Reading Gunned down
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: November 29, 2005 9:30pm
Arsenal's young guns brushed aside the best The Championship has to offer as goal from Jose Antonio Reyes, Robin van Persie and Arturo Lupoli accounted for Reading in the fourth round of the Carling Cup.
Arsene Wenger continued with his policy of fielding his youngsters in the competition and it paid off once again as they stood firm against a solid Reading side and their superior class in front of goal proved decisive.
Reyes had gone 12 games without a goal, but he showed his quality in the box when opening the scoring on 12 minutes and van Persie's clinical finish on 43 knocked the belief out of the visitors.
Reading stuck to their task after the interval, but a goal on 65 minutes by Lupoli killed off any hopes of a revival as The Gunners cruised into the last eight.
The Royals started extremely brightly and seemed intent on taking the game to Arsenal, but they were almost rocked onto their heels on four minutes when a quicksilver break from the hosts resulted in van Persie curling a low shot just wide of goal.
Only Sheffield United have scored more goals than Reading in The Championship and they created chances at regular intervals on Tuesday, but time and again failed to find the killer touch.
Steve Sidwell was presented with a good opening on seven minutes, but he fluffed his lines after Dave Kitson had flicked the ball into his path.
Kitson was next to bear down on goal, but he failed to do justice to Leroy Lita's neat pass as Manuel Almunia smothered his effort.
Reading were made to rue their wastefulness on 12 minutes as Reyes snapped his goal drought when collecting a pass from the inventive Quincy Owusu Abeyie and rounding Graham Stack to score.
The Royals continued to impress with their incisive attacking play and a James Harper chip and Kitson header tested the handling of Almunia.
Arsenal put daylight between themselves and the Championship pacesetters just before half time when van Persie slotted home from 20 yards following good interplay between Sebastian Larsson and Reyes.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with Sidwell firing just over from 35 yards and Almunia doing well to save at the feet of Stephen Hunt after he had caught Johan Djourou in possession 40 yards from goal. The rebound fell to Sidwell but he could not take advantage and dragged his shot across the face of goal.
Stack had no chance with the two goals but he demonstrated his class with a fantastic acrobatic tip over from Kerrea Gilbert's swinging effort, following good work once again from the impressive Owusu Abeyie.
Wenger opted to withdraw van Persie just after hour and his replacement took just two minutes to make an impression, with rising Italian star Arturo Lupoli robbing Ibrahima Sonko on the halfway line before racing clear and rounding Stack to score.
Reading carved out chances to grab a consolation, but found Jens Lehmann's deputy Almunia in no mood to be beaten as he served notice to Wenger with a solid clean sheet as The Gunners advanced.
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||6|
|5||Shots off Target||4|