UEFA have announced their best 18-man squad from the 2018/19 Europa League campaign – and the list features eight Chelsea players and three Arsenal stars.
The two London giants contested this season’s final in Baku, with Maurizio Sarri’s men running out 4-1 winners against Unai Emery’s side, earning the Blues’ second Europa League title in six years and denying the Gunners the chance of playing Champions League football next term.
4 – Arsenal are the first team to concede four goals in a Europa League/UEFA Cup final since Middlesbrough lost 4-0 to Sevilla in the 2006 UEFA Cup final. Collapse.
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Olivier Giroud finished as top scorer of this season’s tournament with 11 goals, including the opening strike for Chelsea in their win in Baku, and the Frenchman leads the eight Blues stars to earn their place in the selected 18-man squad, as revealed via UEFA’s official website.
Giroud was accompanied by Eden Hazard in attack in the final, and the Belgian hit a decisive brace against Arsenal, as well as Pedro who scored the second for his side, and both attackers are also featured on the list along with Giroud.
Midfield star N’Golo Kante was a serious fitness doubt heading into the showpiece event on Wednesday after suffering a knee problem in training in the days before the game, but the Frenchman overcame the injury to feature for the full 90 minutes, and also made UEFA’s list.
Jorginho has drawn a lot of criticism during his first season in the Premier League after arriving from Napoli last summer with Maurizio Sarri, but the midfielder was a key performer in the Blues’ Europa League run and is also featured on the 18-man selection.
Fellow big-money summer signing Kepa Arrizabalaga has also made the cut, having kept a tournament-best 13 clean sheets, whilst defenders David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta also feature on the list after effectively stifling Arsenal’s prolific attacking stars in Baku.
Meanwhile, the Gunners’ impressive run to the final saw them overcome the likes of Napoli and Valencia en route to the final, and their performances have not gone unnoticed by UEFA.
Defenders Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac were virtual ever-presents in Emery’s side in the latter stages of the competition, and both are included in the 18-man selection, along with star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was the third top scorer in the tournament.
Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt emerged as the surprise package of this season’s Europa League, and their run to the semi-finals has seen five players from the Bundesliga side named on the list, including Real Madrid-bound striker Luka Jovic, along with two Benfica players.