For the first time in European history, the four teams in the finals of both the UEFA Europa League and Champions League come from a single domestic competition, as TalkSport recounts. That would be England’s Premier League, whose teams have dominated the competitions. And while Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur meet for the Champions League trophy on Saturday, Chelsea and Arsenal start off the all-England festivities on Wednesday in the Europa League final, a London derby that will take place about 2,500 miles from the English capital, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The game appears to mean much more to the Gunners than to their London rivals, with the club hoping to return to the Champions League — a prize that goes to the Europa League winner — as well as to break a 25-year drought when it comes to winning European titles, according to the BBC. The last European trophy won by the club came in 1994, in the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup. But first-year Arsenal Manager Unai Emery has won the Europa League three times with Spanish club Sevilla.
Chelsea, on the other hand, has already qualified for next season’s Champions League through a third-place finish on the Premier League table, per Sky Sports, and last won a European trophy in 2013 when they defeated Benfica to win the Europa League. Chelsea also won the Champions League the year before that.
Even though Arsenal would appear to have the greater motivation to win Wednesday’s final, oddsmakers have installed Chelsea as the betting favorite, according to SB Nation. The Blues are listed as -150 favorite, meaning that betters must wager $1.50 to win one dollar.
As underdogs, Arsenal are listed at +125, on the sites inventoried by Oddsshark. That means a wager of one dollar would win $1.25 if Arsenal take the trophy.
The over-under on total goals is set at 2.5, according to SB Nation.
In injury news, both teams will be missing significant players, according to UEFA.com. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will both miss out due to nagging Achilles injuries, while German defender Antonio Rüdiger sits with a knee injury. N’Golo Kante and veteran Gary Cahill are both listed as doubtful.
On the Arsenal side, midfielder Aaron Ramsey is out with a hamstring pull, missing what would be his final and perhaps most important game at Arsenal before moving to Italian champions Juventus over the summer, according to The Guardian. Denis Suarez, Hector Bellerín, Rob Holding, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will all sit out with various ailments. Veteran striker Danny Welbeck is doubtful with an ankle strain.