Arsenal v Chelsea live!

18 April 2009 05:58
94 That's it! Chelsea have booked their place in the FA Cup final where they'll meet either Manchester United or Everton. In a game that offered plenty of great football for the neutral, it was a moment of classic hoof-and-hope that decided things.

92 Cech strolls casually after the ball to take a goal-kick then lobs it upfield. The Chelsea supporters are already celebrating.

91 Just as I say that Bendtner rounds Cole and picks out Arshavin whose shot is deflected behind. From the corner the Russian has another shot blocked.

90 There will be three added minutes. Arsenal look like they've run out of ideas.

89 Arsenal win a promising throw-in but the ball goes straight to Cech.

88 Chelsea win a throw-in and are in no hurry to take it. Lampard eventually lobs it forward for Malouda who is offside.

87 Toure is booked for lashing into Drogba from behind.

86 Essien breaks from his own half. Drogba points into an open area and makes a run but Essien's pass goes straight to Silvestre.

85 Denilson makes way for Samir Nasri, but it may be tioo late.

83 GOAL DROGBA: Lampard hoofs the ball forward to Drogba who outmuscles Silvestre. Fabianski stupidly comes off his line when there were defenders who could pressurise Drogba. The Chelsea striker slots the ball into an empty net.

82 Salomon Kalou comes on for Anelka while Adebayor makes way for Nicklas Bendtner.

81 Malouda tries his best to keep the ball in play at the byline but concedes a goal-kick.

80 Lampard sends a free-kick floating into the Arsenal penalty area and Ivanovic heads narrowly wide.

79 Arshavin plays a deft ball to Fabregas who shoots from the edge of the penalty area but has his shot blocked.

77 Chelsea still have the edge although Arsenal are looking increasingly dangerous on the counter.

76 Fabregas and Terry battle in the corner and Terry goes down under the challenge. Free-kick to Chelsea.

75 Robin van Persie makes way for Andrey Arshavin.

74 Fabregas sends Walcott racing upfield with a great pass but Cole is up to the task and times his challenge to perfection.

72 Denilson is shown a yellow for confronting the ref after he awards a free-kick for Lampard's 'simulation'. Chelsea have a dangerous looking free-kick.

71 Adebayor touches Ballack's shoulder inside the Chelsea penalty area and the German's legs fold like a wet paper bag. The referee awards the free-kick.

68 Drogba takes on Silvestre on the left and the ball hits the Arsenal defender's hand in the penalty area but once again the referee waves away the penalty claims. That means both sides have now had a legitimate penalty claim turned down.

67 Beautiful football from Chelsea. Cole plays Drogba clear on the left and he pops a cross towards Lampard who volleys narrowly wide of goal.

66 Ballack crosses to the far post from the left and Anelka rises unmarked before sending his header high and wide.

65 Fabregas plays Walcott through on the right and he floats a perfect cross into the area. Alex makes a superb overhead clearance but only as far as Van Persie who shoots over the bar.

64 Essien wins the ball in the middle of the park and looks to send Drogba clear but Fabianski collects.

63 Cole pulls back Walcott and concedes a dangerous free-kick that Van Persie floats into the area. The ball is headed straight back out though.

62 Lampard brings down Eboue who goes down somewhat dramatically but wins a free-kick nonetheless.

61 Fabregas tries to shepherd the ball out for a corner and is barged off his feet by Malouda. That must be a penalty but the referee only awards the corner. What a let-off for Chelsea.

59 Cole curls a cross in from the left and Drogba wins the header but sends the ball straight up into the air.

57 Arsenal win an attacking throw-in. Diaby plays Walcott through on the right and he fizzes the ball across the face of goal where Van Persie misses it by inches.

56 Walcott turns two defenders inside out before breaking free. His touch is heavy though and the ball runs out for a goal-kick.

55 Terry stays on the pitch after receiving treatment.

54 Ivanovic hits the ball into touch as Terry is down injured. he landed awkwardly following the header and looks to have twisted his knee.

53 Denilson is caught in possession and Anelka races clear. he lays the ball into the path of Lampard but his shot is blocked by Toure. Denilson has had a shocker.

52 Ballack lobs the ball forward for Lampard but he's flagged offside.

51 Van Persie lays a beautiful backheel pass into the pass of Gibbs. The youngster takes on the defence and wins a throw-in.

50 Essien sends a long pass, meant for Drogba, straight down Fabianski's throat. The half has started rather quietly.

49 Walcott breaks from his own half and outpaces Essien before overhitting his cross to Adebayor.

48 Essien fouls Diaby and Arsenal can send the ball into the box. It comes back out and Diaby sends it forward where Van Persie wins the header. The ball falls for Adebayor who hits it over the bar on the volley.

