Reading vs. Arsenal: An important game for teams with different goals

Clive Mason

With West Brom and Everton dropping points, Arsenal have every chance to get out of their current 'crisis'.

Once again, Arsenal are off to a poor start and in danger of missing out on the top four. They're well out of title contention, which their manager has conceded, and they're coming off of an embarrassing cup loss to Bradford City. Tottenham Hotspur are playing well. It's a tough time for the Gunners.

However, they were here last year, and managed to secure third place. They're far from a crisis point, and they probably won't even be there if they go through the holiday period without winning a match. There's a lot of season left to be played. Still, a win over Reading would be a nice way to right the ship.

The Royals are very much in a relegation battle, and it's only getting tougher. Queens Park Rangers are looking competent under Harry Redknapp, while Norwich have rocketed into the top half and don't appear to be part of the relegation contest. Fulham and Newcastle are almost certainly mere visitors near the bottom, Roberto Martinez escapes every year, and Sunderland can't possibly be as horrible as they've played so far. Reading need to start winning matches, and fast.

Reading injuries and suspensions

Out: Jimmy Kebe (groin), Jem Karacan (knee), Sean Morrison (ankle), Alex McCarthy (shoulder). In doubt: Jason Roberts (hip), Pavel Pogrebnyak (knock), Hal Robson-Kanu (fitness).

Arsenal injuries and suspensions

Out: Andre Santos (abdominal), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle). In doubt: Laurent Koscielny (thigh), Theo Walcott (calf), Olivier Giroud (back).

Roberts, Pogrebnyak and Robson-Kanu will all face late fitness tests for Reading. Expect to see Giroud and Koscielny in the team for Arsenal, though the latter seems unlikely to start. Walcott will have his calf injury assessed before the match.

Match date/time: Monday, 8 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET

Venue: Madejski Stadium, Reading, England

TV: Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), ESPN2 (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), TSN (Canada)

Online: ESPN3

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