Reading v Arsenal – Gunners through by skin of teeth

Well the important thing is that Arsenal won the semi-final against Reading to book our place at the FA cup final at Wembley next month. But it is not the sort of game that was good for those Gooners of a nervous disposition, partly due to the indomitable desire and determination of our opponents and partly due to our own struggles to get into our groove.

The pattern was pretty much the same throughout the match, with Reading keeping a compact shape and the Gunners failing to stretch them too much down the flanks. We did some nice things and our opening goal shortly before halftime was probably the best of them. An exquisite move involving Ramsey, Gibbs and then Ozil who played an inch perfect defence splitting pass to Alexis who showed great skill and ice in his veins to bring it under control, beat the defenders and fire past the keeper.

But although we started the second half looking a bit sharper and more fluent, Reading were level after 10 minutes as a catalogue of errors culminated in Szczesny failing to keep out McCleary’s deflected shot. After that it was a battle with not too many clear cut chances. Arsenal had the best of them but not by much and the tension of extra time was just building to a peak when Reading’s keeper fumbled an Alexis near post shot and it crept in.

We were hanging on a bit but at least we did hang on and now it is all about the Premnier League run in and the Wembley final. Phew!

Tags Alexis


          1. I would like to give Szczes a chance in the final, but I just feel uncomfortable everytime the goal is threatened with him, which I don’t feel when Ospina is in goal.

            We all know that Ospina would’ve saved the Reading goal, and if Szczes was just a little worse than him, then he should play in the final, but they are in different leagues ATM. That wasn’t the case last year with Fabianski who was close, if not better last year.

    1. The difference between Monreal and Gibbs is really obvious. Having said that, Debuchy, Gibbs and Szczesney clearly lack match sharpness, and it was a clear warning not to mess around with a winning formula. For me, the team that plays in the PL should play in the final, forget rotation.

      1. Things is noticed from the game.

        1)The RAMSEY on the right experiment didnt work today. they crowded us in midfield and we had no space to play. A decision should be made between ramsey and Ozil in the middle. No need trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Playing Ramsey and bellerini is ok. But Rambo and debuchy is just too slow.

        2) Debuchy was either not fit or his has lost like 2 years of pace. with rambo out wide we needed a pacey full back and debuchy didnt offer enough width. Bellerini should start next game.

        3) Giroud was terrific when he came on. Wenger has transformed him and Giroud is now a top top quality player.

        4) Gabrille is one hell of a CB. If per faced some of the situations he dealt with we could have been roasted. I feel like Gabrile is the defender we have all been waiting for.

        5) sanchez gave everything . his commitment and enthusiasm is wonderful. he never hides.

        1. Agree regarding Gabriel – snuffed out a two on one Reading break with supreme confidence and defensive skill – about 30 secs before Alexis squeezed in what turned out to be the winner. And Giroud looks like he now knows he is very good – bossed it when he came on.

        2. Also, Ramsey also kills Bellerin pace down the wing. He goes outside for the ball and takes the ball and kills the Bellerin run. When Hector plays Ramsey should be on the other side of the field.

    2. sczesny was just pathetic (for the reading goal) …….. And mert (with all the talking) could really use the bench for a while, gabriel is twice as good even in the air with more goal scoring chances as a defender, mert’s never been so useful at corners anyway……and walcott seems to bring with him…..Momentum….. He was defending the whole time too…. I really think he wants 2 stay and stake a claim……..overall, happy for the Win…. FINALS here we come… this space

      1. You blame Chezzer? Like you ever got off your couch. Who was defending the far post?

        Arsenal played too slowly; like training session. We have too much pace to play that slow. Theo had one run at speed that panicked Reading into fouling.

        Stop putting our players down! Are you a supporter or a whinger?

    3. Great result, frustrating performance. Yes we weren’t great, the risk with MD, KG and WS almost back-fired but genrally couldn’t fault the effort. I knew Shearer was a bitter man but Jason Roberts took it to another level. Ian Wright not much better. “The story of this semi-final was Reading…….Arsenal didn’t deserve it…etc”.

      Turned the TV over. Chelsea at home 29% possession, 2 attempts on goal, 73% pass success, 200 passes to United’s 600+ and Souness says “that is what good sides do, they find a way to win”. Hmmmmmm.

