Arsenal Give a Royals Variety Performance

Reading 2 – 5 Arsenal

0 – 1 Podolski (14)
0 – 2 Cazorla (31)
0 – 3 Cazorla (33)
0 – 4 Cazorla (60)
1 – 4 Le Fondre (66)
2 – 4 Kebe (71)
2 – 5 Walcott (80)

Although he declined to confirm it last night, nobody would be surprised if ArsΓ¨ne had walked down the tunnel warbling in a duet with Theo Walcott, “Can we play you every week?“, in his best Gallic/Teutonic tone. Wenger might have preferred, “Can we play like that every week?“, to the same tune. Arsenal found their form for this victory, three needed points taking them to fifth in the table.

Reading proved once more to be generous hosts, conceding a round dozen against Arsenal on their own turf with Walcott grabbing his fourth of the season. Star billing though went to Santi Cazorla who besides getting his two front teeth for Christmas, grabbed a yuletide treble to shine some joy on the north London sky. The Spaniard’s first hat-trick put Arsenal into an unassailable lead although the defence tried to replicate their hosts by dropping a four-goal lead. The flippant side believes it was all a big tease, to offer Reading hope when there appeared none, to make them feel less bad about the recent League Cup tie, before Walcott sealed the points.

It was a brave decision from the manager to play Walcott centrally, knowing the blades were being sharpened. Olivier Giroud returned to the bench which gives the manager options for the coming matches, particularly with their frequency during the Christmas period being something that catches new players out. The jury will be out on the English striker playing centrally but when opportunity knocked, it is churlish to declare that he did not take it. He will have to prove it time and again, you suspect, before everyone is convinced. I think the question will change slightly to encompass whether Walcott could be the crucial difference in a stalemate, against tighter marking? It’s the same for every central striker, nothing unique to the England international. Having been granted his wish to play in that position, Walcott’s next reason for not signing a contract will be interesting reading.

Arsenal started brightly and an early goal settled nerves, Oxlade-Chamberlain forced Ferderici into a save with a crisp drive. Reading responded with half-chances before Gibbs cross was cushioned into inches of space before being lashed home by Podolski. That partnership on the left had provided dividends on the left earlier in the season, the German seemingly rejuvenated by the youngster’s return for this match. Perhaps his own injury niggles have entirely cleared to help.

The visitors had the foothold in the game and a succession of chances went a-begging, notably to Walcott and Wilshere. Having publicly stated that the players should be held responsible for the drop in form, his words that they were ready to make amends were backed up with a top-notch performance from himself in the centre. Wilshere had hinted previously that his injury had not dimmed the promise, last night was the culmination of his return to the top level. More please, indeed.

Arsenal’s much deserved second came from the unlikeliest of sources with the playmaker turned poacher as Cazorla met Podolski’s cross with a stooping header, a brace arriving minutes later as he swivelled in space to beat Federeci with a low shot. Arsenal had established their dominance before the interval and three points were on their way back to north London. As Walcott squandered a couple of chances, it didn’t seem to matter when Cazorla completed his hat-trick following Podolski’s unselfish pass early in the second half.

Complacency might well have entered the fray as Reading’s twelfth man, Le Fondre and Kebe found space and the net in quick succession as Arsenal’s lead was halved. The script was hastily being rewritten but nobody was going to be allowed to ruin Santi Cazorla’s night as he saw his own effort saved by Federici and then had the vision to give Walcott his own moment of vindication. Five goals away from home, irrespective of the opposition, is not to be sniffed at.

The win is there to be enjoyed. It does not mean that the problems besetting Arsenal at the moment have all gone away but if nothing else, it offers hope. The mental strength so often alluded to by the manager was there to be seen but too often a good performance this season has been followed by mediocre. The run of fixtures this next fortnight or so is such that a strong winning run can be put together to bring pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham above us. Crucially, we should not expect immediate ascension into the top four with routine fixtures for those above this coming weekend.

As starting points go, if that run is going to be embarked upon, this is as good as any.

’til Tomorrow.



600 thoughts on “Arsenal Give a Royals Variety Performance

  1. Dups @ 7:46.

    All of our top prospects right now appear to have hit a wall which is pretty typical for what we have seen over the last 7-8 years. Seems to happen to a large majority. Hopefully just temporary set backs related to incomplete maturation, but history is not on our side if we hope for them to ever make a significant impact in the first team. See post at 7:55.

  2. Having listened to Alan Smith tripe on about Chelsea’s quality there was a long silent space as Becchio stroked the ball past Cech


  3. Bill (7.39 pm) – I agree. There, I said it!

    “I say we go out of our comfort zone and go after a CF that we can build our attack around for the rest of the decade”

    The squad is strong throughout although the semi-permanent loss of Diaby is a major concern. But putting that to one side for the moment …

    You can almost sense the club is perfectly placed for a Dennis Bergkamp moment; the signing of that one special player that elevates the whole club up to the next level. That, combined with close season stability and a resolution of the Diaby conundrum could well be ‘all’ that is required to achieve this.

