Nigerian striker Alex Iwobi scored a consolation goal for Arsenal in the Europa League final as their lost 4-1 to their London rivals Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Iwobi scored in the 69th minute just minutes after coming on for midfielder Lucas Torreira to make the scores 3-1 after Chelsea had found the net 3 times in the second half.
The goal had given the gunners some hope of a comeback before Hazzard added the fourth in the 72nd minute to put the game beyond reach for the north Londoners.
Another Gunners’ African star Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who finished joint top scorer in the Premier League failed to make an impact in the game after missing several chances to rescue the Gunners.
Victory saw Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri lift his first trophy as a football manager and also meant that the Gunners will miss out on next season’s Champions League.
The long distance from UK to Baku saw only about 5,000 fans from both sides able to make it to the final’s venue which was far away from full.
Arsenal’s former striker Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when he expertly headed Emerson Palmieri’s cross in the bottom corner past Petr Cech.
Pedro added the second at an hour mark when he swept home Eden Hazzard’s cross to pile more pressure on the Gunners. Hazard made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Ainsley Maitland-Niles fouled Giroud in the box.
Iwobi restored some hopes for a comeback among Arsenal fans when he curled home a powerful volley from the edge of the box.
Hazard ensure Iwobi’s goal didn’t count when he fired Chelsea’s fourth after exchanging brilliant passes with Giroud to secure Chelsea’s victory.
The victory saw Chelsea take their tally to five European trophies including one Champions League, two EUROPA Leagues and two Cup Winners Cups while their London rivals remain with one Cup Winners Cup which they won in 1994.
Chelsea will count their season a success after finishing with silverware and having secure third spot in the Premier League in Sarri’s first season at the bridge. They will now concentrate on sorting out the futures of Hazard and Sarri who are linked to Real Madrid and Juventus respectively.
Arsenal now faces another season in the Europa League for a third consecutive year having failed to win neither the Europa trophy nor finishing in the top four in the Premier League to secure Champions League football next season.
The Gunners will greatly regret not seizing the chance they had to finish among the top four after winning just one game in the last Premier League games.
Most of the gunners’ problems this season have appeared at the back and this was evident in Baku when their backline once again failed to deal with Chelsea’s attacking threat.
They head into a busy summer with a squad overhaul on the tips of coach Unai Emery who faces a difficult task of finding the right defenders for the club.
Three players have already including Cech, Ramsey and Welbeck have already left the Emirates stadium and Emery will be working hard to replace them.
There are also some expected departures from the club with the likes of Ozil, Mkhitariyan, Mustafi, Elneny, Monreal and Captain Koscielny among those expected to depart the club.