Post-Match Report

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: How it happened

Chelsea -

Emirates Stadium
Carabao Cup
Carabao Cup
                  A. Rüdiger (12 og)
                   Xhaka (60)
A. Rüdiger (12 og)
Xhaka (60)
2 - 1
              E. Hazard (7)
E. Hazard (7)

On a dramatic night at Emirates Stadium, we fought back from 1-0 down to beat Chelsea and book our place in the final of the Carabao Cup.

Eden Hazard had fired Chelsea ahead in the opening few minutes, only for Nacho Monreal to force an equaliser off the head of Antonio Rudiger.

The two sides were evenly matched, but Granit Xhaka was in the right place at the right time to turn home Alexandre Lacazette's cross in the second half.

Arsenal redoubled their defensive efforts after taking the lead, and deserved to make it through to a fourth domestic cup final in the past five seasons.

The game started at a frenetic pace. Chelsea had the ball in the net in the opening five minutes but Pedro's header was ruled out for offside, a decision confirmed by the first ever use of VAR at Emirates Stadium.

The reprieve for fleeting. Moments later Hazard burst into the box and finished coolly beyond David Ospina when one-on-one.

Jack Wilshere forced a low save from Willy Caballero as we looked to hit back immediately. And just after 10 minutes we were level. Monreal, who scored one and set up two more in Saturday's win over Crystal Palace, was at it again. He headed a corner goalwards, and it deflected off both Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger before flying past Caballero.

The teams were level again, just as they had been in all four previous meetings this season. But this was anything but cagey. It was an open game, but that was mainly as a result of both sides being sloppy in possession at times.

In first-half injury time Mesut Ozil turned his man superbly in the area, but his right-foot shot was deflected just wide of the post.

The second half started in tentative fashion, but on the hour mark we edged ahead. Alexandre Lacazette did well to work space on the right wing, and his deflected right-wing cross was stabbed home by the lurking Xhaka. Emirates erupted.

Arsenal had a lead to protect now, and Mohamed Elneny dropped into defence to make up a back five.

With 15 minutes remaining Alex Iwobi had a glorious chance to extend our advantage. The Gunners sprinted forward on a counter attack, Ozil squared for an unmarked Iwobi, but the Nigerian's first-time strike was saved by the legs of Caballero.

Chelsea almost made us pay instantly, but Monreal was on hand to sweep up a loose ball at the far post.

The visitors were committing more men forward, and the game opened up. But with Sead Kolasinac and Aaron Ramsey both introduced to bolster the defensive effort, and Arsenal held on without too many late scares.

What it means

We're heading back to Wembley! We will take on Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, February 25. Our League game against City scheduled for that weekend had already been moved back to the following Thursday, meaning we will face them twice in a week.

What's next

Dues to our early FA Cup exit, there's no game this weekend, but we don't have long to wait until our next match. We travel to Swansea on Tuesday night for a Premier League game, which should be the game in which Henrikh Mkhitaryan makes his Gunners debut.

We're heading to Wembley!

  • This was Arsenal's 15th appearance in the League Cup semi-final, and this is the eighth time we have progressed to the final.
  • This was Arsène Wenger's seventh League Cup semi-final, and the third time he has reached the final. He previously beat Tottenham in 2007 and Ipswich in 2011 to reach the final.
  • We will be playing in the final for the eighth time, we won two of the previous seven appearances (in 1987 and 1993).
  • Arsène Wenger has lost his two previous League Cup finals, against Chelsea in 2007 and Birmingham City in 2011.
  • We have won each of our last nine visits to Wembley though, including two victories against our opponents in the final, Manchester City.
  • Arsène Wenger will be looking for his 11th domestic honour for Arsenal, but his first League Cup.
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