Tue 29 Oct 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 59,455)
After a short gap between games and a short journey across London, Chelsea play our second domestic cup tie of the season. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton turn their attention quickly from league to League Cup…
You have to go back to the 1980s for the kind of away support Chelsea will have at Emirates Stadium tonight. There will be 9,000 Blues in north London for this Capital One Cup tie, the kind of numbers that regularly swelled the old Clock End (and elsewhere) at Highbury in the halcyon days of Osgood, Dixon and co. It is possibly our largest away contingent in this competition outside a final or semi since the one that watched Chelsea beat Spurs 3-0 at White Hart Lane in January 1991.
With the problematic scheduling of this game - so soon after Chelsea's epic clash with title rivals Manchester City - the fan culture flashback will be as important to some as the match itself. As we pointed out in the Swindon Town Pre-Match Briefing, the Football League made a big fuss when the Blues fielded a 'weakened side' against the Robins - 50 years ago. The organisers can have no grounds for complaint this time.
It would be too risky fielding the same players twice in 50 hours and Jose Mourinho initially considered fielding a youth team. Instead, Chelsea's travelling fans can expect to see a squad comprising players who have appeared less regularly so far this season, but one bristling with quality and potential nonetheless. The hosts should also be commended for their sensible pricing policy.
Arsene Wenger has always treated this tournament as a chance to blood youngsters and did so in the previous round match at West Bromwich Albion. Will it be trick or treat for his kids tonight?
Mourinho is only the eighth Chelsea manager to have reached the double century milestone and his win percentage far outstrips any rival.
He has faced Wenger's Arsenal on eight occasions in the league, League Cup and Community Shield. Four ended in Chelsea wins, four were drawn. He now seeks a victory that would keep the cleaners out of the Emirates' trophy cupboard until May at the earliest.
The two adversaries are the only previous winners of the Premier League still currently managing in England's top flight. There is little that can be extracted from tonight's game and applied to the race for the title however.
The last home side to beat Chelsea in this competition in normal time were Aston Villa, way back in December 2003; John Terry and Frank Lampard both featured. The Blues were London's first winners of this competition in 1964/65, and have raised it again three times since. Arsenal have won it twice.
The two rivals presently sit first and second in the Premier League. The Blues have endured a tougher league schedule to date than our north London rivals - the average position of Chelsea's opponents has been 10th, compared to the Gunners' 15th. The toughest sides Arsenal have faced have been Spurs - a derby where form amounts to little more than a c.v. - and Dortmund, which did not go well.
Tonight's fourth-round tie might be considered a wonderful sideshow to the main domestic business. However, if Wenger aims to avoid the constant jibes about his trophy-less years this could be his easiest route to silverware.
He was appointed manager at Highbury on 30 September 1996 (6,238 days ago). His last trophy won was the FA Cup, 3,083 days ago on 21 May 2005.
After tonight the league leaders face Liverpool at home, then successive away trips to Dortmund (in the Champions League) and Old Trafford before hosting Southampton.
Chelsea travel to Newcastle on Saturday then host Schalke and West Bromwich Albion before a trip to West Ham.
Our last and next Champions League opponents Schalke lost again at home at the weekend, to high-flying Dortmund (the Ruhr derby). Jens Keller fielded a similar side to the one we took apart a week ago in the Veltins Arena. Teenager Max Meyer scored for the hosts but Dortmund won 3-1 - one better than their result in north London this time last week.
Of Group E's other sides, Basel drew 0-0 at Zürich and Steaua Buchurest won 2-1 at struggling Braşov.
Arsenal's shoot-out at West Brom in the last round was the 17th in their history. Only Brentford (22), Chelsea (19) and Bournemouth (18) have contested more.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If there is still no winner the tie will be decided on penalties.
Capital One Cup fourth round fixtures
Arsenal v Chelsea 7.45pm - Sky Sports
Birmingham v Stoke 7.45pm
Burnley v West Ham 7.45pm
Leicester v Fulham 7.45pm
Manchester United v Norwich 7.45pm
Newcastle v Manchester City 7.45pm - Sky Sports
Tottenham v Hull 7.45pm
Wednesday 6 November
Sunderland v Southampton 7.45pm
- Click on tabs above for more briefing
Tactical pointers are few and far between when the two sides are likely to be composed of footballers who have barely played together. While Jose Mourinho appears to have changed from his 'it will be a good night for the kids' comment there will almost certainly be no one on the pitch tonight who started in the crucial win against City.
In the previous round Arsenal drew 1-1 at West Brom but went through 4-3 on penalties, Serge Gnabry the only Gunner to miss from the spot. There were replacements for Wenger's regular Premier League line-up in virtually every position, with defenders Per Mertesacker and Carl Jenkinson, plus experienced midfielder Mikel Arteta, the only players regularly involved in the first team.
