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Reading v Arsenal Match Preview


Madejski Stadium

Monday, 17th December, 2012


On Sky

Arsenal go into their Monday night clash against bottom of the table Reading with the humiliation of defeat to Bradford City still sticking in their craw.

The teams played out an enthralling 7-5 scoreline in the League Cup in October, but Arsene Wenger knows his side will have to start playing long before they're 4-0 down tonight.

Vital Quotes:

Despite having only won once in their last eight away matches, Arsene Wenger believes an away match might be just the tonic for his beleaguered Gunners side.

'Our results are quite consistent and good away from home,' Wenger said. 'We had a good game against West Brom and it's important to confirm that in our next away game at Reading. If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home. We've had more draws, especially at home and that is where we have lost the points.

'There has been disappointment and frustration [this week], but that is normal when you go out in a competition like that. However, having said that, we can only look at ourselves, get on with it and look to the future.'

Meanwhile, Reading boss and ex Arsenal stalwart Brian McDermott was quick to play down any suggestion of a crisis for his opponents,.

'"Arsene is real football man and has been at the Arsenal a long time.

"Arsenal is a massive club - well run financially, a terrific institution. I cannot see it as them being in crisis.

"They generally come good at the back end of the season. However many years since Arsene has been there, they have always made the Champions League.

'Historically Arsenal are in the top three or four every season.

"Even Arsene himself will be asked that question 'you have not won a trophy for seven years`.

"I am sure he is fed up with it and I understand the fans` frustrations. He will want to win trophies more than anyone."

Reading Team News:

Jason Roberts faces a late fitness test on a hip injury to determine his involvement, whilst Pavel Pogrebnyak will definitely not make it.

Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jem Karacen (knee) are fit again but unlikely to play any part, with Sean Morrison (ankle) and Alex McCarthy (knee) long term absentees.

Danny Guthrie will be involved having apologised for his refusal to join the squad for their away defeat to Sunderland on the basis of his 'head not being right.'

Reading (from): Federici, Taylor, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Gorkss, Harte, Shorey, MacAnuff, McLeary, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, Gunnarsson, Leigertwood, Le Fondre, Hunt, Roberts.

Player to watch: Kasper Gorkss

The Royals skipper has been one of Reaading's better players in a tough season back in the top flight. He organises the back four and he will need all of his defensive nous tonight.

Reading conceded four at home to Arsenal and Manchester United over a ninety minute period this season, so I don't expect them to be quite so open this time around.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal welcome back Olivier Giroud (back) and Theo Walcott (ankle) for the short trip west, along with Laurent Koscielny (groin).

Abou Diaby (thigh), Andre Santos (stomach), Johan Djourou (groin), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are all out.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone, Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, S.Cazorla, Chamberlain, Walcott, Gervinho, Podolski, Arshavin, Giroud, Chamakh.

Player to watch: Olivier Giroud

The only striker in Arsenal's squad worthy of the name, he will look to give the Gunners a focal point after a toothless performance at Bradford.

His manager thinks he plays better 'completely on the offside line', but nobody tries to slip him through on goal when he does. It's a curious balancing act for the Frenchman. But Arsenal need goals tonight.

Match Facts & Stats

Reading and Arsenal have met ten times and Arsenal have won every time thus far.

Reading have won just one of their last ten home games in the Premier League.

Arsenal have conceded the lowest number of second-half goals in the top-flight this season (six) while Reading have shipped the joint-most (20).

The Gunners have made the most passes in the Premier League this season (9221) while the Royals have made the fewest (4823).

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Anthony Taylor.

