I don’t normally look at the history books ahead of Arsenal’s fixtures because we all know that records are made to be broken. Form is also easily turned on its head, especially in Cup games, but when it comes to our record in matches against Reading FC I was astounded at the way Arsenal have completely dominated them over the years.
Arsenal last played Reading in the FA Cup way back in January 1987, which we won 3-1, in the eight meetings since then the Gunners have come out on top every single time, scoring 33 goals in the process, while Reading have scored 11 times. Five of those were scored when Arsenal reserves came back from 4-0 down in the League Cup to memorably win 7-5 in extra time. That is the only game that Arsenal didn’t win in the 90 minutes. We certainly made it clear that our first team were far superior that season when our League matches finished 5-2 and 4-1 in our favour.
We have beaten our semifinal opponents by at least two goals in every single game since 1980 except for a 2-1 win at the Emirates in 2007. In the five games we have played at Reading’s ground we have won all of them with a total of 22 goals scored, that means an average of 4.4 per game, which is no mean figure!
Now we look at current form, and Arsenal’s outstanding League run of 16 wins in our last 18 games is nothing short of brilliant, including victories in our last eight. In contrast Reading, who have dropped to 18th place in the Championship, are without a win in their last five games – since beating Bradford in the 6th round of the FA Cup.
The Royals have not yet faced Premiership opposition in any competition this season, so the chances of them getting a result against second-placed Arsenal looks nothing short of impossible!
But as a word of warning, games are played on pitches, not paper!