Arsenal’s Nigerian forward Alex Iwobi scored but it was a mere consolation as Chelsea produced a dominant display to overwhelm the Gunners 4-1 and claim a second Europa League title at the Baku Olympic Stadium.
A brace from the mercurial Eden Hazard and further strikes by Olivier Giroud and Pedro Rodriguez sealed an emphatic win for the Blues in Azerbaijan.
Both sides had chances in the first half but failed to break the deadlock. However, it was the Blues who looked more likely to open score and they did, just four minutes after the break, when Giroud, an ex-Arsenal striker met Emerson’s cross from the left inside the box with his head – beating Laurent Koscielny’s tackle – past ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
In the 60th minute,Chelsea won the ball in midfield, after Ainsley Maitland-Niles lost the ball, and pushed through Hazard and Mateo Kovacic, who found Hazard on the overlap. Hazard picked Pedro out in the area and the Spaniard finished well past Cech.
Four minutes later, Chelsea were handed a penalty after Maitland-Niles clattered Giroud in the box. Hazard coolly slotted from the box.
Iwobi, who came on for a tearful Lucas Torreira in the 66th minute, gave the Gunners hope of an unlikely comeback when he whipped in a shot from outside the box barely three minutes on the pitch. But that was dashed, when Hazard grabbed his second goal of the encounter, and Chelsea’s fourth, in the 72nd minute.
The Belgian sprinted away from Matteo Guendouzi, found Giroud in the box, who in turn chipped a beautiful pass back to Hazard, who waited for the ball to drop, before smashing it in on his left foot.
Both sides fluffed further chances with best player of the game, Hazard, denied a hat-trick by Cech in the closing stages of the encounter.
Joseph Willock, on for the ineffective Mezut Ozil, first had his shot blocked by David Luiz in the 79th minute before the 19-year-old missed a glaring chance when he should have scored five minutes later.
The defeat ended Arsenal’s dream of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season, and they will now have to contend with the Europa League for a second consecutive season