Arsene Wenger switched his Arsenal team around a bit, leaving Olivier Giroud on the bench and playing Theo Walcott through the middle, perhaps with the contract issue on his mind. Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on either side would give lots of pace to the Gunners attack, while Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta had the skills to dominate midfield and there was a full strength defence as well.
No excuses then lads, put in the effort and Arsenal should get a well needed win. Chamberlain showed early intent with a great driving run and shot, and Arsenal were looking sharp but Reading had also showed their threat down the wing. The home side seemed happy to defend and play on the break, possibly worried about the pace of Arsenal up front, which meant Arsenal were trying to thread a needle on the edge of the Reading box.
Podolski and Gibbs combined well on the left, and Gibbs found Podolski who controlled and finished easily, taking some pressure off Arsenal early on. The Gunners had Reading in their sights, and Walcott nearly doubled the lead after 20 minutes. A couple of chances for Reading were a warning that we needed to get the goals our dominance deserved. Everyone felt better when Podolski turned provider with a great cross for Cazorla to score with his head.
Minutes later, another good cross from the Ox and Cazorla scored again. We could easily have got more before the break but it was almost the perfect half and was just what we needed. The second half started the same for Arsenal, so it was good to see them tracking back and working hard when Reading did come forward.
Cazorla and Podolski were the best players on the pitch, so it was fitting that they were involved in a fantastic move which led to the Spaniard’s hat-trick. Then an awful pass by Gibbs let Reading get one back, and with 20 minutes to go poor defending let them in again, and it was getting nervy. The introduction of Ramsey for Chamberlain didn’t help the fears of Arsenal fans either.
Walcott had been sharp and hungry all night and he finally got his goal with a crisp finish to put the game to bed. Now Arsenal need to sign him up and keep it up.