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5 vs 7
Played
October 30, 2012 7:45 PM GMT
Madejski Stadium — Reading, Berkshire
Referee:‬ K. Friend‎
Attendance:‬ 23980‎
 
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Reading 5-7 Arsenal (after extra time)

The Royals stunned the away side with a four-goal blitz in the first half but the Gunners' incredible comeback, including a Theo Walcott hat-trick, turned the game on its head

By Jay Jaffa

  • Adam Federici
    29
    41
    3.00

    Adam Federici

    One weak punch was the sum of most of his first half before being well beaten by a superb Walcott finish. Could do little for Giroud's excellent header but saved well from the Frenchman later in the half, first from a left-foot volley before diverting a clever header wide.

  • Chris Gunter
    12
    44
    1.50

    Chris Gunter

    Linked well with McCleary on the right touchline and delivered the teasing cross that forced Koscielny into his own goal. Was lucky to not concede a penalty as he handled when tracking Chamakh's run and his game went downhill from there, culminating in a terrible attempted backpass to hand Chamakh the chance to score the seventh.

  • Nicky Shorey
    14
    29
    3.00

    Nicky Shorey

    Got forward to support Robson-Kanu when he could and looked sturdy in defence but had a tougher spell in the second half. That said, most of Arsenal's good play came from the Reading right.

  • Sean Morrison
    8
    35
    2.50

    Sean Morrison

    Climbed well but saw his early header cannon back off the crossbar. Defensively, he could do little to prevent the first goal - Arshavin's pass was too precise and noticeably found the going tougher with Giroud's presence up front for Arsenal. Booked in extra time.

  • Kaspars Gorkss
    10
    39
    2.00

    Kaspars Gorkss

    Marshalled the back line well for the majority but was carved open by Arshavin's delightful through-ball for Arsenal's first goal. Likewise to Morrison, struggled up against the lively Giroud and lost Koscielny for Arsenal's third goal. Was nutmegged by Chamakh's goal.

  • Mikele Leigertwood
    28
    21
    3.50

    Mikele Leigertwood

    His speculative drive from the edge of the box should never have troubled Martinez but the Argentine fluffed his lines, handing the midfielder his second goal in a week. He was competitive and reliable throughout, though booked for a late tackle on Eisfeld.

  • Garath McCleary
    29
    17
    3.50

    Garath McCleary

    A neat one-two with Gunter set the full-back away who went onto create the second goal. Was a constant threat from the right and troubled Miquel throughout before being replaced by McAnuff with 17 to play.

  • Hal Robson-Kanu
    16
    22
    3.00

    Hal Robson-Kanu

    Delivered the perfect cross for Roberts to smash home the opener from out wide and was another to constantly worry the Arsenal back line. Faded as the game went on, however.

  • Jay Tabb
    7
    30
    2.50

    Jay Tabb

    Sliced his way through the defence but was denied by a good stop by Martinez. Picked up the loose ball and fed Hunt in the build-up to the opener. Looked lively in the early stages but faded as the game went on.

  • Noel Hunt
    37
    18
    4.00

    Noel Hunt

    Linked cleverly with Roberts and caused the Arsenal defence plenty of problems. The timing of his run allowed him to leap above Jenkinson for the fourth Reading goal and should have had a second-half penalty after a blatant push by Chamakh. Was replaced by Pogrebnyak with 17 minutes to play.

  • Jason Roberts
    62
    16
    4.00

    Jason Roberts

    Started the game battling Djourou before eluding Koscielny in the box to tap home the opener. Gave both centre-backs a torrid time thanks to his physicality and determination, spearheading the attack impressively.

Substitutions

  • Jobi McAnuff
    18
    20
    3.00

    Jobi McAnuff

    On for McCleary with 17 to play but saw little of the ball as Reading defended for much of the remainder of the 90. Drove at the heart of the defence and struck a great shot across Martinez, forcing the keeper into a fine save. Claimed a late assist with his shot-cum-cross.

  • Pavel Pogrebnyak
    55
    8
    3.50

    Pavel Pogrebnyak

    Entered play with 17 to go for Hunt and did his best to run the channels and eat up time. Drew fouls and did his job as an impact sub before popping up with five minutes to go to head McAnuff's cross-shot in.

  • Simon Church
    10
    27
    2.50

    Simon Church

    Last minute sub for Roberts but did not impact on the game.

  • Damián Martínez
    96
    182
    1.50

    Damián Martínez Flop of the Match

    Was fortunate to see Morrison's header rebound off the post, his head and wide before reacting sharply to Tabb's run and spreading himself at his feet to make the save. His night deteriorated sharply though as first Roberts was unmarked for a simple tap-in, before he could only flap as Koscielny turned a cross past him. But worse was to come as his attempt to palm Leigertwood's shot wide backfired and looped over him and in for Reading's third. Could do little for the well-placed fourth. Was extremely unconvincing in the air all night.

