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.”


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.