Arsenal proved too good for Reading with a 5-2 win at the Madejski Stadium
Last Updated: 18/12/12 8:17am
Santi Cazorla: Inspired Arsenal win at Reading
Santi Cazorla grabbed a hat-trick as Arsenal climbed up to fifth in the Premier League with a 5-2 win at bottom-of-the-table Reading.
The Gunners bounced back from their League Cup disappointment at Bradford in emphatic style with a convincing win at the Madejski Stadium.
Arsenal went ahead early on as Lukas Podolski lashed the ball home past Adam Federici after just 14 minutes.
Spanish star Cazorla then took control as he scored two goals in two-minutes just before half-time. The former Malaga man then cemented his claim for the match-ball with his third on the hour mark.
Best of the match:
- Man of the Match: Santi Cazorla was in supreme form, not only scoring a hat-trick but running the game from the centre of midfield.
- Goal of the Match: Cazorla's third was Arsenal at their best. Jack Wilshere slid in Lukas Podolski who squared first time for the Spaniard, leaving Reading chasing shadows.
- Save of the Match: Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici did not disgrace himself and his best stop was a low diving effort to keep out an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain header.
- Gaffe of the Match: Kieran Gibbs played an errant pass across his back four, with Jay Tabb picking up the ball before playing in Adam Le Fondre for a Reading consolation.
- Talking point: Reading are now rooted to the bottom of the table. What can they do to improve their defence before it is too late?
Reading then showed some real spirit as they battled back with two goals of their own with Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe both slotting home.
But the fairytale comeback never materialised as Theo Walcott - who started the game as a central striker - fired home Arsenal's fifth.
The result moves Arsenal up to fifth in the Premier League table while Reading remain rooted to the bottom and in danger of being cut adrift in the fight to avoid relegation.
The tone was set early as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tested Reading goalkeeper Federici early on before Jobi McAnuff squandered a good chance for the Royals at the other end.
Arsenal were ahead on 14 minutes as Podolski was afforded far too much room in the box, before Cazorla scored twice in three minutes as he capitalised on some static defending from the hosts.
Federici did well to keep out Oxlade-Chamberlain again and send the hosts in only three down, but the Australian could do nothing to prevent Cazorla completing his hat-trick by rounding off a brilliant move after the break.
Reading threatened the unlikeliest of comebacks when Le Fondre and Kebe both converted one-on-ones within the space of five minutes, but Arsenal managed to slow things down and calm the nerves.
And the rout was completed when Cazorla turned provider for Walcott, who showed a striker's composure to slot home left-footed into the bottom corner.
|0||1st Half Goals||3|
|3||Shots on Target||13|
|2||Shots off Target||7|
|29.4||1st Half Poss.||70.6|
|34.7||2nd Half Poss.||65.3|
LIVE and exclusive on Sky Sports
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|
Reading v Arsenal
Oliver Todd feels Reading need January signings to prevent their season going down the pan.
Gary Neville discusses if Arsenal's Theo Walcott can play up front through the middle by himself.
Santi Cazorla gave Arsenal fans an early Christmas present with his hat-trick at Reading, says Ray Parlour.
- A tantalising trio
- A tantalising trio
- Wenger hails mental strength
- Royal thrashing
- McDermott: First half costly
- Wenger: A great response
- Wilshere: Our true colours
- Wenger happy with away form
- McDermott won't demand funds
- Reading v Arsenal preview
- Wilshere set to sign contract
- Wilshere Q&A
- Wenger wary of Reading threat
- McDermott: Bookies are right
- No return imminent for Diaby