Arsenal 7 - Reading 5

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Arsenal 7 - Reading 5

Postby TheArsenalPost » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:37 pm

Blog link: http://thearsenalpost.co.uk/2012/11/01/ ... up-report/

Arsenal stormed into the final eight of the Capital One Cup for the 10th successive season on Tuesday night after overturning a 4-0 deficit to come out as 7-5 winners.

The Gunners found themselves 4-0 down inside 37 minutes at the Madejski Stadium after a poor defensive start and some very questionable goal-keeping but Theo Walcott’s goal on the stroke of half-time made way for a sensational comeback to take the tie into extra time.

Arsene Wenger made 11 changes to the side that scrapped a win at QPR on Saturday, choosing to field a mixture of youth and experience with Martinez; Jenkinson, Djourou (c), Miquel, Koscielny; Arshavin, Frimpong, Gnabry, Coquelin; Chamakh, Walcott all starting.

Surprisingly Chamakh was called to the starting XI and made his first start since the FA Cup tie against Leeds on January 9. Supporting him was Serge Gnabry, who was making his first start for the club, on the left and the experienced Theo Walcott was on the right. Andrey Arshavin took up the ‘Cazorla’ role behind the striker.

This re-fashioned Arsenal side failed to perform in the first half and were completely out played by a confident and dominant Reading. Within 12 minutes Reading had taken the lead when Jay Tabb fed the ball to Noel Hunt down the left-hand side, who delivered a quick, low cross right across the penalty area. The ball was met by Jason Roberts who lost his marker and smashed the ball goal-ward at the far post.

A mere six minutes later it was 2-0. Gareth McCleary sent Chris Gunter through on the right and his cut-back was deflected in at the near post by the unfortunate Koscielny.

Reading were at it again two minutes later when yet more defensive frailties showed for Arsenal. After failing to clear the ball from a corner Leigertwood was allowed far too much time and space to pick out a shot, one which Martinez got a hand to but still failed to stop the ball going in.

A shocking start for Arsenal one I admit I didn’t see us coming back from but there were signs of life as the Gunners began to pass with more confidence and control but they still couldn’t breakthrough the Reading defence.

Eight minutes from half-time the night got even worse for Arsenal as Reading added a fourth. Gunter’s right-wing cross was headed in off the woodwork by Hunt at the far post. Already a few fans were leaving but the majority, to their credit were still fully behind their side with their singing and support being heard over the home fans.

Hoping to get themselves back in the game Arsenal desperately needed a goal before the break and put together a string of chances. Chamakh had a shot saved Koscielny couldn’t convert from a corner and Gnabry’s darting run and shot was blocked. It was only in injury time at the end of the half that Arsenal would convert one of their chances. Arshavin fed Walcott with an insightful through-ball and the Englishman raced clear and clipped the ball beautifully into the back of the net. Even after the goal it looked a long way back for Arsenal who had been less than their best so far.

If anything the goal seemed to spur Reading on more after the restart as they looked to end any doubt but they couldn’t convert their chances.

Arsenal too had chances to close the gap but to no avail. Arshavin again fed Walcott but he could only fire into the side-netting with the angle against him. Then Chamakh looked to claim a penalty after Gunter appeared to handle the ball. Nothing given. Finally Jenkinson’s low cross was poked wide by the sliding Theo Walcott.

An hour gone and the score still at 4-1 Wenger opted to add more attacking talent in the shape of Giroud and Thomas Eisfeld with Gnabry and Emmanuel Frimpong making way. The Frenchman made an immediate impact as he headed home superbly from Walcott’s corner. At 4-2 you could just sense there might be a chance, even a small one for Arsenal to redeem themselves. They came close when Giroud almost scored another; his shot was turned away rather unconvincingly by the Reading keeper.

Giroud had been a revelation since coming on and look to be Arsenal’s best outlet but the visitors dropped the pace and the revival looked to be beyond them.

If football was ever that predictable no one would watch and what an unpredictable final few moments we had.

Koscielny redeemed himself by scoring at the right end with a single minute of normal time remaining.

What happened next was quite remarkable. So let me try to set the scene.

We were into stoppage-time of injury time, somewhere around the 95th minute and one final chance for the Gunners. The ball is smacked up into the Reading box, the knockdown finds Walcott who collects the ball and shoots. The ball is poked away from goal (after crossing the line in my opinion,) but none other than Carl Jenkinson thumps the ball in just to make sure.Arsenal draw level at 4-4 and force extra time.

Naturally as we got back underway Arsenal were on somewhat of a high and looked to take advantage of a tired Reading. They got their reward two minutes before the end of the opening half when Chamakh fired the visitors in front for the first time in the game. He stared the move off with a cheeky backward flick to Giroud but he didn’t stop there, he continued his run and received the ball only to smash it fantastically into the net. A great finish from Arsenal’s forgotten man, a man whose last strike came at the 4-3 defeat at Blackburn at the start of last season.

Arsenal now seemed in control and Walcott should have ended in the game at the start of the second half but his effort was gratefully gathered by the Reading keeper. This could have proved costly as only four minutes from time Reading managed to steal the equaliser off the head of Pogrebnyak.

But Arsenal were not done.

Theo Walcott again was involved and thumped the ball home from close range in the last seconds and, with Reading chasing for another equaliser Chamakh chipped the stranded keeper to end any hope.

A 12 goal thriller and one of the most remarkable cup games I have ever seen ended with Arsenal coming out winners after it seemed there were out before half-time. Fantastic spirit shown by the likes of Theo, Giroud and even Arshavin who, even though wasn’t at his best, worked his socks off regardless.

Arsenal will now go on to face Bradford City in the next round.

Now a few things that I got from this game were:

1. Our defence needs to improve – Let’s not forget that this was such a high scoring game due to the poor defensive start we made. The goal-keeper looked unconfident and the back four were non-existent at times in the first half despite the experience of Djourou (who was captain!), Koscielny and to some extent Jenkinson.

2. We need to play with two strikers – Giroud changed the game when he came on and linked up fantastically with Chamakh and Walcott. We looked more of a threat with him on the pitch and he even dropped into midfield at times to help retrieve the ball. He had a fantastic game.

3. Theo needs a chance – The lad needs to sign the contract and be given the chance to play as a striker. He proved he can finish with a Hat-trick of sorts and he even set up Giroud’s goal. He is a danger to defences with his speed, we know that but his finishing is deadly.

4. Don’t forget the forgotten man – Chamakh put his case forward in this game. I’m not saying “oh my God, start him every game!” But I do feel he deserves a second chance. He had a poor first half but didn’t everyone? He scored two goals with two great finishes. Pretty good for a guy who hasn’t had any playing time.
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Re: Arsenal 7 - Reading 5

Postby GSK_AFC » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:15 am

Commented on it bro! :arse fan:
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Re: Arsenal 7 - Reading 5

Postby Diaby24AFC » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:39 am

I think we should also give Squid a chance. If he turns out to have a cracker of half a match he needs to be 2nd choice CB
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Re: Arsenal 7 - Reading 5

Postby TheArsenalPost » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:48 am

Second choice? Really?
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