Reading - Arsenal Preview: Wenger hopes for quick recovery from shock cup exit
The Gunners will be looking for a response after an embarrassing defeat to Bradford City, while Brian McDermott is looking for just the second win of a difficult season
By Jamie Dunn
Cummings, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey
McCleary, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff
Hunt, Le Fondre
Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski
Reading attacking duo Jason Roberts and Pavel Pogrebnyak are both back in contention to feature on Monday, but the 34-year-old and the Russia international are both unlikely to start.
Jimmy Kebe is back in training after a groin problem and Jem Karacan is returning to fitness, but neither will be in the matchday squad, while Sean Morrison is still unavailable due to an ankle injury.
Danny Guthrie could return to the squad after apologising for refusing to travel to the defeat to Sunderland on Tuesday.
Arsene Wenger was without Olivier Giroud for the defeat to Bradford City, but the striker could start at the Madejski Stadium.
Laurent Koscielny returned to training on Friday but is doubtful, while Theo Walcott looks set to miss out with a calf problem.
Andre Santos is still struggling with a stomach muscle injury, while Abou Diaby has been ruled out until at least after Christmas.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Reading boss Brian McDermott played for Arsenal from 1977-1984, scoring 13 goals in 44 starts, with 28 substitute appearances.
- The Royals have scored just one goal against the Gunners in their four previous Premier League meetings, while Arsene Wenger's side have notched 11.
- Despite scoring five times that amount in just one Capital One Cup game earlier this season, McDermott's men were still on the receiving end of a stunning 7-5 defeat after extra time.
- Nicky Shorey scored in the last corresponding fixture in the league between these two sides - a 3-1 defeat on November 12, 2007.
The left-back is 18/1 with Bet365 to score at any time in this game.
- While Shorey is the only member of the current Reading side to have started that game in 2007, with Adam Federici on the bench, both Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky could be involved for Arsenal.
- The Gunners have won just one game in the month of December - a 2-0 victory over West Brom.
- That victory took Arsenal's point tally to 24 - their worst total after 16 Premier League games under Wenger.
- However, the Arsenal boast a plus-10 goal difference, the best record outside of the top three.
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Top 3 Predictions
Reading 1-3 Arsenal FC
- 14.91 %
Reading 0-2 Arsenal FC
- 9.31 %
Reading 0-3 Arsenal FC
- 9.06 %
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Mar 2013||Arsenal FC 4 - Reading 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Dec 2012||Reading 2 - Arsenal FC 5|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||30 Oct 2012||Reading 5 - Arsenal FC 7|
|18 Apr 2014||Wigan Athletic 3 - Reading 0||ENG2|
|14 Apr 2014||Reading 1 - Leicester City 1||ENG2|
|8 Apr 2014||Bournemouth 3 - Reading 1||ENG2|
|5 Apr 2014||Charlton Athletic 0 - Reading 1||ENG2|
|29 Mar 2014||Reading 1 - Huddersfield Town 1||ENG2|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
Having conceded to League Two side Bradford from a corner in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, Arsenal will need to be mindful of Nicky Shorey's set pieces. The left-back has provided four assists in the Premier League this season and will be trying to provide for Noel Hunt and Adam Le Fondre from corners and free kicks.
After their embarrassing cup exit in midweek, Arsenal need an immediate response at the Madejski Stadium, meaning the likes of Santi Cazorla must be at their best. If the Spain international is on form, Reading could find the Gunners out of sight early on and the defeat to Bradford could be quickly resigned to the past.
Reading have not struggled for goals at home this season, scoring 12 times at the Madejski Stadium, but having conceded 14, Arsenal should feel confident of finding the back of the net on Monday night. The Capital One Cup defeat was a blow to Arsene Wenger, but the Frenchman and his side have suffered setbacks before and recovered strongly. Gunners fans might not get the convincing backlash they are looking for, but should travel home with three points.