Arsenal recorded a 2-1 win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night to make it to the final of the EFL Cup.
Chelsea dominated the early proceedings with Tiemoue Bakayoko seeing a shot deflect wide of David Ospina’s goal. Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses also flashed a long-range effort well wide of goal.
The Blues thought they had the lead on five minutes, as Spanish winger Pedro scored with a powerful header. However, the referee’s assistant flagged for offside and replays proved that the decision was the correct one.
The visitors did score a legitimate goal two minutes later. Pedro was involved again, this time playing Eden Hazard through on goal with a super ball. The Belgian took a touch and his effort on goal went in via a touch off Ospina.
The home side attempted to hit back on nine minutes. Alex Iwobi played a good ball behind the Chelsea backline to Jack Wilshere, whose first touch was heavy that allowed Chelsea ‘keeper Willy Caballero to parry away and then claw the ball away at the second time of asking.
The Gunners equalised on 12 minutes with a major slice of luck. Nacho Monreal met a set piece in the Chelsea box, the Spaniard’s header hit both Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger, before wrong-footing Caballero in the Blues goal.
At the other end, Hazard produced a brilliant dummy to put Willian in on goal. However, the Brazilian international could only drag his shot wide of the far post under pressure from an Arsenal defender.
Gunners ‘keeper Ospina had to be alive on 25 minutes, as Pedro managed to keep in a Cesar Azpilicueta cross to the far post. The Colombian came out to stop the winger, only for the ball to fall for Hazard, whose back-heeled cross failed to find a teammate.
Arsenal hit back at the other end. Granit Xhaka fired in a free kick from an acute angle that deflected towards, only for Caballero to tip the effort over the bar for a corner kick.
With the last attack of the first half, the home side came close to taking the lead. Wilshere did well to find Mesut Ozil in the area and the German international’s effort took a deflection before going just wide of the far post.
The first effort of the second half arrived on 48 minutes, as Xhaka fired well over the Chelsea goal from long-range. The Gunners took the lead on the hour mark. Alexandre Lacazette did well to hold the ball up before his attempted cross deflected off a Chelsea defender into the path of Xhaka in the area, and the midfielder poked past Caballero.
Xhaka tried his luck again nine minutes later, this time from the edge of the area. However, the Swiss midfielder sliced wide this time around. With just 15 minutes left on the clock, Marcos Alonso tried his luck from long-range that flew well over the bar.
Arsenal should have won seal the win soon afterwards. Ozil squared the ball to Iwobi, but Caballero saved the wingers effort. With nine minutes left, Alonso saw an effort from a Davide Zappacosta cross blocked by Hector Bellerin. On 82 minutes, Chelsea defender Rudiger headed over the Arsenal bar from close-range.
With just four minutes remaining, Xhaka brought down Mustafi’s long ball, but could only volley wide of goal. Alonso fired well over the Arsenal bar with a long-range free kick, as time ticked down.
Chelsea pushed for a winner. However, they failed to create any clear-cut chances and the Gunners progress to an EFL Cup final meeting with Manchester City on 25th February.
Who was Arsenal’s man of the match against Chelsea?