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Arsenal Won Me Over

Well, I for one had hope that we may be able to defeat the Gunners on Saturday. And from the Arsenal fans comments who have visited this site, I was not alone - albeit they were the pessimistic gooners!

It seemed like the timing of this fixture could be right for us; coming after a narrow defeat to United and winning seven out of the eight Premiership fixtures we have had this year you could forgive any Rz for fancying our chances against what was at best a severely lacking Arsenal side.

But all the excitement must have been clouding my vision, Arsenal is Arsenal by any measure and whether it be Baptista instead of Henry or Walcott instead of Rosicky they are still undeniably the best footballing team in the country - and that was to be Reading`s downfall.

Unlike so many teams who have visited the Emirates Stadium this season, Reading went out there with the intent of taking the game to Arsenal and actually trying to beat Arsene Wenger`s boys at their own game.

This intent was clear from the line-up alone, Coppell started with two strikers (Dave Kitson and Leroy Lita) instead of the solitary one he opted for against the big four teams this season.

But although Reading had the right intentions, they simply were not going to beat Arsenal at their own game, imagine Luke Skywalker taking on Darth Vader before he had learnt to use the force; brave? Yes, courageous? Yes, but also very nave.

Reading were awash by a sea of red with white arms from the first whistle, valiantly the Royals tried to keep them from goal but you simply can`t fight a storm like that.

What struck me most about Arsenal was their ability to break with such pace and precision; whenever Reading ventured into Arsenal`s half they had to make sure they did it right because if the venture ended with a tackle five red shirts would be galloping immediately towards the visitors` goal.

Fortunately for Reading Arsenal were on typical form, all the possession and all the chances but not quite an end product. Hope was still glimmering for the blue and whites as the half time whistle blew to a 0-0 scoreline.

But the light at the end of the tunnel was gone from sight when Andre Bikey brought down the enigmatic Gael Clichy in the box. Gilberto Silva converted the penalty and immediately Arsenal had a hunger to score more.

We could have easily gone down by a lot more so it was nice to Cesc Fabregas knock one in for us at the end. As is so often the case when we are behind, Reading gave their best performance in the dying moments but try as they might the game was just out of reach.

So another loss for the Royals but a lot of positives to take from the game, an uncompromising performance against one of the leagues best teams, Dave Kitson`s first league start since August, a cameo from Kevin Doyle and a team performance that shows the team is quite capable of finishing in the top six, but I wont get carried away just yet.

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger commended Reading`s performance, the Arsenal manager was quite happy with the breath of fresh air that was Reading`s approach to the game:

'Reading are a correct side - they are one of the few teams who have come here and tried to play.

'They are very good passers, they are dangerous on set-pieces and in the top two or three in terms of their physical strength in the whole league.'

'It looks like it is their year and what is good for them is that their belief will be strengthened by their last two results.'

Steve Coppell was also full of praise for his team`s performance:

'In the end it could have been a draw for sure, over the course of 90-odd minutes, it was a fairly tight contest. They had controlled possession for long periods.

'They are so creative, but we responded to that quite well and still played a full part ourselves in trying to create.

'I said before this week that we could lose all three games and still play really well, and that was to be the case.

'All three games I feel we had played a full part in the game, we were not just on the ropes or on the defensive all the time.

'We were always prepared to come forward here today. In view of our earlier defeat - 4-0 at home - it was quite a daunting prospect."

Looking forward, Reading can enjoy a fortnight`s rest with European football in the week and FA Cup ties at the weekend.

The next game Reading will play will be the 17th March when we entertain Pompey and hope to get back to winning ways.




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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 5 2007

Time: 12:22PM

Your Comments

I read somewhere coppell had a pop at Wenger cos he influenced the refs decisions by lashing out in the week.
kingsley the lion
Arsenal do play some great football, but our style of play is very similar at the moment they are the teachers but there will come a time when the students will surpass them! ComeOnURZ!
kingsley the lion
Arsenal play some great football and i admire Coppell for not opting to try and bog them down as so many teams do, but to be fair those are tactics that work against Arsenal so maybe we should have tried it for awhile - just to frustrate them?
link201
Coppell did say something like that, Kingsley, and i agree. Wenger is a whiny b**ch and changed the shape of the game, a bought result if you ask me
Reading till i die
An unfair comment there, to say that it was a bought result !! Arsenal deserved to win coz we dominated large parts of the game. Reading played a good game too, and its always entertaining to see them play - good attacking football !!
prits
And I read what Coppell had to say about that, and mebbe he has a point. But I feel Arsene was genuinely livid at the treatment meted out to the club, u could see that in the pre-game interview when he was talking about the adebayor suspension.
prits
I don't think Arsene had a pop at the FA in preparation for the Reading game, sure the ref might have felt he was under the spotlight more but I'm 100% certain Arsene's comments about the FA were about the Carling Cup final debacle and incidents that happened at Blackburn. Reading played well and their team and fans are refreshingly good, they represent what is far too often overlooked in English football - a good playing style and ethic, rather than the clogger-hacker-punt upfield game that the majority of the teams in the league play. I hope you guys get into Europe.
Englishman-in-NY
I'd like to thank reading again, not for losing but having the balls to come to our place and play football. I wish all the best for the rest of the season. I'd sooner pay 40 to watch your boys play football than pay 40 to watch Terry smack a long ball to Drogba, who knocks it down for Lampard to have a pot shot from 40 yards. You're a shining light in an increasingly dull Premiership. Once again, good luck for the rest of the season!
simmy8_2000
Perhaps he did not mean to influence the referee in the game with his pre-match comments, but i feel whether he meant to or not; he did influence the ref. Nonetheless you cannot take the win away from Arsenal they were the better of two footballing sides but its only natural to specualte if the ref had been more giving in Reading's favour.. after all as Arsenal fans you must know from experience the better team on the pitch doesn't always win!
the royalist
I don't think he did do it to influence the ref the royalist. If you were in our position you would understand that the FA are incompetent little ****s who can't get anything right or know FA about football. So it was about time someone spoke out and thats what Arsene did. A lot of people have backed him so I don't think he would risk getting fined and charged by the FA just to influence the ref in a Reading game. It was much more serious issue than that. Anyways, its not like the ref failed to give you 2 stonewall penalties like Graham Poll did to us at Blackburn. I thought the ref had a good game imo. Maybe 1 or 2 minor mistakes but thats about it. There weren't no game defining mistakes at all. You guys played well so be proud!
Firebrand_Gooner
you might be right bout wengers comments influencing the ref to an extent. A lot of the small fouls went our way but Clichys penalty was clear, clumsy, but still a penalty. Baptista had another one denied that was also a penalty and the Kitson Denilson challenge was 50-50. Denilson went in studs up but, Kitson went in with open legs and shut them on him, both are dangerous tackles so he wasnt a saint in the situation. Still, much credit due to your performance and how you've played all season, i hope you have many years in PL as your manager and players prefer a much more attractive style of football than hacks like Chelski.
Ozi Gooner
Arsenal are a good footballing team, in development of there youth players they will be a world class team soon. But you always have to admire them on there good days
thedunedan
 

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