As a reward for beating West Brom on penalties, Arsenal are set to face Chelsea at the Emirates in the next round of the Worthington, Carling, Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
Arsenal will be hoping to continue their phenomenal form and progress to the next round, while getting a further look at some of the younger talent at the club.
Recent History (the only type Chelsea have)
The last time these clubs faced each other in the League Cup was one to forget for the Gunners. The 2007 final saw Chelsea come out as champions after a 2-1 victory thanks to a Drogba brace in Cardiff. Arsenal’s opener was Theo Walcott’s first goal for the club. He and Diaby are also the only players from the squad that day to still play for Arsenal.
Arsenal’s recent record against Chelsea is far from encouraging. The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Premiership was just over 2 years ago, thanks to a Van Persie hat-trick. Arsenal have not won any of their last 5 games against Chelsea in knockout competitions (including one community shield), with the last time Arsenal coming off victorious being in in the 2004 FA cup.
Arsenal are top the league; Chelsea are not. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that, but it is a good place to start. A win against City on Sunday means that Chelsea currently sit just behind Arsenal in second place.
The Chelsea manager was quick to criticize the FA (again) about the timing of this game’s proximity to their last one with a sarcastic comment in their programme notes. Almost as petulant as pinching the opposition assistant manager’s ear when he thought the cameras wouldn’t see him. Classy man.
Arsenal have managed to win 21 of their last 26 games across various competitions. While some have noted the apparent ease of our various opponents in these fixtures, there is little more that the team could have done. This season has seen Arsenal drop points to only Aston Villa and West Brom, leaving the team with 22 out of a possible 27 points in the league.
The opposition are currently two points behind Arsenal. Looking at the teams they have dropped points to (Spurs, United and Everton), it could be said that they are in a better position despite their point deficit.
League form may not be entirely relevant considering the starting XI that both teams are likely to field. However, Wenger may be forced to put on more senior players than he would like, due to injuries and lack of other options.
Arsenal have scored in all league games this season, with the timings of the goals being fairly spread out. Arsenal do, however, seem to settle into the game most between the 61st and 75th minute of the game; the most successful 15 minute period, with the club scoring 5 of the club’s 20 goals in this timeframe.
Chelsea have preferred to leave it late this season, scoring 6 of their 16 goals after the 75 minute mark, while conceding 0 in that time. Arsenal, meanwhile, have conceded 3 times in this period.
Neither team has lost a game this season after going in at half time ahead. Arsenal have won 5/5 times while Chelsea have done so 4/4 times. Conversely, whenever either side has gone into the break behind, they have managed a draw. Admittedly this has only happened to each side only once. Coming out strongly could well be the key to winning the game.
The only two losses of the season for Wenger’s team have come at home, most recently in a disappointing result to Champions League runners up Dortmund. As is often the case under recent years, Arsenal not been daunted by facing teams away from home, picking up 13 of a possible 15 points on the road this season. The same cannot be said for Chelsea, who have won only 1 of their 5 games away from Stamford Bridge. The home advantage could tip the game in the Gunners’ favour.