Premier League: Arsenal crush Reading and move up in 5th place


Arsenal recorded an impressive win at Reading on Monday to recover from the shameful cup exit last week. Lukas Podolski put Arsenal ahead early on and the Gunners managed to build a four-goal difference on the hour mark after Santi Cazorla became the third Spaniard to score a Premier League hat-trick after Fernando Torres and Jordi Gomez. Reading tried an unlikely comeback as Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe scored twice in the space of five minutes but Theo Walcott, playing in his preferred central striker role, scored the final goal of the match. Arsenal move up in 5th position while Reading are now six points from safety.

Arsenal dominated the match and the Reading defence was unable to handle the likes of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain while Cazorla probably had the best game since joining Arsenal last summer. Oxlade-Chamberlain had the first good chance after just two minutes when he was denied by keeper Adam Federici. Reading replied through Pavel Pogrebnyak and Noel Hunt but the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes when Gibbs crossed for Podolski who fired past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

The Reading goalie was called into action moments later to stop Walcott and he did well again to stop Wilshere before Cazorla doubled Arsenal's lead after the half-hour as he headed home a cross from Podolski. The Spaniard then added the third goal from close range and completed his hat-trick on the hour mark, assisted again by Podolski. The home side tried a miraculous comeback as they fired two quickfire goals through Le Fondre and Kebe and the fans were probably hoping for more since the last meeting between the two sides has seen Arsenal fight back from 4-0 down. But Walcott ended their hopes with a cool finish and Arsenal claimed the three points.

Reading manager Brian McDermott: "I was very pleased with the response in the second half. Now we'll stick together and move on. We've got to fight, no doubt about that - that's the only choice we have. We had to do that last year, the year before that and the year before that when we were in a similar position in the Championship. I think people have forgotten where we have come from over a short period of time. But the fans got behind us, they saw in the second half we tried to have a go and get the goals back."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "At 4-0 we had a little wobbling period, and at 4-2 of course with what happened last week we became a bit uncertain before the 5-2 killed the game. But overall it was important to go out and play and give the right answer on the football pitch."

Arsenal's next match is at Wigan, on December 22. Here are the odds for that game from Bet365:

Wigan win - 15/4
Draw - 11/4
Arsenal win - 8/11

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