Our Europa League campaign ended in disappointment on Wednesday night as we were beaten by Chelsea in the final in Baku.
The game got off to a cagey start, not helped by the sedate atmosphere inside the Olympic Stadium, and it was not until the 18th minute that it burst into life.
It came as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cushioned a header to play Alex Lacazette in on goal, and the French striker touched the ball past Kepa before going down in the area. Penalty? No. VAR review? Also, surprisingly, no.
We had an encouraging spell midway through the first period, with Kepa once again denying Lacazette who had been played through by Torreira, before Granit Xhaka arrowed a fierce drive narrowly over from 25 yards.
But Chelsea were a threat themselves and Petr Cech, in the final game of a legendary career, was soon called into action to push away an Emerson drive and would later repeat the trick to deny Olivier Giroud.
But he could not keep out the former Gunner’s diving header at the start of the second half that gave Chelsea the lead and put us right up against it.
Our task became even greater when Pedro extended the Blues’ advantage on the hour mark, and four minutes later they made it three as Hazard converted from the spot.
Alex Iwobi gave us a sliver of hope after blasting in a superb volley from the edge of the area, but moments later Hazard added a fourth for Chelsea.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, and it rounded off a deeply disappointing evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED
We will report back for pre-season in July, before we head to the United States on tour where we will play matches in Denver, Los Angeles, Charlotte and Washington DC.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.