Chelsea v Arsenal

1 of 11
Press conference

Team news: Who could play against Chelsea?

Two of our players will be assessed before they are cleared to play against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Here’s the very latest from Arsene Wenger:

on the main team news…
We don’t recover anybody unfortunately. I believe that on Sunday we paid the price for having many injured players. Some needed to be rested but we also had five or six players injured. That’s a bit detrimental to the rotation as well.

on whether anyone is close to coming back…
For Wednesday, no. For Sunday [against Bournemouth], I don’t think anybody will come back.

on Granit Xhaka…
He has a test today. We’ll see how he comes through that.

on Shkodran Mustafi...
Mustafi will also have a test today. I don’t know exactly how available they will be. I will know more after training.

Pre-Match Report

Chelsea v Arsenal: The Brief

We had to beat Manchester City and Chelsea to lift the Emirates Cup last year. And we’ll probably have to beat Chelsea and Manchester City to lift the Carabao Cup this year.

It’s an immense task but eminently doable on the evidence of 2017. And although our Stamford Bridge record leaves a little to be desired, our recent history against Chelsea bodes well.
 
Last week’s Premier League thriller was Arsene Wenger’s sixth encounter with Antonio Conte - and he’s lost just one.
 
Draws have been the norm and the boss would probably sign for another 2-2 with a second leg to come at Emirates Stadium.
 
You’re in the right place for a comprehensive pre-match briefing ahead of our semi-final first leg. Watch some classic goals, hear from the boss, get the latest team news and test your Carabao Cup knowledge.

Arsène Wenger on Mesut Ozil

ONE TO WATCH… ‘XHAKA WILSHERE’

“They work very well together,” said the boss, “especially with the ball, where they have a good understanding.
 
“The fluidity of their game is very good and the partnership grows defensively. That’s a very important part because we are a very offensive team. Defensively we need to be very sound and that’s as well why I play with three centre backs, because in midfield we are quite offensive. But they are tactically intelligent, aware and they want to sort out the problems defensively and tactically. I think that will improve.

“They sort out problems on the pitch by getting used to each other. On the football pitch you know quickly what the strengths of your partner are - where he goes, what he will do when he closes down. You adapt to that. The fact that they play together every week will help as well.

“I like to have a balanced team with left-footed and right-footed players, but it doesn’t give us a problem that Granit and Jack are both left-footed. Jack played many times on the right side when he was a kid, so he is comfortable to play on the right. You develop your vision from the early position in your life, so the right and the left is natural for him.”

TEAM NEWS

CHELSEA: Hazard (calf - doubt)
 
ARSENAL: Ramsey, Giroud (both hamstring), Monreal, Kolasinac (both ankle), Koscielny (Achilles), Cazorla (plantaris)

THE OPPOSITION

Tactical expert Michael Cox on Chelsea:  

"He might not be Chelsea’s star man, but left-wing-back Marcos Alonso seems to cause Arsenal problems, having opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge last season and also netted in the recent 2-2 draw at the Emirates. His clashes with Hector Bellerin, who lacks Alonso’s height but offers more speed, could be crucial.

“Left-sided centre back Gary Cahill sometimes looks short of speed when forced to cover the space towards the touchlines – if Arsenal can attack into that channel, they may find some joy.”


THE FINAL WORD… ON A DIFFERENT VIEW

“Personally I see more disadvantages of watching from the stands,” said the boss. “Of course the vision is better but the action you can have is of course limited. Overall I’m separated so much physically and I feel a bit unwell because I’ve been for so long so close to the players and suddenly I feel the distance has a handicap and a frustration.

“In the past I watched the first half from the stands and went down in the second half. But after a while, you need that attachment to the team, to be as close as possible to the players. I gave up [watching games from upstairs]. Away from home, it was much more difficult to go to the stands, so I decided to stay down.”

Matchday Show: Chelsea (a) - Carabao Cup

Matchday Show: Chelsea (a) - Carabao Cup

The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Chelsea v Arsenal preview

We’re back in Carabao Cup action on Wednesday night when we travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in our semi-final first leg.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox examine our opponents in more detail.

