Chelsea v Arsenal

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Press conference

Wenger on why Alexis started on the bench

There was a lot of speculation pre-game about why Alexis was only on the bench for the game at Stamford Bridge - so what was the thinking behind it?

Arsene Wenger addressed it in his press conference after our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, and this is what he said:

on whether he can reveal why he benched Alexis and started Iwobi…
No, not really.

on Iwobi…
Yes, it is one thing to punish someone individually and the second thing to punish everybody. If I think he can help the team to win it has nothing to do with the fact that he can be punished separately and individually.

on whether Alexis being benched had anything to do with Manchester City…
No, no the team selection had nothing to do with the transfer market.

on why he benched him…
Why not?

on whether he is his best player…
I have not to justify every decision I make, I made over 1,000 games and I made over 1,000 teams and got it wrong every time. I have to make a decision.

on whether he is confident Alexis will stay this January…
Yes, that is what I want, I want him to stay for longer because I believe he is a very important player for us and I believe that when he came on tonight you could see that he created danger straight away. You have to accept as well when you play so many games, and Sanchez plays every game, that sometimes a breather in the middle of the season helps them a little bit.

on Alexis being able to speak to foreign clubs - and if Wenger is aware of him doing that…
No. Are you aware? I am not. You just gave me the rule. He doesn’t need to tell me that he speaks to anybody else, because that’s the rule. He doesn’t need to alert the club, he can do it on his own. People don’t know Alexis well - this is a guy who is completely focused to play football. Have you seen how he came on today, how he warmed up? Like a player who wants to play football. He can make a difference between what’s going on outside and what’s going on on the football pitch, with facts, not psychological theories. The fact is when you turn up on the pitch, you play football and you give 100 per cent. That’s what he does.

on Alexis’ reaction to not starting…
I don’t want to talk about that. We have to keep at least some things a little bit private.

on if Alexis wants to play for Arsenal…
Of course - he didn’t play for anybody else now.

on if it’s better for everyone to know where Alexis’ future lies…
Yes, of course. I can understand that, yes.

on if it’s better for Wenger to know on Alexis’ future now…
Look, I have no problem if he signs now or in June. What is important for me is the next game and that you can rely on him. The only thing I want to say is the performance of Alexis and the commitment does not depend on the duration of his contract, it just depends on the fact that when he’s on the pitch he wants to play.

on if Alexis’ commitment depends on if he wants to stay…
I don’t understand the way you see things. You know why, because it doesn’t matter how long on my contract I have to go if I play the next game for Arsenal. I want to win the game and I commit like I stay forever. You say basically that the commitment of a player is linked with the length of his contract. I don’t believe that at all.

Press conference

What’s the latest on Jack Wilshere?

The sight of Jack Wilshere coming off injured had many Arsenal fans fearing the worst on Wednesday night - but what is the latest on the midfielder?

Arsene Wenger had this to say after the match:

on Wilshere’s injury…
He has an ankle sprain and the first look at it was not too bad, but of course for Sunday I think he will be short. I do not know how long he will be out. It is a shame to lose him when he is such good form and it was by blocking the shot that turned his ankle and it’s his good ankle so I am quite positive.

on whether it is a ligament or bone problem…
No, it’s a ligament.

Post-Match Report

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: How it happened


We will head into the second leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea level pegging after this closely-fought goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

In a tight first half, Alex Lacazette had our best opportunity when Jack Wilshere put him through on goal with a lovely lofted pass but, the forward blasted his shot high and wide.

Victor Moses was next to try his luck as he twice tested David Ospina, firstly with a left-footed drive that the goalkeeper held on the second attempt and then striking an effort against the near post.

We remained in the match though, with Granit Xhaka and Wilshere working overtime to control the centre of the park, and Alex Iwobi a threat on the break.

Indeed, it was the Nigeria international who was next to have a go as he carried the ball at pace towards the Chelsea area, before striking a shot that Thibaut Courtois did well to palm away.

Right on the stroke of half time, the hosts wasted a golden chance when Cesar Azpilicueta picked out Cesc Fabregas in the area, but the former Arsenal captain directed his header straight at Ospina.

Almost immediately after the restart Chelsea spurned another opportunity when N’Golo Kante picked out Andreas Christensen at the far post, but the Danish defender missed the target from close range.

The home side were well on top at this stage, and Alonso went close with a glancing header before Ospina was called on to make a flying stop to deny Morata from close range, before the Spain international hit the sidenetting moments later.

Shkodran Mustafi made an important block on the line to deny Moses, while from the resulting corner Christensen headed wide from close range.

Chelsea continued to push on in the closing stages, and that freed up space for us to try to hit the hosts on the counter – but try as we might there was no way through and both sides had to settle for a draw.


See how the match unfolded and get all the standout stats in our play-by-play commentary


We head into the second leg at Emirates Stadium in two weeks’ time hoping to secure another Wembley visit, and our first League Cup final since 2011.


We’re back in Premier League action on Sunday when we travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth.

We have never lost to the Cherries, although we came close to it in the corresponding fixture last season when we trailed 3-0 after an hour, only to fight back to claim a point.


Jack Wilshere captained us for the first time this season and was at the heart of the action at Stamford Bridge.

