- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
Chelsea - Arsenal
League Cup - 10 January 2018
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The game rather peters out until the final whistle, and these sides go into the second-leg level. It's all to play for in a fortnight at the Emirates!
Looking back at the replay of that penalty appeal a moment ago, and the VAR has made the right call. Welbeck appeared to get the ball, just.
FIVE minutes will be added on!
Welbeck appears to catch Fabregas inside the box and Martin Atkinson uses his headset to have a word with his assistants. After some delay, he signals for a Chelsea corner.
OFF THE POST!
Chelsea are denied by the woodwork! Willian to Fabregas, who dinks a cross into the Arsenal box. It deflects off a defender, onto the post and out for a corner.
- OffÁlvaro MorataChelsea
- OnMichy BatshuayiChelsea
That is Morata's last contribution, as he is replaced by Michy Batshuayi.
- Yellow cardMohamed ElnenyArsenal
Elneny goes into the book for a foul on Morata.
Xhaka tries a shot from 25 yards, the bounce may have made it difficult for Courtois but the Chelsea goalkeeper makes a straight forward stop.
Arsenal controlling possession at the moment, but playing with no real urgency. Wenger is clearly happy with a 0-0 draw, and why wouldn't he?
- OffEden HazardChelsea
- OnTiemoué BakayokoChelsea
Conte makes a slightly odd substitution, as he replaces Hazard with Tiemoue Bakayoko for the remaining seven minutes.
Arsenal are beginning to show a little more ambition to win the match as we enter the final 10 minutes of the game.
- Yellow cardN'Golo KantéChelsea
Kante is booked for a foul on Welbeck.
Moments earlier, Xhaka - already on a yellow card - fouled Morata, but escaped a second booking.
Hazard is released on the left, but as he closes in on goal Holding gets across to make the block. Excellent defending.
Willian decides to try his luck from all of 30 yards, but the effort takes a deflection and Ospina gets down low to make the stop.
Here comes Arsenal on the break, Iwobi leading the charge. His run goes on and on, but then he toe-pokes the ball straight into the arms of Courtois. He had team mates either side, so that must be really frustrating for Wenger.
Chelsea have had 16 shots to Arsenal's four. The hosts have also had 56 per cent possession, to Arsenal's 44 per cent.
Somehow the game is still goalless, with only 20 minutes to play. Can either side find a breakthrough?
Morata drives forward on the channel, cuts inside and finds Hazard in a dangerous position. The Belgian is too slow in possession though and his intended pass to Willian is cut out by Maitland-Niles.
- OffDanny DrinkwaterChelsea
First change for Chelsea: Willian replaces Drinkwater in midfield.
Arsenal can only clear Alonso's cross as far as Moses who shoots... but it takes a deflection off Mustafi.
Fabregas delivers the resulting corner but Christensen glance his header wide of the target, with Ospina in no man's land.
- OffAlexandre LacazetteArsenal
- OnAlexis SánchezArsenal
Arsenal needed a change and Wenger finally introduces Alexis Sanchez for the remaining 25 minutes. The Chilean replaces Lacazette, whose goal drought continues - he hasn't scored in eight games now.
Azpilicueta tries the direct route as he pumps a ball into the Arsenal box but Chambers rises highest to head clear.
The hosts continue to probe and Arsenal have nearly every player behind the ball at the moment.
So Chelsea very much on top in the second period and you sense an opening goal is on the horizon.
It's a rare foray forward for Arsenal in this second period as Maitland-Nails curls in a cross towards Welbeck but Courtois is off his line quickly to collect.
Mustafi mis-times his jump and Morata is released! Ospina rushes out from his goal, but from a tight angle, the Spaniard can only poke it into the side-netting.
- OffJack WilshereArsenal
- OnMohamed ElnenyArsenal
Wilshere goes to ground once more and he is going off. Mohamed Elneny is his replacement.
Morata is invited to have a shot from 20 yards out and he obliges... but Ospina is equal to the effort!
Wilshere appears to have gone over on his ankle and now the midfielder may be forced off the pitch. He has had such an awful time with injuries over the years and this would be another huge blow.