    4. Don’t be that guy.

      Plenty to prove yet, were poor in the semi AND final last year vs weaker opposition and ground it out. Poor this year in the semi vs weaker opposition but have ground it out.

      If we play like we have in any of those 3 games vs Liverpool (potentially) we won’t win. Need a proper performance to go with a result in the final this time round.

      1. charlie: “If we play like we have in any of those 3 games vs Liverpool (potentially) we won’t win” – we wont play like this. we will find a way. its actually good to have a lackluster game and still win. makes us more pumped up for chelsea. good to see walcott more energised and even defending a bit.

        1. Was actually a response to Ranger and his “FA cup 2015 Champions Arsenal” nonsense. Damn phone…

          Glad you’re so convinced ‘we won’t’ play so poorly, but that’s 3 poor games on the trot at Wembley….all gutsy wins I might add, but none came vs a stellar opponent. It will be a very tough game vs Liverpool should they make the final and were we to produce another performance like this one. Happy as Larry to be in the final but not home and hosed by any stretch, performance needed.

        1. Haha he was! @soopa and @goonster were the BIGGEST f*cking ozil haters ever! They honestly would not stop talking about them. Soopa was really bad he’d bring him up and bash him no matter the subject

          1. Oops…… Trolls be trolling my comment Like they knw too much…….. U are both ignored!

        1. Alexis the man who keeps the ball for too long, is sometimes infuriating to watch but has scored/assisted 33 times for us in his first season with an attitude to die for. On balance I am tempted to cut him some very significant flak.

  1. I wont moan, i ve just watched Arsenal for 2 hours yeaaahh, win is a win, won by inch or mile, lets win this COOOOOYYYYGGGGG!!!

    1. Ozil was the best player on the pitch! His impact was pretty obivious! He shone in both attacking and defending. Could have scored one instead he passed the ball! Sanchez = _/\_ What a man!!!!

  2. They really need to put a general surgeon’s warning on the TV screen before these Arsenal matches.

  3. Wow, that was beyond tense.
    It’s crazy how with 3-4 changes arsenal went from a team who looked like they could beat almost anyone to a team that had almost no passion and creativity.
    We have to play with giroud, without the target man our creative fielders are useless.
    Ospina> shez

    1. Seriously debuchy has played 10 games all season and he’s been out with 2 serious injuries and after his first game back you come to the conclusion bellerin is better? Good thing you aren’t in charge

      1. I was just very surprised he started, bellerin has been playing brilliantly recently and it was always going to be a tiring game for the players. Back from 3 months out debuchy he should not have started. It wasn’t like he was rusty though, he was very poor in every aspect of his game and ive never see anything from him in all his time at arsenal that compares with bellerins consistent performamces this season. Also, he’s one of the few players ive seen dive in an arsenal kit in recent years.

    2. Yeah ! Infact you got it wrong! Debuchy was pretty solid! Defended really well. I dont felt anything bad about his performance. Calm and assured.

  4. Ozil haters have been silent these past few weeks. Any of you guys got anything to say?

    Didn’t think so.

    1. Don’t start the Ozil thing.. We are getting tired of it. Lets just get on with winning games instead of “Oh Ozil was brilliant, Oh Ozil was rubbish.”

      Give it a rest.

      1. Hadn’t said a comment like this in months @goonster. And for the amount of trash talking people have been giving Ozil this entire season, I think I have a f*cking right to.

        Done now though. I relish the future games that Ozil continues to prove folks wrong. [drops mic]

      2. @ goonster

        Your the guy with the agenda against ozil you slate the sh*t out of him at every opportunity. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and ssy you’ve been better but your telling @nesut-o-healed not to congratulate ozil on his brilliant 2 assist performance wtf?

        1. Some people forget we can find their stupid statements and repost them if necessary.

    2. I really don’t think any real Arsenal fan hates ozil. No player is above criticism. Most of the criticism from Arsenal fans were fare criticism and positive criticism. Ozil was lazy and without the ball he didnt put much effort. Last week I said sanchez enthusiasm is rubbing on everyone. Ozil is tracking back and defending and pressing and tackling. Who said a number 10 can’t defend. We wanted ozil to show more passion. Shits head like Jordan henderson could take 10 balls from ozil. Not any more. The new physically strong Ozil is great.

      If critics can make Ozil step up this good I think we should carry on. In as much as its positive criticism then its all good.
      For example I believe Ozil can shot a lil bit more. If you don’t shot you don’t score. Ozil can score 15 goals a season . he has the quality to do it. Its all about pushing yourself.

