Arsenal v Reading

Talking Heads

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Before and after every first-team fixture, our co-commentator and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.

Arsenal beat Reading 4-1 in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Arsenal Player commentator Dan Roebuck and Daniel Cowan of North London is Red.



After watching his team battle to two hard-fought victories before the international break, Arsene Wenger will have been delighted with the swashbuckling fashion with which his side secured their third win on the bounce.


Arsenal started well and should really have been more than one goal to the good at the break. Gervinho looks to have rediscovered his confidence and posed a threat to the Reading backline for the entirety of his 75 minutes on the pitch.

Santi Cazorla was in majestic form and thoroughly deserved his goal. The Spaniard was at his best here, playing in between the lines, creating chances for others, and he was clinical when an opportunity came his way.

With Chelsea losing at Southampton, it made the afternoon's work that bit more pleasing. It's going to be touch and go until the end of the season, but if Wenger's side perform like this until the end of the season, they should secure a top-four finish.

Arsenal will see this as a great chance to keep the pressure on Tottenham Hotspur as the Premier League returns after the international break.


In their last two games, Arsene Wenger's side have been clinical in front of goal and have looked assured at the back. Winning in Munich and in Swansea will have restored their confidence after losing the north London derby. It’s just as well - Wenger has spoken about there being no room for error if his side are to claim a top-four spot at the end of the season.

Reading are scrapping for points at the other end of the table and have to start picking up points if they are to stay in the Premier League. They are seven points from safety and have lost their last five league games, but the appointment of Nigel Adkins could inject a fresh sense of belief into the team.

There have been 19 goals in the two meetings between the sides this season. The Capital One Cup game at Madejski Stadium in October was one of the craziest games I've ever watched. What that game showed is that when they get it right, Reading can be a danger going forward. Wenger will be hoping for a solid performance from his defenders to provide the foundation for the likes of Santi Cazorla, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-2 league win in December, to build on further up the field.

Hopefully it will be another cracker.



Daniel Cowan North London is RedDANIEL COWAN, NORTH LONDON IS RED
Arsenal are fast closing in on a Champions League spot after an accomplished 4-1 win over Reading and are hitting form at just the right time.


Arsène’s boys were a joy to watch and played some tantalising stuff. The first half saw a few missed chances to extend our early lead which came courtesy of the impressive Gervinho, and the second half threatened to be a nervy one as Arsenal have dropped points before from a position of total dominance. Cazorla quickly put any doubts to bed with a majestic curled finish and Gervinho's excellent decision-making set up Giroud.

Sadly we couldn’t keep a clean sheet but this was a great performance from the whole team and I was particularly impressed by our midfield and wide men. Eight more performances like that and we’ll finish third.

When you have as many internationals as Arsenal any game straight after an international break is tough and ideally you don’t want to face a team battling for survival. Reading will come to the Emirates desperate for points to stave off relegation and that could make them unpredictable and dangerous. The Reading players will also want to impress their new manager so I expect to see them chasing down every loose ball and every lost cause.


It'll be interesting to see how the break will affect the team selection. With Walcott and Diaby out and Gibbs doubtful I expect the manager to keep the back five that has excelled over our past two games. I hope we’ll see Podolski return to the left as I expect Gervinho to take Walcott’s role on the right.

I think we’ll win comfortably and I have a sneaky feeling that a certain gap could be reduced to one point with a game in hand.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd


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