No one goes with Alonso as the wing-back runs onto Fabregas' corner delivery but misses the ball by inches! Arsenal somehow manage to scramble clear.
Chelsea have been completely dominant in the second period, and now Drinkwater forces a corner...
- Yellow cardGranit XhakaArsenal
Wilshere is pressed into giving the ball away in midfield as Chelsea surge forward through Rudiger. However, Xhaka slides in from behind and fouls the defender, earning a yellow card in the process.
Arsenal would be more than happy with a draw this evening, you would imagine. Chelsea are applying most of the pressure in the early stages of the second period and they have the visitors pinned in at the moment.
Best chance of the game.
Kante's cross is flicked on for Christensen at the back post but it's a defender's finish as he heads over the bar from a few yards out.
Chelsea start the half on the front-foot as Moses forces a corner. Fabregas takes... he finds Kante whose strike is blocked by his own team mate, Alonso!
- 2nd Half
We are underway in the second period and it's as you were in terms of personnel.
- End of 1st Half
A decent half of football, but few chances of note and no goals. It has been quite competitive and thoroughly entertaining.
One minute of added time to play at the end of the first half.
Chelsea play a corner short once more. They work it to Azpilicueta who fizzes in a cross from deep, finding Fabregas who is unmarked but the Spaniard can only head straight at Ospina.
Half-chance for Chelsea... Fabregas flicks the ball into the path of Hazard who anticipates the pass very quickly. However, Maitland-Niles does well to get his body between the player and ball as it runs through to Ospina.
This time the decision took considerably longer, perhaps around 30 seconds. The right call was made though, as Maitland-Niles took an age to go down after the initial contact from Moses.
VAR IS USED!
Iwobi rather snatches at a shot from but Courtois can only push it back into play. The loose ball falls to Maitland-Niles who appears to be caught by Moses inside the area... Martin Atkinson consults his team behind VAR and the decision goes against the Arsenal man, goal-kick.
Fabregas tees up Kante for a shot... who rifles his right-footed effort over the bar from 20 yards, much to the satisfaction of the travelling supporters behind Ospina's goal.
Mustafi hugs Morata from behind and Martin Atkinson awards Chelsea a free-kick. Fabregas is over it, and this is a decent opportunity for a cross or a shot at goal.
Now Chelsea win a corner, which they take short. It eventually falls to Drinkwater whose effort crashes into row-Z.
Anyway, back to the football and Arsenal weren't able to threaten from the corner.
I have to say that I am impressed with how quickly the VAR system was used, on that occasion. It caused only a delay of six, maybe seven seconds.
First use of VAR as Martin Atkinson receives word that there was pushing and shoving in the Chelsea penalty box as Arsenal prepare to take a corner.
The replays shows Chambers shoved Azpilicueta and the referee has a word with both players.
Maitland-Niles slips at the vital moment and Moses can go by him easily! He rifles a shot at Ospina's near post from an angle but the Arsenal defender does well to make the save.
Wilshere's pass is intercepted and Chelsea break. The ball is worked to Alonso who checks onto his stronger left-foot and unleashes a shot at goal from the edge of the box, it takes a deflection off Chambers and goes behind for a corner.
Moses is fed in a wide area, breezes past Maitland-Niles and the Chelsea wing-back is allowed to cut inside and have a low shot at goal. Ospina fumbles the effort but gathers on the second attempt.
Wilshere dinks a clever ball over the top of the Chelsea defence which Lacazette latches onto. But from the right-hand side of the box, the Frenchman blazes over and it's a pretty wild effort.
Lacazette could do with a goal.
Xhaka looks to release Welbeck with a nice through-pass but Moses is alert to the danger and does well to shepherd the ball out of play.
Arsenal waste the set-piece as the hosts defend the corner comfortably. Chelsea break with Hazard leading the charge, before Xhaka commits a cynical foul on the Belgian.
Xhaka drags his shot low and hard, it strikes the wall and goes behind for a corner.
Iwobi is on a one-man mission to bring the ball out of Arsenal's midfield and into a threatening area. Eventually, he is fouled by Kante and now the visitors have a free-kick in a decent position.
It has been a fairly even game so far. Normally first legs of a cup tie can be a tight affair, but this match has the potential to be quite open.
