It’s no surprise to learn Chelsea and Arsenal were Europa League favourites from the start of the season. The Blues traded at 5/1, with Arsenal just behind at 7/1 before the competition proper got underway. Nine months later the two clubs will contest the final, many, many miles from London.
What do the camel coats say bout the final? Well, Chelsea are favourites, with 888sport citing Sarri’s men as 4/6 to lift the trophy and 13/10 to the job in 90 minutes. Arsenal, meanwhile, are 5/4 to be the pride of Baku on the night and a pretty big 11/5 to win in normal time. The draw is priced at 12/5.
Chelsea look too short from a betting perspective
While it’s difficult to be truly objective, those prices feel a little wrong. Quoting at Arsenal at 11/5 to win looks too long for two evenly matched teams. Chelsea won two of the last 10 clashes with Arsenal, whereas the Gunners won five. Yes, form away from the Emirates has been woeful this season, but Chelsea don’t exactly travel well either: their Premier League form against clubs in the top eight away from Stamford Bridge this season reads as follows: Played 7, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 6. Let’s call that what it is – rubbish.
In the last 10 meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal, six featured three or more goals. Does that mean the over 2.5 goals – you can use a bet calculator to see odds for combined markets – quote of even money is statistically an astute bet? On one hand, it’s normal to assume that major finals can be quite cagey, i.e. low scoring (under 2.5 goals is available at 4/6). Yet, five of the last seven Europa League Finals have yielded more than three goals in normal time, as have four of the last seven Champions League Finals. For that matter, combing Arsenal to win in 90 minutes and over 2.5 goals pays a healthy 17/4 with 888sport.
Hazard or Aubameyang backed to score first
Our old friend Oliver Giroud is the top scorer in the Europa League this season with 10, but he is not top of the list to open the scoring. That ‘honour’ is shared jointly by Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with odds of 24/5. The most ‘likely’ correct score according to the number crunchers is 1-1, cited at 27/5, whereas a 4-3 Arsenal victory in the most unforgettable final in history comes in at 140/1.
There are obviously tonnes of other markets available, but the above captures the main areas punters will be looking at. None of it is supposed to suggest Arsenal will breeze through the final. Chelsea are favourites for a reason, most notably the fact that they are looking down upon Arsenal in the Premier League table. Chelsea have also better overall form than the Gunners in recent weeks.
Yet, Arsenal fans should nevertheless be full of confidence, albeit a little weary, if they make the long trip to Azerbaijan. Both sides are in a phase of transition and both sides will hope to improve next season. Chelsea already booked their place in the Champions League next season, so let’s hope that Arsenal can book their place too. To be frank, it looks like a toss-up, but that shouldn’t be viewed as a negative.