Arsenal Are Back After Cloud of Uncertainty Around Alexis Sanchez, Says Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger vowed that his team was back after Alexis Sanchez's departure had lifted uncertainty and helped Arsenal progress to the League Cup final.

Wenger's team came from behind to beat Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday (January 24), just two days after Sanchez's move to rivals Manchester United was confirmed.

Despite losing his best player, Wenger insisted the completion of the deal, which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal, had helped his team move on.

"We lost a great player but it's true, when a team doesn't know what's going on, there's less clarity and less focus about your performance," he said.

"In January we paid a heavy price for uncertainty that existed in our dressing room. Now we're back with more clarity and can focus on our game."

Arsenal's next game in the League Cup will be the final, on February 25, when they will face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at Wembley. To get there, they had to come from behind after Eden Hazard put Chelsea ahead seven minutes into the match.

Chelsea dominated for much of the first-half but Nacho Monreal's header in the 12th minute rebounded off Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger and past Willy Caballero.

"In the first-half, for psychological reasons, we gave them a little bit too much respect, maybe too much distance. We were too scared to go. Football doesn't like that and we suffered," Wenger said.

But Arsenal came out stronger in the second half, containing Chelsea and creating chances. Alexandre Lacazette, their prolific striker, turned provider on the hour-mark as his deflected cross fell to Granit Xhaka who prodded past Caballero.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium, London, January 24. Wenger's Arsenal came from behind to beat Chelsea and reach the League Cup final. Julian Finney/Getty

"In the second half we rectified [the problem], it was much better and we took control of the game. The good thing at half time, where it was 1-1, we knew we could do better and that's what we did."

For Antonio Conte, his team now has only the FA Cup and Champions League for silverware, having fallen 15 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League.

"It is a pity because we had a good run," said Conte. "My thoughts are disappointment for this final result. I think I must be pleased for the effort of all my players. We tried to reach the final and we conceded two goals, we were unlucky because of deflections."

Conte was forced into a substitution midway through the first-half when Willian went down with an injury, which saw Ross Barkley make his debut for Chelsea.

"I think he has a lot of space for improvement," Conte said of the midfielder who joined from Everton for £15 million this month. "He's working with us for only two weeks and, for sure, today I was forced to make this substitution."

Chelsea is expected to do more business before the transfer window closes on January 31, with Roma's Edin Dzeko expected to sign for the West London club. But the Italian insisted he was not concerned.

"I don't know, no," he said of the transfer. "I don't like to speak about the transfer market. This is something for the club. I don't need anything. I'm a coach and I'm very happy to stay with these players."