      1. You obviously never ran up and down a pitch.
        I played against a guy like Ozil. He was slick and sprayed the perfect pass. We never beat that team regardless of our huffing and puffing and running and shouting. He killed us all day long. He was never in a hurry. He had perfect control and could find your GF in an orgy with a perfect pass.

        You mistake huffing and puffing for excellence.

        1. Thank you @arseneisyourdaddy! I don’t give 2 sh*ts that he doesn’t run around like headless chicken chasing lost causes. Ozil is world class and is amazing what he’s good at, that’s where I care how he performs.

          Coquelin is a beast dm and when people criticize ozil on his defensive contribution I relate it to people criticizing coquelin for not being a better attacker! Makes no damn sense!

          1. No body wants Ozil to run like headless chicken doing nothing. He is doing the right things now. Not only him. even cazorla is defending as well. all in all its better to have 11 players attacking and defending together

  5. We should be playing with our full 1st team squad from now on especially with sczensy on the bench, I’m sick and tired of all these extra time matches making me nervous

  6. We really should play more direct when we have 70% possession. It really shouldn’t be Mert and Kos having more touches than our forwards as the ball gets switched side to side.

  7. I know “a win is a win” And I’m happy as fck for it. But we gotta up our game if we plan on keeping this cup…
    Liverpool or Ashton Villa are much sharper than Reading…

  8. We make things difficult for ourselves. I don’t know what to say about Sczc, he concedes goals that I don’t know if luck was not with him or he is just getting poorer.

    Thank God we are through now.

    Up next! Chelshit

  9. Still in second + in the final so excellent day for us.

    Sympathies to Federici. Harsh that he has to take responsibility for that.

  10. szcezney should not play for us again. Poor doesnt cover it.
    I know Giroud needs a break but should rest him in the BPL, we are goin to finish 2nd, no higher, no lower. Fa cup matches more important than prem right now.
    Risking Debuchy was bizarre, and we nearly payed for it.
    Thank god for Alexis.
    Feel so for federici but if that is what we need to win I’ll take it in the final too.

    1. I don’t think it was the number that was the problem I just think debuchy was rusty, Gibbs has just been poor to me besides against Middlesbrough, and welbeck through the middle didn’t work cause they played so deep

  11. I really have no complaints.

    Reading is in the relegation zone, this Cup was their last hope, and so they gave it their all against us which they did. Besides Woj’s mess, our defense was pretty decent. Their own back line was well organized but we still squeaked in some opportunities that hit the post. Gabriel, Giroud, and Theo all played well off the bench. It didn’t even look like it was Debuchy’s first game back. Overall good performance by the squad. Back to Wembley!

    1. I thought Gabriel was a bag of nerves. He kept messing up his headers, he just went in with no direction and all the headers were all over the place. He nearly cost us with that counter.

      And Kossy too, I don’t know why when they had so much times on the ball they looked confused and ended up losing it and putting us under pressure.. It’s happened in every cup final since we moved to the emirates..

      1. I hear you on that note. Those balls in the air that Mert normally handles with his head, Gabby seems to struggle with. Hopefully that mellows out over time. Had some decent opportunities on the other end though.

        1. In fairness he broke up a 2 on 1 attack just before Alexis’s second that had class written all over it. Also a bit more “ping” to his passing out of the back 4 then Mert offers. All in all I thought he was fine.

          1. True but I did notice his headers weren’t very clean or effective. But having said that I think that was more his nerves but his ability to snuff out those counters was all quality he will come good.

            that was a tough game, and a tough time to come on with so much on the line

  12. Reading FC sent Arsenal FC a message of congratulations on the win and wished us luck in the final. Super classy.

  13. People we’re quick to sh*t on Mesut or santi when they played poorly out of position. I’m interested to see if the same analysis will fall on Ramsey as well.

    He provided no width/balance whatsoever, and continually made runs in the final 3rd that Welbz would’ve wanted to make and instead was forced wide. Wenger failing to bring Walcott on sooner or sub in Giroud for Ramsey and not Welbz almost punished us.

    Time to rest for Chavski. Wonder just how boring Mourinho will try to make the game?

    1. He will surely make it boring.I saw the stat of Che and MU game, MU had 70% possession and had a better stat in everything.They definetly parked the bus,I just don’t understand why he is called ‘special one’.

