Both Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte made nine changes to their sides for the FA Cup at the weekend, but it would appear that Chelsea’s boss is still intending to make changes for the Caraboa Cup tie against Arsenal tonight. ‘In every game we try to make a strong team, whether you play in the league, the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup,’ he said on the official Chelsea website.
‘When you play every three days, it’s important to make rotations but at the same time, your team must be very strong. Otherwise, you risk dropping in this trophy. It’s a very important game for us, a semi-final and the chance to win a trophy. We deserve to be here and it will be a tough game against Arsenal.
‘From the start of the season we have tried to find a good balance, to give the right opportunity and chances to everyone. I think every one of my players deserves the chance to play.
‘It is important for us. We played in the Carabao Cup with young players but at the same time, it was a strong team. Our run in this competition hasn’t been easy. In the fourth round we played, Everton, the fifth round was against Bournemouth and now in the semi-final we play Arsenal.
‘But we must be very happy because we have reached the semi-final. We want to try to do our best, to reach the final.’
Arsenal and Chelsea have played two exciting draws in the League already, with our 2-2 at the Emirates just two weeks ago, and our 0-0 draw at the Bridge earlier in the season earned us our first point in our last 5 visits, although the Blues haven’t beaten us in our last five competitive meeting. So what does Conte think of this new contest? ‘I think the game against Arsenal was a good game,’ he said. ‘I think our performance that day was very good but we know very well which are the points of strength of this Arsenal team.
‘We know where they like to win points from. I think we try to study the game in the right way and we want to play another good game, to try to win the game.
‘But we must pay great attention because we are playing a good team in Arsenal, one of the top six teams in England.’
Whatever teams we see on the pitch, I am sure that both of them will be fighting hard to take an advantage for the second leg, although Wenger would probably be happy with another 0-0 draw. Arsenal have scraped through by one goal against Doncaster, Norwich and West Ham to get this far, so can we do it again against Chelsea over the two legs?