Chelsea, Carabao Cup Semi-Final (H): Team News And Starting XI

Howdy, peeps.

This is going to a sensationally swift entry today as I’m currently stealing a few minutes where I can. So, without any rambling intros or peculiar admissions, I’ll get straight into the team news for tonight’s game.

Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud are definitely out tonight along with Santi Cazorla – who may not be able to return to playing football until 2019. Quickly shifting of topic for a second, it’s a real shame to see what’s happening to Cazorla, a wonderful player and, by all accounts, one of the nicest men in football. He’ll need a 10th career operation in order to play again, and at this point it does make you wonder if we’ll ever see him in an dancing across the turf in an Arsenal shirt ever again. I sincerely hope we do, even if it’s for the briefest of moments that enables the supporters to show our appreciation.

In other injury news, Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey will be both given late tests to establish their fitness. New signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is unable to play as he’s cup-tied having already represented Manchester United in the competition. With Walcott and Alexis distant memories and Giroud injured, our attacking options are looking a little light tonight. Alexandre Lacazette should surely start as I can’t see Arsene putting faith in Chuba Akpom or Eddie Nketiah. That will leave Ozil and Iwobi to play behind with Ramsey (assuming he’s fit – maybe Reiss Nelson if he’s not). I can see us opting to play a more attacking 4-2-3-1 that looks a little like this:

I’m assuming we’ll start with a more attack minded formation because we’re the home team and need to take the initiative. Chelsea will be without Fabregas and Morata tonight through injury, and I expect they’ll look to hit us on the break after soaking up the pressure and allowing us possession. Given that we’re not know for being defensively intelligent, the two central midfielders and the remaining defenders will need to put in performances similar to those that saw us win the FA Cup in May of last year. This semi-final represents a wonderful chance of getting to Wembley to play Man City. The Carabao Cup may not be the most traditional or prestigious trophy available, but it is silverware and I’d love Arsenal to win some of that.

If we play well, we can win. If we don’t. Conte’s Chelsea are more than capable of picking us off. I’d say the league fixture at the Emirates is a good example of how the match might pan out, and I am going to boldly predict we’ll nick it with the odd goal in 5.

That’s all for today, folks. I’ll be back tomorrow morning/afternoon to post a review of all the happening and talking points – hopefully a positive festival of excitement and general joy.

Until that time, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Soundtrack to this post:

Com Truise – ‘Idle Withdrawl’

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