As the international break comes to an end we finally get back to the Premier League as we head into the business end of the season. With just nine games remaining it’s crunch time for these two teams.
With Reading fighting against relegation and Arsenal looking up at a ‘Top Four’ finish, both teams will be fighting for the precious three points. Reading sit 19th in the league, seven points from 17th placed Aston Villa, whereas Arsenal who are placed fifth are just four points behind Tottenham with a game in hand over their North London rivals.
Reading unveiled Nigel Adkins as their new manager on Tuesday and will be hoping for the new man in charge to come in and make an immediate impact, with Adkins looking to prove a point after his surprise sacking from Southampton in January.
Arsenal on the other hand are sitting 5th in the Barclays Premier League table and will be fighting to make sure they do not finish outside of the top four for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign as manager. Arsene Wenger has said: “We just want to continue our form. Bayern and Swansea is a good inspiration to continue our run-in.
‘There are nine games to go. We play five at home and four away. With the form we have shown at Bayern and at Swansea, I think we have a very good chance to finish in the top four.”
The last time these two teams met in the Premier League was in a seven-goal thriller at the Madejski Stadium in December. Arsenal enjoyed 67.1% of possession and more than doubled the home sides amount of passes with 718 to Reading’s 339. Santiago Cazorla bagged himself a hat-trick that day and became just the third Spaniard to bag a hat-trick in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have beaten Reading in all 11 previous competitive meetings.
- Reading put four past Arsenal in the League Cup, the most any side have scored against Arsenal in the opening 37 minutes.
- Reading have conceded more Premier League goals against Arsenal than any other team in the league.
Ones to watch
After scoring a hat-trick against The Royals last time in the Premier League Santi Cazorla is the man to keep an eye on Saturday.
The Spaniard has made the most starts for Arsenal this season with 28 and has made a total of 1670 accurate passes thus far in the league. He has also scored 11 goals in 32 shots on target and created 73 chances for his team.
Adam Le Fondre is the man to watch for Reading. The super sub has scored an impressive 10 goals so far this season with 17 substitute appearances to his name. Nigel Adkins may choose to deploy Le Fondre from the beginning but the Reading man’s goal tally does not lie when he has come off the bench and provides an immediate impact for the team.
Recent Premier League form
The Gunners currently sit 2nd in the Premier League form table with an impressive 13 points from a possible 18. Arsenal have won by no more than two goals in their last six games, keeping clean sheets against Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea. If only the second half of this season counted Arsenal would be top of the league by four points, such is their form as of late.
Reading on the other hand sit 19th in the Premier League form table just as they do in the league table. Reading have picked up just three points in their last six games, losing five on the bounce. Reading have also conceded 12 goals in their last six games, scoring five.
Champions League qualification is vital for Arsenal this season particularly with the talk of some Arsenal fans looking for Arsene Wenger to move on at the end of the season. At the other end of the table staying in the league is vital for Reading and there is no doubt just how much winning this game would mean to both clubs.
Statistically and logically it is hard to see past an Arsenal win at the Emirates on Saturday but it wouldn’t be the first time Arsenal have tripped themselves up this season. Also with Adkins taking over Reading this week, The Royals may get that new manager push that they so desperately need and sneak a win and capture all three points come Saturday evening.
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