The first leg between these two old foes was a cagey affair, not surprising given we were treated to a 2-2 thriller just a week earlier. Tonight, they play for a place in the final, and with the game being decided tonight, expect both sides to go at it from the off.
A London Derby. A cup semi-final. Arsenal v Chelsea. It's going to be a cracker - so put the kettle on, put your feet up, and check out our preview below:
ARSENAL 2 V 1 CHELSEA
Lacazette to fire the Gunners to victory
Conte and Wenger must be sick of the sight of each other, and we’re not talking about the aesthetic properties of either man: this will be the ninth meeting in 16 months, and the fifth this season alone! However, what is interesting is that the pair have drawn all four of the clashes this year: 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, 0-0. Another case of déjà vu tonight?
Arsenal come into this match proving there is life after Sanchez. They smashed a resurgent Crystal Palace 4-1 at the weekend, sans Alexis, and now the uncertainty regarding the Chilean’s future has been removed, it seems the Gunners are playing as a cohesive unit once more. Their four-goal haul was an opening 22-minute salvo that had diehard Arsenal fans reminiscing of glories past. True, it was their first win in five, but there was something about their swagger that made you wonder why they cannot reproduce that regularly. Perversely, Arsenal will prefer to play a team of Chelsea’s stature given what’s on the line and, beaten just once at home since April 2017, they’ll fancy the chances to keep that run going.
Chelsea make the trip north from the King’s Road in buoyant spirits. Like their counterparts, they too found their shooting boots at the weekend, putting four without reply past a parsimonious Brighton at the Amex. Like Arsenal, they started that match quickly, netting twice in six minutes, Hazard and Willian the tormentors. The brilliant Brazilian then grabbed a second that had Seagull fans googling the RSPB’s helpline number. With Morata having a stop/start season, he could be the go to man if Chelsea, with just one loss in their last nine on the road are to prevail.
Carzola and Olivier Giroud are both long-term absentees for the Gunners. Chelsea could be without Courtois, Drinkwater, Christensen, Cahill, and Fabregas.
What We Sayin’?
Let’s consider. It’s Wenger. It’s Arsenal. When the odds are stacked against them, somehow the Gunners seem to pull something out of the hat. Despite drawing 0-0 away from home, and boasting such a strong home record, they’re a bigger price to qualify now than then?! Wenger’s never won this cup. Wenger, and Arsenal, need a cup… That said, Chelsea have progressed on each of the three occasions they’ve drawn the first leg of a League Cup semi-final...
- BTTS, +2.5 goals | 9/10
- Hazard 1st GS (he takes pens!) | 19/5
- Lacazette 1st GS | 17/4
- HT/FT - Chelsea/Arsenal | 25/1
- Hazard 1st GS, Arsenal win 1-2 | 60/1
- Our scorecast (2-1) | 17/2
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