So Chelsea roar into the last eight of the Capital One Cup, while Arsenal are left to reflect on a second successive home defeat. Once again, it's to strong opposition - Dortmund last week, Chelsea tonight. It's not hugely encouraging, though they were understandably below-par given that they played most of the match without a striker. Chelsea were the superior side tonight - then again, their second string did include Juan Mata. Juan Mata! Juan Mata. Thanks for reading. Night.
Full-time: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
90 min+3: Before the free-kick can be taken, Juan Mata is replaced by the young Czech. Thomas Kalas. Once he's on, Luiz's dipper flies inches over.
90 min+2: Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen make a mess of dealing with a long hoof forward and Ba is clumsily knocked over by the Belgian. A goalscoring opportunity? Not really and Phil Dowd can't be bothered making a big decision like that in stoppage time and settles on a free-kick instead.
90 min+1: Ramires's fierce shot, hit from just outside the D, hits Vermaelen's knee and flies over Fabianski, landing on the top of the net. But it's a goal-kick to Arsenal.
90 min: Cazorla zigzags into the box and slams a low left-footer, part cross and part shot, a few yards wide of the far post. There will be four extra minutes.
89 min: Willian pings the ball out to Ba on the right but he's not getting past Vermaelen. So he fouls him anyway.
88 min: "Maybe Arsenal want to focus their efforts on securing fourth place in the league at the expense of, you know, an actual trophy?" says Simon McMahon.
87 min: We are playing out time.
83 min: Chelsea's fans, seeking an explanation for their Arsenal counterparts making hasty exits, are making polite inquiries as to whether there is a fire drill inside the Emirates. But no one tells them.
82 min: He lives! Park Chu-Young is on for Aaron Ramsey.
81 min: Demba Ba replaces Samuel Eto'o, another cramp victim. Can everyone stop getting cramp?
80 min: David Luiz has also decided he's got cramp. He didn't want to be left out.
79 min: Azpilicueta is down with cramp which allows me to tell you the big news of the night: a Matt Taylor penalty has made it Burnley 0-1 West Ham.
78 min: Ok, I admit it, it's stopped rising. "From what I've seen tonight, English coaches should pay for extra-hours of education to their Spanish colleagues and not just because two Spanish players scored tonight or because two Spanish players from Chelsea scored after terrible mistakes from English internationals in two consecutive games," says Admir Paijc. "It's more because of technical and tactical education that English players can't match. Just compare Azpilicueta/Monreal to Jenkinson or Mata/Cazorla to Wilshere."
77 min: Ozil backheels the ball to Wilshere, whose shot from 20 yards out is always rising.
76 min: Stoke now lead 3-1 at Birmingham.
75 min: Essien is booked for a foul on Koscielny.
74 min: Giroud's cross is headed away by Bertrand, but only as far as Rosicky. Whose shot from the edge of the area is blocked by Bertrand.
72 min: It should be three. Azpilicueta marauds up the right and then plays a pass inside to Essien, who touches a sublime ball into the path of the onrushing Ramires. He evades one challenge, resists the temptation to go down, but is just forced a bit wide by a slightly heavy touch. He still manages to dink the ball over Fabianski from a tight angle but Koscielny is on hand to clear off the line, before Eto'o, trying to bustle it over the line, knocks it behind for a goal-kick.
71 min: What a belting goal that was from Mata.
70 min: For the first time in the match, Arsenal work Schwarzer. Wilshere somehow squirms into the Chelsea area and the ball breaks to Giroud, who holds off Cahill but can't batter a low shot from six yards out underneath Schwarzer, who saves well with his legs.
69 min: Ramires jogs on, Kevin de Bruyne jogs off. Operation Shutdown begins.
68 min: "When Özil makes one of his trademark passes, should the crowd cheer "ölé"?" hönks Asher Klein. "Something to think on."
67 min: Olivier Giroud replaces Nicklas Bendtner. Arsenal's fans give Bendtner what for as he walks off.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea (Mata, 66 min)
Juan Mata is in Chelsea's second team. Aye, right. This is superb. What a player. A loose ball lands to him on the edge of the area, Willian having caused a bit of bother, and he takes a touch before Borini-ing an unstoppable, swerving, fizzing shot into the top-right corner with his weaker right foot. His weaker right foot. Chelsea are on their way.
