Europa League

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The 2 Robbies: Chelsea Win Europa League; Welcome Back, Aston Villa

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle recap Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final and what the future holds for both clubs moving forward (0:30). Plus, Aston Villa is back in the Premier League after their win over Derby County (31:30) and Sunderland suffer another disappointment as they go down to Charlton Athletic in the League One Play-off (42:55). Finally, the chaps preview the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur (46:00), and review some of the other headlines circling around the football world (1:02:05).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

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Sarri: ‘I deserve to stay at Chelsea’ after successful first season

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His opinion isn’t the one that ultimately matters in making the final decision over who’ll be manager of Chelsea come August, but Maurizio Sarri believes he “deserves to stay at Chelsea” after completing his first season at the club with a triumph in the Europa League final.

[ MORE: Hazard: “I think it is goodbye, but you never know” ]

Not only did Sarri lead the Blues to a bit of European glory, but he also guided them to a third-place finish in the Premier League as well as an appearance in the League Cup final. Given the in-fighting reportedly going on around the club this season, Sarri has certainly done enough to return for a second season.

“At the end, we got the Champions League [place] through the Premier League, we played the final in the League Cup, we qualified [for that final with wins en route] against Liverpool and Tottenham, the finalists of the Champions League, and lost on penalties to Manchester City.”

[ MORE: Luiz says “Sarri deserves this” as uncertain future turns to present ]

The final decision, of course, belongs to owner Roman Abramovich, and Sarri knows it — quotes from the BBC:

“I need to talk to the club and make sure I know what I can do for Chelsea, and what Chelsea can do for me. I love the Premier League and I’m lucky I’m at Chelsea, but at the end of each season you have to sit down and talk.

“In my opinion, I deserve to stay at Chelsea, but my opinion is not enough.”

Luiz says ‘Sarri deserves this’ as uncertain future turns to present

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Maurizio Sarri‘s first season as Chelsea manager — and his first in the Premier League — is now officially complete, with a third-place league finish and the Europa League trophy.

[ MORE: Hazard: “I think it is goodbye, but you never know” ]

Wednesday’s triumph in the UEL final saw Sarri claim the first winner’s medal of his 30-year managerial career. It was a heartwarming sight to behold.

No one knows — not even Sarri himself — if there will be a second season for the Italian in west London. Not only did Sarri have a testy relationship with the club’s fans, but also with owner Roman Abramovich, leading to months of speculation that Sarri could be fired at any moment.

If the decision was to be left up to Sarri’s players, it sounds like he’d be the one roaming the sideline at Stamford Bridge come August. David Luiz, one of the most tenured players at the club (seven seasons over two different spells), was hugely complimentary of Sarri after the game and heaped loads of praise upon the 60-year-old — quotes from the BBC:

“We had some ups and downs but we have improved a lot and learned a lot this season. We finished well and won a trophy. It is my third title in Europe with Chelsea, they believe in my game. Sarri is a great guy, a great coach and he deserves this.

“The manager did amazing for this club. I don’t know about speculation, now is the time to talk about the title.”

[ MORE: Chelsea win Europa League after Arsenal capitulate (video) ]

With Eden Hazard seemingly already out the door, things could be looking drastically different at the start of next season. Chelsea won’t be the top job with a vacancy this summer, though, as whoever’s in charge — Sarri or otherwise — will be forced to operate under a two-window transfer ban.

Chelsea win Europa League after Arsenal capitulate (video)

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Chelsea are champions of the Europa League after thumping Arsenal, who hit the self-destruct button ahead of an ultimately decisive 20-minute period to begin the second half, thus kissing goodbye their last remaining chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

[ MORE: Sepp Blatter wants to sue Gianni Infantino ]

The final score in Baku, Azerbaijan: 4-1.

Things didn’t start out all bad for Arsenal, though. The Gunners had a claim for a penalty kick denied in the 18th minute, when Alexandre Lacazette was played in behind the Chelsea backline. Arrizabalaga came rushing out and arrived just after Lacazette scooted the ball out of reach. The contact between goalkeeper and forward was minimal, if any at all, but that didn’t stop Lacazette from going to ground in dramatic fashion. With video review in play for the final, no second viewing was recommended.

Granit Xhaka was next to go agonizingly close for Arsenal, but the 20-yard screamer he struck in the 28th minute grazed the top of the crossbar and would have likely been covered and pushed over by Arrizabalaga had it been on target.

Emerson unleashed a well-hit strike right in the chest of Petr Cech, playing in the final game of his glorious career, in the 33rd minute, followed six minutes later by a decent chance for Olivier Giroud, which proved to be Chelsea’s best of the first half. The former Arsenal man forced Cech to make a full-stretch save with his left hand, though he never appeared to be scrambling to cover his far post.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Sadio Mane plays down Real Madrid links ]

Chelsea needed just five second-half minutes to break the deadlock, though, as Giroud got his head on the end of Emerson’s cross at the near post and and redirected the ball, with power, past Cech and snuck it just inside the woodwork. The 32-year-old Frenchman opted for a largely subdued celebration against his club of five and a half seasons.

Pedro made it 2-0 exactly 10 minutes later, when Eden Hazard sprang to life for the first time in the game. The Belgian, perhaps playing his final game for the club, broke down the left side of Arsenal’s penalty area before cutting the ball back to Pedro near the penalty spot. The Spaniard swept the ball just inside the far post.

The meltdown was complete on 64 minutes, when Ainsley Maitland-Niles barged through the back of Giroud just inside the box. Hazard stepped to the penalty spot, sent Cech one direction and rolled the ball over the line the other way.

Alex Iwobi pulled the goal back for Arsenal — far and away the greatest moment of quality in the game (WATCH HERE) — just four minutes later, the Nigerian’s right-footed volley proved powerless in changing the course of the game, because Hazard struck again three minutes later.

AT THE HALF: Chelsea, Arsenal level in Europa League final

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Arsenal have been the side on the front foot for the vast majority of Wednesday’s Europa League final, but neither the Gunners nor Chelsea were able to unlock the other during a scoreless first half in Baku, Azerbaijan.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Europa League final ]

Through 45 minutes, Chelsea have had more possession (56 percent) but done very little with it, and Arsenal were only marginally more dangerous on the counter-attack. And yet, Cheslea have narrowly out-shot Arsenal by a margin of 5-4 (2-0 on target).

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the second half, and check back on PST for a full recap and reaction from both sides after the final whistle.