In Brief

Carabao Cup: Arsenal and Man City progress to the semi-finals

City boss Pep Guardiola rules out any chance of winning the quadruple

Arsenal and Manchester City are through to the last four of the Carabao Cup but they both made hard work of their quarter-final encounters.

The Gunners saw off West Ham United thanks to the shin of Danny Welbeck. The striker used his leg to turn in Mathieu Debuchy’s headed cross on 42 minutes.

It was the only goal of a game in which both sides made wholesale changes to their league line-ups at the weekend.

Arsene Wenger fielded a completely different XI to the side that beat Newcastle, as the Arsenal manager tried to juggle a fearsome fixture schedule that sees the north London club play ten games in 36 days.

Of concern for Wenger is that last night’s victory came at a price: a hamstring injury to Olivier Giroud that is likely to sideline the French forward for the best part of a month.

“What is very worrying is when you start to lose players, like Giroud,” said Wenger. “After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule… it is very demanding.”

Next up for Arsenal are Liverpool on Friday evening, followed by away trips to Crystal Palace and West Brom before the end of the year.

There is no immediate respite in January. Arsenal will host Chelsea in the Premier League on the 3rd and travel four days later to Nottingham Forest for the third round of the FA Cup, a competition they have won in three of the last four years.

“When you look at our fixtures in January and February, you cannot imagine we will always play with the same players in every game,” said Wenger. “Will I change from Premier League game to Premier League or only in the Carabao Cup? I don’t know yet – I have to look at the fixtures to see what I do.”

On the plus side for Wenger, giving his second-string players a run-out is a good opportunity to monitor their progress. He will have been pleased by the performances of 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock and defender Calum Chambers, who has fallen off the radar in recent seasons, but was effective last night in containing West Ham striker Javier Hernandez.

“Overall it’s a positive night for us, other than we lost Olivier Giroud,” said Wenger. “I felt we played with quality and spirit and pace in the first half. Overall for 90 minutes we looked solid defensively and weren’t tested at the back too much.”

Manchester City and Leicester also fielded weakened sides in their quarter-final clash at the King Power Stadium. It was the Sky Blues who progressed after a penalty shootout in which Claudio Bravo proved their saviour.

The goalkeeper made the crucial save against Riyad Mahrez to keep his side on course for an unprecedented quadruple – the Premier League, Champions League, FA and league cups.

Asked about the possibility of a fabulous foursome, City manager Pep Guardiola replied: “Forget about it. That is not going to happen.”

In tonight’s other quarter-final ties Chelsea host Bournemouth while Bristol City are at home against Manchester United.

When is the Carabao Cup semi-final draw?

The draw for the Carabao Cup semi-finals will take place following the Bristol City vs. Manchester United clash at Ashton Gate. It will be shown live on Sky Sports. 

Last night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final results

  • Arsenal 1 West Ham United 0 
  • Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (AET, Man City win 4-3 on penalties)

Tonight’s Carabao Cup quarter-final fixtures

  • Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth (7.45pm) 
  • Bristol City vs. Manchester United (8pm)

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