After the weekend’s transfer madness, we get back down to business today, and a fairly big bit of business it is. Fans may disdain it, the media may discount it, but at the end of the day, it’s a Cup semi-final, and the players that play will want to win it and get to a Wembley final. Also, Arsene has never won this trophy, so that’s a little added motivation.
And who, you might ask, will those players be? Well, they won’t be Olivier Giroud or Danny Welbeck, who are both “a fraction short” according to Arsene. Whether that fraction is 3⁄4 or 11/17, he didn’t say, and I’m not a math guy, but that doesn’t sound positive.
Slightly more positive, though, is the news that both Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal are having fitness tests today and may be cleared to play. New signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is Cup-tied and will not be available.
For Chelsea, neither Alvaro Morata nor Cesc Fabregas are healthy, but Antonio Conte is expected to field a pretty full strength side otherwise.
If this game stays level after 90 minutes, it goes to extra time and penalties, but I don’t expect that to happen - this should be a much more open affair as neither team will want to stretch this game to that 120 minute level. My main hope is that Arsenal’s defense actually shows up today and doesn’t allow dumb goals, but that’s a perpetual hope, so.
Anyway, Arsenal are 90 minutes from a trip to Wembley, so that’s awesome. I like winning things, and the Carabao Cup is a thing, so why not win it?
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Carabao Cup semi final, second leg
Emirates Stadium, London
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Noon PT/3PM ET/8PM BT
US TV: ESPN Deportes
US Streaming: WatchESPN or ESPN3
Worldwide: check out livesoccer.tv for info