That’s more like the Arsenal we know and love. Superb going forward, sloppy at the back! This was certainly an impressive response to last weeks debacle against Bradford and a much-needed three points. We played some of our best football of the season in the first half with Santi Cazorla central to everything. The little Spaniard was superb, scoring two as we took a 3-0 into the break, Lukas Podolski with the opening goal.
Cazorla grabbed a deserved hat-trick just after the break following some superb build-up play involving Chamberlain, Wilshere and Podolski and just as we were cruising, predictably we let the home side back in the game with some sloppy play at the back. A quick double from Le Fondre and Kebe made it 2-4 with 20 minutes to go. But then MOTM Cazorla then set up Theo Walcott who calmly slotted in the fifth in the 81st minute to seal the win.
Much better from Arsenal and hopefully a sign of things to come. We just need to learn to concentrate for 90 minutes at the back! Here are my ratings from the game.
Szczesny – 6 – Made some routine claims from crosses and could do little about either of the goals. Little else to do other than pick the ball out his net twice.
Sagna – 7 – Provided good support to Chamberlain down the right and put in a solid defensive display.
Vermaelen – 6.5 – Made a superb clearance to deny a certain Reading goal with the score still at 0-0 but allowed Robson-Kanu to dance through to pass for Kebe to score their second. Needs to keep his back-line focussed for the full 90 minutes. To let a poor Reading side score two was criminal.
Mertesacker – 7 - Made a couple of important interceptions and was calm in possession but fell asleep and allowed Le Fondre to run off him to round Szczesny to score their first. As with Vermaelen, an experienced defender like Per should ensure we’re tight at the back throughout.
Gibbs – 7.5 – Linked up well with Podolski down the left. Grabbed two assists but let himself down with a sloppy pass that lead to Reading’s first. Very good performance overall though.
Arteta – 7 – More aggressive in the tackle and got about the pitch well.
Wilshere – 8 – Some lovely link-up play with Santi and those two could end up being a devastating partnership for us. Another excellent overall display from Jack.
Cazorla – 9.5 – Ran the show. Absolute masterclass. His passing was crisp, he can turn on a sixpence but it’s his intelligence that makes him so dangerous. Got himself a well deserved hat-trick and could have had more, and also set up Theo late on for the fifth.
Chamberlain – 7 – Looked like he may have been trying a little too hard at times, doing the odd unnecessary back-heel or flick, but was a threat and showed his class at times.
Podolski – 7.5 – Much better from the German. Lovely finish for the opener and great work down the left set up Cazorla for the second and fourth. Such a lethal threat when he’s in the mood and can get in the game. Needs to produce like this more often!
Walcott – 7.5 – Started in his preferred striker role and did well. Had a great chance to get on the score-sheet early on but saw his effort saved when clean through one-on-one. Was involved in some build-up play and eventually got his goal with a well-taken left-footed finish.
Ramsey – 6 – On for Chamberlain on the right and the Welshman was full of running, as usual.
Coquelin – 6 – Little impact.
Giroud – 6 – Had a couple of chances to get on the score-sheet but it wasn’t his night.
So a much-improved performance and we’re now back up to a more respectable fifth in the table, and just two points off third-placed Chelsea. If we beat Wigan in the early kick-off on Saturday we’ll be third and the pressure will be on Chelsea and Tottenham. COYG!
What were your player ratings from the game? Leave yours in the comments section below.