelsea destroyed Arsenal with four second-half goals that handed coach Maurizio Sarri his first major trophy.

Although, even that might not be enough to silence the speculation that he could also be leaving Stamford Bridge imminently.

After a tepid first half, former Arsenal hero Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 49th minute with an angled header and the Blues doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Pedro diverted a cross from Hazard beyond Petr Cech.

With Arsenal on the ropes, defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles collided with Giroud to concede a penalty that Hazard stroked home after 65 minutes.

Nigeria’s Alex Iwobi clawed a goal back for Arsenal but Chelsea restored their three-goal cushion in the 72nd minute when Hazard swapped passes with Giroud to score his second.

The win means Chelsea have won three European titles in seven years, with the Champions League triumph in 2012 followed by their first Europa League victory in 2013.

By contrast, Arsenal have lost five of their six major European finals, with their only victory coming in the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup against Parma.

Hazard was given an ovation by Chelsea fans when he was substituted in the closing minutes and he looked emotional as he held his hands over his eyes.

The Belgium winger has signaled he wants to move to Real Madrid at the close of season.

“My dream was to play in the Premier League and I did it for seven years. Maybe I think it is time to say goodbye.

“We will decide in a few days and the only target in my mind was to win this final. I have made my decision already and now I’m waiting on both clubs.

“I think it is a goodbye, but in football you never know,” Hazard, who joined Chelsea in 2012, told a television reporter shortly after the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri has said he is happy in his role, in spite of persistent speculation that he is close to a return to Italy.

The Italian is fresh from winning the first major title of his managerial career with the 4-1 win over Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League final match in Baku.

“You know very well that I love the English Premier League, the level of the competition,” Sarri told reporters.

“I am lucky because I am in Chelsea, one of the best clubs in the Premier League, one of the best championships in the world,” he said.

“So, at the moment I am happy but of course I want to know if the club is happy, if we can improve.”

Sarri had secured Chelsea’s place in next year’s UEFA Champions League with a third-place finish in the Premier League.

This came before he led the Londoners to their third European title since 2012 in the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

But many fans made it clear they did not like the Italian’s style after a run of poor performances in his first season at the helm.

This had led to reports that the former Napoli manager was considering a return to Serie A.

Sarri, 60, said he would speak to top officials at Chelsea —- who have made a habit of hiring and firing managers in quick succession —- in the coming days.

“We need to know what the club can do for me. What I can do better for the club,” he said.

“In a couple of days we will decide. But I have a contract. So, at the moment we are talking about nothing.”

Sarri also said he had urged his players to be bolder at halftime in the Europa League final, with the score at 0-0.

That was after failing to make much of a dent in Arsenal in the first 45 minutes.

“At the end of the first half I asked my players to play with more courage,” he said.

“We could risk to lose but I wanted a team with more courage for moving the ball better and I think that the players did it very well in the second half.”

 

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