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Chelsea and Arsenal will face each other in the Europa League final on May 29, and it’s a huge game for both sides, as the two London sides seek to end the season with a trophy, and for Arsenal it represents a great opportunity to enter the Champions League next season.
Three important Chelsea players won’t feature in this game due to injury, as Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have all seen their season end due to injuries.
The trio suffered the injuries only recently, with Rudiger having done a surgery to his left knee while Chelsea academy graduates Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi both sustained Achilles tendon injuries. Loftus-Cheek suffered his injury in the charity game against MLS side New England Revolution, one that infuriated Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea defender David Luiz has admitted he felt sad for the three of them as they won’t take part in the final, most particularly for 23-year-old Loftus-Cheek (out for four to six months) and 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi (expected to be out for a similar timeframe) because the injuries they sustained came at the worst possible time in their careers.
Speaking to Standard Sport at Cobham, Luiz said: “I’m so sad for Callum and Ruben because they are in the best moments of their careers and they have injuries.
“I’m sad also for ‘Toni Rudiger because he’s injured and I know how much he wants to play a final, but it’s a different moment of his career than the other two so I just wish for the three of them to be good soon – we need them.
“I am comfortable and happy with my team because my team has qualities enough to be there and try and win the final.”
Luiz refused to join in the criticisms aimed at UEFA for the choice of Baku for the Europa League final, and the Brazilian, who visited the city when Chelsea played Qarabag in the Champions League group stages last season, said: “I had the opportunity to be there in Azerbaijan, it’s a nice country, [it was] nice to be there playing against Qarabag and we have to respect the decisions.
“I am just here to be a player, not here to be here for something else. We will try to do our best and we have been fighting to be there since the start of the competition I wish to be in Baku so I want to be there now!”