65 min: I'm not sure what's happened about that Ivanovic substitution by the way. He was supposed to have replaced Gary Cahill about 10 minutes ago but Cahill is still on the pitch and Ivanovic is still on the bench.
63 min: This is the closest Arsenal have come to scoring. Ramsey steps past De Bruyne - won't Mourinho be pleased - and sends a low drive not too far wide of the right post from 25 yards. That's the cue for Mesut Ozil to replace Ryo Miyaichi. Ozil, of course, is well known to Mourinho.
62 min: It doesn't give me much pleasure to say this but Wilshere is having a bit of a stinker. It will happen with young players, especially when the number of injuries he's had are taken into account, but it's not the best timing given that there's a World Cup next summer.
61 min: Mesut Ozil's arrival is imminent. Get ready for some serious umlaut action.
60 min: The olés are sounding out from the Chelsea end after a lengthy spell of possession but there are 30 minutes left. Eventually Essien gets carried away, forgets himself and gives the ball back to Arsenal with a backheel.
58 min: Snappy passing from Chelsea works Willian into a promising position on the right, from where his low cross has Eto'o interested in the six-yard box. But Koscielny defends well. Meanwhile it's now Leicester 3-2 Fulham, Manchester United 2-0 Norwich and Birmingham 1-2 Stoke.
55 min: Silly Arsenal. A poor clearance from Luiz gives Chelsea the chance to attack down the left. On the edge of the area, Rosicky's first pass is blocked but the ball comes back to him and he disguises a lovely firm pass through to Bendtner, all alone on the penalty spot. If he turns, he's got a clear sight of goal. He passes back to Ramsey and the chance is gone.
53 min: This is better from Arsenal now. Ramsey drops a shoulder, buys himself some time and sees his shot deflected wide for a corner on the left. Schwzarzer wasn't too sure. The corner is cleared but Arsenal are enjoying their first real flurry.
52 min: Cazorla blams a shot wide from 25 yards.
51 min: Arsenal's fans are singing Giroud's name. "The other Arsenal player warming up is someone, ANYONE, to replace Nicklas Bendtner," says Spencer Jones. But the only change that is about to happen is Branislav Ivanovic's introduction for an injured Gary Cahill.
49 min: Eto'o dashes in from the left and skims a low skidder inches past the left post from 20 yards out. "Come now Jacob," says Daniel Katzew. "First it is "21 min: Chelsea should win this match. Their players are better" and then it's "45 min: Swap Ozil for Ryo and Giroud for Bendtner and Arsenal will fancy this. In most positions they're fine tonight."
Their players are better but Arsenal are playing without a forward.
47 min: Mesut Ozil is warming up. Excitingly so is another Arsenal player I don't recognise.
46 min: We have football again. There are no changes from either side. "Sean’s sole visit was better than mine," says William Walsh." I purchased two tickets so that my 12 year old son and I could witness Liverpool play Spurs at Anfield nearly four years ago. Learned in an e-mail while riding to the airport in New York that bad January weather (ice) had forced the rescheduling of the game. Obviously, we soldiered on to London, endured the cold weather and saw a variety of sites. We never made it to Anfield. I never received reimbursement for the tickets (or the VirginRail tickets I had purchased) and we endured a Sheffield United beating of QPR at Loftus Road instead of witnessing Liverpool and Spurs."
Oh dear - it's Leicester 2-1 Fulham now, Wood with the goal for the hosts.
Half-time: Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
The whistle blows for the break and Chelsea lead thanks to Cesar Azpilicueta's first goal for the club.
45 min: Swap Ozil for Ryo and Giroud for Bendtner and Arsenal will fancy this. In most positions they're fine tonight, but Bendtner is totally inadequate up front.
43 min: Leicester have equalised against Fulham, Wes Morgan making it 1-1.
42 min: For the second time in six minutes, a Chelsea shot goes out for a throw-in, Michael Essien the unfortunate player this time. It was good work from Willian to set him up for the shot, mind you. The Brazilian has impressed in this first half.