THE MANAGER

Arsene Wenger is now well-accustomed to facing a Chelsea side with Antonio Conte as manager. Since being appointed 18 months ago, there’s been a 3-0 home victory in the league, a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, a 2-1 Emirates FA Cup final victory, a Community Shield game settled on penalties in Arsenal’s favour, then 0-0 and 2-2 draws in the league this season. Wenger has the edge so far.

FORMATION

Conte famously switched to a 3-4-3 after last season’s 3-0 defeat at the Emirates, but towards the end of last season opponents started to become wiser to it. This season, therefore, Conte has often used a 3-5-2 system which has allowed Cesc Fabregas more opportunities, and more positional freedom.

STRENGTHS

Chelsea’s three-man defence remains very solid, despite Conte making more changes than last season. Andreas Christensen has replaced David Luiz as first choice, and plays excellently as a spare man. 

DANGERMAN

He might not be Chelsea’s star man, but left wing-back Marcos Alonso seems to cause Arsenal problems, having opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge last season and also netting in the recent 2-2 draw at the Emirates. His clashes with Hector Bellerin, who lacks Alonso’s height but offers more speed, could be crucial.

AREAS TO TARGET

Left-sided centre-back Gary Cahill sometimes looks short of speed when forced to cover the space towards the touchlines – if Arsenal can attack into that channel, they may find some joy.

Gallery

Find out who took part in training before Chelsea

Arsenal train before playing Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

We trained on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

Our club photographer was at the session and sent back these pictures.

Press conference

Latest on contracts and possible ins and outs

The transfer window is in full swing and so are the transfer rumours.

The latest player to be linked to us is Jonny Evans while Francis Coquelin is reportedly a target for West Ham United.

Arsene Wenger responded to those reports - and a question about Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere’s contract situations - at his pre-match press conference.

Here’s the transcript:

on any progress regarding Ozil and Wilshere contracts…
No news, no. We are working on it and as soon as we have any definite solution, we will get back to you [the media].

on us reportedly enquiring about Jonny Evans…
Again, there is nothing to say. All that would only be philosophical to talk about it. As long as we don’t have any agreement with anybody, I believe the best is not to talk.

on if the biggest challenge to signing Evans would be Man City’s interest…
Look, to see off any interest of any other club, yes. I don’t know if Man City is in for anybody. I don’t know what their policy is. Financially, if the decision comes to finances with Manchester City, we know we will be second best. That is well known.

on Francis Coquelin and if he’s on his way out of the club…
It’s a possibility but nothing is decided.

on if West Ham are in for Coquelin…
No.

on if Coquelin is close to leaving…
No, we have no contact with West Ham.

on how the first transfer window with a new structure at club is working…
The transfer window should be banned to keep our life a bit more focused on football.

Press conference

Wenger on Alexis, Ozil, Conte, Mourinho

Arsene Wenger fielded questions on all sorts of subjects at his press conference on Tuesday, from Alexis’ future to a disagreement between Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho.

Here’s a transcript of what was asked - and the manager’s replies:

on Conte v Mourinho…
That’s not the most interesting [thing] in football.

on if any clubs have contacted us about Alexis…
No.

on if he expects Alexis to stay…
I expect nothing. I am focused on tomorrow’s game. When solicitations happen, you respond to it. At the moment, it’s very quiet.

on if we would consider letting Alexis go…
I have nothing to add to what I said before on that.

on if the uncertainty on Alexis is having an effect on the team…
What is the most important is to be professional, to perform no matter what the environment is. That’s why I believe that it does not have a big influence on your performance nor the performance of the team. It’s part of our job to deal with that.

on if Alexis will play against Chelsea…
I have not decided yet. That will be decided today [Tuesday] or tomorrow morning.

on Alexis being in contention…
Yes.

on Alexis and Ozil being able to talk to overseas clubs...
No, it is not a big concern because I believe most of the players today want to play in the Premier League and the Premier League can pay contracts and wages that no other club - apart from three or four clubs abroad - can pay. Overall that is not my main concern.

Press conference

Will this Chelsea game be like the last one?

The Arsenal v Chelsea January trilogy continues on Wednesday night with the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final against the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Part one was a 2-2 thriller in the Premier League. So how might part two unfold?

