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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
30 March 2013
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 60082
Y. Gervinho 11'
O. Giroud 67'
H. Robson-Kanu 68'
Thanks once again for following the Premier League live with me, @HushKerai on Goal.com. As ever, stay with us for reaction from all of today's games plus build-up to this evening's match between Everton and Stoke. Good day to you all!
In the end it was a comfortable victory for Arsenal, who should have scored more than the four they managed having had Reading on the backfoot for the entirety of the match. Hal Robson-Kanu managed to pull one back for the Royal in the second half, but in all honesty that goal flatters Nigel Adkins' side, they were truly abysmal today.
FULL-TIME: Arsenal 4-1 Reading
90' + 2'
CHANCE! Arsenal break once again in search for a fifth, but Keiran Gibbs mistimes his run and is flagged offside when he runs on to Aaron Ramsey's through pass.
CHANCE! Rosicky crossed for Per Mertesacker in the area but Pearce does well to match the German's leap and clear for a corner. The resulting set-peice is taken short and Arsenal keep possession.
An additional three minutes to be added on.
This game is done and dusted as waves of Arsenal fans head for the exits with only a couple minutes of normal time remaining.
STAT ATTACK Mikel Arteta scored his fourth penalty of the season, putting him on par with Frank Lampard and Craig Gardner as the player with most in the Premier League this season.
Much of the damage inflicted on Reading's defence has been self inflicted. It seems Nigel Adkins as asked his defenders to play out from the back, it's backfired spectacularly so far this afternoon.
CHANCES GALORE! Arsenal are battering Reading now. First Ramsey stings the hands of Taylor with a powerful shout from inside the area before Cazorla gloriously clips a ball over the Royal's backline for Rosicky, the Czech opts to cut the back, though, allowing Taylor to snuff the chance out.
Exhibition one and two-touch football from the Gunners now and Reading are finding it hard to live with. Arteta gets in behind the visitors' defence but sees the flag go up for offside.
Penalty Goal Mikel Arteta
GOAL! Mikel Arteta cooly converts the penalty to make it four after Oxlade-Chamberlain earnt the spot-kick with his first involvement in the game.
PENALTY ARSENAL! Adrian Mariappa hangs out a leg and brings down Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain right on the edge of the area.
Update from the Liberty Stadium: Swansea have pulled a goal back against Tottenham, it's currently 2-1 to the visitors in Wales.
CHANCE! Noel Hunt does really well to challenge the giant figure of Per Mertesacker in the air. Reading defend a flurry of Arsenal crosses before Taylor manages to catch the ball after a moment of confusion in the Royals defence.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey reports: "It's all happening at the Emirates. Reading have finally elected to throw men forward, which has resulted in a much more flowing, open game. Olivier Giroud put Arsenal three goals to the good having been played in by Gervinho, but only moments later Lukasz Fabianski's hopes of a clean sheet went up in smoke as Hal Robson-Kanu bravely connected with Jobi McAnuff's teasing cross at the back post. It feels like no more than a consolation, and it almost certainly is."
Assist Jobi McAnuff
Goal Hal Robson-Kanu
GOAL! Reading get one back! Hal Robson-Kanu dives in to head in McAnuff's cross at the back post. The Reading man did well to peel away from Nacho Monreal on the far stick. Game on?
Goal Olivier Giroud
GOAL! Olivier Giroud scores his first goal in the Premier League since January! Reading inexplicably give the ball away right up the pitch and Arsenal counter through Gervinho. The Ivorian holds the ball up before finding the Frenchman, who drives the ball past hard and low past Taylor.
CHANCE! Arsenal break on Reading as they look to launch an attack, but Gervinho's cut back from the byline is poor after being wonderfully picked out by Cazorla.
CHANCE! Arsenal are toying with Reading now, moving the ball from left to right and pulling the Royals this way, then that. The Gunners work the ball to find Sagna in space on the right, but his cross is headed wide of the bar by Gervinho.
CHANCE! Reading have a shot on goal! McAnuff's corner isn't cleared by the Gunners and the ball drops to Alex Pearce in the area but his volleyed effort from close range is well caught by Fabianski.
Crunching tackle fro Laurent Koscielny on Pavel Pogrebnyak! The Russian forward was just about to fire in at goal from a tight angle but the Frenchman came rushing across to make a fine challenge.
