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Arsenal v Chelsea Preview, Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
Arsenal take on Chelsea at the Emirates in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup tonight.
We booked our place with a penalty shoot-out win over West Brom in the third round and it’s certainly going to be a huge task to overcome Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to reach the quarter finals.
We played an experienced back five mixed with a youthful attacking line-up at the Hawthorns and I think we’ll see a similar team tonight. Mourinho has back-tracked on his earlier comments claiming he’d play an entire youth development team for the game in protest at having to play this fixture just two days after facing Manchester City in the league.
They will still play their back-up squad but we’ll most likely still see the likes of Juan Mata, Demba Ba, John Obi Mikel and David Luiz play, so it’s going to be a tough game.
Amazingly, Arsene Wenger has never beaten the Mourinho in any of their previous 8 meetings, so hopefully that run will be ended this evening.
Wenger is expected to rotate his squad meaning a whole host of first team players will get a rest.
Lukasz Fabianski is likely to start in goal with Carl Jenkinson, Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal almost certain to feature in defence. The one remaining spot with likely go to either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny.
Mikel Arteta is suspended after his harsh red card against Palace and Mathieu Flamini is facing three weeks out with a groin strain, leaving us with few options in the middle of the park.
With Emmanuel Frimpong lacking match fitness, and Gedion Zalalem and Thomas Eisfeld struggling with injury, Jack Wilshere is likely to start alongside Isaac Hayden – who Wenger has confirmed will play.
Serge Gnabry is also in line to start if he can shake off a knock and he could be joined by Ryo Miyaichi, Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner in attack.
Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo are all still out injured.
Chelsea will probably have the more experienced team out tonight so arguably they could be seen as favourites, but home advantage should count for something and I’m going to back the boys to edge it. Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
What are your thoughts on the game and what team would you put out?