Biggest-ever London derby gets underway as thousands of Arsenal and Chelsea fans try to cheer their sides to Europa League glory (including one who made it to Baku dressed as Big Ben)
- The 2019 Europa League final held in the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan kicked at 8pm this evening
- Arsenal face Chelsea in all-English affair with the build-up marred by political and organisational controversy
- Fans have encountered huge difficulties in making the journey to East Europe with a near-3,000 mile trip
- You can follow all of the action from the highly-anticipated all-London final live from kick-off here
The Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea has gotten underway with fans have descended upon the Olympic Stadium in Baku to cheer on their team in the Europa League final.
The two London clubs meet in the first of two all-English European finals this week in the Azerbaijani capital.
Despite the travel difficulties presented by a near-3,000 mile trip to Eastern Europe they appeared in high spirits ahead of the big game.
Fans from both teams were in fine voice in the stands ahead of the game, even though only 6,000 were expected to have travelled from England.
Chelsea fans cheer on their team ahead of the Europa League Final match against fellow English side Arsenal this evening
Arsenal fans in the crowd as they wait for the Europa League final to kick off – the crowd is expected to be made up of mostly locals
Supporters also posed for pictures and selfies outside the stadium, which glowed a bright orange as night set in. One of them even dressed up as Big Ben, to bring a flavour of London to the occasion.
Plenty of locals were out in force with just 6,000 Arsenal and Chelsea fans expected to have made the trip from the UK.
Both clubs were allocated 12,000 tickets between them for the showpiece final at a stadium which boasts a 69,870.
But they have ended up sending around half of their tickets back, with fans encountering great difficulties in terms of travel and cost.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s best player and widely seen as one of the best in the world, warms up ahead of the 8pm kick off
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil during the warm up before the match. Both players are expected to have a crucial role in tonight’s game
Arsenal players warm up ahead of the game, which is the only chance for both teams to end the season with a trophy
Chelsea’s Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain, English midfielder George McEachran and English defender Gary Cahill leave the pitch after the warm up prior to the match
Local football fans in the stands before the UEFA Europa League final at The Olympic Stadium in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan
A group of Arsenal fans take a selfie outside the Olympic Stadium in Baku on Wednesday night
A group of Chelsea fans pose with a flag ahead of the Europa League final in Baku
Arsenal fans pictured gathered in the city centre earlier in the day ahead of the final
One Arsenal fan shows off his flag as the clock ticks down towards kick-off on Wednesday
Chelsea supporters wave flags and pose for pictures outside the stadium in Baku
Anticipation has been building all day in the Azerbaijani capital ahead of the big game
One fan dressed up as Big Ben to bring a flavour of London to the all-English final
Locals were out in force as the buildup to Wednesday night’s showpiece ticked down
Kick-off in Baku is at 8pm BST, 11pm local time in Azerbaijan.
Earlier in the day it was reported that two fans had been injured in violent clashes.
Local reports in Baku state that two supporters were taken to hospital overnight and treated for their injuries.
Baku-based newspaper Haqqin.az broke the story on Wednesday morning, though there has since been no confirmation from either of the clubs.
Azerbaijan Health Ministry spokesman Parviz Abubekirov revealed that one British fan was hospitalised with an open head wound and bruising ‘as a result of an altercation between fans of the two football teams.’
A couple of supporters decided to dress up for the occasion at Baku’s Olympic Stadium
A marching band dressed up as the Royal Guards to help atmosphere outside the ground