Arsenal have been drawn an all-Premier League tie in the Carabao Cup semi-final, with the two-legged clash to take place next month.
The Gunners first travel to Stamford Bridge on the 9th/10th January, then play at the Emirates on the 23rd/24th. Bristol City and Manchester City will face each other in the other semi-final, after Bristol eliminated Manchester United, and City beat Leicester.
Arsenal have a poor recent record against the Blues in League Cup matches. Mourinho’s Chelsea beat the Gunners in 2013 and 2007, and Arsène Wenger’s side lost the previous two meetings as well. Hopefully this time things will be different, after the successful FA Cup final result in May.
Wenger led the club to two finals, in 2006/07 and 2010/11, but lost them both. The main problem is that he tends to continue playing youth even in the later stages. Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas started the 2007 final, up against Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. So it’s hardly surprising how things turned out.
This year, however, Arsenal have generally fielded a stronger side. The likes of Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez have featured, and that’s unlikely to change as the competition goes on, since the club have such a large squad to keep happy.
The Gunners beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0 in the fourth round, then Norwich City 2-1 in the fifth and West Ham United 1-0 in the sixth. Aside from that one slip against Norwich, the team have generally been relatively solid at the back.
Unfortunately they haven’t been particularly free scoring, with only one goal per game in the standard 90 minutes. It hasn’t been the most glamorous route to the semis, but it doesn’t have to be.
As long as the second string team keep winning, we’ll have a final to head off to in February. Fingers crossed.