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Olivier Giroud had the last laugh against Arsenal but the game felt like a pre-season friendly

Chelsea beat Arsenal 4-1 in Baku to win the Europa League on Wednesday night. 

The Gunners started well but fell to pieces in the second half, a brace from Eden Hazard and goals from Olivier Giroud and Pedro sealing the victory for Maurizio Sarri’s men. 

Sportsmail columnist CHRIS SUTTON discusses his biggest takeaways from the final.

Olivier Giroud (centre) is congratulated by his team-mates after opening the scoring

Olivier Giroud (centre) is congratulated by his team-mates after opening the scoring

Olivier is so underrated 

Olivier Giroud couldn’t get a game for Arsenal towards the end of his time there. The truth is he still wouldn’t get a look in with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette there now.

Yet Giroud, along with Eden Hazard, decided the final here. I’ve always admired Giroud as a player. He is under-rated. The Chelsea striker doesn’t have great pace but he’s good in the air, he can finish and his link-up play is good.

We saw that with Hazard. Giroud won the penalty that saw the Belgian score his first. Then Hazard’s second goal came courtesy of a one-two with the Frenchman.

The build-up to the game was all about Arsenal’s front two and Giroud barely got a mention. He showed his worth here. 

Giroud celebrates after giving Chelsea the lead against his former club on Wednesday night

Giroud celebrates after giving Chelsea the lead against his former club on Wednesday night

Baku back-drop falls flat 

This could have been Maurizio Sarri’s last game in charge of Chelsea. It looks like Eden Hazard’s farewell, too.

Arsenal needed to win to clinch a Champions League spot, and Unai Emery’s reputation as a Europa League specialist was on the line.

Yet despite all those narratives, the atmosphere was flat for the first half. It had the feel of a pre-season friendly rather than a European final.

Before kick-off, we had DJ Jonas Blue doing his thing on the pitch while 150 local dancers tried to entertain us. It was UEFA creating an artificial atmosphere. What fans of Arsenal and Chelsea must have been sat at home fuming about most, though, were the empty seats in the stands. They were darted around all over, and that was a disgrace.

Thousands of seats were left empty for the Europa League final at Baku Olympic Stadium

Thousands of seats were left empty for the Europa League final at Baku Olympic Stadium

Emery not under pressure… yet 

What a horrible end to Arsenal’s season. They had everything riding on this game. Unai Emery isn’t under pressure for his job, though. Not yet, anyway. Emery can only be judged once he’s had the next transfer window under his belt. What was surprising, though, was the fact he used three at the back.

Think back to Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Chelsea in January and the Gunners got the better of their opponents with a back four.

Emery changed that on Wednesday and his team were picked apart. This was a stark reminder of how much work they have to do.

They are potent going forward but their defence needs to be sorted out. Emery will hope he can do that in the summer. But the signs are that he may have to be a Europa League specialist for a few more seasons yet.

Unai Emery looks on as Arsenal's season came to a disappointing end against Chelsea

Unai Emery looks on as Arsenal’s season came to a disappointing end against Chelsea 

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7084281/Olivier-Giroud-laugh-against-Arsenal-game-felt-like-pre-season-friendly.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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