The starting line up was as predicted yesterday and yes, either Arsene reads the blog or I must read his mind... Song started with Gallas in the middle of defence. Walcott started on the right and Lehmann deputised in goal.
The game didn't start as planned, with Reading having the early possesion and chances, but by the 10th minute of the game we were the team in control, albeit it against a wall of defenders. Theo Walcott's start was well deserved and he was a real threat on the right breaking through to the byline early on. The first real chance of the game fell to Adebayor who had a free header 8 yards out and hit the ball wide. We plied a lot of pressure, and possesion was 70-30 by the 20th minute.
Walcott had another chance, again, breaking on the right and getting to the byline, this time 6 yards out, but elected to square rather than shoot. The next fell to Song from a nice corner routine, heading wide. It was just a matter of time, we were applying presure and surely Reading were starting to crack.
Moments later, a good fast break saw Toure and Walcott do well on the right, with Toure chipping the ball into Ade's path who controlled well, evade the challenge, and tucked it nicely under the Reading keeper.
Arsenal 1 – 0 Reading
One nil quickly turned into two nil as good play from the team saw Gilberto just outside the D. He shot well, with a heavy deflection pst the keeper and into the back of the net.
Arsenal 2 – 0 Reading
The team have been playing with some panache today. Good team play as a whole, Van Persie working hard to keep possession high up. The last 7 minutes of the saw some amazing passing and before the end of the half an excellent move involving Cesc, Van Persie and then Ade saw Ade break through the right and squared back to VP. He shot straight at the keeper, should have been 3-0 but a joy to watch. Just before the half time whistle, a good move saw Toure shoot well from an acute angle and the Reading keeper saving well. One more chance before the whistle saw a good move from Hleb, Clichy, Ade and VP teeing up Gilberto for another chance, but again straight at the keeper.
Half time: Arsenal 2 – 0 Reading
The second half started as the first half finished, with the home team dominating. At 2-0 up at home, we could really relax and start playing our game. It really was an enjoyable game and a plesure to be there.
The first main chance of the second half came from an Arsenal corner, it was one of those scrappy corners which seemed to bounce around for a while before VP managed to lift it over two Reading players before shooting with his left. Awesome play, an a richot or two, a cross from VP, another from Walcott and two more by Cesc. Eboue on for Toure, who seemed to feel a small groin injury.
A bit of a nasty incident soon followed with Van Persie unceramoniously taken out by Bikey. Yellow card, but not the first time VP had been hacked down. Moments later, Hleb and Murty had a bit of an incident. With Murty touch tight to Hleb, Hleb turned around, and seemed to push Murty away. The push was in the face, and it could have been a card.
Cescy has really dominated this game, good going forward and good defending. He is such a composed player, it’s amazing. Good play from him set Walcott free on the right again and a good cross saw Cesc’s header wide.
Walctott has really been shining, and his performace was awesome so far today. Good touches, good tricks and pace saw him taken out on the edge of the area. Van Persie steps up and a fabulous effort saw the ball richoted off the bar and out. Van Persie is really starting to gain some match fitness. Good to see him play like this.
The next effort fell to Walcott coutesy of great control by Cesc, but his effort hit the bar. Dazzling play. Bendtner and Denilson on for Ade and Hleb.
Bendtner first involvement saw Cesc through on goal. A Henryesque effort, cleared off the line but he was offside anyway.
Reading did have a few chances, but Gilberto acted like a 5th defender when required and positionally it had been one of his best games. With one goal to his name already, he broke on the right and had another shot blocked.
Chance after chance. Bendtner, Walcott and Cesc linking up well to have a chance. The second half had been total domination, but we couldn’t find the third.
A great performance today and it’s very possible to see us winning the next 3 games. The manner of the victory was very pleasing. The final chance fell to Gilberto, rushing through on goal, Bendtner was offside, and maybe have interfered with play, even though he didn’t touch it.
Thanks again to the Ninja, awesome day out. Arsene wrote in his match day programme about the season so far, his ambitions in the transfer market, the lessons he has learnt this year and his policy this summer. More on all of that tomorrow – til then, have a good one!]]>