Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Reading in the Premier League on Monday night and our Talking Heads for this game were former Gunner Stephen Hughes and David Faber aka Goonerholic.
STEPHEN HUGHES, STUDIO GUEST
It’s a massive game for both teams. Reading are near the bottom of the league and really need to pick up points because they’re in a relegation fight. I’ve seen a fair bit of them, and while they’re doing OK performance-wise, they’re conceding too many goals. They’ve got a good manager and I wish them all the best, just not on Monday.
Tuesday’s result against Bradford was really disappointing and Arsenal need to bounce back from that quickly. It’s going to be a difficult game but I think it’s a good one to have off the back of the loss in the Capital One Cup.
I think some of the criticism has been a bit harsh. Arsenal didn’t play that badly against Bradford - we missed some really clear-cut chances and could have won. Everyone’s talking about Bradford being a League Two team but it’s difficult to go up there on a cold night. These cup matches can be very difficult and it’s just unfortunate we didn’t win the game.
We’re having a difficult time of late but from the players’ point of view, all they can do is roll their sleeves up, give 100 per cent and make sure they get the right result.
Both teams are desperate for the points, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an open, attacking game. I think there will be goals again - but not quite as many as last time - I’ll go with 3-1 to Arsenal.
DAVID FABER, GOONERHOLIC
The smile returned to a lot of faces as we proved to be stronger finishers than the Royals. It wasn't quite the tight game I envisaged beforehand, but the early goal from Lukas Podolski quietened the home crowd. The headlines will be all about Santi Cazorla's hat-trick that gave us a four-goal advantage, but credit too is due to his fellow countryman. Mikel Arteta, surprisingly given time and space in which to play, orchestrated things from deep.
Theo Walcott too will earn some column inches. With the ball he looked a threat, and his goal was justification for Arsène Wenger's decision to play him as the central striker. More frustrating were the two goals Reading pegged back at four down, but given recent events I think we will concentrate on the positives from Monday night. Two points separate us from Chelsea in third place. There is much left to play for.
While we will never forget the result at Bradford, the time has come to put it to the back of our minds, and for this Arsenal side to show they have the character to respond with a big performance.
At the time of writing, the team news is uncertain but the fact that Olivier Giroud is fit to return is a major plus. He adds to the balance of the side as well as providing a goal threat. Both teams are likely to start with a stronger XI than they did in the astonishing Capital One Cup tie at the end of October.
This looks like being a much tighter affair and if we can quieten the home support with a solid start the points will be there for the taking. Arsenal have lost just twice in eight Premier League away games, and the home side have just a solitary home win from nine. Barring Tottenham at home we could not have asked for a more realistic chance of bouncing back with a win. It's up to the players now to show the right attitude and do a professional job. I'm sure they will.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband LtdCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 18 Dec 2012