Monday, 28 October 2013

Arsenal - Chelsea Preview: Gunners looking for first win over Blues in two years

Pre Match
October 29, 2013 8:45 PM WAT
Emirates Stadium — London

Arsenal - Chelsea Preview: Gunners looking for first win over Blues in two years

The Premier League leaders welcome Jose Mourinho's side to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening hoping to move one step closer to silverware in the Capital One Cup

By James Willoughby

Arsenal and Chelsea players contest
High-flying Arsenal will look for their first win against Chelsea in more than two years in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

The Premier League table-toppers bounced back from their first loss in more than two months - which came in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund - with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Goals from Mikel Arteta via the penalty spot and an Olivier Giroud header sealed the points for Arsenal, who have not lost an away match in any competition since March.

Arteta was later sent off and will miss the Chelsea clash, with Arsene Wenger's side keen to reverse a trend that has seen them fail to defeat their London rivals in their last three meetings.

There are still significant injury problems for Arsenal, with Theo Walcott (abdominal), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee) as well as Lukas Podolski (hamstring) on the sidelines, while Mathieu Flamini (groin) has also been added to that list.

Boss Arsene Wenger has traditionally used the competition as a chance to give his younger players a taste of first-team football, but he has promised to pick a side more than capable of winning the match.

"I will rotate against Chelsea, but play with a team that has a good chance to qualify," Wenger said.

German winger Serge Gnabry is likely to be involved from the start for Arsenal, after impressing off the bench at Palace, while fellow youngsters Thomas Eisfeld, Ryo Miyaichi and Isaac Hayden could also feature.

Striker Nicklas Bendtner, defender Thomas Vermaelen and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski are likely to provide the experience in Wenger's side.

Arsenal have won the competition twice, their last triumph coming back in 1993, but Wenger has yet to win the Capital One Cup during his time at the club, losing finals in 2007 and 2011.

That 2007 defeat was against Chelsea, as Didier Drogba scored twice to guide his side to a 2-1 comeback victory in Cardiff.

Only two teams – Liverpool and Aston Villa – have won the tournament more than Chelsea, who have lifted the trophy on four occasions.

Chelsea will also enter the match in good form, with their last-gasp 2-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday lifting them to second in the Premier League table.

Fernando Torres scored the winner in the 90th minute, with the result extending their winning streak in all competitions to five matches.

The short turnaround between games should see Chelsea rotate their squad heavily, with the likes of Juan Mata, Willian, Kevin De Bruyne and Michael Essien keen to impress manager Jose Mourinho.

After making an error in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Cardiff, defender David Luiz has begun the last two matches on the bench and is likely to start for the visitors, who are still without Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel due to a serious knee injury. ----------------------

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