Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Chelsea v Arsenal semi-final

Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Chelsea v Arsenal semi-final

Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Chelsea v Arsenal semi-final

Chances were few and far between as the number of matches played recently took its toll, with both teams looking sluggish.

Hazard missed the Blues goalless draw with Norwich in the FA Cup on the weekend.

A year ago, when he was also serving a touchline ban, Wenger crept to his seat beside the corporate area in the East Stand at Stamford Bridge and was welcomed with a handshake by an Arsenal supporter.

Alexis Sanchez was left on the bench amid relentless speculation over his future, though, and Arsenal could have perhaps done with the Chilean on the field during a subdued start to the match.

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, meanwhile, who is engulfed in a war of words with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, off late, has mentioned that winning the semi-final first leg at home will give his side oodles of confidence.

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Before those attempts, Wilshere injured his leg blocking a firmly struck cross from Moses and an impressive outing as Arsenal captain was curtailed when he limped off to make way for Mohamed Elneny before the hour.

At the other end, Thibaut Courtois parried away an Alex Iwobi snapshot and Maitland-Niles, with roles suddenly reversed, went down under a challenge from Moses.

The best chance of a largely uneventful first half came right on the stroke of half time, though, as Fabregas latched on to Cesar Azpilicueta's trademark cross from deep only to plant his header straight at Ospina.

Andreas Christensen twice went close for the hosts but headed over from close range on both occasions, while Cesc Fabregas' cross was deflected onto the post in the closing stages.

Chelsea and Arsenal met earlier this month at Emirates Stadium in Premier League play, with the two London sides playing to a 2-2 draw.

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