2018-2019 Europa League: Ambling to Azerbaijan

Zososoxfan

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UEFA is dumb. Europa is an awesome product and Europa clubs should be besides themselves that their matches are hardly televised. There are tons of potential fans here. The EPL woke up to that, Bundesliga probably just doesn't understand the problems that Fox presents, and it will be interesting to see what happens to La Liga and Ligue 1 the next time their contracts are up.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Arsenal score away at Napoli to make it 1-0 and 3-0 on aggregate. Pretty much seals their passage into the semi-finals to face Valencia.

Chelsea up 5-1 on aggregate and will face Frankfurt or Benfica winner. Benfica currently up 4-3 on aggregate, but with away goals, Frankfurt only needs one more to be in the advancing position.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Fast action in the Europa league today.

Arsenal already up 2-1 after 35 minutes against Valencia and in a surprise, Frankfurt is actually up 1-0 over Chelsea.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Arsenal gets a late goal from Aubameyang to put them in a comfortable position up 3-1 heading into the second leg. Meanwhile Chelsea drew 1-1 with Frankfurt.

Should be a pretty comfortable position for Arsenal who looked like they easily could have put a few more in and outside of a few good early stops from Cech weren't threatened too much by Valencia.
 

mikeford

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Arsenal gets a late goal from Aubameyang to put them in a comfortable position up 3-1 heading into the second leg. Meanwhile Chelsea drew 1-1 with Frankfurt.

Should be a pretty comfortable position for Arsenal who looked like they easily could have put a few more in and outside of a few good early stops from Cech weren't threatened too much by Valencia.
Arsenal's away form this season is absolute PISS so that 3rd goal is humongous. They will likely need a few more in Spain to ice this.
 

mikeford

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Well Arsenal did just win in Naples, which doesn’t happen often.
Arsenal's away form since December:

Lost vs:
Southampton
Liverpool
West Ham
Man City
BATE
Rennes
Everton
Wolves
Leicester

Drew vs:
Man Utd
Brighton


Won vs:
Blackpool
Huddersfield
Watford
Napoli
 

The Gray Eagle

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Welp, it took about 10 minutes for Arsenal to already concede one, and there could have been more than one.

They are going to blow this.

LOL, just as I posted this Valencia nearly got another, but then Aubaumayeng scored!
I will stick with this theme though: they are still going to blow this.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Welp, it took about 10 minutes for Arsenal to already concede one, and there could have been more than one.

They are going to blow this.

LOL, just as I posted this Valencia nearly got another, but then Aubaumayeng scored!
I will stick with this theme though: they are still going to blow this.
Didn't realize mikeford has two handles.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Arsenal now up 5-2 with 2 away goals, so Valencia needs 4 in the final 40 minutes to advance.

Meanwhile Frankfurt has tied up Chelsea 1-1 and 2-2 on aggregate, so they're completely square right now with away goals.
 

Joe D Reid

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I pity whoever is in charge of Arsenal's PR/events team if Arsenal win the EL and Tottenham win the CL. Reeeeaaaaally tough to publicly celebrate without eating a massive retaliatory dunking online.
 

coremiller

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With both English sides advancing, of the 7 English teams in European competition this season, the only ones to get knocked out by non-English sides will have been Man Utd, who lost to Barcelona in the CL QFs, and Burnley, who lost to Olympiakos in the EL qualifying rounds.
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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I hope Arsenal wins 5-0 and they walk right off the pitch, don't accept the cup and tell them to mail it to them.

edit: even better idea, would take more balls than Kroenke has ever seen, nevermind possessed, but (1) refuse to play the match, concede the title to Chelsea, (2) invite Chelsea to put the title at risk in a match at Wembley, financials split 50-50, (3) win the match, and then the various CAS appeals that would be required to take the UCL slot.

Anyway, worst part of being a fan:

MLB: pace-of-play, inconsistent ball/strike calls
NBA: superstar officiating, "drawing" fouls
NFL: militaristic authoritarian management, CTE
NHL: moron at the top, resulting moronic rules
MLS: talent levels, lack of pro/rel, teams' shaky financials & management
UEFA leagues: permanent unbreakable oligopoly; legendarily corrupt leadership
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Today's the big day in Baku.

Arsenal vs Chelsea at 11PM local time in Azerbaijan. (3PM East Coast) Game will be shown on TNT.

Mkhitaryan has stayed behind as UEFA was unwilling to guarantee his safety. Police are checking for and stopping fans with Mkhitaryan jerseys around the stadium. A win today is far bigger for the Gunners than Chelsea as it gets them into the millions that come with a Champions League spot, Chelsea having already qualified via their 3rd place finish.

I think there's a few big lineup questions for Arsenal:
  • Will Emery put in Leno in the final after Cech has played the entire Europa league?
  • Which two of Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi will Emery use to try to contain Hazard?
  • Who plays out on the wide on the right side of the midfield? I position Mkhi very likely would have started or been one of the first subs in.
I think the lineup will be as follows:

----------------Lacazette--------------------
Auba------------Ozil---------------Iwobi
---------Torreira--------Xhaka------------
Monreal----Mustafi-----Koscielny----Maitland-Niles
------------------Leno------------------------
 

PedroSpecialK

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Selfishly, it's pretty cool / surreal that a cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea is being played ~250 miles from Tabriz, home of the legendary Tractor Sazi FC (recently managed by John Toshack, with former Celtic striker Anthony Stokes still banging in goals).

But yeah, the fact that it's a European Cup final makes no sense, and is a shit situation for both Arsenal / Chelsea supporters. Azerbaijan as a football federation has no business being in UEFA, but money talks - especially within UEFA.
 

shaggydog2000

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Not that this is even in the top 15 complaints, but shouldn't the Europa League final be in, you know, Europe?
Or maybe a country that isn't in a dispute with another UEFA member and currently not allowing people from that member nation into their country? Supposedly they've denied fans of Armenian descent from entering the country (not just Armenian citizens), and have been detaining people with Mikhitaryan jerseys and confiscating them. The jerseys, not the people.
 

67YAZ

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Kante gets the start after so much talk about his knee. And Cech gets the nod in goal.
 

DrewDawg

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So refresh my memory--if Arsenal wins, is someone getting booted from a Champions League spot?

EDIT: Answered my own question--if Chelsea wins, Lyon moves to group stage and not qualifying round.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Imagine paying for front row seats only to be like 40 yards from the nearest touchline... this stadium makes Italian grounds seem homey
 

coremiller

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Were there European Cup finals in the East Bloc prior to the late 80s? Was it easy for supporters to get to those games if so?
Nope. Belgrade hosted a European Cup final in 1973, but Yugoslavia, while Communist under Tito, was not part of the Soviet bloc. No Eastern bloc country hosted a Cup Winners Cup Final either.

The UEFA Cup final was played as a two-legged home-and-home tie. By my quick checking only one Eastern Bloc team made the final pre-1989: Fehérvár from Hungary in 1985. They hosted a leg.
 

fletcherpost

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Seriously I don’t think I have seen a spectator yet!
It makes West Ham's ground seem purpose built. It's a shame that venues like this get to hold such finals. At least pick a ground with some atmosphere.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Big yikes on that Maitland-Niles challenge... even without Mustafi the Arsenal backline just isn't up for it.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Big yikes on that Maitland-Niles challenge... even without Mustafi the Arsenal backline just isn't up for it.
I've been saying this all season. Unless an Arsenal striker produces a wonder-moment there's nothing special about this team.

Live edit: like that.