Chelsea once again proved their defensive credentials against a top attacking team, blanking Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium just three days after blanking Barcelona in the Champions League.
Unlike Wednesday night’s match at Stamford Bridge though, the Blues weren’t able to break the deadlock themselves, failing to seriously trouble keeper Wojciech Szczesny seriously throughout the 90 minutes.
The best chances fell to the Gunners, with Robin Van Persie and Laurent Koscielny both hitting the woodwork, but in truth a draw was a fair reflection on a relatively poor afternoon of football in north London.
With one eye on the second leg of their semi-final against the Spanish and European champions, Roberto Di Matteo made eight changes to his starting line-up from the 1-0 win over Barca, with only Gary Cahill, John Terry and Petr Cech surviving.
Despite the changes, it was Chelsea who started brighter, showing signs that they could cause the hosts problems in the opening ten minutes.
But, after growing into the game, it was Arsenal who created the best chance of the match, with Van Persie hitting the outside of the post from Theo Walcott’s perfectly-placed free-kick. The Dutchman went for it with the outside of his left foot, but might be disappointed not to use his right for an easier opportunity.
Koscielny did some important work at the back to prevent Fernando Torres tapping in at the far post, and then cleared from Salomon Kalou after the Ivorian had rounded Szczesny.
It was at the other end that the centre back then nearly did some serious damage, but his header from Van Persie’s free-kick hit the crossbar. The striker then failed to beat Cech with a far post drive.
Injuries to Walcott and Tomas Rosicky dented the flow in the second period, but Chelsea got men behind the ball in numbers as they appeared happy to settle for a point on their travels.
A late penalty shout for a Cahill push on Van Persie was rejected by referee Mike Dean, and neither side will be happy with how things played out in the early kick-off.
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