Should Arsene Wenger stick to his policy in the competition his team should feature the likes of Lukasz Fabianski, Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerín, Isaac Hayden, Kristoffer Olsson, Thomas Eisfeld, Chuba Akpom, Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner (pictured below). Bendtner has faced Chelsea eight times previously, scoring once in six defeats and two wins.
Mathieu Flamini is absent with a groin injury. Like the suspended Mikel Arteta he was unlikely to figure anyway - they are Arsenal's favoured centre midfield pairing.
Winger Gnabry played for an hour on Saturday at Crystal Palace, replaced by Jack Wilshere (who may be called on this evening) and picked up an ankle knock. The German-Ivorian can be a little naive in his passing and tackling but is a very tricky customer going forward, with his first thought generally to take on an opponent. Left-back Monreal came on as a sub at Selhurst and played in midfield to bolster the left side. Tomas Rosicky was an unused sub.
With over a day longer recovery time than the visitors tonight, Arsenal may field some of those who won 2-0 on Saturday lunchtime.
The average age of the Chelsea outfield squad that won 2-0 at Swindon was 25. The Blues' likely goalie tonight, Mark Schwarzer, 41, bumps that up considerably. Since starting in that win Marco van Ginkel has been ruled out till March.
The highest appearance-maker in this competition from the current squad, Frank Lampard (33 appearances, 11 goals), will almost certainly be rested after his hectic recent schedule.
There are several players who will hope to lay out their case for more minutes, not least John Mikel Obi, David Luiz, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne, Demba Ba, Michael Essien, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ryan Bertrand.
Eighteen-year-old playmaker Lewis Baker was on the bench at the County Ground, a reward for the England Under-19 international's consistent performances this season.
Other youngsters would love to be involved in some way this evening. Tomas Kalas is fit again after his fibula fracture, while fellow centre-back Andreas Christensen and midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek have impressed at younger levels in the last few months.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea have played more competitive games against Arsenal than any other team. Tonight is our 180th meeting. We have won the last three League Cup encounters with an aggregate of 11 goals to four.
In 1998 the two legs straddled league games including another visit to Highbury. Both trips to north London ended in defeat and after the league setback, Arsenal followers sent west London fans away with chorus after chorus of 'Let's all laugh at Chelsea!'
The jibe was in part for the loss of manager Ruud Gullit's lustre - Chelsea fans were so proud of Gullit's presence at the Bridge and his trophy-winning achievements. Soon after the echoes of those cruel chants subsided the Dutchman departed and Gianluca Vialli stepped up as player-manger.
Vialli's first task was to overturn the 1-2 League Cup deficit and before he kick-off he had the players toast a new era with a little champagne. Thus fortified the Blues blew Patrick Vieira and co away 3-1 to reach the 1997/98 final, which was won 2-0 against Middlesbrough.
The Italian got the better of Arsene Wenger again later the same year, in October, when two weakened side met again at Highbury. Chelsea's proved the deeper resources, with Frank Leboeuf opening the scoring from a penalty 10 minutes before half-time. The stadium, so often a graveyard in the 1990s, was then the stage for Vialli and Uruguayan midfielder Gustavo Poyet to produce a thrilling 5-0 rout.
Completing the trio of victories in this competition, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea won the final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in February 2007 despite falling behind to an early Theo Walcott goal. Didier Drogba, who always fancies his chances against the Gunners, put the Blues level and then scored the winner with 15 minutes to go.
Injury time - already vast as a result of John Terry being knocked out - was extended by a fracas in which Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and, for Chelsea, John Mikel Obi were sent off, and Frank Lampard and Cesc Fabregas were booked.
There was no risk of Arsenal coming back and the trophy went back to west London.
This is our fifth League Cup tie against the Gunners. Chelsea have won three of the last four including that 2007 final.
Previous League Cup meetings
Fourth round 26 October 1976, Highbury
Ross 52 Hay 58
Semi-final, first leg 28 January 1998, Highbury
Overmars 23 M Hughes 68
S Hughes 47
Semi-final, second leg 18 February 1998, Stamford Bridge
M Hughes 10 Bergkamp 82 pen
Di Matteo 51
Fourth round 11 November 1998, Highbury
Leboeuf 34 pen
Vialli 49, 73
Poyet 65, 80
Final 25 February 2007, Millennium Stadium
Walcott 12 Drogba 20, 84
Other domestic cup meetings
Our record in the FA Cup is five wins, six draws and eight defeats.