Here are some of his highlights:

22 – Wilshere clips a lovely ball over the top of the defence for Lacazette, but he snatches at the chance and blasts it over the bar

40 – With the game gaining a bit of an edge, Wilshere flies into a tackle on Alonso and wins the ball cleanly, earning a big cheer from the travelling fans

57 – Wilshere picks up a knock blocking a cross, and while he tries to continue he is eventually replaced by Mohamed Elneny


Match video: Chelsea v Arsenal

We left Stamford Bridge level pegging after a goalless draw in the first leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Alexandre Lacazette came closest for us, while Cesc Fabregas had a good chance saved by David Ospina.

However, neither side could make the breakthrough and the tie is all-square ahead of the second leg in two weeks.

Click on the video above to watch the highlights and on the video below to watch our bitesize summary.

  • Watch the first half - coming soon
  • Watch the second half - coming soon


Who was our best player against Chelsea?

We kept our first clean sheet since December 16 in our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg goalless draw at Chelsea on Wednesday.

Our back three all impressed, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles delivering another assured display at left wing-back.

But who did you think our best player was? Cast your vote below.



Wenger on his plans for Konstantinos Mavropanos

Our signing of Konstantinos Mavropanos may have been unexpected - but Arsene Wenger has already been hugely impressed by the Greek defender.

The 20-year-old has made an instant impression in training, and this is what the boss has said about him:

on Mavropanos and if he’ll stay for the rest of the season…
I personally want to keep him until May, to know him better, to assess his level. The first signs he has shown in training are so encouraging that I decided to keep him until May.


How did our players find the VAR experience?

Martin Atkinson consulted the VAR in our Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea

We played using the video assistant referee system for the first time in our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Referee Martin Atkinson used VAR in each half to determine whether each side should have been awarded a penalty. 

How did our players find the system? Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck spoke about it after the match. Here’s what they said:

Chambers on how pleased the team are with the result…
I’m very pleased, I think it’s a good result. We were strong at the back and it was a good defensive display. The boys dug in and it’s a good result for us.

Welbeck on the VAR referral…
I didn’t know the VAR referral wasn’t for that incident - I knew I cleanly got the ball so I wasn’t worried at all.

Welbeck on if he sensed the referee was talking to anyone during the delay…
Yeah, I could see him talking to somebody in his ear, but I knew that I got the ball clearly, so I wasn’t worried.

Chambers on if he was aware of the VAR delay…
Yeah, as Danny said, you’re aware if you see them talking in their ear. I think we’ll get used to it. 

Chambers on if Arsenal showed some of the grit that was lacking at the weekend…
Yeah, as you said, we showed grit today. We dug in deep and it was a good defensive display from the whole team. That’s the pleasing thing to come out of tonight.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles in action against Chelsea

Welbeck on similarities to the league 0-0 at Stamford Bridge…
Yeah, it’s down to the manager who plays the game and whatever tactics he uses going in to each game. I know once I get onto the pitch, you just want to give 100 per cent. Today we put in a great defensive performance. We could have nicked a goal or two but we’ll look forward to the second leg now. First of all we’ve got the Premier League game at the weekend.

Welbeck on if the second leg will be more open…
We’ll see how it goes.

Chambers on Arsenal and Chelsea only being separated by one penalty shoot-out in four games…
Yeah. We’ve played Chelsea a lot recently. We know how they play and they probably know how we play, so we’ve got to be ready for it. It’s always a tough game. Tonight we were ready for it, we were up for the fight and we’ve got to go into the second leg like that as well.


Holding - We all had a point to prove

Nobody was happy with our display at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, least of all Rob Holding - and he says the team had a "point to prove" at Chelsea.

We showed real defensive grit and resolve to leave Stamford Bridge with a goalless draw, setting up an intriguing Carabao Cup semi-final second leg in two weeks' time.

"I think our last three or four encounters against Chelsea have been intense and today lived up to that again," Holding told Arsenal Player.

"I think it’s a good result for us to take back to the Emirates in the second leg, where we can hopefully nick a goal and get the win and into the final.

"We had a point to prove here. We came under some scrutiny with our defensive display in the [Forest] game, so it was big for me to just get a clean sheet and have a solid game really.

"We knew we couldn’t lose, really. A draw is a great result to take back in front of our home fans and hopefully we can get the win there."


Wenger - How I assess the balance of the tie

After our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea ended goalless, it is hard to assess who will be happier about the result ahead of the decider in two weeks’ time.

Arsene Wenger was pleased with the way his side performed at Stamford Bridge, and said that all he is thinking about is winning the second leg rather than any balance of power.

“I felt that we performed well, it was a very intense game where we were very well organised and had a great solidarity in the team,” the manager told Arsenal Player.

“We are used to scoring of course, so we are a bit frustrated we didn’t score, but overall I think the team performance was very positive and very good.

“We play at home in [the second leg] in a game we want to win. We have to win to qualify for the final, so let’s do the job .

“Overall I believe that it is of course a good opportunity for us to go to Wembley where we want to go, but we know that Chelsea are a dangerous side, so that is why it is important until then that we win our Premier League games and prepare after.”


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