Super Eagles Alex Iwobi scored with a powerful first-time strike last night for Arsenal but it was not enough as Chelsea hammered the Gunners 4-1 to claim the Europa League trophy in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Iwobi who came on for Lucas Torreira in the 66th was an instant hit. Arsenal’s ambition of winning the trophy to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League failed to materialize.
Eden Hazard scored two goals and made another assist to give the Blues boss Maurizio Sarri the first trophy of his managerial career and ensured their London rivals miss out on next season’s Champions League.
With only about 5,000 fans from both sides able to make it to Azerbaijan, there was an eerie atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, which appeared less than half full.
That was the surreal setting for a match played 2,500 miles away from both teams’ home, and the game itself was devoid of action before the break before bursting into life early in the second half.
Former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock when he met Emerson’s clipped cross with a powerful near-post header that zipped past Petr Cech.
Cech, also facing his old side and playing the final match of his career, could do nothing about Chelsea’s second goal either, with Pedro sweeping home a Hazard cross.
Hazard made it 3-0 from the penalty spot soon after, sending Cech the wrong way after Ainsley Maitland-Niles fouled Giroud.
Substitute Iwobi briefly gave Arsenal hope with a powerful first-time strike moments after coming on.
But Hazard quickly made sure of victory, playing a one-two with Giroud and firing home Chelsea’s fourth goal.
The Belgium forward said after the game it was likely to be his “goodbye” to the club as he continues to be linked to Real Madrid.