|By PAUL GOUGH
Arsenal are being heavily backed to bounce back from arguably the worst defeat of Arsene Wenger's record 16 years in charge when they travel to bottom-placed Reading in the English Premier League on Monday.
The Gunners were humiliatingly knocked out of the League Cup last Tuesday by League Two side Bradford in a penalty shoot-out, ending what most experts believe was Arsenal's best chance of ending a trophy drought stretching back to 2005 this season.
That loss heaped further pressure on Wenger - in charge since October, 1996 - who is now struggling to keep Arsenal competitive against the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City after guiding the Gunners to three Premier LEague titles and four FA Cups during the first half of his record stint in charge of the club.
A loss to Reading on Monday - a club the Gunners have never fallen to - could even bring about a shock end to Wenger's 16 years in charge.
It would leave the Gunners in eighth spot and still five points adrift of bitter rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in the battle for the remaining two Champions League spots up for grabs next season, behind runaway leaders United and City.
|Arsenal to beat Reading at $1.70 at Betfair
||More than three goals in Arsenal v Reading at $2.70|
Arsenal have never missed out on a top-four finish and a Champions League place since Wenger took over as manager and remain on the fourth line of betting at $2.22 at Betfair - just ahead of Spurs at $2.32- to again finish in the top four this season.
A win against the struggling Royals would see Arsenal move to within two points of Chelsea and Spurs nearing the half-way stage of the season, and the Gunners are the $1.70 favourites at Betfair and sportsbet.com.au to win the match and even shorter at $1.60 at TAB Sportsbet.
But all the money is for Arsenal to bounce back, with Betfair's Daniel Bevan telling Goal.com over 80 percent of the early money traded on this match has been on the Gunners to win.
The Royals are now the $1.26 favourites at Betfair to be relegated this season and the $1.45 favourites to be last on the table at Christmas.
When these two teams met at Reading in the League Cup earlier this season, Arsenal won an extraordinary game 7-5 after being 4-0 down.
But while that scoreline is unlikely to be repeated on Monday, another high-scoring game does look likely.
With that in mind, the $2.72 on offer from Betfair on there being more than three goals scored in this game looks great value, while we like the look of $14 on offer at Betfair on Arsenal winning 3-1.
*Note prices subject to change