It was honours even at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea and Arsenal played out a goalless draw in their Carabao Cup first leg. The game was as more one-sided than Chelsea’s trip to Norwich with Arsenal happily settling for a draw but the Blues did have their chances.
The first warning shots were fired by Alvaro Morata when he escaped the clutches of the Arsenal back 3 but could only poke it into the side netting from a tight angle. I’ll be honest, not much more happened for the next 20 minutes of the game until Alexandre Lacazette found himself in behind the Chelsea defence after a lofted pass by Jack Wilshere. The Frenchman’s lack of confidence showed as he blazed his effort high and wide, much to the amusement of the home fans behind the goal.
Victor Moses was a constant threat down the right-hand side and came close to breaking the deadlock on a couple of occasions. His first low shot was fumbled by David Ospina, only for the goalkeeper to gather at the second attempt before a second powerful strike cannoned off the near post. Moses’s fellow Nigerian, Alex Iwobi, came closest for the Gunners but his shot was well struck but also well saved by Thibaut Courtois.
Martin Atkinson consulted VAR on a couple of occasions after two incidents in the Chelsea penalty area. Calum Chambers went unpunished for a push on Cesar Azpilicueta before a corner. Ainsley Maitland-Niles went down under the challenge of Moses a few minutes later but nothing was given and play went on. Cesc Fabregas had the best chance of the half but could only head into the grateful grasp of Ospina from close range after Azpilicueta’s cross from deep.
Andreas Christensen, who replaced David Luiz in the side, had two great chances in the second half to grab his first Chelsea goal. The first came just minutes after the restart when Marcos Alonso’s flick-on found him at the back post but the Dane headed over the crossbar and the chance was gone. Later in the half, Ospina came for a corner but ran into Antonio Rudiger which left Christensen with virtually an open goal but the centre back’s timid header landed wide of the near post much to the home crowd’s frustration.
Alvaro Morata struggled to make an impact and fluffed his lines on a number of occasions whether that be losing control of the ball or inaccurate shooting. Eden Hazard wasn’t his usual self either with a couple of cute backheels sugarcoating his lacklustre performance. Willian brought some intensity to the game but he couldn’t get near the Arsenal goal thanks to their deep lying back line. Alex Iwobi broke free but his weak toe punt rolled into Courtois’ clutches and that was Arsenal’s most threatening attack of the second half.
Neither Michy Batshuayi or Alexis Sanchez could bring that goal scoring touch to their sides and the game, and Chelsea’s home advantage in this tie, fizzled out.