Hope Alive for the Return Leg?
Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger battle again, but the resources at hand would seem to favor Chelsea.
Here are the teams:
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.
Subs: Eduardo, Luiz, Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi.
Arsenal: Ospina, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette.
Subs: Macey, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, Elneny, Nelson, Walcott, Sanchez.
Both teams make few changes from the starting 11s that played to a 2-2 draw just 10 days ago at the Emirates in Premier League action. For Chelsea, Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko sit, while Antonio Rudiger and Danny Drinkwater come in. Arsenal’s changes seem more severe. Out are Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil (and neither even make our bench) and Alexis Sanchez. In come David Ospina, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, three players who were part of the group that suffered the 4-2 FA Cup loss at Nottingham Forest this past Sunday.
It’s a strong enough line-up to suggest that Wenger does not want to give up on the domestic cups completely. The same rearguard–plus Ospina in net–will need to be substantially more solid as our attack looks a good deal less potent than the one set out in the PL match. We made plenty of chances in that one but only two that got past Thibaut Cortois who was outstanding. At the other end, some very mixed up defending was only spared by Chelsea wastefulness in front of goal and a strong performance by Cech. Even in our stadium, a dubious call helped the blues to one of their goals; what will we get from the whistler tonight at Stamford Bridge?
We shall see, but consider me worried. What are your thoughts? Please join me in the comments as I try to explain the action as it happens.
Go on then…