Chelsea will be frustrated at having played out a 0-0 stalemate with London rivals Arsenal in the opening leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, but the Gunners will be more than happy to be level.
Chelsea started the match all the better with a number of fluid passing spells, albeit without creating any clear-cut opportunities. Arsenal however were the first to get through on goal, when Jack Wilshere put Alexandre Lacazette through, only for the striker to unnecessarily shoot early and put the ball way up in the stands.
The Blues remained the better side of the half, but our defence remained strong and organised and we limited them to very few big chances, although we can thank a couple of misplaced crosses for helping to give Ospina little pressure in goal. Welbeck did force a save from Courtois five minutes from the end of the first half, only for us to be denied a penalty following the rebound, when Vic Moses brought down Maitland-Niles just inside the box. Admittedly the penalty would have been soft but I felt the VAR was going to see it given.
The half ended with a little flurry of possession for the home side, with some free kicks and corners, ending with Cesc Fabregas forcing a save with his headed effort, but the scores remained tied going into the break.
Chelsea continued their dominance in the second half, with our team seemingly having been tasked with keeping our opponents at bay, and while our defence has remained fairly sturdy, as time goes by we still look certain to concede.
We spent much of the first 20 minutes after the interval in our half of the pitch, and after losing Jack Wilshere to injury being replaced by Mohamed Elneny, we opted to replace the struggling Lacazette with Alexis Sanchez to try and change the game.
Unfortunately the game has continued to be one-sided, and our travelling fans will not have been overly impressed thus far, but going into the final 10 minutes at 0-0 cannot be bad with the home leg to play surely?
Chelsea made the surprising change by taking off Eden Hazard for Bakayoko, seeming to give themselves less of an attacking threat.
The final 10 minutes wasn’t as interesting as it would usually be with the scores tied due to the nature of playing over two legs, but at one point the referee did appear to be calling for the VAR to look at whether Chelsea deserved a penalty, but the strange part is that the incident had taken place a few moments before, and it would be interesting to know how that would work had a goal been scored in that time.
Arsenal will have to be happy with the 0-0 draw especially considering how frustrated the hosts will be at not having managed to turn their dominance into a win, but most importantly our defence has finally stepped up and put in a solid performance, and at an important time also.
Did Wenger play for the draw? Does the result make us favourites to make the final now?