39 min: It's weird that Arsenal aren't very good with Nicklas Bendnter up front.
37 min: Juan Mata - a member of Chelsea's reserve side, Juan Mata - shows Wilshere a clean pair of heels on the left but instead of standing back to admire the cleanliness of said heels, Wilshere recovers well to concede a corner. Chelsea do not score.
36 min: Eto'o forces his way into the area from the right, shoots and Arsenal win a throw. He appears to have caught Torres.
35 min: "It wasn't at home, it was at Stamford Bridge," says Sully. "I was 10 or 11 and on holiday with cousins in London, first time out of Ireland. My uncle took me to see Chelsea v Leeds for what may have been the opening match of the season. What a thrill. Security was different back than and I snuck up behind David Harvey's goal, along with a cute female Chelsea fan about my own age. So, Harvey got his arm broken in a very bad tempered match, Peter Lorimer went in goal and Chelsea won 4 - 0."
33 min: Monreal's harmless cross is blootered behind for an Arsenal corner by Essien. It comes to nothing.
32 min: "I'm an American Bolton fan who has only been able to see the team live once, by coordinating a trip to London to coincide with their visit to the Emirates in September 2011," says Nick Einhorn. "David Wheater was sent off as Bolton lost 3-0 for their fifth loss in a row, a run that would send them on their way to relegation."
31 min: "Good to know Assaidi, like Borini, can be good for someone else," says Ian Copestake. "They certainly won't be making the cut at Anfield. Talking of which is Downing still playing football?"
30 min: Essien is playing in a very advanced role, driving forward at every opportunity, without ever really suggesting he's going to produce a moment of quality. He gets so far and then he just grinds to a halt mostly. Here, he slides a pass into Eto'o, who lays it back to Essien, whose shot is deflected out for a throw. He could have played Mata in. That's what I would have done, in case you were wondering.
29 min: Shocking defending from Chelsea almost gifts Arsenal an equaliser. They tried to play their way out from the back and got it all wrong, Monreal quickly nipping in to steal possession and then cut across a left-footed strike that fizzes this far wide of the far post. And Tom Adeyemi makes it Birmingham 1-1 Stoke.
28 min: High fives all round for William from his team-mates after some good chasing back. Meanwhile Mikel is booked for holding Wilshere.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea (Azpilicueta, 25 min)
Arsenal's right-back 0-1 Chelsea's right-back. This was atrocious from Carl Jenkinson and fine opportunism from Cesar Azpilicueta, the man they call Dave. After an Arsenal corner, Chelsea broke, though there didn't seem to be too much danger, the home side getting numbers back. Just as Essien was about to release the ball, Ramsey slid in and sent the ball spinning high in the sky. Near his own area, Jenkinson tried to head it back to Fabianski, messed up the header and Azpilicueta stole in to slither the dropping ball past the Arsenal goalkeeper on the volley. I'm not sure even he knows what he was doing there.
24 min: A pass from Cazorla flicks off Cahill and runs away for a corner. But Rosicky's not to know that and darts after to the ball in vain, sliding in an attempt to prevent what he thought was going to be a goal-kick. He has a giggle when he realises.
23 min: West Ham, meanwhile, are well on course for their 27th 0-0 away from home this season.
22 min: A couple of goals to tell you about - it's Leicester 0-1 Fulham (Rodallega) and Manchester United 1-0 Norwich (Hernandez pen).
21 min: Chelsea should win this match. Their players are better. Bertrand clips a cross to the near post, where Eto'o flicks the ball wide under pressure.
20 min: "I can equal that horrid Arsenal one-time experience: had a little trial day with them as an idealistic youngster and was treated the behind-the-goal experience of a goalless draw with Middlesborough," says Alex Bennett. "I hate Middlesborough."
19 min: De Bruyne cuts inside from the left and tries to bend one into the far corner. It had pace and whip on it but it was straight at Fabianski, who holds well.
17 min: Does Ryo Miyachi prefer Ryo or Miyachi by the way? His name was listed as Ryo on this teamsheet I've got here. Very Ravel. But Martin Tyler just called him Miyachi. It's so confusing. Anyway he's been bright in parts and has a shot from the edge of the Chelsea area blocked.
