Arsenal came from behind to claim a hard-fought victory against their city rivals and book a place in the final.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea (agg 2-1)
Nope! Arsenal deal with the corner without fuss, and the referee blows for full time! They’ll meet Manchester City at Wembley next month in the 2018 League Cup final! And what a performance they put in to book their place, checking Chelsea’s early momentum, taking advantage of the breaks that went their way, and by the end fully deserving victory in this tight tie. Could this finally be Arsene Wenger’s year in the League Cup? Meanwhile Antonio Conte’s wait for cup success in his managerial career goes on.
90 min +4: Hazard, out on the left, sends a dipping cross into the Arsenal box. It’s a fine ball, but nobody in blue attacks it. Ospina drops to his knees and grabs the ball. But Chelsea are soon coming back again, Zappacosta bringing down a desperate hoof with great style and earning a corner on the right. They couldn’t, could they?
90 min +3: Space for Barkley, 25 yards out. He shapes to shoot but Wilshere picks his pocket. The tension is palpable!
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90 min +2: Alonso bursts down the left but another pinball deflection goes Arsenal’s way: his cross hits Bellerin and comes back off his boot. Goal kick.
90 min +1: Ozil is sent scampering into the Chelsea half, pretty much on his own. But he was offside.
90 min: Hazard, dropping deep to influence a desperate Chelseaattack, lifts a pass down the right for Zappacosta, who can’t keep the ball in play. Goal kick. There will be four added minutes. Put another way: Arsenal are four minutes away from a final tie with Manchester City!
88 min: Alonso converts in the rugby style. That was as wild as they come.
87 min: Barkley tries to hold the ball up, 30 yards from the Arsenal goal. Mustafi comes through the back of him. Not a booking, but it’s a free kick in a very interesting position for Chelsea. The Emirates falls silent in fear/anticipation (delete according to viewpoint).
86 min: Mustafi hoicks a pass down the middle, and Xhaka is free and in space! But the ball is dropping over his shoulder, and with Chelsea breath on his neck, he can only help it to harmlessly bounce wide left of the goal.
85 min: This game is now a nervy mess. Nobody can string more than two passes together! And they say the League Cup doesn’t mean anything these days. Pah!
84 min: Lacazette is replaced by Kolasinac, while Iwobi is sacrificed for Ramsey. Arsenal plan to hold on to what they have.
82 min: Zappacosta, out on the right, hooks deep for Alonso, tight on the byline to the left of goal. Alonso tries his best Marco van Basten impersonation, but his screaming volley is blocked. From the corner, the ball hits Rudiger on the back, six yards out. The big man deserves a bit of luck tonight when it comes to strange bounces and odd deflections, but this one balloons over the bar harmlessly.
80 min: Yes, mistakes are being made all right. Ozil slips a pass down the right to send Lacazette into space, then goes off into the centre to await a simple return. Lacazette shanks a terrible cross backwards, setting Zappacosta away down the opposite flank! Fortunately for Arsenal, Monreal is on the case and runs the Chelseaman out of play.
78 min: Chelsea go up the other end and earn a corner, Hazard flashing a shot-cum-cross through the six-yard box from the left. Nothing comes of the set piece. But the nerves are beginning to jangle at the Emirates, as both defences begin to tire and make a few mistakes. Gaps are opening up.
76 min: Iwobi should have wrapped this tie up! Arsenal ping the ball down the right in pretty triangles, Lacazette, Ozil and Bellerin at the heart of it. Bellerin rolls a pass down the right, Ozil rolls it into the centre, and Iwobi, free, aims for the bottom right. But doesn’t meet it truly, and hits it straight at Caballero, who kicks clear. What a chance to book a date at Wembley!
75 min: Alonso has a blast from 25 yards on the left. It’s as wild as it is ambitious.
74 min: Chelsea press Arsenal back for the first time in a while. Alonso and Hazard threaten to open the hosts up down the left. Not quite. And with that, the rare period of pressure is released. On the touchline, Antonio Conte looks concerned, and no wonder: his side were on top in the first half, but since the break they’ve been second best by some distance.
73 min: For once, a ricochet goes Chelsea’s way, Bellerin’s cross from the right coming off Alonso, back onto the Arsenal wing back, and out for a goal kick.
72 min: Zappacosta comes on for Moses. That’s Chelsea’s last throw of the dice.
71 min: A magnificent Gazza-esque burst down the inside-left channel by Wilshere nearly opens Chelsea up. He lays off to Ozil on the left. Ozil checks, and the momentum is gone. Wilshere has turned his career around marvellously this season.
70 min: Kante charges Lacazette to the ground. It’s a fair bump with the shoulder, but Lacazette wants the yellow card shown. The referee simply reminds Kante not to get overly aggressive.
69 min: Xhaka slides a pass down the right for Bellerin, who reaches the area and checks. A pass inside for Lacazette, who lays off for the man who started the whole move off. Xhaka rushes in and blooters harmessly goalward.
67 min: Hazard tries to turn the tide, dribbling with purpose down the right. He’s upended by Monreal, who is booked for his trouble. Chelsea have a free kick, which is sent into a crowded box. Arsenal clear without too much ceremony.
65 min: Chelsea make their second change of the night, Batshuayi replacing Pedro.
