Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal

London giants Chelsea and Arsenal are set to resume their rivalry when they clash in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night.

Carabao Cup
10 January 2018
Semi-final, first leg
Kick-off: 22H00 local time
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: M. Atkinson
Assistants: S. Child, P. Kirkup
Fourth official: J. Moss

Head-to-head summary: 

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Chelsea 172 57 50 65 
Arsenal 172 65 50 57 

Previous encounter: 

Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea 03/01/18 (Premier League)

Arsenal goalscorers: J. Wilshere (63'), H. Bellerin (90'+2)

Chelsea goalscorers: E. Hazard (pen 67'), M. Alonso (84')

Players to watch: 

Alvaro Morata has been the most prolific in front of goal for Chelsea this season with 12 goals and four assists to his name in all competitions. The Spanish striker was on the bench at the weekend but is expected to return to the starting line-up.

Alexandre Lacazette tops the scoring charts for the Gunners, alongside Alexis Sanchez, with both players having found the back the net on eight occasions across all competitions, while also producing four assists each.

Team form and manager quotes: 

Chelsea come into the tie having lost only once in their last 16 games across all competitions. Antonio Conte's side are unbeaten in their last eight fixtures, but have also drawn three of their last five.

The Blues' most recent outing resulted in a disappointing goalless draw with Championship outfit Norwich City at Carrow Road. Conte gave the likes of Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater, Michy Batshuayi, and Kenedy rare starts but they were unable to break down the Canaries' defence in the FA Cup.

When asked how he thinks both teams will approach the game, Conte said in his pre-match press conference: "Both teams will try and attack… We want to try and do our best and reach the final but, at the same time, Arsenal want to do the same."

Meanwhile, the north Londoners suffered a humbling 4-2 defeat in their most recent game, as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by another Championship side Nottingham Forest. Eric Lichaj netted a brace for Forest, while Ben Brereton and Kieran Dowell also scored for the hosts. Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck were on target for the Gunners.

The defeat was their first in 10 games. However, Arsene Wenger's men have claimed only one win in their last five games in all competitions, a 3-2 result at Crystal Palace on December 28.

The cup-tie will see Chelsea and Arsenal lock horns for the second time in eight days, following their 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League last week. A late goal from Hector Bellerin salvaged a draw for the hosts.

Wenger told the press: "I would love to win it because we are now in the semi-final. If there's an opportunity we will try to take it. There's still a long way to go. It's similar to what we saw last year in the FA Cup."

Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final last season to clinch the trophy for a record 13th time in their history.

Team news: 

Star playmaker Eden Hazard should be ready to make his return to action for Chelsea, while there are no fresh injury concerns for them.

Defender Shkodran Mustafi will have a late fitness test before the game, but Olivier Giroud remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Comments