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Exactly one week after these sides clashed in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium, they renew their rivalry again on Wednesday evening in the EFL Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge and the visiting Gunners will be desperate to bounce back following a shock 4-2 defeat to Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
The last meeting between these sides at Stamford Bridge produced a dismal goal-less draw, however they served up a thriller in their first meeting of 2018 with all four goals in the 2-2 draw scored in the final half-hour. Indeed the match had been anything but dull up to that point with both keepers producing excellent displays with some fine saves along the way.
Can they produce the goods in what we believe will be another thriller in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening?
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There is no love lost between Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger and there have been a few harsh words between them following last week’s draw, the Gunners boss accusing Chelsea player Eden Hazard of diving to win a penalty. As such, we can expect a tetchy affair in West London on Wednesday evening.
There should be no complaint regarding referees’ decisions by either manager this week however given that the Video Assistant Referee will be on hand to spare any perceived injustices, this system being trialled in its first English competitive match when Brighton face Crystal Palace tonight (Monday 8th January).
While Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup at the weekend, Chelsea didn’t fare too much better given that they were forced to a replay in their third round meeting with Norwich City and as such both managers will be looking at this match as a way of grabbing some silverware, given that other avenues are fading fast.
The Gunners kept things tight in the previous trip to Stamford Bridge and this approach earned them a point on that occasion. They will almost certainly stick to this strategy in this midweek affair and as such we’ll be backing them to take Chelsea back to the Emirates Stadium for a replay, at the very least.
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