Gunners fire four past sorry Royals
Published 30/03/2013 | 17:22
Arsenal kept up the pressure in the race for Champions League qualification with a 4-1 win over Reading at Emirates Stadium, which sent the Royals bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
Ivory Coast international Gervinho, such a frustrating figure for the Gunners, set the hosts on their way after 11 minutes. However, despite dominating possession, it was not until the start of the second half where the crucial breakthrough came again, this time Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.
Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men - the manager in charge for the first time - but there was to be no recovery as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.
Gervinho fired them into an early lead when he swept in Corzala's low cross.
The 25-year-old was in full flow again on 22 minutes, charging to the edge of the area as the Reading defence back-tracked, only to then drag his shot wide before Cazorla clipped the side-netting.
Arsenal sensed they needed the cushion of a second goal, and it came just after the restart. Gervinho was again involved on 48 minutes as the ball was worked to the edge of the Reading penalty area, where Cazorla curled an exquisite effort around the defender and inside Stuart Taylor's left-hand post.
To their credit Reading continued to look for a way back into the match as Laurent Koscielny needed to make a last-ditch tackle on Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Arsenal made it 3-0 on 67 minutes, with Gervinho again the creator. The Ivory Coast forward latched onto a chip from Bacary Sagna to canter away down the right and to the edge of the box, before feeding Giroud, who dispatched a low strike back across goal.
Arsenal switched off, which allowed Reading to pull a goal back as Jobi McAnuff's floated cross from the left was headed in at the far post by Robson-Kanu - with full-back Nacho Monreal clattering into the woodwork.
Sub Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then latched onto a loose pass from Adrian Mariappa before charging into the penalty area, where he was clipped by the Reading defender. Arteta made no mistake from the penalty spot as Arsenal chalked up a sixth win in the last eight league games.