MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

19 April 2008: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: -
Arsenal: Adebayor (30 mins), Silva (38 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 60,109

Pos Team P Pts GD
16 Bolton 35 32 -20
17 READING 35 32 -28
18 Birmingham 35 31 -17
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko (Duberry 73), Ingimarsson, Bikey, Rosenior, Kebe (Matejovsky 79), Cisse, Harper (Fae 73), Convey, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Federici, Doyle.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Toure (Eboue 60), Gallas, Song Billong, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Silva, Hleb (Denilson 74), Van Persie, Adebayor (Bendtner 73). Subs Not Used: Mannone, Senderos.
Reading: Kitson, Bikey, Sonko.
Arsenal: -
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
Time appears to be running out for Reading to escape relegation from the Premier League. With three games left, a inevitable defeat at Arsenal saw Reading drop a further place to just sit just one point and one place outside the relegation positions. Coppell fielded a dramatically changed line-up that included a string of defenders - either resting players for the run-in or punishing players for last weeks poor showing. In either case it was clear we had come to lose this game and just keep the score down. And 2-0 was a respectable result although we had to rely on the crossbar and post again coming to our rescue alongside another excellent performance from Marcus Hahnemann. Arsenal dominated the fixture with the exception of a bright period midway through the second half when a string of corners and a couple of half chances gave hope for the rest of the season. However Reading were already well beaten after Arsenal struck on 30 minutes and 38 minutes and there was never going to be a way back. Meanwhile Fulham look doomed to relegation after a home defeat against Liverpool. Bolton's away win saw them jump out of the bottom three and above Reading to leave a three way scrap to avoid the final relegation place between Bolton, Reading and Birmingham.

Remaining Fixtures: Bolton: Tottenham (a), Sunderland (h), Chelsea (a)
Reading: Wigan (a), Tottenham (h), Derby (a)
Birmingham: Liverpool (h), Fulham (a), Blackburn (h)
Fulham: Man City (a), Birmingham (h), Portsmouth (a)


After last weeks debacle against Fulham emotions and feelings were running very high and though things were said in the heat of the moment the underlying fears remain and maybe we all dreamt of maybe a precious point today I'm glad the game is out of the way and we can now concentrate on the three remaining games, without doubt the three most important in the clubs long history. All are winnable, none are against the top four, none against fellow relegation candidates (Wigan are fine). Will we do it, god knows, but it is in the hands of our players for sure. All we ask is they give it everything, last week they gave all but nothing, Bolton have shown what grafting can do, dying for the shirt, crawling of the pitch after a game, that's all we can ask. I'm fed up with so many of our players talking in mid week about how they are going to turn it around, how they believe they will be ok, just shut the so and so up and do it on the bloody pitch. It's quite simple get a couple of results or it's up to fifty dogfight matches in the Championship next season. To all the players, please, just do it.
Nick Newbury

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It is reasonably clear that Coppell’s strongest side is not the one that was outplayed by Arsenal. That the scoreline was not embarrassing owed more to the fact that Arsenal struck the woodwork twice, had one effort cleared off the line and Marcus Hahnemann in goal was, not for the first time, Reading’s most impressive performer. Coppell, though, believes his error was not in making sweeping changes for this game but in failing to buy new players. “I could have brought new players into the club,” the Reading manager said, “but because they’d done so well over the last two years and met those challenges, I made the decision not to bring people in. At Christmas we were in a healthy position going into the January [transfer] window. Maybe I should have done something at the end of the January window. We always have a post mortem at the end of the season.”
The Times

Arsenal increased Reading's relegation worries with a comfortable victory. Arsene Wenger's side outclassed Reading and went ahead after 30 minutes when Emmanuel Adebayor slid home a calm finish from Kolo Toure's cross. Gilberto Silva added a second before half-time when his long-range shot deflected in off Andre Bikey. Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott struck the woodwork and Michael Duberry cleared off the line from Cesc Fabregas after the break as Arsenal dominated. It was only Arsenal's second win in nine Premier League games - a damning statistic that tells the tale of how their title challenge has faded away. Arsenal gave Walcott a rare start after his impressive displays as a substitute - and he played his part in a first-half display that swept Reading aside. Royals boss Steve Coppell made six changes from the side that slumped to fellow strugglers Fulham, but they were powerless to stop an Arsenal side playing without the pressure of chasing trophies.
BBC Sport