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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,082) 30th March 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Foy

Arsenal Arsenal vs Reading Reading

Arsenal 4

Gervinho (11)
S Cazorla (48)
O Giroud (67)
M Arteta (pen 77)

ft

Reading 1

H Robson-Kanu (68)

Premier League: Gervinho inspires Arsenal to 4-1 win over Reading

By Tom Mallows.   Last Updated: 30/03/13 7:24pm

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Gervinho opened the scoring for Arsenal after just 11 minutes

Gervinho opened the scoring for Arsenal after just 11 minutes

Gervinho was the inspiration as Arsenal strolled to a comfortable 4-1 win over struggling Reading at the Emirates Stadium.

The Ivorian scored the opener and set up two more as the Gunners gave their hopes of a top-four place a real boost.

Best of the Match

  • Man of the Match: Gervinho was excellent today, opening the scoring as well as setting up two goals for his team-mates.
  • Shot of the match: The equally excellent Santi Cazorla was calmness personified when he stroked home Arsenal's second.
  • Save of the match: The busy Stuart Taylor did well to parry Aaron Ramsey's drive as Arsenal threatened to overrun Reading in the second half.
  • Talking point: The win keeps ups Arsenal's bid to snatch a top four place but Reading looked every a bit a relegation threatened side. Can Nigel Adkins turn things round and save them from the drop?

The defeat for Reading meanwhile was a sixth on the spin and leaves new boss Nigel Adkins with a mountain to climb if he is to lift his side out of trouble.

The Gunners were on top from the outset and made the perfect start on 11 minutes, Gervinho tapping home Santi Cazorla's cross-shot from close range to finish a move he had started on the right wing.

Arsenal thought they had won a penalty when onrushing Reading goalkeeper Stuart Taylor clattered Olivier Giroud in the area on 18 minutes, only for referee Chris Foy to wave play on.

Arsene Wenger's men were utterly dominant in the first 45 but could not find a second, the best chance coming when Cazorla drilled just wide of the left-hand post from inside the area.

Adkins will have been relieved to have got in at half-time at just 1-0, but whatever he said at the break went out of the window three minutes into the second period.

Reading again failed to close Arsenal down, allowing Gervinho to lay it off to the excellent Cazorla, who coolly stroked the ball home from the edge of the area.

Gervinho again had a role in the third on 67 minutes, collecting the ball on the halfway line after Reading made a mess of their own corner, striding forward and laying it off to Giroud who drilled low first time beyond Taylor.

Reading gave themselves hope just a minute later, Jobi McAnuff's teasing cross from the left converted at the far post by Hal Robson-Kanu.

That hope was quickly snuffed out though when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was tripped in the area 13 minutes from time, allowing Mikel Arteta to slot home from the spot.

Aaron Ramsey and Per Mertesacker both had late chances to make it five, as Arsenal closed out one of their easiest victories of the season.

Speaking after the match, Wenger was full of praise for Gervinho, who was starting his first Premier League game since December.

"He is what you want from a striker, dangerous, he scored and gave assists," said Wenger. "The only regret is that he had a few more chances to score, but you cannot fault his performance today, he was absolutely outstanding."

Reading boss Adkins is keen to move on from defeat in his first game, with his former club Southampton his new team's opponents next weekend.

Adkins said: "We'll analyse the game, we'll learn the lessons from it, debrief it on Monday and Tuesday and then we'll get ourselves ready for the next game, I think that is the most important thing we've got to go and do now."

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 29 67
2 Manchester City 30 61
3 Arsenal 30 60
4 Manchester United 30 59
5 Liverpool 30 54
6 Southampton 30 53
7 Tottenham Hotspur 30 53
8 Swansea City 30 43
9 West Ham United 30 42
10 Stoke City 30 42
11 Crystal Palace 30 36
12 Newcastle United 30 35
13 Everton 30 34
14 West Bromwich Albion 30 33
15 Hull City 30 28
16 Aston Villa 30 28
17 Sunderland 30 26
18 Burnley 30 25
19 Queens Park Rangers 30 22
20 Leicester City 29 19

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