Good spirits (until the end for Chelsea, at least). Warm weather. Mosquitoes. Baku.
Wednesday’s Europa League final, beyond the pre-match controversy and the hours of travel, is just a game of football. A game between two London rivals, two of the best teams in Europe – using this loosely – and a host of the game’s household names.
There’s Eden Hazard, Alexandre Lacazette, N’Golo Kante (maybe, more on that soon), Petr Cech’s possibly playing his last professional game…even Danny Welbeck was there smiling at a potential place on the bench.
90min’s Ben Haines, Tommy Milanese and I, Scott Saunders, are lucky enough to be on hand in Baku for all the latest, and here’s a light-hearted look at how training went down in Azerbaijan one day out from the first of two all-English European finals this week…
N’Golo Kante’s Night Went Short…
First up, Chelsea. And we might as well bring you the latest on the darling Frenchman. He’s been struggling with a knee injury over the last few days and Maurizio Sarri rated him at 50/50 to feature in the match prior to training.
Kante trained alone. He jogged a little bit, did some stretching, played a little Rondo. But he left the pitch a full 30 minutes before the rest. No indicators on his injury yet, but you wonder what there is to read into that.
We May Have Had a Look Into Sarri’s Starting Lineup, Y’Know
An interesting one.
David Luiz spent some time pinging long balls to Emerson Palmieri down the left flank (not Marcos Alonso), and they were among a number of “unbibbed” players who you just know will definitely get the nod.
Willian and Hazard lined up alongside Olivier Giroud in the front three, while Gonzalo Higuain, stood there, with his bib on, hitting the ball off target.
David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain’s Bust Up, and Sarri’s Hat Throwing, Got Caught by the Cameras
Ok, he didn’t miss every one, but don’t let that stand in the way of a fun narrative.
That fun narrative? Well, it ceased at the end of the session for Chelsea. Higuain – possibly annoyed by having to wear a bib or, as mentioned, missing the target a lot – and David Luiz had a quite the tiff. Maurizio was not impressed.
It’s all on video below. Not what you want really…
‘I love all my players.’
Sees Luiz and Higuain tussle, throws cap, walks off livid.
Last thing he needs.
— Ben Haines (@benhainess) May 28, 2019
Laca Needs More Practice on Those Penalties
Both teams practiced penalties. It could go that far tomorrow, but Arsenal’s usually stone-cold Alexandre Lacazette can’t afford to repeat this on the big stage…
Elneny & Bellerin Have a Future Career in Mind?
Good to know that when Mohamed Elneny and Hector Bellerin say goodbye to their days on the pitch, there’s another career path waiting for them to tread down that they’re absolute naturals at.
Photography? Well, maybe not for Elneny, who doesn’t know which way to hold a camera…
We’re just one day away now. Stick with us at 90min for live coverage of the Europa and Champions League finals over the coming days.