Arsenal Vs Reading
Mar 30, 2013 at 3pm (UK)
It seems like an eternity when we saw Arsenal in action, but the interlul is finally over and the Premier league is back. Arsenal welcome relegation bottlers Reading to the Emirates in what should be an interesting match as both the teams need all the three points as much as the other one. The Gunners are in 5th place 4 points behind Tottenham and have a match in hand. So 3 points against Reading today will put pressure directly on Spurs who travel to Wales to face Swansea.
Newly appointed Reading manager Nigel Adkins will be on the sidelines for the first time as he visits Emirates to try and stop Reading’s dreadful form off late. The Royals are currently in 19th position 4 points adrift of 18th placed Wigan and a further defeat at the hands of Arsenal will send them to rock bottom of the table.
Match preparations may be the one department that Reading have the advantage today. Almost all of Wenger’s first team represented their National sides during the World-cup qualifiers and have had only 2 days to prepare themselves for this one. Meanwhile Adkins’ men have had a nice long break and will be desperate to get all 3 points. As much as the Gunners are favourites for this one, we have seen in the past that they can be brought down in their own turf. All in all we have a tricky game in prospect.
Arsenal are once again without Abou Diaby, this time with another major injury as the midfielder will be out of action for almost 9 months with a knee problem. And Internationals have had a stroll at Theo Walcott who will miss the game with a thigh injury while influential midfielder Jack Wilshere is still on his way back to fitness and will be rested for this one. The defensive selections will once again be the real headache for Wenger as full backs Kieran Gibbs and Monreal are back in contention while their replacements Monreal and Jenkison have done a decent job in their absence.
Another question is the selection of the centre backs. The Gunners boss sacked Vermaelen to the bench for two consecutive matches for his recent run of poor games and it’s up-to him to decide whether or not the Belgian starts the game.
Reading are likely to be without Danny Guthrie, Adam Federici, Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts through injury but forward Pavel Pogrebnyak will be available again after a three-match suspension. In the goal keeping department, Stuart Taylor is likely to get the nod as first choice keeper Adam Federici is struggling with an ankle problem.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Cazorla, Arteta, Ramsey; Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud
Reading: Taylor; Kelly, Mariappa, Harte, Shorey; Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, McCleary, Robson-Kanu; Hunt
- Arsenal have won all 11 of their previous competitive meetings with Reading, including two wins already this season.
- The two meetings between Arsenal and Reading in 2012-13 already have seen 19 goals scored; with Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla each scoring hat-tricks for Arsenal over these meetings.
- Reading have conceded more Premier League goals against Arsenal (16) than versus any other opponent in the competition.
- No side have faced more shots at goal in the top five European Leagues this season than Reading (531).
- Arsenal have averaged the highest possession figure in the Premier League this season (57.9%), while Reading have the lowest (39.4%).
- The Gunners have won 36% of Premier League games this season without Jack Wilshere in the side, compared to 56% with him.
- Arsenal have conceded only two goals after the 75th minute of Premier League games this season; a league-low.
Prediction: 3-1 win for the home side.