47 Arsenal win a throw-in deep inside Chelsea's half but waste it after Diaby's foul throw.

46 Lampard and Drogba get the second half under way.

Howard Smith offers the following: "Seems like Diaby is having a bit of a shocker this afternoon. I'm trying to guess why he started - is it to rest other players in advance of the Liverpool game in the week or is he giving Gibbs some sort of protection? There are no defenders on the Arsenal bench, so why not play to our strengths and get Chelsea - who seem a bit narked - on the back foot. Arshavin on for Diaby asap."

Ben Keraro is back: "I can see why Arsenal's lineup was picked the way it is by Wenger. Speed and confusion. That Wenger has van Persie and Theo Walcott for the Chelsea defence together with Adebayor explains the fact that he views this game will go Arsenal's way if he can keep the ball past his midfield. That seemed to have worked for the first goal. Chelsea failed to start off quickly inasmuch as they have tied it. I expect them to come back inthe 2nd half and storm the Arsenal box but that will even risk their goal line even more. I think this is the advantage Arsenal want to exploit. Good luck Arsenal. One more goal will do the trick. Arsene Wenger is yet proving what a genius of a man he is with limited personnel as opposed to his opposite number!"

With the score tied at half-time here are the match odds. Chelsea are 13/10 to win while Arsenal are at 3/1. With Chelsea in control before the break they're evens to score next while the Gunners are 21/10. There are odds of 11/2 on the match producing five goals. Head on over to to place your bets.

46 The whistle goes for half-time. Arsenal dominated the opening 20-minutes but Chelsea have been in the ascendancy ever since. This is a truly fascinating encounter. See you in the second-half.

45 Arsenal look to run down the clock by keeping possession.

43 Ballack is booked for a late challenge on Fabregas. The game is taking on a slightly nasty edge.

42 Malouda tries to wriggle his way past two defenders and almost makes it before losing out to Eboue. Arsenal hit on the counter and Walcott looks like he's through on goal before a splendid tackle by Essien stops him.

40 Diaby sends in a truly atrocious cross under absolutely no pressure.

39 Eboue outmuscles his marker and picks out Walcott. His cross eludes the defenders but there's no Arsenal teammate to connect and the ball goes out of play.

38 Van Persie limps off the pitch looking like that may be the end of his game.

37 Ivanovic catches Van Persie with a brutal challenge and is rightly booked.

36 Diaby tries to dribble out of his own penalty area and Nicolas Anelka takes it from him easily before hitting the post with a powerfully struck left-footed shot. Arsenal are hitting the self-destruct button.

35 Mikael Silvestre almost nods a suicidal ball back to Fabianski with Drogba bearing down on the keeper. The Arsenal stopper is forced to dive on the ball.

34 Walcott is penalised for a foul on Cole. Drogba delivers the ball into the area and it bobs around dangerously before being cleared.

32 GOAL MALOUDA: Chelsea are level! Lampard's diagonal ball from the right picks out Malouda who cuts inside Eboue and fires a rifling shot past Fabianski at the near-post.

31 Gibbs steals the ball from Ivanovic and is held back by the Chelsea defender. Fabregas sends the resulting free-kick forward but the Chelsea defence manages to clear.

29 Diaby wins the ball and lopes upfield where he is confronted by three blue shirts with no support available. He tries to jink past them but Ballack wins the ball and stabs it back for Cech to clear.

28 Fabregas lofts the ball upfield for Walcott who wins it and shoots straight at Cech. The linesman had flagged him offside but replays show he was just on.

27 Toure lofts the ball upfield for Walcott to chase. Terry is forced to put the ball into touch as the Gunners youngster bears down on him.

26 Lampard wins the ball thirty yards out and lays on the shot for Drogba who scoops it high and wide.

25 Chelsea are pushing higher up the pitch as they look for the equaliser and Arsenal are constantly looking dangerous on the break.

24 Diaby is sent clear on the left and picks out Van Persie who scuffs his shot stright into the arms of Cech.

23 Adebayor loses the ball and Malouda races up the left byline before losing control and sending the ball into touch.

22 Cole picks out Florent Malouda in the box. He drives the ball across the face of goal where Fabianski misses it completely before Drogba misses it by inches.

20 Ballack is placed under pressure by Van Persie and reacts by angrily shoving the Arsenal striker. The referee has a word with him but that should really be a booking.

19 The Gunners supporters have not missed Cole's involvement in the goal and they're letting the ex-Arsenal man know their feelings.

