[dropcap]A[/dropcap]n action replay from just seven days ago. There was nothing to choose between this pair at the Emirates in the Premier League last week when the entertaining encounter finished 2-2. Chelsea led before Arsenal’s late equaliser through Hector Bellerin shared the spoils.
Since then, the Gunners suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup when Wenger’s tactics of playing an understrength side were widely criticised and punished accordingly. Naughty boy Mr Wenger will again be in the stands as part of his touchline ban.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 home games – winning all bar their Champions League draw with Atlético Madrid and will be boosted by the expected return of Eden Hazard who has recovered from his calf injury.
Conte seems set to name a strong side. He said: “When you play every three days, it’s important to make rotations – but at the same time, your team must be very strong, otherwise you risk dropping in this trophy.
“It’s a very important game for us, a semi-final and the chance to win a trophy. We deserve to be here and it will be a tough game against Arsenal.”
Arsenal are not the type of side to come out with their heads bowed and the London derby between the pair is usually an exciting affair. Their shock 2-4 loss at Forest was the first away defeat in six games having showed grit in their draws away to both Chelsea and Liverpool.
Chelsea V Arsenal
Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
20.00 Sky Sports Football
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
Jan 2018 Premier League Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
Sep 2017 Premier League Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Aug 2017 Community Shield Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal
July 2017 Club Friendlies Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea
May 2017 FA Cup Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
Feb 2017 Premier League Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
Sep 2016 Premier League Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
Jan 2016 Premier League Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
Sept 2015 Premier League Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
Aug 2015 Community Shield Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
The match could prove to be a real scrap so I’m going for another draw with both sides well matched and Arsenal’s main priority presumably to keep a clean sheet ahead of the second leg at the Emirates.
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