Carabao Cup Recap: Chelsea, Arsenal settle for scoreless draw in 1st leg
Jan 11, 2018, 00:26
Arsenal are aiming to reach their first Carabao Cup final since 2011, but first they have to negotiate a way passed the current Premier League champions Chelsea.
Whereas the 2-2 Premier League draw between the two sides a week ago was action-packed from the first whistle to the last, it took until midway through the first half for either side to have a notable sight of goal this evening, and even then it was wasted by Alexandre Lacazette as he sliced an effort high and wide of the target after beating the offside trap.
They had 21 shots to just eight from Arsenal, yet the tie remains on a knife-edge heading into the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on January 24.
Wenger selected Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding for Sunday's FA Cup third round clash against Nottingham Forest with Calum Chambers, the manager's only other defensive option rested, but that starting back-three endured a woeful afternoon at the City Ground with Debuchy and Holding both giving away penalties in a 4-2 defeat.
The Gunners got the better of Chelsea in the FA Cup final and Community Shield past year.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Nicholas said: "It was cracking 2-2 draw at the Emirates and Arsene Wenger has to pick a strong team here after making so many changes in the FA Cup, but so will Antonio Conte, which makes Chelsea favourites".
Wenger was watching from the press box as he serves his touchline ban and the Gunners boss was shifting anxiously in his seat early on when Hazard's pass gave Alvaro Morata an opportunity that he drove into the side-netting.
One concern for Arsenal was Jack Wilshere's substitution in the second-half as the midfielder limped off with an ankle injury.
Moses came close again shortly before the half-hour mark with another left-footed snapshot towards the bottom corner, but once again Ospina was down smartly to deny the Chelsea wing-back, with a little help from the woodwork.
Wilshere went down after blocking a cross from Victor Moses and tried to shake the injury off in the next couple of minutes.
Wenger's response was to send on Sanchez for the ineffective Lacazette with 25 minutes left, yet within seconds Moses nearly broke the deadlock when his goal-bound shot was deflected over by Shkodran Mustafi.
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