Pep Guardiola's City reached the Wembley showpiece the previous evening by beating Championship side Bristol City 3-2 in the second leg of their tie and 5-3 over the two legs, staying on course for an unprecedented quadruple. We don't have many players to make [attacking] substitutions.
Reacting to the victory, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, "In the first half we gave Chelsea too much respect and distance". Even in this case we go from one cup to another and we have to look forward. I am perfectly happy with the players we have. We know what we have to do.
But rather than collapsing, the Gunners responded with one of their best defensive performances of the season - and gained two slices of luck with their goals - to move into their first League Cup final since 2011.
But Arsenal levelled just minutes later after a freakish Rudiger own goal.
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An Arsenal equaliser followed soon after, though, as Antonio Rudiger scored an own goal that he knew little about, with Nacho Monreal's header hitting Marcos Alonso and then going in off the German. "We started the game really well and were pressing very well and controlled the game".
Having played out a scoreless draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, it was all to play for coming into Wednesday night's fixture.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte felt Arsenal had been "a bit lucky", with deflections contributing to both goals, and appeared to lament a lack of input in his club's transfer business.