Arsenal profited from two fortuitous goals to beat Chelsea 2-1 this morning and sealed a League Cup final meeting with Manchester City, providing a glimmer of joy in a gloomy domestic campaign.
Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi controls the ball during the English League Cup semifinal second leg soccer match between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Source: Associated Press
Both Arsenal goals received a helping hand from Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger as the semifinal meeting of London rivals came to life after a sterile, scoreless first leg two weeks ago.
Chelsea raced into a seventh-minute lead through Eden Hazard but Arsenal quickly fought back. Nacho Monreal's free header from a corner ricocheted off the heads of Chelsea duo Marcos Alonso and Ruediger before flying into the net in the 12th minute.
Arsenal took the lead on the hour when Alexandre Lacazette's cross was inadvertently diverted by Ruediger into the path of Granit Xhaka, who poked the ball past goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
A recovery rarely looked on the cards from a disjointed Chelsea side in a derby that exposed the visitors' shortages in the squad.
Chelsea's attacking threat was sapped by the loss of Willian in the first half with a hamstring problem, and manager Antonio Conte was forced to bring on Ross Barkley for his debut.
The new recruit from Everton was lacking sharpness in his first match since being injured May. But Conte was forced to deploy the midfielder as a "false nine" at times. It was little wonder the goal threat was so lacking from a side that won the Premier League last season.
Chelsea's hopes of defending that title faded long ago, with Man City 15 points ahead of the third-place champions. Arsenal is languishing in sixth place but Wenger is still through to a fourth domestic final in five seasons.