        1. I confess I didn’t watch it but couldn’t have been THAT woeful with only 2 Chelski attempts the whole match.

            1. NY-Gunner. Will do. I don’t doubt your word on the matter – just the bare stats did n’t sound like MaN U were at the Alamo.

    2. I thought Ramsey was bright all game even if he was playing wide. He came inside and he looked more threatening on goal than Welbeck, Ozil and Cazorla..

      1. seriously……he gets in to scoring positions which is a plus and not afriad to shoot but best solved by having another attacker with nose for 15-20 goals….not walcott who just should be sold…otherwise he just doesnt have the speed of mind or feet to complement ozil and sanchez and doesnt get back to defend sufficiently….will be happy when (if) wilshere gets back to his best as much more the link up player needed…gibbs is a worry just doesnt mactch bellerin for attacking overlap options and way to cautious..he has the skill but seems to lack the nerve to me but right side of defence solved….gabriel just clearly the better option now… if we buy world class DM and attacker we should be able to compete at top next season…but have heard that before sadly…anyway a wins a win especially in a semifinal…cant sniff at another day out at wembley

  14. And I know he did well in the Liverpool game, but I don’t wanna see Ramsey on the wings again.

  15. This is what I was saying. People get too cocky and we end up being embarrassed or run close against so called weaker teams in cup competitions..

    We nearly did what we did last season against Wigan. I just don’t know why our players are a bag of nerves in these kind of games..

    We always make things complicated for ourselves..

    1. made us jump in the opening minute of the game. Really can never underestimate clear underdogs especially ones that make it to the semi-finals.

    2. You would have thought people would have learnt by now; Bradford, Preston NE, Cambridge, Blackburn, Bolton, Middlesbrough, Sheffield U, Ipswich all “embarrassed PL opponents this year. When lower league teams have their once in a decade/century crack at a “big” team they can’t but help over-perform. Has been happening for nearly 150 years. Very, very difficult for the “big” team to prepare mentally. We will be much better against Pool or Villa – guaranteed.

  16. Mr Wenger, Please start Ospina and Giroud in the final, whoever we play.

    Place our best players in the final

  17. I knew “sanchez legend, hero, etc” comments were coming after the 2nd goal

    Lets just forget how he played the entire match. Sanchez was shocking today. Made poor choices throughout the game, even the 2nd goal was a bad choice.
    Also people seem to praise sanchez a lot for his work rate, but rarely i saw him covering gibbs (who was also poor today)

    And ramsey!!!!!!! He was AWFUL even by his poor standards

    1. If that is how you feel on us reaching an FA cup final then honestly not really sure why you bother mate. You could say Sanchez was “average” or not as good as you would expect but “shocking” is nailed-on certifiable bo**8cks. You have polluted this site for a few weeks without a single good word to say. No way on earth are you a gooner – no way.

      1. well sanchez hasn’t given me a chance to say a single good word about him
        And i support arsenal and not sanchez. If i see sanchez as a misfit at arsenal then its my choice.
        And aren’t there enough people on here sucking sanchez’s d*** already?!(talking about arsenal LEGEND, Player of the season and other non-sense)
        why do you need another one?

          1. Not till sanchez improves his decision making. Its infuriating watching him dribble so well and then make a very poor choice. He will be an infinitely better player if he can learn a bit from ozil (regarding the timing and choices of his passes)

    2. Dude is a striker!
      Dude did his job by scoring all 2 goals that one us the match!!

      ..are you f*cking crazy???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      What other better choices could he have made than scoring a goal (2 in fact)?
      How do you watch football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Grrrrrrrrr… I am angry right now! *throws mic at Nokia810*

      And yeah, Ozil is WORLD-CLASS… I don’t give a flying f*ck what anybody thinks.

      1. Better choices like passing the ball at right time to the right player. Its not just about scoring goals.
        And how do you watch football?! Do you just watch the goals at the end of the game?

        And i did not say anything against ozil if i’m right. I like ozil a LOT. I have always supported ozil through the tough times and will continue to do so. Ozil IS world-class

        ohhh and btw its WON

        1. @Nokia810

          “Its not just about scoring goals”.

          But it is about winning the game, isn’t it? And he WON the game for us, didn’t he?

          I’m glad we agree on Ozil being world-class.

