Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Arsenal win 12 goal thriller at Madejski

This was a nail-biting game, a classic match that saw Arsenal overturn a 4-0 deficit to reach the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup for the tenth consecutive time. 

After a weekend filled with controversies, this match was a treat for the ones present in the ground, a comeback that made Arsenal fans sing in elation. It was the kind of night that will give Arsene Wenger and his boys hope for the remainder of the season. On the other hand, it must have been difficult for Reading manager Brian McDermott to see his side lose after a gaining a four-goal advantage within 20 minutes. 

11 changes were an indication that Arsene Wenger was not taking the Capital One Cup that seriously, he admitted at last week's AGM "the competition doesn't top his priority list this season. 

A horror show put by Gunners in the first half was disappointing; their defending was appalling and the attack led by Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou was proving to be spineless. 

In the 12th minute, Reading took the lead when Mikele Leigertwood initiated the move in the midfield and Jason Roberts and Noel Hunt were rewarded for their attacking flair turning away Hal Robson-Kanu's low cross. Six minutes later, the Royals doubled their scoreline, when Koscielny scored an own goal, sliding Gunter's cross into his own net. 

The night got worse for Arsenal when they went 4-0 down within 20 minutes. 

Post the breather though, the incompetence of the first-half was replaced by the sublime spirit of Walcott, who kept running and believing even when his fellow-strikers Chamakh and Andrei Arshavin stood still in despairâ??He cleanly finished past Adam Federici after Andrey Arshavin's through ball on the whistle-blow of half-time. 

The goal stirred hope for Arsenal, with Wenger shortly had more players in attack, bringing them back into the game. 

Substitute Olivier Giroud arrived in 62nd minute and scored off Theo Walcott's corner in the 64th minute with a powerful clean header. 

Arsenal reduced the deficit in the 89th minute when Koscielny headed in. 

With four minutes of added time, it became a race against time for the Gunners. Walcott rose to the occasion and saved them the blushes as he netted a shot with the final kick of normal time squeezing it past Federici, equalizing the scoreline. 

In the extra time, for the first time, Gunners were ahead with a goal in the 103rd minute when a low drive of Marouane Chamakh from the edge of the box scrape through Federici. 

Reading substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak leveled, making it 5-5 in the 115th minute. 

In the dying seconds of extra time, Theo Walcott completed his hat-trick, and then, implausibly, Chamakh sealed victory for Arsenal with a goal on the counter, making the score line 7-5. 

Arsene Wenger expressed the match results as a 'miracle' adding: 'Reading was playing very well and at a higher pace than us and we conceded goal after goal. The turning point came when Theo scored our first goal just before half-time to make it 4-1.' 

McDermott confessed that he was amazed by the result. He said: 'That was extraordinary. We have to pick ourselves up and move on. It is embarrassing but we have to take it on the chin and just move on.' 

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