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Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I really wanted to care about this match, but I just couldn’t.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Semi-Final: First Leg
Surprise! Jack Wilshere picked up an injury today.
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

That was about as good of an outcome as Arsenal could have hoped for, and frankly, a 0-0 draw away to Chelsea is never a bad result. Injuries have caught up with the Gunners, and it showed in the lineup Arsene Wenger deployed. Of the eleven starters, only Shkodran Mustafi, Héctor Bellerín, Granit Xhaka, and Alexandre Lacazette would be selected if every player were healthy. Chelsea, on the other hand, played most of their preferred eleven.

The first half was a snoozefest with neither side getting more than a couple half-chances. Most notable was the appalling quality of the set pieces taken by both sides. Judging by his corners, Granit Xhaka may have actually forgotten how to properly kick a soccer ball.

Chelsea had by far the better of the play in the second half and probably should have scored. Andreas Christensen missed two golden headed chances, Alvaro Morata continued his form from the 2-2 draw and squandered a few more, and the Arsenal defense / David Ospina came through with a few key interventions.

A few other notes:

  • Jack Wilshere left the game around the 55th minute with an injury and was replaced by Mohamed Elneny. It seems par for the course that Wilshere would pick up a knock right about the time he is rounding into form.
  • What has happened to Alexandre Lacazette? He has no goals in his last eight appearances and keeps getting subbed off around the 65th minute.
  • Lacazette was replaced by Alexis Sánchez, a surprising move given the transfer rumors surrounding the Chilean. Many assumed that Alexis not starting was a signal that he was on his way to Manchester City.
  • Arsene Wenger watched the match from the stands (seated next to Jens Lehmann). Wenger still has one match remaining on his suspension for verbally abusing Mike Dean after the West Brom draw. He will serve the suspension on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Bournemouth.

The two sides play the second leg of the semifinal tie at the Emirates on January 24th.