64 min: Chelsea can’t get out right now. Bellerin and Wilshire probe down the Arsenal right, and the visitors do very well to keep their shape.
62 min: Moses flies in on Iwobi and is booked. The decision goes to VAR: was Moses out of control, studs up? The decision comes: no. We move on.
GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea (Xhaka 60); agg 2-1
For the second time tonight, a deflection off Rudiger costs Chelseadear! Lacazette busies himself down the inside-right channel. He reaches the byline and checks, attempting a pullback into the mixer. The ball ricochets off Rudiger and flies across the face of the six-yard box. Xhaka, at the near post, acts with the poacher’s instinct of a striker, and prods the loose ball home!
59 min: Iwobi races down the left, his low cross hooked over his own bar by Christensen. The corner isn’t all that. But Arsenal are the dominant force in this game for the first time tonight.
58 min: Wilshere, who has been busy and impressive this evening, wedges gently down the left to release Lacazette into the Chelseabox. Lacazette is free, but up goes the flag again, correctly this time. The striker went too early.
57 min: Elneny hooks a ball down the left wing to release Ozil. Again the flag goes up for offside on a hair trigger. Ozil looked level. That’s happened on a couple of occasions to Arsenal tonight.
55 min: Now it’s Arsenal’s turn to ping the ball around without doing anything particularly constructive. But they’ll be happy to make Chelsea do the chasing for once. Arsenal have been much improved since the restart.
54 min: Hazard goes dribbling down the inside-right channel, and stumbles to the ground just before he reaches the area. Chelseaclaim a light clip by Mustafi, trotting behind, but there doesn’t seem to be any contact, and the referee waves play on. The ball is sent out for a throw on the right. From that, Hazard shoots towards the bottom right but the effort is deflected. The corner isn’t any cop.
52 min: Rudiger nibbles at Lacazette down the Arsenal right and that’s a free kick in a very dangerous position. Arsenal load the box; Xhaka takes; the flag goes up for offside. This is better from Arsenal, though.
50 min: For the first time in the match, Arsenal pin Chelsea back. Iwobi nearly dribbles his way through down the left. Not quite. Then Monreal crosses. Suddenly Chelsea break! Hazard skedaddles down the middle of the park and is preparing to shoot from the edge of the Arsenal box when Koscielny slides in to save the day. Good end-to-end fun.
48 min: Iwobi nips in from the left and flicks to Lacazette, who bustles to make some space on the edge of the area. He slightly miscontrols, the ball breaking to Xhaka, who fizzes a rising shot well over the bar. Lacazette seethes slightly; he was trying to work something out for himself there.
46 min: Space for Moses down the right. He eventually runs into trouble, but for a second it looked like Chelsea were going to start fast again, with Hazard screaming for the ball down the inside-right channel and the home team light at the back.
Here we go again, then! Arsenal get the fourth chapter of this two-legged semi-final underway. No changes.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (agg 1-1)
And that’s that for the first half. Chelsea were the better side, certainly in terms of possession and territory, but they didn’t carve out too many chances and the teams go in level. This is poised beautifully for the most dramatic and tense of second halves. We still don’t know who will meet Manchester City at Wembley next month. We’ll find out soon enough. Don’t leave!
45 min +3: Wilshere dribbles down the inside-right channel and flicks a ball forward for Ozil, who is suddenly in the area with only Christensen and Caballero in front of him. He looks for the bottom left, and a clip off Christensen nearly spins the ball into the corner, but it drifts wide of the post at the last. The corner leads to nothing.
45 min +2: In the second of three added minutes, Elneny has a shot from 25 yards. It slams straight into Kante. The crowd claim for a hand ball, but the players don’t really bother.
45 min: A rare Arsenal foray into Chelsea’s final third. Ozil, dropping deep, rolls a fine pass down the left wing to spring Iwobi free, but the flag goes up. Iwobi looked level with the last man Rudiger, but he doesn’t get the decision.
44 min: Moses breaks down the right, nearly releases Barkley, then has another run down the same wing. His cross causes a little bit of panic in the Arsenal area, but Bakayoko can’t shift his feet to get a snapshot away.
42 min: More of the sterile Chelsea passing. Arsenal do a lot of chasing down. Suddenly Pedro and Alonso combine down the left to cause a bit of bother down the wing, but Pedro’s cross is easily cleared by Mustafi. “It’s not a good sign when Elneny seems to be the Arsenal player most in possession,” opines Charles Antaki. “That usually means the square pass and the worrying location of Xhaka somewhere risky. All we’re missing is Alexis Sánchez gesturing furiously out on the left.”
40 min: Ozil dribbles with purpose and style down the left, and is stopped unfairly by Christensen. A free kick, and a chance for Arsenal to load the box. Ozil floats the set piece in. Monreal meets it with a header, but there’s no pinball wizardry this time. The ball sails harmlessly into the arms of Caballero.
39 min: After a wild start, this game has settled down considerably. Chelsea are hogging the ball, but to no great effect at the moment.
37 min: Hazard zips down the left wing, checks, spins and goes again. Bellerin is beaten. Hazard makes his way to the byline, and into the area, and his low cross is hoicked out for a corner by Koscielny. The corner leads to diddly squat.