However, as a silver lining, the Gunners qualified for the Europa League final after convincingly defeating the likes of Napoli and Valencia. The North Londoners will be facing local rivals Chelsea who managed a miraculous return to the top-four after looking likely to finish 6th.
Though in context with the recent results Emery has fetched, returning from Baku with a piece of silverware seems very unlikely.
Making matters worse, Arsenal will not have their squad at full strength as injuries have sidelined important players. 4 players, including Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerín and Rob Holding, are confirmed to miss what could be the club’s biggest fixture since the 2006 Champions League final.
Holding, Bellerín and Welbeck suffered long-term ligament injuries which would only see them make another appearance next term. Ramsey picked up a hamstring injury whilst playing an instrumental role over both legs in the triumph over Napoli.
The Welshman has been a great performer during this campaign and his knock will see his side lose strength considerably. Which also begs the question why he’s being let go on a free in the first place.
Making matters worse, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is very unlikely to even make the trip to the final due to political conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, the gaffer seems to be viewing the situation with an optimistic perspective.
“We’ll prepare for it like the international break. We’ll have two days off, we need the first week not thinking about the final,” said the Spaniard during a post-match interview after his side’s victory at Turf Moor [via Football.London].
The former Sevilla boss is a specialist in the competition, winning the trophy three years running with Sevilla. Hopefully, he knows what he’s doing.
On the other hand, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Özil and Sokratis Paspastathopoulos are all said to be fit and ready to knock their bitter rivals over for what seems like the Champions League qualification that comes with the trophy than the trophy itself.
Maurizio Sarri and Emery will be locking horns yet again in Azerbaijan on the 30th of May.
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