Arsenal beats Reading 5-2 in Premier League

Updated 18 December 2012
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Arsenal beats Reading 5-2 in Premier League

READING, England: Santi Cazorla scored a hat trick Monday as Arsenal emphatically bounced back from its recent disappointments with a 5-2 win at last-place Reading in the Premier League.
Coming off an embarrassing loss on penalties at fourth-tier Bradford in the League Cup last week, Arsenal was back to its best for the first hour at the Madejski Stadium, attacking at will and taking a 4-0 lead when Cazorla netted his third in the 60th minute.
Reading then somehow made a game of it by scoring two cheap goals in five minutes, but Cazorla settled any nerves by setting Theo Walcott up for the fifth in the 80th.
Lukas Podolski opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 14th, while Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe netted for Reading.
The win lifts Arsenal back up to fifth place, two points behind Tottenham and Chelsea, and more importantly restored some confidence after last week’s fiasco at Bradford and a stretch of inconsistent league results.
“We showed people, hopefully, the real Arsenal,” said Walcott, who was given a rare chance to play up front rather than his usual place on the wing.
Cazorla and Podolski had been among several Arsenal players to struggle recently but the Spaniard especially seems to have recovered his flair and creativity after imposing his will on the Reading defense throughout the game.
It was Podolski, though, who put Arsenal in front after laying the ball off to Kieran Gibbs on the left flank and then running into the area to meet the defender’s cross. The German controlled the ball with one deft touch before firing a shot past goalkeeper Adam Federici.
Podolski then turned provider for Cazorla’s first goal came in the 32nd minute, running down the left flank and sending a perfect cross in toward the Spanish midfielder, who dove in to send a header into the near corner. Cazorla then added his second just two minutes later from a similar spot after Walcott’s cross from the right was headed back by Gibbs. Cazorla controlled the ball with his back toward goal before turning and slotting it into the bottom corner.
Arsenal kept attacking after the break, and Cazorla completed his hat trick after a text-book attack by the Gunners. Jack Wilshere released Podolski down the left side of the area, and the German slotted another cross back toward Cazorla to drill the ball in at the far post.
Arsenal then relaxed, with Gibbs turning the ball over sloppily in midfield and Jay Tabb feeding Le Fondre, who calmly rounded goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to slot into an empty net. Kebe then slotted home the second after a failed offside trap by the Arsenal defense.
“I thought our response in the second half was excellent,” said Reading manager Brian McDermott, whose team has just nine points from 17 games. “We gave our home crowd something to cheer about.”
But the Gunners — who rallied from 4-0 down at Reading in the League Cup in October to win 7-5 after extra time — ended any hopes of a comeback when Cazorla led a quick counterattack and released Walcott into the area, and the England winger stepped back inside before slotting a curling effort into the far corner.
That capped off a night in which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he saw some “very encouraging signs” from his squad.
“I’ve said many times I believe in this team,” Wenger said. “We need now to go from strength to strength.”


Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

Updated 21 April 2018
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Manchester United inflict more semifinal misery on sorry Spurs

  • Manchester United come from behind to make FA Cup final.
  • Mauricio Pochettino yet to win a trophy as manager.

A third cup final with Manchester United for Jose Mourinho. More FA Cup semifinal misery for Tottenham.
While Mauricio Pochettino wins admiration for his style of football, the manager has yet to actually win a trophy in management.
A 2-1 collapse to United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday left Tottenham reeling from an eighth successive loss in the FA Cup semifinals.
Pochettino is responsible for two of the setbacks, having also fallen short against Chelsea last season.
At the stadium where Tottenham have been playing their home matches this season, Dele Alli's goal gave the 1991 FA Cup winners hope of turning around their miserable record in world football's oldest knockout competition.
But Alexis Sanchez leveled in the 24th minute and Ander Herrera struck the winner in the second half. It ensured Mourinho, who won the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at United, has a chance to also end this campaign with silverware against Chelsea or Southampton in the FA Cup final.
"We're getting used to being in finals," Herrera said. "This club is all about titles and finals."
While Mourinho has fallen short in the English Premier League behind newly crowned champion Manchester City, United are second and on course for their highest finish since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Tottenham would settle with holding onto fourth place to secure a third season in a row in the Champions League.
Liverpool missed a chance to considerably stretch its advantage over Tottenham in one of Saturday's two league games. Juergen Klopp's side threw away a two-goal lead to draw with last-place West Bromwich Albion 2-2 and move only three points ahead of Tottenham.
Chelsea, who plays Southampton in the other FA Cup semifinal on Sunday, are five points behind Tottenham with four games remaining.

POGBA TRANSFORMED
When United fell behind to Tottenham, Paul Pogba was culpable.
A high ball was launched forward by Tottenham, a lethargic Pogba didn't try to break sweat in an attempt to prevent it reaching Eriksen. It allowed the Dane to whip in a cross for Alli to slide onto at the far post and strike past David De Gea in 11th minute
Had Harry Kane made a connection at the far post with Son Heung-min's cross three minutes later, Tottenham might have extended their lead.
Instead, United were able to draw level. Pogba made amends for his earlier inertia by dispossessing Mousa Dembele and delivering a cross that Sanchez headed past static goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
Sanchez did the hard work to create the winner in the 62nd, holding off Kieran Trippier and rolling the ball into the penalty area where Jesse Lingard teed up Herrera to shoot past Vorm.