Arsenal attack all get 5/10 as substitute Sanchez fails to find spark
Arsenal held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge. Arsene Wenger's side came under sustained pressure in the second half but have a fair chance of making the final at Wembley as a result of the stalemate.
It was a blunt attacking performance from Arsenal, although Ainsley Maitland-Niles had a decent shout for a penalty turned down in the first half -- firstly by the referee and then backed up by a VAR review. Another review late on decided Danny Welbeck had not been guilty of a foul on Cesc Fabregas in the box.
A clean sheet was most welcome after conceding four in a humbling FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend. With a few improvements they could even make the final.
Arsenal struggled to create many chances on a night when Chelsea were clearly the better side, but the biggest negative may well prove to be an ankle injury that forced Jack Wilshere off and threatens to derail his impressive comeback.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Wenger's big call was leaving Alexis Sanchez on the bench and starting Alex Iwobi, whose nighttime antics have been making headlines of late. It proved fairly inconsequential. Arsenal could have done with more presence in midfield as a two-man formulation left them a bit exposed against Chelsea's three.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David Ospina, 6 -- Was needed to make a handful of saves in the first half but will have been relieved to see Andreas Christensen head off target when failing to get to a cross on 67 minutes. Kept Chelsea at bay with a number of stops.
DF Calum Chambers, 6 -- Looked to have suffered a game-ending injury in the second half but battled on. Acquitted himself well.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- Was involved in a running battle with Alvaro Morata and had to resort to fouling to try to keep him at bay. Made some important interventions.
DF Rob Holding, 5 -- Had a better 90 minutes than in the embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend. But still room for improvement.
MF Hector Bellerin, 5 -- Was lucky to avoid serious punishment for a reckless tackle on Fabregas. Didn't offer enough in attack.
MF Jack Wilshere, 7 -- Captain for the night, Wilshere was bright in the first half with one lovely ball over the top deserving better than Alexandre Lacazette's wild effort. It was a sad sight when an ankle injury forced him off before the hour mark.
MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- Aside from some unadventurous passing the main feature of his performance was consistently poor set-piece delivery.
MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 6 -- Was at the centre of intrigue when he was kicked in the box by Victor Moses, but the VAR decided against a penalty. Continues to look the part.
FW Alex Iwobi, 5 -- Was fortunate to be in the team after his late-night antics but started with purpose and had a decent effort saved on 39 minutes. Faded in the second half though with one pathetic prodded effort summing things up.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 5 -- Worked hard with little reward, blasting well off target on 22 minutes when getting in behind. Couldn't affect the game and was replaced by Sanchez on 66 minutes.
FW Danny Welbeck, 5 -- Never stopped running but never looked like scoring either.
MF Mohamed Elneny, 6 -- Slotted in easily enough without ever threatening to do anything of note.
FW Alexis Sanchez, 5 -- Buzzed around but barely got a look at goal.
Tom is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @tomEurosport