Chelsea’s 5-0 hammering of Stoke City marked a perfect end to a good year for the Blues. It helped them prepare for their first clash of the New Year, a mouthwatering clash against their North London rivals Arsenal and the match lived up to the billing. In the league, the champions are now 16 points adrift of the league leaders. Antonio Conte has effectively ruled his team out of the race and will now look to consolidate on a top-four place. In light of these events, the Italian will look to focus on the upcoming Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Arsenal with great interest.
With a difficult Champions League knockout encounter coming up against Barcelona and the FA Cup in its infant stages, Conte will know that the Carabao Cup will present him with a great opportunity to win his first silverware in a knockout competition.
Last time out when the two sides faced each other, the sides were locked to a 2-2 draw at the Emirates. The match was pulsating from the very first minute and the fans will be hoping to see a repeat of the high-intensity action.
With the Gunners this time paying a visit to the Bridge for the first leg, here is how Conte will look to set his team up for the match.
Thibaut Courtois will be expected in goal once again for the Champions. The defensive three is expected to be without David Luiz who only made his return from a long injury against Norwich City a few days back. Cesar Azpilicueta will be one of the three centre-backs. Andreas Christensen who missed the last match after being rested will be expected back at the middle of the three centre-halves with Gary Cahill expected to continue at the back and have the armband on the night to lead the Blues.
Marcos Alonso will prepare for what will be his umpteenth match this season as a left wing back with Victor Moses expected on the right side after being given a rest against Norwich City.
Tiemoue Bakayoko along with N’Golo Kante can be expected at the base of the midfield with Cesc Fabregas up ahead of them. Danny Drinkwater who played in the FA Cup match against Norwich City will be back on the bench.
The dangerous duo of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata can be expected up top and will be tasked with the responsibility of scoring the goals. Fans will be hoping Morata has found his shooting boots this time around after missing a series of chances last time.
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