Our away record at Arsenal is:
|1929/30||(3)||Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0|
|1946/47||(3 rep)||Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1|
|1972/73||(QF rep)||Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1|
|2000/01||(5)||Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1|
|2002/03||(QF)||Arsenal 2 Chelsea 2|
|2003/04||(5)||Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1|
|2003/04||(QF1)||Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1|
|(QF2)||Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2|
Arsenal v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 179
Chelsea wins 56
Arsenal wins 71
Biggest win at Arsenal for each team
Arsenal 5-2 Chelsea - 16/04/1979 - old Division One
Arsenal 0-5 Chelsea - 11/11/1998 - League Cup
Chelsea lost an away League Cup tie in open play: 3,604
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,083
Liverpool won the league: 8,578
Chelsea in the League Cup
Winners: 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007
Runners-up: 1972, 2008
Semi-finalists: 1973, 1985, 1991, 2002, 2013
Last 10 seasons in the League Cup
2003/04 - Quarter-final
2004/05 - Winners
2005/06 - 3rd round
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Runners-up
2008/09 - 4th round
2009/10 - Quarter-final
2010/11 - 3rd round
2011/12 - Quarter-final
2012/13 - Semi-final
Chelsea's last away defeat in open play in the League Cup was in the quarter-final against Aston Villa in 2003. In the 2009 quarter-final, after drawing 3-3 at Blackburn after extra time, we went on to lose 4-3 on penalties.
Last season the Blues went out of the League Cup at the semi-final stage, to Swansea 0-2 on aggregate.
Chelsea have won three of our last six penalty shoot-outs. Our last two have been against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and this season's Super Cup.
The Blues beat Swindon 2-0 away in the third round.
|Last six results|
|Sat 28||Tottenham (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 1||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League a)||W 4-0|
|Oct 6||Norwich (a)||W 3-1|
|Oct 19||Cardiff (h)||W 4-1|
|Oct 22||Schalke (Champions League a)||W 3-0|
|Oct 27||Manchester City (h)||W 2-1|
Capital One Cup scorers (2)
Ramires 1, Torres 1
League Cup games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 1
An away defeat in open play: 14
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 2 Nov||Newcastle away||12.45pm|
|Wed 6 Nov||Schalke (Champions League) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 9 Nov||West Brom home||3pm|
Arsenal in the League Cup
Winners: 1987, 1993
Runners-up: 1968, 1969, 1988, 2007, 2011
Semi-finalists: 1978, 1983, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2008
Arsenal knocked out West Brom in an away tie in the last round, winning 4-3 on penalties with the game finishing 1-1 after extra time.
Capital One Cup scorer (1)
Arsenal have one of the better recent records in the League Cup, having reached at least the quarter-finals in each of the last 10 seasons.
Arsenal's two defeats this season have both come at the Emirates; on the opening day against Aston Villa and last week against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Since 2005, Arsenal have won five of their six penalty shoot-outs. Their only loss was against Bradford in last season's Capital One Cup quarter-final.
Last season Arsenal were involved in the highest scoring game in the competition when they beat Reading 7-5 at the Madejski Stadium.
|Last 10 seasons in the League Cup|
|Season||Round reached||Defeated by|
|Last six results|
|Sep 28||Swansea (a)||W 2-1|
|Oct 1||Napoli (Champions League h)||W 2-0|
|Oct 6||West Brom (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 19||Norwich (h)||W 4-1|
|Oct 22||Borussia Dortmund (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
|Oct 26||Crystal Palace (a)||W 2-0|
League Cup games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 10
A home defeat: 1
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Phil Dowd is refereeing both clubs for the first time this season. His last Chelsea game was our 1-0 FA Cup win against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup.
Mikel Arteta is suspended following his red card at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Our Spanish right-back struck his first Chelsea goal before the interval, capitalising on a short Carl Jenkinson back-pass to volley home from inside the box. That means we have had three new goalscorers in the space of 10 days, Azpilicueta joining Andre Schurrle and Samuel Eto'o in notching their first for the club.
The lead was doubled three-quarters of the way through the match via the right boot of Mata, whose sweetly-struck shot whistled past Lukasz Fabianski for his first goal of the season.
In the end, it was a fairly comfortable victory for the much-changed Blues, with our opponents offering little threat going forward. It was in this competition that Mourinho lifted his first trophy as Chelsea boss, and tonight's victory means we are still on course to emulate that feat nine years later.
As promised, Jose Mourinho made wholesale changes to the Chelsea team, with only Gary Cahill retaining his place from the side that beat Manchester City a little over 48 hours ago. That meant a second Chelsea start for Mark Schwarzer between the sticks, with Cahill joined by Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Ryan Bertrand at the back. John Mikel Obi and skipper Michael Essien gave an African flavour to the central midfield positions, while Eto'o was chosen to lead the line ahead of an attacking trio of Mata, Willian and Kevin De Bruyne.
