Well that was a fine and much-needed win today. It is only fair to say that Reading were easy prey this afternoon, and that a stronger team might have punished us for not finishing off our chances in the first half. But, once again, we played a lot better in the second half and, despite one costly lapse in concentration, Arsenal totally dominated the game from start to finish, and very much deserved their win today.
It was great to see Gervinho start a game again, and he took his opportunity to shine for us really well. The Gerv and Santi were clearly our drivers in the first half, and for most of the second half as well. Gervinho was everywhere and always made himself available, and he is the one of the few who wants to keep hold of the ball and attack the space in front of him, rather than just pass the ball to the nearest player as soon as possible.
Gervinho’s performance was by no means perfect, and he can delight us as much as frustrate us from one moment to the next, but with a goal and two assists, he deserves a lot of praise today. His positioning was great (especially in the box) and his ability to take the ball forward and make things happen was also on show today once more.
He took his goal well and provided two fine assists. The one for Santi was simple and effective; after he created a bit of space, by keeping the ball and moving forward towards the goal, he played a simple, low and well-measured pass to Santi, who this time round did show the required composure, and finished really well with a placed, curling shot past some Reading defenders and goalkeeper Taylor.
The second assist was the best one; The Gerv held off defenders around the box and then made a good, measured pass towards Giroud’s left foot, who could do nothing else but score.
I was impressed with Giroud willingness to work for the team today, and he created a lot of space in the box through his movement and ability to occupy more than one defender most of the time. And his work for the team was reciprocated by the fine pass Gervinho provided to him for our third goal.
Throughout the game, and especially in the first half, we were still wasteful with our chances, and both Cazorla and Gervinho deserve some criticism for some disappointing finishing. I guess this is something we have to accept of both players: they work hard, get themselves in good positions, and are attack-minded, but both of them – Gervinho more than Cazorla – will waste a lot of chances in the process as well.
However, Cazorla’s coolness for the second goal and Gervinho’s composure for his goal and assists, made the difference today, and in the end that is all that really matters.
Our defence was shielded magnificently today by Mikel Arteta, and you could see how much he has benefited from a well-needed interlull break. When Arteta plays like this, the whole team plays better. It allowed Ramsey to support Rosicky and Cazorla, who was found mostly in the middle of the pitch, in putting pressure on the opposition’s defence high up the pitch. Today that made all the difference.
However, I thought that Ramsey and especially Rosicky were a bit rusty in the first half and not dynamic enough. Luckily, they both improved strongly in the second half and it was their drive that kept our rhythm going throughout the second half. Towards the end of the game, Arsenal started to play some wonderful football and both Ramsey and Rosicky had big contributions in this.
Reading scored a good goal through Robson-kanu, who sneaked in behind Monreal to score with a diving header from a fine cross by McAnuff.
Ox did well coming on as a sub and winning a penalty straightaway, which was well taken by Arteta.
In summary, an easy win, and an important one; with the Spuds winning (as expected) at Swansea, and the Chavs dropping three very costly points at Southampton, our win today keeps the pressure up on both of them; and that’s all we can do. Our next game against West Brom will no doubt be a tougher nut to crack.
Written by: TotalArsenal.