Chelsea, Arsenal Play out 0-0 Draw in the League Cup Semi-Final
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is serving a 3-match touchline ban, was sitting in the press box
The media box at Stamford Bridge hosted an unfamiliar occupant on Wednesday. The guest leapt to his feet, bellowed disapproval and kicked seats in frustration.
Arsene Wenger was forced a dozen rows back from the Arsenal bench at Chelsea on Wednesday while serving the second game of a three-match touchline ban for misconduct towards a referee.
Wenger was more animated at times than his team on the pitch as the fatigue of strain of playing five games in around two weeks caught up on both teams as they laboured to a 0-0 draw in the first leg.
The London rivals only met a week ago, although that draw was a 2-2 Premier League thriller. And they will face off again in two weeks to complete the League Cup semi-final at the Emirates Stadium when Wenger is due to be back in the dugout
While Chelsea's Antonio Conte was in the customary managerial position patrolling the touchline on Wednesday, with his players close by to receive direct instructions, Wenger was reduced to occasional shouts.
“It was frustrating,” Wenger said later in the media room. “But the position was quite interesting because I was close to the bench and not too high up.”
If the sight of Wenger watching his own team play from the press box was unusual, so too was Alexis Sanchez being on the bench, only to be brought on in the second half.
It was a decision, Wenger insisted, that had nothing to do with Sanchez being targeted by Manchester City in the January transfer window.
The team selection had nothing to do with the transfer market. I want him (Sanchez) to stay for longer.Arsene Wenger
Sanchez can leave for free when his contract expires in June.
Both teams were lacking the attacking sting to find a breakthrough in the stalemate.
Chelsea did look more likely to take the lead but was wasteful twice with headers. At the end of the first half, Fabregas nodded tamely straight at Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina. Midway through the second half, Andreas Christiansen headed off target.
We must be more clinical. We have to improve with all the players, not only the strikers. When you have the chance, you have to scoreAntonio Conte
There was a blow for Arsenal when Jack Wilshere limped off after spraining his left ankle.
Wenger said Wilshere will miss Sunday's Premier League game against Bournemouth. The midfielder could be back for the final part of January's Arsenal-Chelsea trilogy on 24 January.
The League Cup is the only domestic competition Wenger hasn’t won in more than 21 years at Arsenal. It also offers him the only prospect of domestic silverware this season since Arsenal's FA Cup defence ended at the first hurdle at Nottingham Forest on Sunday and the team is sixth in the Premier League.
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