Arsenal v Chelsea

Scouting Report - Chelsea

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents. 

Chelsea visit Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup fourth round, to find out more, we asked tactical expert and journalist Dan Levene. 

In his first spell at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho took the League Cup extremely seriously. He won the competition twice in his three-year spell, and exited the competition on penalties in the other season.

Mourinho's belief at the time was that early success put his players in the right frame of mind to win further honours. In his second period this seems to have changed - he’s insisted he wants to develop youngsters for the long-term, and uses this competition to give them playing time.

"Mourinho has often been extremely adventurous this season when Chelsea have been behind"

Michael Cox

In the previous round, a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Swindon, Mourinho fielded a second string XI. However, all 14 players used were full internationals, underlining Chelsea’s strength in depth.

Regardless of his personnel, Mourinho seems to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation that plays relatively reactive football, especially away from home.

Although Mourinho has more creative players at his disposal than during his first spell, Chelsea still prefer to defend deep before countering extremely quickly - their final two goals in the 3-0 victory at Schalke last week demonstrated their ability to turn defence into attack quickly.

In goal, 41-year-old Mark Schwarzer should make his second Chelsea appearance following his move from local rivals Fulham. Still a flexible, mobile goalkeeper and strong at collecting high balls, he made three penalty stops last season. If the game goes beyond extra time, Schwarzer might fancy his chances.

Spain international Cesar Azpilicueta and Champions League final starter Ryan Bertrand should fill the full-back positions. Both are nippy, energetic players capable of getting crosses in. More physical centre backs, possibly John Terry and Gary Cahill, will offer more of a defensive presence.

Ramires and Frank Lampard have been favoured in the central midfield roles, and with Dutch youngster Marco van Ginkel a long-term absentee, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel could start here. Essien’s a less mobile player than at his peak, and alongside Mikel would form a defensive-minded shield for the back four.

Versatile attacking midfielder Willian has only played around 250 minutes of football since his £30 million signing from Anzhi in the summer, and will appreciate game time, while Kevin De Bruyne and Juan Mata or Andre Schurrle could complete the midfield zone.

Up front, Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba have been used roughly equally. Ba hasn’t got off the mark and is most in need of a goal, although he performed excellently on his last start away at Norwich.

Mourinho has often been extremely adventurous this season when Chelsea have been behind, withdrawing a full back, throwing on a winger and moving to a temporary back three. Arsenal must be prepared for a sudden change of system, should Chelsea go behind.

I think Chelsea's start to the season has gone according to plan.

There might have been a lot of expectation, given the change of managers at the top clubs, to get off to a win, win, win start. I don't think anyone expected Jose Mourinho to wave a magic flag and for everything to be perfect, but I think most people will be very happy with the results so far.

"I think he will go with a strong team on Tuesday, he already said at the weekend that he won't play a reserve team"

Dan Levene

They are looking good in the Premier League and Champions League, they are still fighting on all four fronts so I think it's all looking positive.

The personnel in Chelsea's squad is obviously very different to Mourinho's first spell in charge of the Blues, bar a few of the older players.

I think he's tried to do something similar to the team, which is building from the back, getting them playing very solid football and helping them to defend before they can really go forward.

The one difference is that I think there is a bit more flair in their midfield, which has been a very interesting gain for Mourinho.

I think he will go with a strong team on Tuesday, he already said at the weekend that he won't play a reserve team. I think he will pick from the broad depth that there is in the first-team squad. Obviously he will have to rest some players because not all of them can play just 48 hours after their game against Manchester City, which was a tough game. But it will certainly be a pretty formidable side that will take the field at the Emirates.

I'm expecting the game to be full of atmosphere, not least because there are 9,000 visiting fans making the trip, which I'm sure will fire up some of the home support. It should be an exciting cup tie.

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