Özil is the key to us winning the cup
Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea - League Cup - 24.01.2018
The first game of the post-Alexis era at Arsenal couldn't really come much tougher. Standing in the way of Arsène Wenger's third League Cup final is Chelsea who will want the chance to face Manchester City, the almost Champions-elect, and put a serious dent in their rivals title hopes whilst boosting their own faint ones.
Under Antonio Conte Chelsea have become less of a bogey team, however without Alexis Sanchez to harass the Chelsea backline you have to wonder where the goals are going to come from to win tonight. As part of the Sanchez deal we took Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United but the Armenian playmaker is cup-tied so the Arsenal faithful will have to wait a bit to see the new man in action. Alexis may have moved on but that is not to say Arsenal cannot move forward. Crystal Palace have been tough to beat this season and the only two games they lost in the last twelve were to Arsenal. There were signs at the weekend that Arsenal will not only survive Alexis leaving but thrive.
Mesut Özil is now indisputably the most important player to the team and tonight's result will hinge on his performance. If he's at his mesmerising best we'll emerge comfortable victors. We can find goals from anywhere, as shown against Palace, when Mesut is pulling the strings and leading the way. Winning the League Cup isn’t going to convince Özil to sign a new contract but perhaps it'll give him enough optimism about the direction of the club if we preface it with the signing of Aubameyang to join his old partner in crime.
LAST THREE Meetings
- Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal (10.01.2018)
- Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea (03.01.2018)
- Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal (17.09.2017)
- There have been six red cards in the last nine fixtures between these sides in all competitions, with Chelsea having a player sent off in three of the last five.
- This is Arsene Wenger's 62nd meeting against Chelsea in all competitions, making them the side he has faced the most as Arsenal manager (W22, D18, L21).
- Wenger has never won the League Cup, losing both finals he has reached with Arsenal.
- Lacazette's goal against Crystal Palace was the 500th goal scored by a French player for Arsenal.
- This will be the fifth meeting in all competitions between the two sides this season - the third time they've met five times in a single campaign and first since 2003-04 (also 1946-47).
- Indeed, the last time two top-flight clubs drew five games against each other in a single season was Arsenal versus Liverpool back in 1979-80. In fact, the only other occasion that this happened involved Chelsea (versus Burnley in 1955-56).
- After failing to reach the final in five of their first six League Cup semi-finals in which they failed to win the first leg, the Gunners have progressed from two of the last three (2006-07 vs Spurs & 2010-11 vs Ipswich).
- Chelsea have lost just once in their last eight away games versus Arsenal in all competitions (W3 D4 L1).
- Arsenal and Chelsea have both made the League Cup final on seven previous occasions - only four teams have reached the final more times (Liverpool 12, Man Utd 9, Aston Villa 8, Spurs 8).
- Arsene Wenger has reached the League Cup final twice as Arsenal manager (2007 and 2011), but it remains the only domestic trophy he's not won with the Gunners.
Cazorla, of course, is ruled out. So too is Ramsey, Monreal, Giroud and Welbeck.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI
Čech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Chambers, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles; Xhaka, Wilshere, Iwobi, Özil; Lacazette.
2-1 to Arsenal. Wembley here we come?Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?
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