Chelsea – Carabao Cup Semi-Final (A): Preview, Team News And Starting XI (Guess).

Afternoon, folks.

I’m going to make this quick.

I would say, if I’m being honest, the Europa League still represents our best chance of a trophy this season. We might be in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, but in order to lift the one domestic trophy that has eluded Arsene Wenger, we’re going to have to get our act together and beat Chelsea over two legs and then, in all likelihood, Manchester City in the final. I know what you’re thinking, that’s pretty much exactly what we did to lift the FA Cup last season and you’d be absolutely right. I’m just not feeling at optimistic at the moment. Crushing defeats to lower league opponents tend to have that effect.

I’m just a miserable old bag of p*ss, aren’t I? I should be all excited and chomping at the bit to get started, but I’m instead my midriff is filled with dread and the assumption of another defeat. It’s usually around this time the team proves me wrong. I hope that this again proves to be one of those occasions. Fingers and all crossable body parts, crossed.

We’re going to be missing Xhaka and Mustafi tonight who look unlikely to recover from knocks sustained in recent weeks. It’s alleged both will undergo late fitness test, but I can’t see either being risked. Given our unceremonious dumping from the FA Cup, I think there’s a high possibility we’ll see a strong team tonight. I don’t think Sanchez will play because he’s probably repeating the money scene from Indecent Proposal on the bed at his mansion with his dogs having been on the phone with his agent.

I’m guessing Ospina will retain his place in goal with Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers and Mertesacker making up the back 5. Wilshere and Elneny in central midfield with a front 3 of Ozil, Walcott and Lacazette. If Arsene was to field another weakened team, there’s a good chance he would actually be lynched after the game. We’ll go strong tonight. I bloody hope so, anyway…

In reference to the game, Arsene said:

“You want to go there, be solid and try to take advantage of every mistake, of every weakness, to win the game. We also know there is another game after that, and we need to be solid defensively too.

“I would love to win [the Carabao Cup] because we are now in the semi-final and if it’s an opportunity we will try to take it. There is still a long way to go because you have Man City against Bristol City and then it is us against Chelsea, so it is a bit similar to last year in the FA Cup.”

That’s the game plan. Hopefully we can defend better than we have in recent weeks. We got a respectable 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in the league fixture last year and another performance along those lines would be just fine. If we’re going to get to the final, a great deal hinges of taking a favourable result back to the Emirates. I’m going to go for a 2-1 loss with a useful away goal. That’s just my prediction, mind you…. Not what I’d like to happen. Ideally, we’d win 10-0 and Stamford Bridge would melt under the pressure of sobbing Chelsea fans, but we can’t always have what we want.

Let’s hope for s decent game. I’ll be back tomorrow to review it.

Until then, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Soundtrack to this post:

Hans Zimmer – ‘Day Of The Dead’

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