Charlie Nicholas states his prediction for Arsenal v Chelsea FC in League Cup semi-final

The Arsenal legend is backing Eden Hazard to inspire Chelsea to victory over the Gunners in the League Cup semi-final on Wednesday night

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Photo: The Sport Review

Charlie Nicholas is backing Chelsea FC to book their place in the League Cup final thanks to a 3-2 win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Gunners battled to a goalless draw with the defending Premier League champions in the first leg at Stamford Bridge to leave the tie delicately poised ahead of the return fixture.

Chelsea FC were 4-0 winners against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium last weekend to warm up for their short trip across London to take on an Arsenal side reeling from the loss of Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners were impressive in the first half of their 4-1 win against Crystal Palace at The Emirates on Saturday evening as Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette were amongst the goals in the opening 22 minutes.

While Nicholas is predicting an entertaining London derby at the Emirates Stadium, the former Gunners star is tipping Eden Hazard to inspire Chelsea to a dramatic 3-2 win in the second leg.

“The big question is whether Arsenal can defend,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“They’ve done it in the two meetings at Stamford Bridge this season, where they looked to suffocate Chelsea, but at the Emirates it was very different, when they conceded twice and Alvaro Morata should have had a hat full.

“How do you keep Hazard quiet? I don’t think you can really try to at home without having a negative mentality, and I think Arsene Wenger will go with a similar side to Saturday with Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere giving us a bit more control of the midfield.”

Nicholas added: “I’m really looking forward to sitting back and watching this game, just like I was with Liverpool v Manchester City, and I think it will be an exciting encounter, but I fear Hazard will hand out the decisive punishment.”

Chelsea won the League Cup in 2015 thanks to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

Arsenal have won the FA Cup in three of the past four seasons but lost 4-2 to Nottingham Forest in the third round earlier this month.

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