Arsenal v Chelsea Betting Tips (EFL Cup) – 24th January 2018

Chelsea head for the Emirates on Wednesday night, as they go in search of a place in the EFL Cup final. It’s fair to say that January has been far from the ideal month for the Blues, but they come in to this clash just 90 minutes away from yet another trip to Wembley. Can they manage to see off their London rivals in this big clash and take a big step towards adding some extra silverware to the cabinet this season?

This has got to be a big game for Antonio Conte, who will be aiming to win a domestic cup for the first time in his glittering career. It’s fair to say that the Italian has a fairly spiky relationship with both Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, so getting one over on the Gunners would be a big boost for him. This clash also sees the Blues boss facing another encounter with his newest rival – VAR. Having seen an incredible game last Wednesday decided by the new technology, the former Juve boss is likely to be pushing for video replays which he’ll hope will send his side into another cup final.

Team News: Conte Adds Firepower as Spaniards Return with Suspensions Served

Antonio Conte welcomes back two of his key forwards, just in time for the Blues to boost their attacking prospects. Losing Alvaro Morata and Pedro for the weekend was a blow given how poor the champions have been going forward of late, but the pair are back in line for a start at the Emirates. It’s hard to say if Pedro will get the nod on the wing, as the Italian could retain the 3-5-2 system he likes in these big trips. While that offers a little more security, it doesn’t seem to swarm opposition defences, which is what brought the title back to the Bridge last season.

Arsenal are enjoying a bit of a fire sale at the moment, but they’re not exactly looking stronger due to their January deals. Wenger’s stubborn choice to stick with David Ospina in goal during cup games could cost him, as he’s set to take the place of Petr Cech for this big game. You’d think that they’d settle on going with their first choice keeper in a tie like this, but those slight tweaks could be what ultimately stops the Gunners from making the final.

Arsenal Form

The Gunners must be thankful for their meetings with Chelsea, as they’ve saved their 2018 so far. Arsenal have had an awful couple of weeks in the New Year, and they seem vulnerable heading into this meeting based on their recent defeats. While they’ve had two draws with the Blues in January, those were both followed by damaging defeats.

The Gunners exited the FA Cup in the Third Round, losing 4-2 against Nottingham Forest. Having lost at Bournemouth this month in a shambolic display, it’s been far from comfortable viewing for Arsenal fans. When you mix in the January transfer window as well, you can see why the anger with Wenger is starting to rise again, although recently he’s dealt with that by pulling off a result against Chelsea.

Arsenal v Chelsea Head to Head

These two sides meet for the third time this month, and for the eighth time since Conte took charge back in July 2016. That’s a frequent set of encounters, and they’ve all basically gone the same way of late. The Gunners struck late to win May’s FA Cup final, and since then the pair have drawn every meeting. The one worrying thing is that Conte has claimed one victory against Wenger since taking charge, and that’s something he needs to change this week.

  • Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Jan 2018
  • Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea Jan 2018
  • Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Sept 2017
  • Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea, Aug 2017
  • Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea, May 2017

Betting Tips

  • Chelsea to win – 6/5 with BetVictor
  • Chelsea and Under 2.5 Goals – 5/1 with Betfair

Chelsea may be away from home, but they’re favourites for this second leg. The Gunners seem to have been written off here, having been priced up at 23/10 with Ladbrokes for their home leg. Meanwhile, the Blues are being backed as 6/5 favourites with BetVictor. Given the recent history of draws between these two, you can back this one to finish level at 12/5 with Coral. That would obviously send the clash to extra-time, which the visitors are being backed to win. The Blues are priced at 4/7 with Betfred to qualify by any means, so they’re clearly fancied to shake off their problems going forward when they visit the Gunners.

There are so many problems surrounding Arsenal right now that it seems to have driven up their price. Losing players, matches and hope of silverware is really damaging morale around the club. A defeat here could leave them focusing on the Europa League – a competition which Wenger has refused to take seriously so far. However, it does feel like a typical Arsenal thing to do to crumble at this point, especially given how close they were to losing to Chelsea at the Emirates earlier this month. We think Conte’s Blues can get the job done here, so we’re backing an away win at 6/5 with BetVictor.

The Blues do have some issues up front, and that’s bound to come up again in this tense clash. We still expect the visitors to get the three points, but we can’t see this being an open tie. The recent meetings between these two have been low scoring, and Conte is likely to be relying on his defence given the form of the forwards, and that counts double if he does stick with the 3-5-2 set-up. As a result, our second tip on this semi-final is to back an away win and under 2.5 goals at 5/1 with Betfair.