Match Prediction:

Nothing less than a win will suffice and I am confident we will get it. 3-1 Arsenal. Guthrie for Reading, Giroud to get a couple for Arsenal, with Gervinho bagging the other.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal play away at Wigan Athletic on Saturday lunchtime. Reading play away at Manchester City.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Monday December 17 2012
Time: 8:21AM

Best of International Football News



I don't share your optimism LD, think it's time for the 10 game win record to change tonight (perhaps a draw). It depends on how the players react to the Bradford result - we created some good chances, so at least that part of the game is coming back. And you have some balls to suggest that Gervinho will actually score :). I know he's capable and scored in the 1st few games of the season, but he has stunk the place recently with his finishing.
17/12/2012 10:39:00
Confident about a win for this one. We haven't played badly lately, even when we have lost so it is safe to say we can only get better; and against the bottom placed side in the league, nothing short of a win is expected (not in the "must win" manner, though...more like will win). We need to go on a winning streak and the next 5 games is a good time to do so.
17/12/2012 10:42:00
Lol! LD has had this thing going for Gervinho scoring and I am not about to jinx it, so fingers crossed, he scores tonight.
17/12/2012 10:45:00
all your recent Prem 'wins' have come about behind the luck of playing against 10 men or gaining dubious penalties... luck is now due to even out, so we should now begin to see your TRUE level very shortly... lurve the way yous big up Giroud 1 minute, then scream for 'Your rentehboy' in January the next minute. Comedy Gold.
17/12/2012 10:53:00
I very much look forward to seeing Arsenal's 'TRUE level', Viyyash; it's a great squad with a legendary manager, that has been playing below its level for quite some time now.
Rent-boy? Are you talking about loaning Henry? When he cam back before, he played left-wing to fill-in for Gervinho (and Chamakh) going to the ACN, so he wouldn't be a Giroud replacement. Find something else to have a pop at...!
17/12/2012 12:20:00
I mean Llorente Dammybabes... and I agree with you, the Arse squad is very good indeedy, but it aint what you have its how you use it that counts (as many ladeez in my life will testify to). AW is stuck in a rut with this lone-striker thang, which relies on the 2 wideys supporting him in the box, as well as the wideys expected to track back to help fullbacks when ball's lost. they'd have to be superhuman pace/stamina wise to do that for 90mins+. this 4-3-3 only works when you can afford to play an ultra highline to lessen the distances these wideys have to cover: a la Barcelona, but Arse are no Barca..... any bigname signings in January will not compensate for this glaring inefficiency of the team... youll be lucky to make Europa Lge come May..
17/12/2012 12:47:00
Viyyash, you were quiet a while (predictably) after your side lost to Everton, despite your deep knowledge of winning tactics of the game. I am guessing your laboured win over Swansea has restored your mojo and first thing to do is to be back here with the usual guff. Interesting.
17/12/2012 13:17:00
We do play the majority of most games in the opponent's half though; so the wide midfielders really are forwards, as is evidenced by right-winger-Walcott being our top scorer. I'm not sure their tracking back is the problem we're having at the moment, I still believe it's too many people flooding forward, playing too high.
I've no idea if Llorente is worth having, I don't know the guy well enough. if we do sign a striker right now though, it will have to be someone very special; I can't see it happening.
17/12/2012 13:20:00
we have WON 4 outta last 5 league games. Everton caught us when they had a week to prepare and we had 3 days. but Everton deserved to win so no complaints. for 'laboured' win you do sound silly (did you see the game), Spurs dominated the game and only lacked abit of luck in front of goal on the day to not win by 3-4 goals..... playing the majority in the oppo's half means little if you can't penetrate too well... my elaborated on point is crucial to why Arse will falter. you either see it or you don't
17/12/2012 13:33:00
Then you can say Spurs "caught" Swans at a time you had more time to prepare after their midweek exertions. Spurs did not 'dominate' that game as you had few shots on goal; yes, their were a few blocked shots, but that is what defending is about. There is always special circumstances when a team like Swans come to your ground to do as well as they did; we could use similar excuses for their game against us (we did play midweek against Everton before meeting them), but we will not. We have accepted it and moved on. So, how silly do you look?
17/12/2012 13:58:00
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