STAT ATTACK Santi Cazorla is now Arsenal's top goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 12.
Reading sting together a couple of passes but Danny Guthrie hopefully punts the ball upfield leaving Pogrebnyak with very little chance of making anything of it.
A rare moment of threat from Reading. Robson-Kanu gets away from Monreal on the left but his cross with the outside of his boot can't pick out Pogrebnyak.
Plenty of shouts on Twitter (@HushKerai) for Arsenal 3-0 Reading as a full-time result. I'm not sure the Royals can restrict the Gunners to just one more with almost 40 minutes to play.
Reading have the leakiest defence in the Premier League, Cazorla's goal was the 59th the Royals have conceded this season. Not surprising on the basis of today's performance.
More pressure from the Gunnners as they look for a third, this time Aaron Ramsey has a go from range but Reading manage to get to the Welshman in time and make a block.
Goal Santi Cazorla
GOAL! Santi Cazorla doubles Arsenal's lead, finally! The build-up from the Gunners was slow and stready, with Reading not doing an awful lot to stop them. Gervinho eventually passed the ball into the path of the Spaniard, who stroked the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Arsenal take the kick-off and we are underway in the second half!
Arsenal had 15 shots in the first half compared to Reading's one. That sums up the first period in a nutshell.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey reports from the Emirates: "It's half-time at the Emirates, and the home crowd are wondering how they've only seen one Arsenal goal. Reading have been incredibly accomodating opponents, gifting the Gunners possession in the final third on numerous occasions, but through a combination of Gervinho, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, they've contrived to miss a host of presentable opportunities. Reading are a goal down, but will be extremely grateful to have limited the damage."
@musamgr reckons Arsenal will win this match 3-1. So you reckon the Royals will get on the scoresheet in the second half? It's been all Arsenal so far but they have been wasteful in front of goal. Can they finish the job after the break? Send your predictions into @HushKerai!
HALF-TIME: Arsenal 1-0 Reading
45' + 1'
One minute to be added on before the break.
Absolute one way traffic in this first half, the Gunners have been utterly dominant but haven't been able to put the visitors away because of their wayward finishing.
CHANCE! Gervinho is allowed to turn inside the box and he does so well before firing a left-footed shot high over the bar. Another good chance for the Ivorian to fill his boots.
CHANCE! Yet another heroic Reading block as Arsenal try to walk the ball into the net. Olivier Giroud cuts a ball back across the six-yard box towards Santi Cazorla but the Royals' defenders smother the Spaniard before he can tap into the net.
CLOSE! Inches away from a second! Santi Cazorla drags his shot just wide of the near post after another Arsenal attacks carves the Reading defence into peices. Arsenal should have this game put to bed by now.
CHANCE! Super football from the Gunners! Kelly can only head Sagna's corner out to Cazorla, who manages to turn on the ball before finding Rosicky. The Czech international plays it into Aaron Ramsey's third-man-run with a clever first-time pass, but Taylor blocks.
Arsenal's 69% share of possession tells the story of the match so far, but at only 1-0, Reading are still firmly in this contest. We've seen their powers of producing a comeback on a few occasions already this season.
CHANCE! Another good block from Pearce, this time to deny Gervinho a second. The ball luckily drops to the Ivory Coast international via a deflection but the winger's shot is closed down by the Royals defender.
Yellow Card Danny Guthrie
Reading aren't offering any sort of pressure on Arteta and Ramsey when they pick the ball up from deep areas to construct the Gunners' attacks.
A bit of a lull in proceedings as Reading enjoy a spell on the ball. The Royals aren't going anywhere with the ball though. Arsenal, for the moment, are sitting very comfortably.
CHANCE! Fantastic football from Arsenal as Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud exchange six passes in a matter of moments before the Spaniard wiggles his way into the box. Stephen Kelly, though, manages to make a last ditch block.
Update from elsewhere, Tottenham are currently 2-0 ahead against Swansea thanks to goals from Jan Vertonghan and Gareth Bale.
Reading are playing some suicidal stuff here in trying to pass out the back. Arsenal pounce once again right up the pitch, but Gervinho's lack of awareness inside the box allows the Royals to clear for a corner.
CHANCE! Gervinho again! The Ivorian is really up for this, he carrys the ball across the halfway line and advances towards the box at pace with the visitor's defenders backing off him. His shot, though, is dragged horribly wide of the post.
