Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Substitute Sanchez unable to inspire Gunners in stalemate

The two London teams couldn't be separated in their League Cup semi-final first leg.

Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal: Substitute Sanchez unable to inspire Gunners in stalemate
Morata clings onto possession (photo: Getty Images / Matthew Ashton - AMA)
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Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.
Arsenal: Opsina; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles; Welbeck, Iwobi, Lacazette.

Off-field affairs dominated the lips of spectators, as Chelsea and Arsenal played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

Arsene Wenger, serving a touchline ban and sitting in the press box, selected a side without Alexis Sanchez in, the Chilean on the bench amid reports he's close to sealing a deal to join Manchester City.

"You can't explain every decision, that's the decision of the day," quipped Wenger when asked about Sanchez's absence.

There was no Mesut Ozil in the squad at all, the German missing out with 'a slight knee injury,' according to the club website. 

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Unfortunately for the fans, the game didn't live up to the drama that the build up had offered, with good chances few and far between.

Alexandre Lacazette, who may well be wondering what he's got himself into with a move to North London, spurned Arsenal's best chance by rifling over after a good pass from Gunner captain for the night Jack Wilshere.

At the other end, Victor Moses went closest to breaking the deadlock early on, taking advantage of Aisnley Matiland-Niles' slip to cut in from the right and hammer a shot against David Ospina's post.

The game sparked into life a little during the closing minutes of the first half, with Martin Atkinson getting a chance to use the Video Assistant Referee system.

As Thibaut Courtois smartly pushed Danny Welbeck's snapshot back out to the right, Maitland-Niles skipped past Moses and appeared to be clipped, Atkinson having a quick chat to those with their eyes on the replays and quickly deducing that there wasn't enough case for a spot-kick.

Chelsea missed a succession of headers as the second period got cooking, Marcos Alonso and Andreas Christensen both flashing headers past Ospina's near post, while Arsenal's evening was struggling to get going as Wilshere was forced off with an injury.

Sanchez's introduction in place of Lacazette failed to spark the visitors into life, but a gutsy defensive performance from them kept Chelsea at bay to the extent where nobody was too surprised to see Eden Hazard hauled off with ten minutes left.

It was a night for the defenders where each side were left sparring, rather than trying to land a knockout punch, ahead of the second leg in two weeks time.