Royals thumped in reality check for new boss
30th March 2013
Reading were powerless to resist an Arsenal barrage in Nigel Adkins` first game, as the Gunners ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at the Emirates Stadium.
Newly appointed Royals boss Nigel Adkins made two changes to the side that was defeated two weeks ago by Manchester United, with Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie coming in, surviving a three-game suspension and recovering from injury respectively. Reading started well at the Emirates, with Adrian Mariappa heading wide in the opening exchanges from a Jobi McAnuff corner.
As you would expect, the Gunners were dictating most of the early play and Giroud had the first sight of goal for the home side, flicking a header towards goal that was easy for Stuart Taylor to claim. Nigel Adkins would have wanted his side to keep Arsenal quiet for the first period of the game, but were not able to do so, as Arsene Wenger`s side took the lead on ten minutes.
Decent build-up play from Arsenal followed with Cazorla receiving the ball on the left, driving his cross low into the Royals box and Gervinho was there to hammer his effort into the roof of the net, not the start Adkins had planned. The response was continued Arsenal pressure, with the goalscorer fluffing a chance minutes later, heading wide at the back post, after Sagna beat McAnuff on the right.
The pressure on the Royals goal mouth continued, with the hosts convinced they should have had a penalty awarded by Chris Foy. Giroud flicked the ball in the box with his head and was clattered by keeper Taylor after he made contact, but the referee waved away any claims. Gervinho could well have had a hat trick in this game, this time breaking free of the Royals defence, but his finish was far from composed.
I want to write about a Reading chance, but it was literally all Arsenal. Stephen Kelly managed to block Gervinho`s goal-bound effort and fell kindly for Cazorla, but could only fire his effort into the side netting. Half time came and it was amazing that Arsenal were only one goal up, having plenty of chances to put the game to bed early on.
The second half started with again Arsenal on top, but with a goal to reflect their superiority this time round. Another Arsenal move was crafted as Gervinho found Santi Cazorla on the edge of the box to curl a sublime effort to double the Gunners` lead and deservedly so. There was a rare attack from the Royals minutes later, but Pogrebnyak couldn`t make contact with Robson-Kanu`s cross from the right.
Believe it or not, Adkins` side were starting to make minor inroads, as Koscielny made a superb challenge to deny the onrushing Pogrebnyak. From the resulting corner, Pearce attempted a volley, but was dealt with comfortably by Fabianski. A third was soon on the way though as the 70 minute mark approached, as an Arsenal break from a Reading corner allowed Gervinho to feed through Giroud, who didn`t need a second invitation to add gloss to the scoreline.
If I was to say a fourth goal was scored in the game, you wouldn`t believe me it was to come from the away side, but believe it or not, it did! McAnuff`s deep cross to the back post was converted superbly by the impressive Hal Robson-Kanu with a diving header. Just as it seemed Adkins` side could save embarrassment, Chris Foy was to award the home side a penalty.
Royals defender Adrian Mariappa was the guilty party, bringing down substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, despite the original foul being outside the box. From the resulting spot kick, Mikel Arteta sent Stuart Taylor the wrong way to add a fourth for Arsenal. Ramsey was keen to add to the thumping, but was denied by former Gunners keeper Stuart Taylor.
The Royals` misery was ended as the full time whistle was blown. Not the perfect result for new boss Nigel Adkins, who clearly has a lot of work to do if he wants to keep Reading in the Premier League. Our pre-season basically starts now, these players need to prove to Nigel Adkins are worthy enough for a promotion challenge next year, let alone the Premier League.
Arsenal - 4-3-3: Fabianski, Sagna,Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Cazorla, Gervinho, Giroud
Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski
Reading - 4-5-1: Taylor, Kelly, Mariappa, Pearce, Shorey, Karacan, Leigertwood, Guthrie, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Subs: McCarthy, Gunter, Morrison, Akpan, McCleary, Le Fondre, Hunt