CHANCE! Dear me, Reading just keep giving the ball away by trying to play from the back. Olivier Giroud is the latest to pounce on a loose ball but wastefully takes an early shot which is easily blocked by Mariappa.
PENALTY SHOUT! Olivier Giroud is played in down the inside right channel and gets to the ball ahead of Stuart Taylor, flicking the ball over the Reading keeper, before being taken out. To the Arsenal fans' bemusement, the referee doesn't punish the visitors.
Bacary Sagna and Gervinho, especially, have made a very bright start to the match for the Gunners. You get the feeling Reading have to keep it at one-nil for the next 15 minutes or so.
CHANCE! Another good moment for Arsenal as Bacary Sagna advances down the right flank. Gervinho gets ahead of Pearce inside the box but only manages to direct his header wide of the far post.
CHANCE! Almost another for the hosts as Reading give the ball away at the back allowing Santi Cazorla to shoot from the edge of the area. Fortunately for Nigel Adkin's side, Pearce is able to rush towards the Spaniard and make a timely block.
Assist Santi Cazorla
GOAL! Arsenal take the lead and it's Gervinho who gets his second in as many games. The Ivorian turned away from Shorey on the right flank before playing the ball out to the left, where Santi Cazorla dragged a shot across the face of the goal for the 25-year-old to tap into an empty net.
A touching tribute as both sets of fans heartily applaud the late David 'Rocky' Rocastle in the 9th minute of the match.
Reading enjoy a spell of possession in the Arsenal half but fail to manufacture a clear goalscoring chance. Their momentum is eventually lost as Guthrie's pass finds Pogrebnyak in an offside position.
Reading have an opportunity to deliver into the box after Arteta needlessly brings down Guthrie on the left flank. Giroud makes a good defensive header to clear McAnuff's inswinging free kick.
CHANCE! Arsenal have settled on the ball now. After a lengthy spell of possession, Sagna's cross is deflected into the path of Olivier Giroud but the Frenchman's flicked header doesn't have enough on it to beat Stuart Taylor.
Arsenal construct their first attack of the game with Gervinho and Sagna combining down the right but a mix up between the two allows the visitors to regain possession.
An early corner for the visitors after they produce a break right from the kick-off. Mariappa rises high to meet Robson-Kanu's but the Reading man's header is directed well wide.
Reading take the kick-off and we are underway!
Moments away from the kick-off...
More from Mr. Twomey at the Emirates: "Applause ripples around the Emirates as David Rocastle's picture is broadcast on the big screen. It's 12 years ago this weekend."
Nineteen goals have already been scored in the two meetings between Arsenal and Reading this season; with Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla each scoring hat-tricks for Arsenal. Safe to say we can expect a goalless draw then.
A nice touch from the Arsenal players who are warming up wearing t-shirts displaying 'Get well soon Abou' on the front. The French midfielder is out for nine months with a cruciate ligament injury.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey reports from the Emirates Stadium: "Anyone underwhelmed by the Arsenal team picked by Arsene Wenger today will probably be even more depressed by the realisation that it is pretty much the Frenchman's strongest available starting XI. The season-ending injury suffered by Abou Diaby in training earlier this week, combined with the absences of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, have left some serious holes in the attacking half of the field. Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey are preferred to Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the flanks."
Meanwhile, Nigel Adkins makes two changes for Reading in his first game in charge; Pavel Pogrebnyak returns from suspension to replace Noel Hunt and Danny Guthrie is preffered to Garath McCleary in midfield.
Arsene Wenger makes four changes to the side which ran out 2-0 winners against Swansea two weeks ago. Bacary Sagna, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Gervinho all return to the side. Captain Thomas Vermaelen once again joins goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on the bench for the third game running.
Reading: Taylor; Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey; Robson-Kanu, Karacan, Leigertwood, Guthrie, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Gunter, Le Fondre, Hunt, McCleary, Morrison, McCarthy, Akpan.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Rosicky, Arteta, Cazorla; Gervinho, Giroud, Ramsey. Subs: Szczesny, Vermaelen, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Gibbs.
Just under 25 minutes until kick-off at a sun kissed Emirates Stadium. Team news will follow shortly, in the meantime, hurl your match predictions in my direction on Twitter via @HushKerai.
Good afternoon ladies and gents! Football is back! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Arsenal v Reading from the Emirates Stadium LIVE!
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