Arsene Wenger made eight changes from his side's win at Crystal Palace on Saturday, but it was still a strong-looking team with Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla all selected.
Chelsea earned two corners inside the opening couple of minutes but offered no threat from them, while a David Luiz flick over the Gunners' backline proved just too long for Bertrand.
Nicklas Bendtner had a shot blocked at the other end but a scrappy opening saw much of the play interchanged between the two sides in midfield. It took until the 18th minute for the game's first save from either keeper, but De Bruyne's shot, swung in from the left, was straight at Fabianski. Not long after, Eto'o flicked well wide with his back to goal.
There was a moment of real danger for Chelsea when Ryo Miyaichi beat Schwarzer to the ball but first Cahill, and then the offside flag, rendered what had initially looked a problematic situation academic.
Chelsea then took the lead via the most unlikely of sources. It all stemmed from an Arsenal corner, with the cleared Chelsea header setting up a quick counter-attack involving Mata and Eto'o. Essien was also on the scene as we pressed the ball high up but Arsenal's retreating players looked to have the situation under control. Like on Sunday, however, an erroneous back-pass swung the pendulum in our favour. Carl Jenkinson's header was short of Fabianski and Azpilicueta, raiding forward, was on hand to expertly volley past the Pole via the inside of the post. What a way for the Spaniard to score his first goal for the club!
Mikel went into referee Phil Dowd's book for trying, but failing, to halt the advancing Wilshere and with the home side looking for an instant response, Nacho Monreal passed up Arsenal's best chance of the opening half moments later. Azpilicueta sold De Bruyne short, but Arsenal's Spanish full-back couldn't match his compatriot's effort, driving just wide of Schwarzer's far post.
Essien, his usual bustling self, should have done better when set up following some intricate Mata approach play, but a disjointed first period finished with both sides perhaps suffering for the multitude of pre-match changes.
Attacking the 9,000 travelling fans massed behind that goal, we were first to threaten. Eto'o stepped inside Koscielny outside the box but the Cameroonian's shot, all of his own making, flashed wide with Fabianski scrambling.
The in-form Ramsey danced his way into the Chelsea box but a Mikel block took the sting and the danger out of his strike, and the same man flashed wide five minutes later. Arsene Wenger threw on summer signing Mesut Ozil after the hour in a bid to inject some quality into his attack that, up to that point, had looked pretty toothless going forward.
Our next attack was anything but, as Juan Mata doubled our advantage. Eto'o helped a Bertrand throw-in towards Willian, who flicked his header back to Mata. The Spaniard, lurking on the edge of the area, took one touch with his left to shift it on to his right. His shot was fierce, blasted beyond Fabianski into the top right-hand corner. Our no.10 couldn't have opened his account for the season in a more spectacular fashion. 2-0 Chelsea, 65 minutes played.
Schwarzer had to be alert to block with his knees from substitute Olivier Giroud, after Wilshere had wriggled his way into the box for the first time in the match, but it was the visitors who went closest to adding the game's third goal. A swift break involving Azpilicueta ended with Essien feeding the recently-introduced Ramires. From a tight angle, our speedy Brazilian lifted his effort over Fabianski. The retreating Koscielny could count himself fortunate to stand on the ball, and not put it into his own net, as it neared his goal-line.
Cazorla drifted into a shooting position as Arsenal sought a late consolation, but, like many of his team-mates' efforts, his shot failed to test Schwarzer.
Ramires almost had the game's final word, his dipping strike just clearing the motionless Fabianski's crossbar. By the time Tomas Kalas was introduced for his Chelsea debut in stoppage time, the Emirates was half-empty, save for the buoyant travelling support, revelling in their team's performance.
This was by no means the most fiercely-contested London derby, but a first goal in Chelsea colours for Azpilicueta and a stunning first of the season for Mata puts us in the hat for the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Cahill, D Luiz, Bertrand; Essien (c), Mikel; De Bruyne (Ramires 68), Mata (Kalas 90+2), Willian; Eto'o (Ba 80).
Unused subs Blackman, Ivanovic, Hazard, Torres.
Scorers Azpilicueta 25, Mata 65
Booked Mikel 28, Essien 74
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen (c), Monreal; Ramsey (Park 81), Wilshere; Miyaichi (Ozil 63), Rosicky, Cazorla; Bendtner (Giroud 66).
Unused subs Viviano, Sagna, Hayden, Yennaris.
Referee Phil Dowd