Arsenal, Chelsea make it all-London final

BRILLIANT SHOW: Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring against Valencia on Thursday. Reuters

Arsenal will play Chelsea in the Europa League final after a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hat-trick ended Valencia's hopes of another dramatic European comeback on Thursday.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Valencia made the perfect start at Mestalla when Kevin Gameiro finished at the back post but goals from Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette left the home side needing four in 40 minutes.

Gameiro scored again, sparking hopes of a revival to trump even the efforts of Liverpool and Tottenham this week, before Aubameyang hit his second and then completed a brilliant hat-trick to seal a 4-2 win, 7-3 on aggregate.

There will be a London derby for the final in Baku on May 29 and, for the first time in history, four English teams competing in both the Champions League and Europa League finals, with Liverpool and Spurs meeting in Madrid three days later.

It also keeps alive Arsenal's chance of securing a place in the Champions League next season and, realistically, their last chance, given they need to overturn three points and an eight-goal swing on Tottenham in the Premier League this weekend.

"We couldn't get the Champions League through the league, but this is another way," said Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

Valencia had been relying on the Europa League for Champions League qualification too, given they sit three points behind Getafe, who face a demoralised Barcelona on Sunday, with two games left in La Liga.

But over the two legs, Marcelino's side could have few complaints. They were second best at Emirates Stadium and defensively frantic here.

Arsenal, usually so fragile away from home, picked them off with ease as Aubameyang and Lacazette, boasting 48 goals between them this season, proved themselves to be a first-class attack in a second-tier competition.

Chelsea hold nerve 

Kepa Arrizabalaga was Chelsea's hero as the Spanish goalkeeper sent his side to the Europa League final with two penalty saves in a dramatic 4-3 shoot-out win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Chelsea took the lead in the semifinal second leg thanks to Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first-half strike at Stamford Bridge.

But Luka Jovic equalised soon after the interval as a tense clash finished 1-1 after extra time and 2-2 on aggregate.

Cesar Azpilicueta's penalty was saved by Kevin Trapp in the shoot-out, but Kepa kept out Martin Hinteregger's effort and then turned away Goncalo Paciencia before Eden Hazard slotted home the decisive kick to spark wild celebrations.

It was a sweet moment of redemption for Kepa after he was widely criticised for his astonishing mutiny in the League Cup final against Manchester City when he refused to be substituted before the Blues lost on penalties.

Hazard also relished his crucial contribution in what could be his last kick at the Bridge amid rumours of a close-season move to Real Madrid.

"I am only thinking to win something for this club," said Hazard when asked if the final will be his last game for the club. If it is my last game I will try to do everything. In my mind I don't know yet."

Having already qualified for next season's Champions League when they guaranteed a top-four finish in the Premier League last weekend, Chelsea can bring an uplifting end to Sarri's troubled first season in charge by lifting the Europa League.

Former Napoli boss Sarri this week claimed Chelsea "deserve" to win a trophy this season and the Italian is now one victory away from the first major prize of his managerial career.

However, Sarri is not happy that Chelsea will play a friendly in the United States against New England Revolution next week.

The match is designed to raise awareness and money for antisemitism and anti-discrimination causes.

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