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Keown: It hurts that Arsenal are not in the Champions League

Martin Keown has admitted that it ‘hurts’ to know that Arsenal will not be playing Champions League football for a third successive season.

Arsenal went into Wednesday night’s game in Baku knowing that a win would secure a place in next season’s Champions League after they could only manage a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

However, after a goalless and pretty uneventful first half, the floodgates certainly opened after the break, as Olivier Giroud finally broke the deadlock for Chelsea against his former side with a superb diving header.

1-0 quickly became 2-0 after Pedro’s well-placed finish past Petr Cech, before Eden hazard made it 3-0 from the spot after Ainsley Maitland Niles brought down Giroud in the box.

Arsenal substitute Alex Iwobi gave the Gunners hope of staging a comeback with a wonderful half-volley from about 22 yards, only for Hazard to confirm that the North London side would be playing Europa League football once again with his second, and Chelsea’s fourth.

Speaking after the game, former Gunners defender Martin Keown admitted that it hurts to see his old side not competing in Europe’s premier competition.

“You look at Unai Emery and he has inherited a lot of problems,” Keown said on BT Sport.

“I don’t think he will turn his back on the club now, but it hurts to not be in the Champions League for a third year in a row. It’s not good enough and it would be wrong for me to criticise Mesut Ozil but Arsenal had him in midfield and Chelsea had Eden Hazard.”

READ: Eden Hazard admits ‘it’s time for a new challenge’

See also: Five of the most memorable Europa League finals