  • Johan Djourou
    83
    131
    2.00

    Johan Djourou

    Had a tough battle with Roberts but perhaps should have closed Leigertwood down sooner. For a centre-back he was too often beaten in the air by smaller men. Had a couple of clumsy moments when challenging Roberts and later Pogrebnyak but looked more solid in the second period.

  • Miquel
    114
    83
    2.00

    Miquel

    One late challenge on McCleary aside, the Spaniard struggled to get close to the winger and watched on as he delivered the cross for Hunt's goal. Fortunate to see his interception nip over the bar rather than his own net. Suffered a dose of cramp and was replaced in the middle of extra time.

  • Carl Jenkinson
    176
    51
    2.50

    Carl Jenkinson

    Beaten far too easily by Hunt for the fourth goal. His final ball was weak at the other end of the pitch but improved as the game went on. Was on hand to ensure Walcott's equaliser counted, volleying home the goal-line clearance.

  • Laurent Koscielny
    139
    136
    1.50

    Laurent Koscielny

    The most experienced starter out there but he embodied the languid first half that saw the Gunners concede four. His own goal was a poorly directed interception and he completely lost Roberts for the opener. Was booked late on to compound a poor evening but did pop up in the 89th minute to make it 4-3 before escaping a second yellow card for a reckless challenge.

  • Francis Coquelin
    169
    46
    2.50

    Francis Coquelin

    Didn't do his reputation justice as the Arsenal midfield were beaten on all fronts in the first half. Played a lovely ball over the top for Chamakh that should have led to a penalty and looked more composed as the game wore on.

  • Andrey Arshavin
    423
    37
    3.50

    Andrey Arshavin

    His through-ball to Walcott was a reminder of the Russian's class after a relatively quiet half. Looked sprightly in the second period and gave Gunter much more to think about. Was a constant menace and powered into the box, firing a dangerous shot that led to Walcott's winner.

  • Emmanuel Frimpong
    104
    91
    2.00

    Emmanuel Frimpong

    Looked off the pace and understandably struggling with his match fitness. Did lash a decent volley just wide but didn't offer his defence enough protection in the first period and was replaced on the hour by Eisfeld.

  • Theo Walcott
    669
    21
    4.50

    Theo Walcott Top of the Match

    He has begged to play centrally and was given the chance here. Although his defence played absymally, Walcott continued to threaten with his pace and burst through on goal right on half-time before lifting a superb shot over Federici to give the Gunners hope. Touched a dangerous cross just wide of the far post before delivering a powerful corner for Giroud to score. Swung the late corner in for Koscielny's goal and then knocked the ball over the line to equalise in the 95th minute before scoring the winner, tapping home the rebound from Arshavin's effort. Everything he did had purpose and energy and without him Arsenal would have been dead and buried after half an hour.

  • Marouane Chamakh
    437
    21
    3.50

    Marouane Chamakh

    Mustered Arsenal's first real shot on target but could only hit his left-footed effort straight at Federici. Largely anonymous in the first period and extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty for a reckless push on Hunt. Linked better with Giroud and fired through Gorkss' legs to make it 5-4. Made it 7-5 with a fantastic lobbed finish in the final seconds.

  • Serge Gnabry
    185
    41
    3.00

    Serge Gnabry

    Lost the ball in midfield in the build-up to the first goal but showed glimpses of his talent, particularly on the stroke of half-time, jinking inside and striking a shot that was deflected wide. Watched his effort drift just wide in the second half before being replaced on the hour by Giroud.

Substitutions

  • Jernade Meade
    137
    24
    2.50

    Jernade Meade

    Came on in the 105th minute for Miquel to make his Arsenal debut.

  • Thomas Eisfeld
    337
    19
    3.00

    Thomas Eisfeld

    On in the 62 minute for Frimpong and started to link play well from midfield. Struck one long-range effort well wide when a pass was the better option. However, his passing range was on display and he looked at home in midfield.

  • Olivier Giroud
    501
    18
    4.00

    Olivier Giroud

    Came on in the 62nd minute for Gnabry and scored with his first touch, heading back across Federici to make it 4-2. Volleyed at goal before flicking another great header at goal, but was denied twice by Federici. Was everywhere and did all he could to inspire an Arsenal comeback, including laying the ball onto Chamakh for the fifth goal.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
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Ranking
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4 1
Saido Berahino Saido Berahino
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4 1