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Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal : Advantage Arsenal? Picking Apart Cup Stalemate at the Bridge

There was plenty to talk about during the league cup semi final against Chelsea - Video Assistant Referees, an untimely Jack Wilshire injury and a potential final appearance for Alexis Sanchez from the bench - but no goals.The game in west London ended nil-nil, and with Arsene Wenger watching from the press box following his touchline ban, he could leave Stamford Bridge satisfied with a positive result for his team, especially after the disaster against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Sunday.When Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday January 24th, the ball will be in Arsenal's court. In an ideal world, a second winner-takes-all leg sounds like it could produce a memorable tie.One feels that Alvaro Morata doesn't enjoy playing against Arsenal. The Spaniard striker, who got off to a fantastic start to life in England, had perhaps his two worst games for Chelsea against the Gunners - and luckily for Arsenal, they both came in the last week.Morata was ineffective once again, although possibly not as much as he was in the league last week. Arsenal's own man leading the line, Alexandre Lacazette was also a peripheral figure in the game, although his substitution in the final third of the game brought cries of "you don't know what you're doing" towards the manager, positioned among those reporting on the game.Perhaps the reason for these jeers, as opposed to wanting to keep Lacazette on, were in reaction to who took the field in his stead. Sanchez, who was expected to start, played what very well may be his last 25 minutes for Arsenal last night, as talk of his much mooted move to Manchester City picks up pace. Still, if a player of the quality of Sanchez is fit and in the squad, perhaps they should be beginning the game.The most disheartening moment of the game came around an hour in, when after stretching to block a shot from Danny Drinkwater, Jack Wilshire began limping and had to leave the field to his obvious frustration. It's hard not to feel truly sorry for Wilshire and his injury issues - he was having the best run in the Arsenal team he has had for years, he was wearing the captains armband and talk of him featuring in the England World Cup team was bubbling across the media.The extent of Wilshire's injury is not yet known - although Wenger described it as a "sprain" in his "good ankle" - so hopefully the 25-year-old's prognosis comes back positively and he can continue re-establishing himself in a red shirt without much of a spell on the sideline.The game itself was generally dominated by Chelsea, with large sections of the game played in the Arsenal half, so kudos is deserved for the defensive performance from the Gunners.David Ospina, who was unexpectedly shepherding the Arsenal net following the Cup defeat on Sunday, did well to deny Chelsea. With 21 shots on goal, they were perhaps a little wasteful in that only 6 of them were on target, although that's not to deny that the capable Columbian goalkeeper done well. Victor Moses came close twice, with one of efforts needing assistance from the post to keep out. Fabregas and Andreas Christensen had free headers, but luckily, did not manage to make the most of the efforts.Arsenal's best passage of play in the entire match came as early as the 22nd minute when Wilshire lofted a ball with deft precision into the path of Lacazette, whose effort did not come off.Another huge talking point of the goalless game was the VAR technology being employed in an Arsenal game for the first time. It was used twice - firstly to Arsenal's chagrin and secondly to their gain. Both times, the decisions were undeniably correct.The first came shortly before the end of the first half, when an Iwobi shot rebounded off Thiabaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal and onto the onrushing Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who hurdled over a challenge from Victor Moses. The question was, was there contact, should it be a penalty to Arsenal? The answer was no, and a goal kick was correctly awarded.The second time the VAR was utilised was late in the game in an event that could have had a definitive say on proceedings. Danny Welbeck made an 87th minute challenge on Cesc Fabregas in Arsenal's penalty early. Arsene Wenger's heart was surely in his mouth as referee Martin Atkinson delayed the game to consult the decision with the VAR, radioed into his earpiece. There was no need to fret however, as the correct decision was forthcoming, as was initially believed, Welbeck had fairly played the ball. Crisis avoided.Even though following performances as of late, it would not have been surprising for Arsenal to have lost this match, once it got to the last quarter of the game or so, it really would have been a deflating result had the away side to go to the second leg behind. Thankfully, the defense held strong, and in the last 10 minutes or so, Arsenal appeared to be somewhat surprisingly growing into the game. Hopefully they can continue that momentum for the second leg in 13 days time.For now, the cup must leave the forefront of Arsenal's mind, at least for the coming days. Next up is Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, back in the Premier League. The Cherries sit just one point above the relegation places, and have not been reaping the results of their free-flowing approach to football as of-late (with the notable exception being a home win against an in-form Everton 2 weeks ago).It goes without saying that anything other than a win in this match would be a negative result as a bridge begins to open between Arsenal and the top 4 places - currently 5 points behind Liverpool in 4th. This game, along with the next two fixtures against Crystal Palace and Swansea, need to be 3 points each.