Gunners Keep European Dream Alive By Thrashing Reading
Arsenal beat Reading 4-1 at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon thanks to goals from Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud and Arteta. Here’s a match report from the game.
With a run of tricky fixtures ahead, including a tough home game against leaders Manchester United, the Gunners knew just how vital three points would be against a struggling Reading side.
The Royals went to the Emirates with a new manager. Nigel Adkins, former Southampton and Scunthorpe boss, had taken up the vacant spot in the dugout earlier this week.
As the game kicked off, both teams were desperate for a win, with both of them in need of points for completely contrasting reasons.
Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor had to be on his toes early on after he saved a shot from Frenchman Olivier Giroud. Just minutes later Giroud found himself in the mix of things again, clearing a well-delivered cross from Reading winger Jobi McAnuff.
Whilst chances came and went, Arsenal finally broke the deadlock. Gervinho poking in a foot to send the ball high into the centre of the net after Santi Cazorla had scuffed a shot at goal.
Shots continued to fly in from the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla who certainly seemed to have his fair share of chances. However Reading stood strong, defending well at the back and creating the odd chance themselves. When half-time arrived the players walked off the pitch knowing that both teams were still in with a shout. Anxious times for Nigel Adkins men.
The second half started very similarly to how the first had been for a lot of the time, only this time Santi Cazorla’s effort found the back of the net rather than the body of a defender. The Ivorian Gervinho set up the goal, repaying the Spaniard for his earlier assist.
Just six minutes later and Arsenal looked to have put the game out of sight. Giroud once again scoring from inside the box after good work from Gervinho. Arsenal were on easy street, but pressure was put back on as a minute and a half later Robson-Kanu headed home a consolation goal. Nigel Adkins seemed to choose speed and agility over strength and power later on in the game, bringing on Noel Hunt for Pavel Pogrebnyak.
With the thoughts of previous comebacks lodged in Arsene Wenger’s mind, the long-serving manager decided to go for broke by bringing on three new faces in a matter of minutes. Monreal, Gervinho and Giroud making way for Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain made an immediate impact by winning a penalty for a foul committed on the Englishman by Adrian Mariappa who had been influential for Reading’s defence through much of the first half. The penalty was taken, and converted by Mikel Arteta. The score now 4-1 and Arsenal were home and dry.
The win now means Arsenal are within two points of Chelsea, currently in the prestigious fourth spot. For Reading, however, they now sit rock bottom of the Premier league – not a positive start for Nigel Adkins.
So what do you think? Will Arsenal get fourth spot? Will Adkins manage to keep Reading up?
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