    The rest of the talent is there, add the last parts of the jigsaw and the sleeping giant could finally reawaken …

  4. i live in leeds..
    its all kicking off up here

    we live in an age where police are responsive instead of preventive and the pizza delivery guy gets to your house quicker than the police do..

    but they are out in force tonight..

    the city centre will stil get trashed though..always does with games like this..

  5. JJ – Sorry to hear that mate. Leeds v Chavs, I really could not care less who wins or loses. Off to the pub for a few cold ones and maybe shoot some pool, enjoy the rest of the night folks. JJ, presumably a good night for you to stay in mate πŸ™‚

  6. gandy..

    morleys a shithole..
    its like finchley compared to where i am though..

    leeds 9…pretty much city centre..
    the local boozers round here are that rough even the arms on the chairs have tattoos.

    i love this city though..just not the football team πŸ™‚

  7. hahahaha..

    tossers.. mate..ten years ago id have been out tonight..

    leeds and chelsea? two birds in one stone..

  8. so have those young guns signed up then for definately then?

    good news..

    just gotta convince theo to stay and bid for zaha and weve got a very impressive collecion of local lads..

    its impressive already but id be well chuffed if we kept them together and added 1 or 2..

  9. JonJon (8.55pm) – agree (God what is happening to me?), very impressive collection of local lads with youth, passion and commitment In spades.

    Could well prove to be the core of tomorrow’s England side as well which should make the interlulls considerably more bearable. One would like to imagine this having a positive impact on the wavering Theo …

    Leeds, tho.


    *shakes head*

  10. Poor old Leeds town centre,all those bloody pound shops with their windows put through. I can’t do a smiley face so use your imagination.

  11. You’re going home like Sandy Richardson

    For all those who knew West Yorkshire’s biggest club when they were a big club

  12. I have just realized that if, no screw that, when we beat Wigan this weekend, we will be sitting in 3rd place for a minimum of 4 hours. A mere 6 points behind City. Just make sure to take a photo as it more than likely won’t last much longer than that. However, considering the Spuds entertain the Orc Army at Shite Fart Pain, 4th may be where we end up after this weekend.

    And then all will be right with the world πŸ™‚

  13. Mel – put the following together for a smiley (ie no spaces in between):

    : – )

    Or, for the annoying wink do:

    ; – )

    Consult Jonny for advice on actually wrecking the joint.

  14. Where the bloody hell has George got to?, he must have got that job he went after. Still 49 weeks holiday a year and a free uniform can’t be sniffed at.

  15. Mel – You have obviously not been to Leeds for a while. The City Centre is chock full of shops. And not pound shops either.

  16. Andrew, the truth is I couldn’t keep a rabbit going with lettuce so technical stuff is off-limits, oh sod it,here goes :@ bollocks to it.

  17. Leeds is in good nick these days, better than most.

    Sadly the same can’t be said of neighbouring Bradford which is a shadow of its former self.

    Aside from the occasional footballing triumph …

  18. leeds city centre aint that bad..its quite impressive..

    second only to london id say..

    wont be after tonight..

    im only here for family reasons though..long story..

    and 300miles away from my babies doesnt sit well in my stomach..

  19. i didnt realise theo had over 200 apps already.
    another 5 year deal and we are talking mega apps..

    a hero of the red and white…

    up your offer ivan..

  20. Goonerandy, see irish’s smiley faces at 9-56, that’s what I wanted on the end of mine! ; ()Β£/ fucking useless I am.

  21. Bill – I hear ya mate, but we must beat Wigan. That would set us up nicely for the Christmas πŸ™‚

    Now my ride is here, so off to shoot some pool and knock back a few cold ones. Later peeps!!

  22. Stopollie with all these faces as FRANK don’t. Like them and he with be coming after all of you with his trident while riding lady NINA.
    Boy there is a picture .

  23. During the Los Angeles riots there were BusinessWeek that got Ransacked and burned to the ground. And there were those the rioters stayed the hell Away from. Can any of you guess which Businesses and properties were spared. That right. Give yourself an A. during the whole deal the police force was completely overwhelmed and of no use to most law abiding citizens.
    Many people lost everything they had labored for and some even lost their life.
    Close to one hundred in face.
    If you choose to not have guns for the protection of self and loved ones that is your choice and no one is going to force you one way or another. BUT don’t you dare advocates passing laws prohibiting good people from ownership of guns for self protection and target shooting or deterrence. Change the constitution?? Hah a your own peril.
    The tragedy In Connecticut was truly heartbreaking as i posted the first day and those 26 kids and adults didn’t deserve what befell them. But i find it reprehensible to see and hear some people and politicians taking advantage of the situation to forward their political agenda.
    You don’t think sick people hell bent on killing can’t come up with other ways to do it if they didn’t have guns.
    The hottest places in hell are reserved for fence sitters. Those blowing a different direction every other day. There. Done. Rant the way my apartments complex was within a quarter mile from the closest of the fires set during the riots. Three city blocks.

    Very happy about the signings today. A load off the managers mind and ours. Hope THEO follows suit.
    CC games tomorrow. I give LEEDS a good chance against chelski what with the deflation from losing in Japan and the accompanying jetlag. Could be an interesting final this year.

  24. You think members of the public should be allowed to own assault rifles?

    Just a yes or no answer will suffice.

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