News and Views
Match Preview: Arsenal FC v Reading FC
25 October 2016
By Alex Bower
"We're going to look at the games they have played and how they play. They have a lot of movement and a lot of quality in the team and we need to find an answer for that. They need to think about us as well because it is dangerous to underestimate certain teams."
- Reading FC Manager Jaap Stam
"We can play good stuff as we've seen this season - so let's go and test ourselves against the best. Arsenal are a very good side, obviously... they had won seven on the bounce before the weekend! But it will be a good test for everyone. The shackles are off - we'll go and enjoy the game, and everything is possible."
- Reading FC Captain Paul McShane
"As we all know, Arsenal keep the ball and have lots of possession. They are a big team from the Premier League so it is a really good test for us playing against a team that has a similar style of play, who are better at it than we are - and how we try to cope with them."
- Reading FC Forward Yann Kermorgant
"The FA Cup game was quite an occasion and we were really unlucky not to at least take it to penalties. We played really well and we were so unlucky not to get the result. Hopefully we can get the win on Tuesday!"
- Reading FC Midfielder Garath McCleary
"It's always tense against them and always passionate and you would expect that again on Tuesday, but I am confident that we will want to respond after our 0-0 on Saturday."
- Arsenal FC Manager Arsene Wenger
Reading's EFL Cup journey continues on Tuesday evening as they take on Premier League outfit Arsenal. The tie is bound to bring back raw memories of the 2015 FA Cup Semi-Final which was dramatically won in extra-time by the Gunners, courtesy of an Alexis Sanchez goal.
The record of previous games between the two sides does not bode well for Reading fans. Thirteen times the teams have played against each other and thirteen times Arsenal have won. The last four games will have been particularly memorable, however, especially the 7-5 result in the 2012 League Cup. While it is highly unlikely that the fans will see twelve goals on Tuesday, there is always the potential for drama when these two sides meet.
Reading's journey to this stage of the competition has already been full of drama. A relatively easy 2-0 win against Plymouth Argyle was then followed up with penalties against MK Dons and a 2-1 away win against Brighton despite only having ten men. Arsenal, meanwhile, have soared through thus far with a 4-0 away win against Nottingham Forest in the third round.
While Reading fans will be optimistic following Arsenal's 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough at the weekend, Arsene Wenger is expected to name a changed squad to take on the Royals. The Arsenal manager has said that it will be a similar squad to the one that took on Nottingham Forest with David Ospina, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Carl Jenkinson, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Alex Iwobi, Lucas Perez, Chuba Akpom, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs all set to play a part. Olivier Giroud will also make a return to the side after seemingly falling down the pecking order.
The Royals have no new injury concerns but Chris Gunter will be missing the game through suspension. Paul McShane's return against Rotherham will have handed them a boost, however, going into the game. Yakou Meite and Jake Cooper may also play some part in the game as they made their return on Sunday in Reading's Under-23 draw against Sunderland. Against Premier League opposition, Jaap Stam will be expected to play his strongest starting eleven and subsequently the lineup will undoubtedly be similar to what we have seen in recent weeks.
Away from home and against Premier League opposition it will undoubtedly be a tough game for the Royals. Even with their second team on the pitch, the Gunners have a high quality squad and one that should be capable of winning this tie with ease. That being said it is the cup and in these competitions anything can happen. With Arsenal charging only £10 a ticket and Reading subsequently selling out their allocation, it will surely be an exciting away day either way.
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