15 min: "The 0-5 evisceration you posted below was the one time I made it across the pond to a match at Highbury," says Sean Swift. "I’m curious to see if anyone else has had a similarly horrid experience in their one time watching their club at home (in this case, their spiritual home – I’ve been to the Emirates once as well)."
14 min: Chelsea attack. They do not score. Then Arsenal attack. Rosicky sprays the ball out to Ryo, whose cross takes a deflection off Bertrand and loops behind for a corner, Arsenal's first. Eto'o heads Cazorla's dangerous corner away.
12 min: Stoke have gone 1-0 up at Birmingham, Oussama Assaidi with the goal.
11 min: Chelsea are making all the running. This move began with a gorgeous backheel from Mata on the right touchline, just when it looked like he had nowhere to go, and featured Michael Essien nearly ruining it all by tripping over his own feet. Luckily for him, the ball was eventually swept out to Willian, in space on the left. His curler towards the far corner was diverted behind for an inconsequential corner.
9 min: Chelsea have had 75% of possession so far. I assume Mourinho is taking inspiration from Pep Guardiola. But look at this: suddenly Bendtner throws a Chelsea midfielder of the ball, lumbers forward in cumbersome fashion and clunks a volley against David Luiz from 25 yards out. "Surprised to see Ramsey in Wenger's XI given the number of matches he's played this season," says William Marzouk. "With every passing week it seems more likely the $6 Millions Dollar man cliche is true and Ramsey has been rebooted with liquid titanium bones and muscle fibers genetically modified with horse DNA."
7 min: David Luiz kicks the ball out of play, indicating it's flat. A new ball enters the field of play. Poor Old Ball! Won't someone think of Old Ball! Rest assured, we'll have a separate live blog on Old Ball up on the site soon.
5 min: "Going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole after trying to figure out how Chelsea and Arsenal could play twice in the same year in the League Cup (I finally figured it out, duh), I noticed that when Chelsea won it after beating Arsenal in the semi-finals, they played Middlesborough in the finals, with none other than Mark Schwarzer in nets," says Mark Dennis.
So you're saying Middlesbrough will get to the final?
4 min: This is a very positive start from Chelsea, Willian in particular making a nuisance of himself on the left flank. David Luiz strides forward from the back, in true David Luiz style, and chips a clever pass over the top of the Arsenal defence for Bertrand, who had made a dangerous run inside. He was through but the pass was just too heavy. Moments later, Arsenal have their first proper attack, Ryo skipping away down the right but finding no one with his cross.
3 min: A pass from Jack Wilshere goes straight out of play. Sell him and remove his passport.
2 min: A heavy touch from Cazorla, who was under no pressure, gifts Chelsea another corner on the right. But it's the same outcome.
Phil Dowd fires his starting pistol and we're off! Chelsea, all in blue, get the game underway, kicking from right to left in the first half. They're swiftly on the attack, Samuel Eto'o breaking down the inside-right channel and into the Arsenal area. He rattles a volley goalwards but it's deflected behind for a corner by Koscielny. Mata's corner is cleared.
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger share a joke on the touchline. What magnificent friends they are! Let's see if they're still so chummy once Mourinho has mooned Wenger after Chelsea's last-minute winner.
Here come the teams, striding out into the steaming cauldron of noise that is the Emirates Stadium. The teams shake hands - really good to see, really good."I see the Football League are honouring the spirit of their competition by fielding a second-string ref in Phil Dowd," says Justin Kavanagh.
And here's what happened in their semi-final earlier that year. It was Gianluca Vialli's first match in charge of Chelsea and they had to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Enjoy the commentary of Brian Moore.
Here's what happened when Arsenal and Chelsea met at Highbury in the League Cup in 1998. Oh Arsenal! 5-0 is Arsenal's worst home defeat under Wenger.
"Am I correct in seeing a sold out reserves match between Chelsea and Arsenal from 1948 in the caption picture??" says Richard Ensor. "I suppose the 21st Century football hipster has the luxury of staying home behind a computer screen these days. Maybe 60,000 people used to turn up to 1940s Dutch third division games every weekend as well."