Arsene Wenger thinks the mindset of the two teams might be different this time.

“In the championship both teams have one game to get the three points,” he said. “In this tie, over 180 minutes, it’s always a bit different.

“You want to go there, be solid and try to take advantage of every mistake, of every weakness, to win the game. We also know there is another game after that, and we need to be solid defensively too.

“I believe it can be a very attractive game, but football is so unpredictable it can as well be a locked game, where both teams know each other well, they know they have 180 minutes to win the tie, so both things are possible. It can be a crazy game, but as well it can be locked.

“Overall we gave too many chances away in the game [last week] and we were a bit unlucky as well as their penalty was a bit unfortunate.

Overall going forward we were outstanding, we had some outstanding moments in our game of combination at high pace and created football we want to play, and as well I believe we showed mental resources until the last minute. The players’ [attitude] has been outstanding and we responded again to come back to 2-2.

“I would love to win [the Carabao Cup] because we are now in the semi-final and if it’s an opportunity we will try to take it. There is still a long way to go because you have Man City against Bristol City and then it is us against Chelsea, so it is a bit similar to last year in the FA Cup.”

Press conference

Wenger on Iwobi reports, VAR and touchline ban

Watching our games from the stands, the prospect of VAR and newspaper reports about Alex Iwobi.

Arsene Wenger was asked about all of that (and more) at his press conference on Tuesday.

Read on for his responses to the reporters’ questions:

on whether the newspaper claims about Iwobi are true…
What kind of claims?

on the reports that Iwobi was out before the Forest game…
Yes, if that is true, he will be fined. It is impossible to go out 48 hours before a game. It’s unacceptable. I will have to of course see him to see if that is right or not.

on Iwobi going out...
It was not the night before the game, it was 48 hours before the game. The night before the game we were in a hotel. But it is not acceptable and I will have to speak to him about that. First of all you have to be cautious with the news coming out, when you read what is reported it is like he has taken drugs. I do not think he is not involved in that at all, he has been out at a birthday party. How long has he stayed? That is important. After, I will decide what happens.

on Iwobi not drinking...
Not at all. If your neighbour takes drugs, what can you do about it? You are responsible for your behaviour, not for the behaviour of your neighbour.

on how it affected Iwobi's performance at Forest...
Who knows that? You must have played football, you know that sometimes you want to prepare 100 per cent but sometimes it is not a guarantee that you will be at your best. But that is what is requested from a top-level professional.

on whether he welcomes VAR…
Yes of course, because there are so many things happening recently I think we would welcome it. But first of all there is still a demand for clear rules on, for example, what is a penalty and what is not a penalty before we go into VAR, as it can get more confused as well.

on how hard it was to watch from the stands at Forest…
Very difficult, I must say.

on whether it was different…
Different, physically separated, not being capable to have any attachment to the team. I am physically so long on the bench it is very difficult. It’s frustrating.

Goals

Check out our best goals against Chelsea

We return to Carabao Cup action on Wednesday when we travel to Chelsea in our semi-final first-leg tie at Stamford Bridge.

We’ve scored some memorable goals against the Blues over the years, from Kanu’s solo effort to Silvinho’s 25-yard rocket. 

But which was your favourite? Watch our top five above and then make sure you vote below:

News

Follow the Chelsea match LIVE on Arsenal.com

Matchday Show: Chelsea (a) - Carabao Cup

We travel to Chelsea for the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday evening - and you can follow the game LIVE with us.

Tune in to our website for the following:

  • Matchday show, with live build-up from 7.30pm (UK time) and audio commentary from 8pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insight from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip and full match highlights will be available from midnight on Wednesday

It’s all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!

News

Important fan information - Chelsea (a)

Stamford Bridge

Arsenal supporters visiting Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night are advised to read the below information guide.

Fans attending the match will be required to enter the ground through a different entrance.

Click here to find out all the information about the game.

Arsenal Membership

Join as an Arsenal Member and receive a range of exclusive benefits such as priority ticket access, subscription to Arsenal Player, a welcome pack and access to members' events with the first team squad. If you join as a Junior Gunner you have the chance of being a Matchday mascot or ball boy.

Join today and always be ahead of the game