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Played
December 18, 2012 4:00 AM SGT
Madejski Stadium — Reading, Berkshire
Referee:‬ A. Taylor‎
Attendance:‬ 24125‎
 
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Reading 2-5 Arsenal

Santi Cazorla starred for the occasionally fragile Gunners, capping an excellent display with a hat trick as Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski also got on the scoresheet

By Jamie Dunn

  • Adam Federici
    5
    6
    2.00

    Adam Federici

    Denied Oxlade-Chamberlain - twice - and Wilshere with smart saves but picked the ball out of the net five times and could barely be blamed for any of them. Given very little help by his back four.

  • Nicky Shorey
    1
    5
    2.00

    Nicky Shorey

    Anonymous in an opening 45 minutes dominated by Arsenal on the Reading right flank. Attempted to push forward in the second half but struggled with the likes of Walcott.

  • Adrian Mariappa
    1
    5
    2.00

    Adrian Mariappa

    Part of a central defensive pairing that did little to stop a rampant Arsenal from scoring three times in the first half, but did twice block to prevent a fourth, denying Walcott when Federici was beaten.

  • Kaspars Gorkss
    0
    6
    1.50

    Kaspars Gorkss

    Like Mariappa, the centre-back was virtually statuesque for all three of Arsenal's first-half goals. Was sold a dummy by Walcott as Arsenal bagged a fifth.

  • Shaun Cummings
    1
    7
    1.50

    Shaun Cummings

    Nowhere to be seen for any of Arsenal's three first-half goals as Gibbs and Podolski ran riot on his side of the pitch.

  • Mikele Leigertwood
    0
    6
    1.50

    Mikele Leigertwood

    Failed to track Podolski's run for Arsenal's opener and was largely bypassed easily by Arteta and Wilshere throughout the game.

  • Jobi McAnuff
    1
    5
    2.00

    Jobi McAnuff

    Should have done better with an early chance from six yards out. Booked harshly as his boot caught Wilshere in the groin following a mishit pass.

  • Jimmy Kebe
    2
    4
    2.50

    Jimmy Kebe

    Beaten far too easily to allow Gibbs to cross for Podolski to fire the visitors ahead. Appeared to struggle with defensive responsibility, but then laboured over a chance to give Reading hope as the interval approached. Showed his skill in bursts after the break and beat Szczesny with a tidy finish before coming off.

  • Jay Tabb
    1
    5
    2.50

    Jay Tabb

    Like Leigertwood before him, the midfield man simply wasn't aware of Cazorla's run for the second goal. Finally came to life, capitalising on a poor pass infield from Gibbs to provide for Le Fondre with a neat through ball.

  • Pavel Pogrebnyak
    2
    5
    2.00

    Pavel Pogrebnyak

    Returned to the starting lineup and would have had an assist to his name after eight minutes had McAnuff turned his pass beyond Szczesny. Worked hard in the channels in the first half rather than proving to be a goal threat before coming off after an hour.

  • Noel Hunt
    1
    5
    1.50

    Noel Hunt

    Showed sharpness in the opening stages to race beyond Mertesacker but glanced his header over the bar and faded into obscurity after that. Replaced by Robson-Kanu for the final half an hour.

Substitutions

  • Garath McCleary
    2
    4
    2.00

    Garath McCleary

    Came on for goalscorer Kebe with just over 15 minutes to play.

  • Hal Robson-Kanu
    3
    3
    2.50

    Hal Robson-Kanu

    Came on in place of Hunt in the second half and ventured inside to play in Kebe for Reading's second with some good footwork.

  • Adam Le Fondre
    3
    3
    2.50

    Adam Le Fondre

    Replaced Pogrebnyak for the final 30 minutes and scored shortly after, rounding Szczesny to finish into an empty net.

  • Wojciech Szczesny
    11
    1
    2.00

    Wojciech Szczesny

    Simply wasn't tested by a Reading player for over an hour, but could not keep a clean sheet as Le Fondre danced around him for the hosts' first before Kebe was allowed to fire home from close range.

  • Bacary Sagna
    12
    3
    3.00

    Bacary Sagna

    Rarely troubled by McAnuff before the break. Had to work harder after the interval as Shorey attempted to join McAnuff in attack, but saw more of the ball going forward as a result.

  • Per Mertesacker
    7
    6
    2.00

    Per Mertesacker

    Not really threatened by the Reading front line in the first half but stood still and allowed Le Fondre to latch onto Tabb's pass and score after the interval. Another lapse in concentration saw Kebe unmarked for the second.

  • Thomas Vermaelen
    13
    3
    2.50

    Thomas Vermaelen

    Vital interception denied Reading what would have been a soft equaliser as Arsenal weathered an early storm. Beaten by some Robson-Kanu trickery for Reading's second.

  • Kieran Gibbs
    15
    1
    3.00

    Kieran Gibbs

    Enjoyed plenty of freedom on the left hand side in the first half. Was twice the provider for goals from Podolski and Cazorla and blocked to deny Kebe. A careless and wayward pass that Tabb pounced on to set up Le Fondre for Reading's goal proved to be the only blot on his copybook.

  • Mikel Arteta
    15
    1
    3.00

    Mikel Arteta

    Shifted play brilliantly to Podolski as the German crossed for Santi Cazorla to double the visitors' lead. Typically reliable and understated stuff from the former Everton man.

  • Jack Wilshere
    20
    0
    3.50

    Jack Wilshere

    Saw a snap-volley well saved by Federici and siaplyed plenty of the resilience and quality that has seen the Gunners so keen to tie him to a long-term deal. Played in Walcott, whose shot was cleared off the line by Mariappa.

  • Santi Cazorla
    40
    1
    4.50

    Santi Cazorla

    A wonderful performance marked by three simple goals. Took just 17 minutes to have his first shot from distance. Ghosted into the box to meet a Podolski cross and then put Arsenal three up with another simple finish. Completed his hat-trick with a tap-in after combining with Podolski again. The Gunners flagged but Cazorla had the last laugh, setting up Walcott for the fifth. Brought off to a deserved ovation in the closing stages.

  • Lukas Podolski
    24
    0
    4.00

    Lukas Podolski

    Found Gibbs before racing onto the defender's cross to open the scoring from close range. Launched a delivery of his own onto the head of Cazorla for the second goal and played in the Spain star as Arsenal went four up.

  • Theo Walcott
    23
    0
    3.50

    Theo Walcott

    Playing in his desired central role, the forward fired wide from a free-kick early on and missed a one-on-one when clean through in the first half, before seeing an effort denied only by a last-ditch Mariappa block. A consistent threat playing his part in a front line Reading simply could not come to terms with, the England man finally hit the back of the net late on with a cool finish. Came off for the returning Giroud.

  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    10
    3
    3.00

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Gave the Reading back four an indication of what was to come early on with a pacey run and shot on target. Fizzed another effort wide shortly after the break. Replaced by Ramsey as Arsenal looked to tighten up after conceding twice.

Substitutions

  • Aaron Ramsey
    5
    4
    2.50

    Aaron Ramsey

    Replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain with Arsenal starting to look stretched in the second half.

  • Francis Coquelin
    7
    2
    2.00

    Francis Coquelin

    Came on for Cazorla with eight minutes to play.

  • Olivier Giroud
    7
    2
    2.00

    Olivier Giroud

    Came back from injury with a five-minute cameo.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Man City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man. United
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Man City
15 0