Wilshere to Bellerin on the right and the full-back drills in a low cross searching for Welback. However, Azpilicueta nips in and clears for an Arsenal throw-in.
Arsenal's only progression against Chelsea in the League Cup came in a fourth-round win at Highbury in 1976/77.
Drinkwater pumps a ball into the Arsenal penalty box from deep, and Mustafi has to be on his toes to intercept ahead of Alonso who was poised at the back post.
Morata controls on the chest and thumps a ball out wide to Kante on the left. Lovely pass.
As Martin Tyler correctly points out, this match has started with a nice, quick tempo. Plenty of promising football on show, but neither side have carved out a decent chance in the opening 10 minutes.
Arsenal create their first opportunity and win a corner. Xhaka delivers, Alonso hacks clear at the near post but the visitors come again...
Antonio Conte has won only once against Arsenal in his last five meetings with the North London club.
Hazard certainly looks sharp in the opening stages. He is finding plenty of space between Arsenal's defence and midfield.
There is a terrific atmosphere at Stamford Bridge with both sets of supporters in fine voice.
Morata endured a nightmare in last week's meeting between the sides and he is likely still waking up in a cold sweat thinking about a couple of those gilt-edged chances he spurned.
Hazard is on the ball for the first time, as he slips into a little pocket of space and threads a through-pass to Morata. From an angle, the Spaniard tries to cut the ball back into a central area, but can only find the side netting.
- 1st Half
Arsenal get the game underway.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is in action this evening, with Neil Swarbrick and Mick McDonough in charge of the TV equipment. It was used also during the Brighton vs Crystal Palace FA Cup tie on Monday night.
The winner of these sides over two legs will play either Manchester City or Bristol City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley next month.
Did you tune in to last night's semi-final? It was fascinating, but the final result was so, so cruel on the Championship side.
Thierry Henry on dropping Sanchez: "Perhaps Arsenal want to close the shop in the beginning and bring on Sanchez to hit Chelsea on the break when they are tiring."
Well, that's one explanation...
How do you see the game going this evening?
Wenger is in the press box tonight as the Arsenal boss serves his second of a three-match suspension.
His side were dumped out of the FA Cup on Saturday when Championship side Nottingham Forest thumped them 4-2, will the Gunners bounce back this evening?
"You cannot explain every single decision, that is the decision of the day," said Wenger about Sanchez being left on the bench.
“He’s completely focused, has given a lot recently and is ready to come on and play his part in the game.”
What a classic match we were treated to last week when these sides played out an enthralling 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
MATCH STAT: Chelsea have won four of their five League Cup ties against Arsenal, including the semi-final en route to winning the trophy in 1997/98 (4-3 on aggregate).
Antonio Conte: "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.
"Our run in this competition hasn't been easy. In the fourth round we played Everton, the fifth round was against Bournemouth and now in the semi-final we play Arsenal.
"But we must be very happy because we have reached the semi-final. We want to try to do our best to reach the final."
He has indeed been 'Super Jack' since his re-introduction to Arsenal's starting line-up, and tonight Wilshere is handed the captain's armband.
Mesut Ozil misses out tonight due to a knee injury.
SANCHEZ ON THE BENCH
The pre-match talking point is Alexis Sanchez who doesn't feature in Arsenal's starting XI for this semi-final clash. The Chilean's future remains uncertain and Arsene Wenger's decision to drop him for such a big match will do little to ease speculation.
Making up Arsenal's three-man attack tonight are Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte insisted he was taking the Carabao Cup very seriously, and judging by his strong selection, he is - Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata both start in attack.
N'Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas both start in midfield, alongside Danny Drinkwater.
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS
Starting XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere, Xhaka, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.
Subs: Macey, Mavroppanos, Mertesacker, Nelson, Elneny, Walcott, Sanchez.
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS
Starting XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.
Subs: Eduardo, Luiz, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi.
Hello and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE text commentary of the Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg between Chelsea and Arsenal.
If this game is anything like the epic encounter served up last time these two met a week ago then we are in for a real treat. It ended 2-2 in that Premier League classic, but who can advance in the cup?