Chelsea’s Europa League Final Showdown Could Define Their Future

Chelsea’s Europa League Final Showdown Could Define Their Future  -
A general view shows the Olympic stadium in Baku on June 11, 2015, ahead of the 2015 European Games which will run from June 12 to 28. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea face off against Arsenal in the first of two all-English European finals on Wednesday in Baku. It is a game that could spell the end of one chapter at Stamford Bridge and open a book of new beginnings. Eden Hazard and Maurizio Sarri have both been linked with departures from Chelsea. As a result, Wednesday nights Europa League showdown could be their farewell tour. It could be a defining moment for the future of Chelsea.

A Defining Game For Chelsea

Last Goodbye’s For Hazard and Sarri

Eden Hazard has become a cult figure at Chelsea since his move in 2012. He has overseen one of the most successful periods in the club history and has been an important player in almost every season he has remained at Stamford Bridge.

However, Wednesday could be the last time he is seen in a Chelsea shirt. Reports suggest that the Belgian will be moving to Real Madrid this summer. According to Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard, Madrid president Florentino Perez has described signing Hazard as ‘his dream’ and is confident a move can be agreed.

Hazard may be joined in departing Stamford Bridge by manager Maurizio Sarri. The Italian has had a turbulent time in his first season in charge. This is despite leading Chelsea to two cup finals and a third-place finish in the Premier League. However, a downturn in form and a string of bad performance has caused speculation over his job.

Nonetheless, he has already been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge. Sarri has been linked to the vacant Juventus job. According to the Daily Mail, the Italian has already agreed a deal to take over.

Chelsea’s Europa League so Far

Chelsea’s Europa League campaign has been relatively easy so far. They overcame their group undefeated, drawing just one game and conceded just three goals.

They also made light work of their first three knockout games, once more conceding just the two goals in six matches.

It was up against Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final that they first encountered difficulties. Chelsea could not beat their German opposition over two legs. However, they eventually triumphed on penalties, thus leading them to the Europa League final.

Chelsea Press Conference

Maurizio Sarri spoke to the press in his usual pre-match routine. He confirmed speculation that midfielder N’Golo Kante is in doubt for the final. He said: “He had a little problem in his knee on Saturday. We are trying. It is not serious, but it is the problem of three or four days. We will try, but right now we don’t know.”

Elsewhere, Sarri tried to downplay speculation on his future, saying: “Today I need to speak only about the final. My players need me only to speak about the final.”

The Italian refused to give away any hints about who may start in the final tomorrow. Speaking about Olivier Giroud, he said: “I need to consider him, first of all. He has played very well in the Europa League and scored a lot of goals. I have to decide tomorrow.”