          1. Well lets just say you have your way of judging the players and i have mine.
            I rate performance above goals and assists, and sanchez did NOT perform well today.

            1. goals win matches, because of the one goal today chelsea won the match and are closer to being crowned champions, because of Sanchez’s 2 goals we through to final.

            2. You rate performances. No one will remember Reading’s performance. They will only remember Sanchez’s goals.

              1. And that is exactly why i’m am moaning right now

                People getting undeserved credit makes me mad.

    3. Alexis Sanchez: C+

      He may have netted both goals, but Sanchez was far from at his best for most of this game. The Chilean almost bundled home the opener after latching onto Mesut Ozil’s clever pass. Sanchez certainly had Federici to thank for his part in the winner.

      Generally, Sanchez was often over-elaborate in possession, taking an extra touch when economy would’ve been his friend. He also didn’t win the one-on-one duels with the frequency he usually does.

      P.S. this is copied from bleacher report.

  18. fair play to the lads this evening , they did not give up . many congrats to sanchez and ozil and santi. i am not an ozil lover and neither am i an ozil hater , i just think he has not lived up to his price tag , but , he is getting there , and i believe he will shine in the f a cup final in may , regardless of who we face . well done gunners.

  19. Reading’s attacking players wer so tough today dat even koscielny and Gabriel had a hard time dealing wid Dem so ppl who think bellerin shud hav started against debuchy are totally wrong! Debuchy had a good game today! Man of d match has to b ozil.

  20. Crys in Spanish* that was tough, but least we in the finals, and i am sure the finals will be tricky as well. Arsenal with pressure chicken a team.

    1. You bet. Ozil and Sanchez were the Men of the Match.
      The first goal was gorgeous. Showed total quality by both players. Beautiful skillful pass by Ozil and excellent composure and finishing by Alexis

      I’m gutted about the Chelsea/United match.
      But relieved and happy that we have a chance to win another trophy

  21. I must admit that i feel very happy when Man U loose..even at a time when a win for them could have been a favour to us..

    1. @RTOROH
      A win for MU today, would have made our match against Chelsea all the more harder for us…

  22. Wow, close call. I hope next match they can come out and play with more confidence and without the jitters. Gibbs was not good today. I think his pace was the only reason he was in there

  23. 70% pocession. Reading w no stress, AFC expected to win, Reading playing physical, this match was not won by the skin of any teeth, they frustrated us at times but we over powered them. our two big signings looked superb, sanchez and ozil, arsenal are back, since last yrs trophey, we learned how to win again, grind out tough wins, superb!

    1. @luvdaguns.

      Simple, honest analysis.

      ” our two big signings looked superb, sanchez and ozil”.

      For us to win what was always one of the most important matches of our season, the stars had to align, didn’t it?

  24. We all saw the result of all that ‘hardwork’ in training and being emotionally prepared and other stuff that Wenger was talking about when he was asked if Sczezsny would start….. Sczezsny really needs to up his game…. He gets really nervous sometimes and makes silly mistakes, something Ospina doesn’t. He’s looking more like a third choice keeper now. I hope he improves. I still remember when he saved Suarez’s free kick in our defeat to the scousers..

  25. Really happy with the result. I’m feeling our form is deeping, the games with Burnley and Reading we were not great though we won. Ramsey on the right is not working and I don’t know what Rosicky is supposed to do to be selected. Whenever he come in to the team he play wonderful. He give us fluency, drive, passion and he defends like hell. He has to be always in the 18 squad. This squad is the best arsenal have had for years. COYG……. Let’s kick Mourinho

  26. I`ve been kind of gentle and kind in a previous post now for the bullets. Again the pie chart shows Arsenal with over 70% possession ….really? Our game was riddled with faults you would not expect from a team of this standing. Per was his usual slow self and (no disrespect) it was a relief to see him replaced. Ramsey gave the ball away so many times I thought he had the wrong shirt on. Carzola wasn`t dreaming, he was having a nightmare. We now know why Ospina is first choice. Welbeck was just keeping fit. Gibbs has gone off the boil. Kos. was hard to find. If it had not been for Alexis there would be no Cup Final. Now to the `boss`. Ramsey on the wing with Walcott in the stands? Seventieth minute to replace Welbeck?. Where the hell was Rosicky? He`s just the kind of stick man that was needed….OK, so he gave to squad players an outing,( how kind), and we were lucky.

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