You are correct. But perhaps they could have reserve sides in the World Cup soon.
"I love these Capital One Cup fixtures," says Holly McGuire, "because I have now just found out that Michael Essien is still playing in the EPL." He's only 30!
PLEASE BE UPSTANDING FOR THE TEAMS
The teams are in and they are strong teams. We had been told that Wenger and Mourinho would rest players and indeed they have but not to the extent that this match will be a turgid waste of time for everyone watching. Arsenal have rested several players, but have Olivie Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Park Chu-Young on the bench and Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Nicklas Bendtner on the pitch and while Gary Cahill is the sole survivor from Chelsea's win over Manchester City two days ago - a hearty round of applause to the people who organise the fixtures - that just means that they start David Luiz, Juan Mata and Samuel Eto'o, with Eden Hazard and new wonderkid Fernando Torres in reserve.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Ryo; Bendtner. Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Hayden, Yennaris, Ozil, Giroud, Park.
Chelsea: Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Cahill, David Luiz, Bertrand; Essien , Mikel; De Bruyne, Mata, Willian; Eto’o. Subs: Blackman, Ivanovic, Kalas, Ramires, Hazard, Torres, Ba.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Hello. There were of those of us who expected that the first thing Jose Mourinho would do upon his return to England last summer would be get a taxi from Heathrow to the Emirates Stadium and hold an impromptu press conference outside, in which he would outline, in very fine, minute and detailed detail, his thoughts on Arsenal's eight-year trophy drought, drawling magnificently and poking Arsene Wenger in the chest – or eye, maybe – over and over again. With any luck, he'd have done it while still holding his luggage and maybe even wearing some of his holiday garb - a hat, perhaps, or maybe a snorkel. But we were disappointed. For, in the place of The Special One, returned The Happy One. Mourinho once called Wenger a voyeur and had a 120-page dossier, undoubtedly full of fachts, on Wenger's comments on his rivals. In return, Wenger said "When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes." But now it seems the animosity is gone. They might even shake hands tonight and Happy Mourinho is here, save for when he's sent off by referees or taking aim at Jan Vertonghen, and he says that Wenger is a “nice man”. How nice.
Then again, time's a healer and these two haven't been on opposing sides since Chelsea drew 1-1 at Arsenal in May 2007, a result that handed Manchester United the title and led to Mourinho's chin-up gesture. But that was a rare afternoon of disappointment for Mourinho against Arsenal. He did not lose to them once during his time at Chelsea, took the league off the Invincibles, hastening the dismantling of that side, and beat a young Arsenal side in the League Cup final in 2007, two goals from Didier Drogba doing the damage after Theo Walcott's opener. Maybe he just doesn't see Wenger as a threat and there is a definite sense that Mourinho's organisational skills and discipline serve as kryptonite to Arsenal. When Arsenal beat Tottenham 5-4 in 2004, Mourinho dismissed the result as a “hockey score”, a comment that was intended as a wind-up but one that also provided an insight into his style of play. His side would never have won a match that way – if you conceded the first goal to that Chelsea, there was usually no way back. Sides like Arsenal are more likely to destroy you but there is always the hint of a chance. Mostly, although not always and often not in the most entertaining way, Mourinho wins.
One of the main differences between Mourinho and Wenger is the value they have placed on tournaments like this. In his first season, Mourinho went out of his way to win the League Cup in 2005, all to instil a winning mentality into a green squad, even if it meant a shrug of the shoulders from the rest of the country. He won it again in 2007 and took the FA Cup that year, too. With Wenger, it always feels like he can take it or leave it. In the past few years, the cups simply have not meant as much. But tonight's match – allow me a moment to find my Pulitzer here – is one they could do with winning. Arsenal have made a terrific start to the season, top of the league, and overcame their horrendous one-match losing streak with Saturday's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace, but people say they haven't won a truly big match this season – not true, they've beaten Napoli and Tottenham. Yet those doubts did resurface when they lost narrowly to Borussia Dortmund last week. A first ever win over Mourinho's Chelsea would be a good way to say: we mean business. And then we'll see if Mourinho still calls Wenger a nice man.
Kick-off: 7.45pm (British Winter Time).