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Second string Blues tie Arsenal in knots

GET IN: Chelsea's Juan Mata produces his lethal strike

IT WAS a case of capital punishment as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-0 in this League Cup fourth round tie at Emirates Stadium tonight (October 29).

Goals by Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata were enough to reward Chelsea for a thoroughly professional performance.

The Capital One Cup is a trophy that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has never won, although in fairness the Frenchman has rarely prioritised the competition. He will have to wait at least another season to lift the junior domestic cup.

As for the Blues they can look forward to the fifth round and possibly even more. They won the League Cup twice in Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge - in 2005 and 2007 – and are well capable of making it a hat-trick in 2014.

The Chelsea line-up confirmed that they have one of the best squads in Europe. After the 2-1 win against Manchester City on Sunday in came the likes of David Luiz, Mata, Samuel Eto’o and Willian.

Mourinho and Wenger have had their disagreements in the past, with the Chelsea boss once labeling his rival a voyeur but there were cordial handshakes pre-match.

Chelsea started like the home side. The Blues, despite the wholesale changes, played neat tidy football and dominated possession, with the hosts largely chasing shadows.

The banter in the stadium was also in Chelsea’s favour. The west London supporters were keen to let their rivals know that they had at least won a European Cup and that Robin Van Persie had left north London because the "Gunners were s***".

Despite their possession, Kevin De Bruyne’s 19th minute shot was the first in anger. Arsenal were slowly working their way back into the tie without really hurting their neighbours.

Young gun Ryo Miyaichi was all energy, while Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla were attempting to weave their magic around a giant Chelsea team; indeed at times, physically at least, it did look like men against boys.

The boys were to be halted in their tracks in the 25th minute. A Chelsea break saw Mata’s long ball seemingly to be mopped up by the home defence. Instead, defender Carl Jenkinson’s weak header to his ‘keeper Lukasz Fabianski was intercepted by Chelsea’s right-back Azpilicueta who tucked the ball home with glee.

Arsenal’s best chance of the half fell to left-back Nacho Monreal who after a sortie into the Blues penalty area fired just wide of Mark Schwarzer’s left upright.

The second period started with Eto’o having the first shot; Cazorla would reply for Arsenal.

Wenger had clearly got into his side at half time with the result that Aaron Ramsey had a shot which deflected off John Mikel Obi for a corner. Minutes later the Welshman had another attempt, which was also off the mark, as the hosts kept pressing.

The killer second goal will have come to have come far too cheaply for Wenger’s liking. A Chelsea throw-in found its way to Mata via Eto’o and Willian. The Spaniard teed the ball up with his left foot and then fired home with his so-called weaker right foot.

Thereafter Arsenal huffed and puffed without looking like blowing the Blues’ house down.

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