FA Cup action resumes on Saturday with an in-form and belligerent Arsenal facing a troubled Reading side on Saturday. While Arsenal have blown aside teams with ease over the last few weeks, Reading are having a torrid time and currently sit in the 18th spot a mere 3 points away from the drop zone. Defending champions Arsenal will be looking to make their 19th Final in the competition and subsequently break ahead of Manchester United in terms of FA Cup trophies (An FA Cup victory would mean Arsenal have 12 FA Cups against their name as against Manchester United’s 11).
Attacker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains out of contention with a groin injury while club captain Mikel Arteta too is set to miss the game due to lack of match fitness. There is some bright news for Arsenal fans as midfielder Wilshere has been declared fit by manager Arsene Wenger. However, we expect the manager to field the same team except for Szczesny, who has been handed the gloves for the Cup ties.
Reading will be without the services of defender Anton Ferdinand (Calf) against Gunners. However, attacker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Nathaniel Chalobah have been declared fit for the tie. While Chalobah started the last game, it remains to be seen if manager will stick with the team that lost to Bournemouth.
This will only be the 10th meeting between these sides in all competitions.
Arsenal have never lost to Reading before in any competition.
While Robson-Kanu leads the scoring charts for his club in the competition with 3 goals, Giroud has scored twice for the Gunners so far.
Szczesny, Monreal, Koscielny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey, Coquelin, Cazorla, Giroud
Federici, Gunter, Ake, Hector, Pearce, Karacan, Chalobah, Robson-Kanu, Obita, McCleary, Mackie.
The german has been in imperious form during Arsenal’s resurgence to the top. His vision coupled with his ability on the ball has served Arsene Wenger’s team in good stead. Ozil averages more than 2 chances per game so far this season. Reading would be keen to close down his space of operation at Wembley. Any lapse in doing so could cost the club heavily as the magical German can more can be ruthless yet beautiful with the chances he creates for his team mates. The midfielder scored a sublime goal at Anfield two weeks ago and is running high on confidence, which could turn out to be a sign of trouble for the already troubled Reading side.
The English youngster leads the assists chart for his club this season, having assisted 7 goals in the league and 1 in the Cup competition. He averages more than 1 chance per game and would be crucial against the mighty Arsenal. He averages close to 2 crosses per game and with Reading possessing the likes of Pogrebnyak, the defenders efforts can turn out to be fruitful. While he has majorly contributed to the attack of his side, his defensive efforts haven’t gone unseen as he has shown a penchant to fly into tackles, averaging 2 per appearance. With Hector Bellerin and Sanchez on the right flank for Arsenal, Obita will have speed demons to chase throughout the game and a good performance in this game could alter his career, as it would be a test of his abilities.
|2012/13||Arsenal||4 – 1||Reading||Premier League|
|Reading||2 – 5||Arsenal||Premier League|
|Reading||5 – 7||Arsenal||League Cup|
|2007/2008||Arsenal||2 – 0||Reading||Premier League|
|Reading||1 – 3||Arsenal||Premier League|
Arsenal have been in red hot form off late while Reading are in a tricky situation battling relegation. We expect Arsenal’s imperious form to carry on. We expect the Gunners to beat Reading 3-0 at Wembley.