17 GOAL WALCOTT: Alexandre Song pulls in Ivanovic and chips the ball through to Gibbs. He picks out Walcott on the far post from the left and the Arsenal winger's well-placed shot hits Ashley Cole's hand and deflects past Petr Cech.

16 Fabregas picks out Gibbs with a superb defence-splitting pass but the youngster's first touch lets him down and Ivanovic clears the danger.

15 A terrible pass from Denilson is picked up by Ballack. He plays Drogba through on the left but the Ivorian takes a touch too many and fails to take advantage.

12 Lampard crunches Walcott with a poorly timed challenge and is lucky to escape a booking. Van Persie slcies his free-kick and the ball is easily cleared by the Blues' defence.

12 Branislav Ivanovic catches Fabregas with a late challenge and is penalised. Toure launches the ball upfield to Adebayor who flicks it on for Van Persie but the Gunners striker is beaten to the ball by Alex.

11 Emmanuel Eboue makes a great run up the right and picks out Diaby who is overly casual and loses the ball.

10 Frank Lampard takes the free-kick but once again the delivery is poor.

9 Kolo Toure leads with his arm as he contests a header with Ballack and Chelsea win another free-kick while Toure is handed a yellow.

8 Abou Diaby fouls Essien in a dangerous area. Alex steps up and drives the ball rather weakly straight into the Arsenal wall.

7 Chelsea enjoy their first spell of real possession, trying to slow things down by passing it about in midfield.

6 Fabregas picks out Robin van Persie who tries to turn Michale Ballack but is left on the turf as the German races upfield with the ball.

5 Arsenal break and Walcott takes on Terry on the right but the Chelsea skipper does well to push him to the byline and eventually win the ball.

4 Lukasz Fabianski makes a terrible error as he comes out of his area when it really wasn't needed. Didier Drogba heads the ball over the Arsenal keeper and Kieran Gibbs has to clear the ball off the line.

3 Cesc Fabregas breaks down the left and looks to curl the ball beyond the defence for Adebayor but Alex intercepts.

2 Arsenal start well, stroking tha ball around confidently and they almost create an opening as Theo Walcott looks to play through Emmanuel Adebayor.

1 The match gets underway. For me the deciding factor today will be who wins the midfield battle: Cesc Fabregas or Michael Essien?

Ben Keraro sends this well-reasoned contribution: " Arsenal has fielded so many different lineups that the look like a milling plant churning out players. But this is a good thing for them because even their proven opponents have to keep guessing. Chelsea start as favourites. But if they fail to score within the first 20 minutes they might as well be handing the initiative to Arsenal. I hope that is the case and the surprise comes on to live up to Arsenals season thus far. They have had just about every player injured this season except Denilson and that is hard to comprehend considering that until this moment they still challenging in two areas. I will keep my fingers crossed on this one but as an Arsenal fan, a 2-1 for Arsenal will be our little manna today!"

If you fancy having a punt on the game you could do worse than bet on Emmanuel Adebayor to score first at 13/2. Frank Lampard comes in at 8/1 while Didier Drogba, who has a history of terrorising the Gunners' defence, nets you 11/2 and is 40/1 to score a hat-trick. Visit for more markets.

Arsene Wenger has little option but to name something of a makeshift defence for Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley. Veteran Mikael Silvestre partners captain Kolo Toure in the centre, with youngster Kieran Gibbs passing a fitness test on a groin problem. Poland international Lukasz Fabianski starts in goal on his 24th birthday. In something of a surprise move, Abou Diaby and Denilson start in midfield, with Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin, who was cup-tied for the midweek Champions League game, on the bench along with Samir Nasri. Chelsea, meanwhile, are at near full-strength. Captain John Terry returns to the side having been suspended for the European tie against Liverpool. Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, whom Wenger was once close to signing at Arsenal, leads the Chelsea attack, while former Gunners forward Nicolas Anelka faces his old club.

Chelsea fan Kevin Peters is feeling bullish: "Chelsea will cruise past Arsenal today.They dont scare teams the way a top four team should. I reckon Lamps and Essien to make it 2- 0.fact!"

The teams are in:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott, Fabregas, Diaby, Denilson, Van Persie, Adebayor Subs: Mannone, Nasri, Vela, Ramsey, Song Billong, Arshavin, Bendtner

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Di Santo, Mikel, Kalou, Belletti, Mancienne

It's off to Wembley for this weekend's first FA Cup semi-final as Arsenal take on Chelsea. Both sides have been in scintillating form of late so I'm expecting this to be a real humdinger. Send your e-mails on the game to

Source: SKY_Sports