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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 13:06 GMT
Lawro's Carling Cup preview
Mark Lawrenson
By Mark Lawrenson
BBC Sport football expert

I am going to the Carling Cup final, but I honestly cannot get a cigarette paper in between these two teams.

I can see it going to extra-time and then penalties, which is probably just as well, otherwise I think we could still be there on Monday night trying to sort this out.

One imponderable is the side Arsene Wenger decides to put out.

He will probably try to remain loyal to the players who got Arsenal to the final, and keep the big guns on the bench if he needs to turn the game.

Whatever happens, make no mistake that both managers want to win this game. A big final, a full house and a crackling atmosphere at the Millennium stadium plus a piece of silverware on offer will make sure of that.

Arsenal have probably turned in the most impressive performances en route to the final.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
Cech is the cool cat in the hat
I can't see it being an open game and I think the key area will be midfield, where both teams are top quality in their own way.

Arsenal play some lovely, flowing football in midfield, and all their players are capable of and happy to receive the ball under pressure in tight areas.

They will need to be able to do that as Chelsea are so powerful and wear opposition teams down physically.

I don't think it's any coincidence that Chelsea are back rocking since Petr Cech's return.

It's not often that a goalkeeper makes such a big difference to a team, but Cech is just unbelievable.

He is so calm and gives Chelsea stability and confidence at the back, knowing he is behind them.

Who knows, if it does come down to penalties, he might prove to be the difference.

SEE ALSO
Live - Carling Cup final
25 Feb 07 |  League Cup
Get involved on Carling Cup day
23 Feb 07 |  League Cup
Chelsea v Arsenal
23 Feb 07 |  League Cup
Keown backs classy kids to shine
23 Feb 07 |  Arsenal
Were you there ...
23 Feb 07 |  League Cup
Young Gunners to get final chance
31 Jan 07 |  League Cup
Gallas pleads for cup final berth
24 Feb 07 |  League Cup


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