The Europa League final takes place on Wednesday night, pitting London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea against each other in an opportunity for silverware. For the Blues, this represents an opportunity to win the competition for the second time in six years while for Arsenal, lifting the competition would also guarantee a spot in next season’s Champions League. In what promises to be a closely fought encounter, we take a look at the best first goalscorer bets for the occasion.
There are two standout attacking talents on the pitch: Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard – who is rumoured to be playing his final game for the club ahead of a summer move to Real Madrid – and star Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese striker has already netted a devastating 31 goals across all competitions this season, including eight in the Europa League. The 29-year-old has scored seven goals across his last four appearances including four across the two legs of the semi-final against Valencia. The former Borussia Dortmund hitman is at 4/1 to open the scoring in the Baku final.
Hazard is also available at 4/1 to break the deadlock in this encounter but it must be remembered that the Belgian has not found the net in any of his last nine appearances. He is however often the man for the big occasion and Arsenal under Unai Emery have a tendency of starting matches slowly, before making a tactical switch later to reverse the momentum of the game.
Another alternative is Hazard’s teammate Gonzalo Higuain, who is likely to start as the central striker. However, the Argentine has not found form at all since his January switch to Stamford Bridge from Milan and indeed he has only netted three times in his last 23 appearances – against Fulham, Burnley and Watford. He is at 5/1 to open the scoring in the Europa League final but his form suggests this may not be a sound bet.
Alexandre Lacazette has also his 19 goals this campaign including three across the semi-final victory over Valencia and scoring against Chelsea earlier in the campaign. He is priced at an attractive 5/1 to open the scoring in this game and continue his fine form.
Depending upon Maurizio Sarri’s selection for Chelsea, these players may prove key starters or find themselves on the bench. Pedro Rodriguez – who opened the scoring in the league meeting at Stamford Bridge last August – is at 6/1 while Willian, who usually produces in European games, is at 17/2 to break the deadlock.
For Arsenal, two outside bets are also worth a look – playmaker Mesut Ozil comes in at 10/1 to get the first goal of this game while Nigerian forward Alex Iwobi has been priced at 16/1. This game is bound to have goals and whoever breaks the deadlock should hold massive significance in relation to the trophy’s destination.