Wembley beckons for inconsistent Gunners

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Arsene Wenger

Arsenal can get the better of Chelsea in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final when the two London rivals meet for the fifth time this season on Wednesday.

The first leg between the teams a fortnight ago at Stamford Bridge was a grim goalless affair in contrast to the exciting 2-2 Premier League draw at Emirates Stadium earlier in the month.

The Gunners, who beat Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup final, drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in another tight league encounter in September and defeated Antonio Conte’s team on penalties after the teams had shared two goals in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Arsene Wenger opted to play a weakened side in the first leg but may choose a stronger line-up on Wednesday while Chelsea will definitely be without injured duo Alvaro Morata (back) and former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas (hamstring).

In Morata’s absence on Saturday, a front three of Michy Batshuayi, Willian and Eden Hazard impressed in the 4-0 win at Brighton, a result that brought a sequence of five draws in all competitions to an end.

Hazard is 11/2 to score the first goal on Wednesday while Arsenal are 6/5 to qualify for the final and 11/4 to keep a clean sheet in the match.

Chelsea have won the competition five times but Arsenal have only triumphed twice with their last success coming 25 years ago when they beat Sheffield Wednesday.

Wenger’s team, who returned to form after their FA Cup exit to Nottingham Forest and lethargic display when losing to Bournemouth by beating Crystal Palace 4-1 on Saturday, are 4/1 to win the League Cup outright while Chelsea can be backed at 16/5 to lift the trophy.

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