Arsenal vs. Reading: Final score 4-1, Gunners emphatic in victory

Jamie McDonald

Arsenal didn't look like slipping out of the race for the top three on Saturday, while Reading looked nothing like a team up for the fight to avoid relegation.

A game against a relegation battler that recently made a coaching change, without Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby, looked like it might be a tricky proposition for Arsenal. Instead, Reading were absolutely dire and offered little opposition. They did score once, when Arsenal had fallen asleep after the game was well in hand for the Gunners, but were otherwise poor in a 4-1 Arsenal win.

Gervinho was the surprise scorer of Arsenal's opening goal on the end of a nice team move, which he got started with a pass to Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman looked to shoot, but couldn't find an opening and spread the ball wide to Santi Cazoria, who hit a ball towards the back post. Gervinho made a good run to meet it and finished into the roof of the net.

The hosts kept the pressure on throughout the first half and should have had a penalty in the 18th minute, when Alex Pearce hauled down Olivier Giroud, but the referee didn't spot it. Arsenal had a number of other chances before the halftime whistle, but shot poorly between their goal and halftime.

It didn't take much time in the second half for them to score their second goal, which felt like a clincher given Reading's horrible play. This time, the roles of Gervinho and Cazorla were reversed, with the Ivorian winger providing the assist for Cazorla to finish off.

Giroud netted Arsenal's third on the end of a pretty counter-attack, given up by Reading after Nicky Shorey hit a terrible cross that gave the Gunners a chance to break. Gervinho set up Giroud with a chip into the box, and the game was truly over at 3-0 to the hosts.

Reading pulled a goal back a couple of minutes later, taking advantage of some poor Arsenal defending, as Jobi McAnuff found Hal Robson-Kanu at the back post with a cross. There would be nothing resembling a comeback, however, and Arsenal added their fourth from the spot in the 77th minute. Adrian Mariappa gave away the spot kick with a foul on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Mikel Arteta converted.

Unfortunately, this game also featured an injury for Arsenal. Left back Nacho Monreal suffered a knee injury in the second half and came off for Kieran Gibbs. Especially given Monreal's excellent form since joining the club and Gibbs' historic fragility, Arsene Wenger will hope it's just a minor knock.

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