Monday, January 30, 2023

Report: Reading 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck

Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud

Arsenal got through to their second successive FA Cup final after a difficult encounter but a 2-1 win over Reading at Wembley this evening.

Arsene Wenger made a number of changes to the team that beat Burnley with Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Danny Welbeck preferred to David Ospina, Nacho Monreal and Olivier Giroud. And there was a comeback for Mathieu Debuchy who returned to the team after a lengthy absence in place of Hector Bellerin.

Reading had a bright start to the game, forcing some throws down the Arsenal left, before Arsenal got into the game. Aaron Ramsey got fingered in the eye and Welbeck almost found a way through when a defender missed the ball but it just ran away from him.

The first real chance of the game came when Per Mertesacker’s 7th minute near post header from a Mesut Ozil corner forced Federici into a good save low down at his near post. At the other end Szczesny made a routine save from a smart Obita drive, and after a free kick was cleared, another Royals effort deflected off Mertesacker.

In the 18th minute Ozil curled a 25 yard free kick just wide after Welbeck had been fouled, and the England man was involved again setting up Cazorla whose left footed effort sailed over the bar. Alexis managed to get on the end of a Debuchy cross but his header was easy for the keeper, and the Chilean was put through by Cazorla but couldn’t poke the ball past the onrushing Federici.

At the other end Szczesny made a fine save when Reading played on with Koscielny down injured, and although they then had the ball in the net it was rightly ruled out for offside.

The Gunners found it tough to find space and create chances, but in the 40th minute the deadlock was broken. A brilliant pass from Ozil found Alexis’ run into the box. He took a touch, took it down, stepped inside a defender, then put it between the keeper’s legs. 0-1.

It wasn’t exactly as if the goal was coming, but it was a chance made from the sheer quality of Ozil and Alexis and it was enough to take the lead into the half-time break.

There were no changes from either side during the interval, and like in the first half the opening chance of the period fell to Mertesacker when a Cazorla free kick hit his back and drifted just wide.

A bright spell from Reading then saw them draw level in the 54th minute. The ball came across from their left hand side, over Gibbs head, and a McClearly shot deflected off Gibbs just enough to take it beyond where Szczesny thought it was going and when he grabbed the ball it was behind the line. He probably should have done better, but the deflection played a part. 1-1.

Arsenal then had to make a change in the 63rd minute when Mertesacker was forced off after a nasty challenge, he was replaced by Brazilian Gabriel. There were loud shouts for a Reading penalty when Debuchy appeared to handle inside the area but the referee viewed it as ball to hand.

In the 68th minute Gabriel’s thumping header was clawed away from under the bar by Federici, before Arsene Wenger made another change, replacing Welbeck with Olivier Giroud. There was another chance for Gabriel when Ozil’s free kick found him with just the keeper to beat but his header was defensive, and way over the bar.

The game bega to get a bit more stretched with chances at both ends for Pogrebnyak and Ozil but neither man could hit the target. Arsenal were a long way from the fluid team that had won eight Premier League games in a row, and Szczesny was forced into making a good save and a punch away from a dangerous corner.

But there was a big chance in the 84th minute after a break saw Ramsey through on goal. His first effort was blocked and his second was smashed off the post from close range. There was a two on one situation for Reading moments later but Pogrebnyak made a complete bollix of it, thankfully, and there were late attempts from Ramsey and Giroud before the whistle went for the 90 minutes with extra time to follow.

Santi Cazorla shot over the bar as Arsenal pressed for a winner, but it was a cautious period with Reading sitting deep trying to see the game out for penalties. 10 minutes into the half, Theo Walcott was given a rare outing, coming on for Francis Coquelin.

Reading got lucky in the 13th minute of extra-time when Ramsey hit a shot that flew low at the keeper, hit him, rolled off him and just over the bar. But his luck ran out in the last minute of the half. Arsenal worked the ball down the left hand side, Alexis came back in on his right foot and hit a shot straight at the keeper who let it squirm through his hands and through his legs just rolling over the line. 1-2.

The second period of extra-time began with Mackie shooting over the bar as Reading pressed for an equaliser, before Ozil dragged a shot wide after a good dummy to leave a defender on his arse. Szczesny punched away a free kick he played a part in giving away, while Giroud hit the same post as Ramsey with just 8 minutes left on the clock.

There was pressure from Reading and lots of Arsenal clearances. Giroud held it up well at times to give us an outlet,  and there was to be no further scoring sending us through to the final.

It wasn’t convincing at all, and there’ll be plenty of discussion, but the main thing is we go back to Wembley on May 30th to play one of Aston Villa or Liverpool.

Let’s enjoy that.

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Cornelius P. Snuffington III

Nine straight wins overall, 11 straight in the FA Cup. It wasn’t pretty, but that’s just not how we do cup semifinals against Championship sides! Back to Wembley again! Now 19 FA Cup finals, a record. Set to become sole leaders in total FA Cups won, and Wenger will be the most successful manager ever in the competition. One more to go to make history.


The Arsenal way…
What a ride!

Crouch End Gooner

Stolen from Reddit

“Fing about Arsenal iz, we always try to roll in it…”

bims lay

who cares if its pretty?..its the result that matters

Another FA cup final……well done lads! COYG


I threw up.. twice.


*Removes cigar* Never in any doubt.

Atletico Islington

Then there’s definitely such a thing as too much passion


We weren’t fluent. But we dug deep. The kind of victory where if Chelsea had done it they’d have called it a Mourinho masterclass and how champions perform. When we do it the BBC c***s and the Fox sport commentator c***s call it a lucky performance. It matters not. Ozil and Alexis were immense. Alexis’ heart is incomparable. On and up.

Remember the invincibles

Our first goal was excellent. Ozil finding Alexis. Very nice. Generally though, we were not at our best. Gibbs was too far forward in his positioning and bad defensively. His first touch was sloppy on a couple of occasions and they put is in trouble. Ramsey had another one of those. We’re well versed in the two faces of Aaron Ramsey by now so whats the point of saying anything about him. Szcz poor. No wonder Ospina is first choice,
Generally the squad players disappointed today. They’re not going to win their places back in a hurry.


i think its a bit harsh having a pop at ramsey.


Agree with everything, especially Schez comment piss poor. Should have kept that out and distribution was awful.


He was very lucky not to give away another goal with that atrocious roll out with 2 players bearing down on the poor bastard who got the ball (think it was Coq). Pretty horrible performance. Doesn’t deserve to start the final and it’d be dangerous to do so. Ospina has to start IMO. You can’t let sentiment damage your chances at another title.

bobby chapman

Our keeper poor? Based on what?


Mmmm….. letting in a piss poor shot and throwing out the ball to Ramsey under pressure when winning for example!


Oh the fucking goal was deflected and he made a poor clearance. Fuck off


Im kind of confused here. The Reading goal was deflected.
It makes absolutely no sense to say that Szczesny couldve done better on a deflected shot. Same thing with our 2nd goal.
Wake up people.


That question also makes you poor. Ppl should just get over it Ospina is better scez.


It wasnt Szcz’s mistake. He gets a split second for a deflected ball. The deflection was too close too. Gibbs was supposed to be defending that ball and even ahoukd have stopped the striker from taking a shot.

And you must be feeling bad for their keeper. Spare a thought for our keeper too. He had to concede one unlucky goal too. He is an Arsenal player atleast..


It was definitely a mistake. There were other mistakes made in the build up but Szcz made a mistake 100%…

Talk all you want about how long he had to react but he’s a professional goalkeeper, it’s his job to react quickly and he didn’t. No idea what he was doing on his arse so quickly either..

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

So because “it’s his job to react quickly” that means there’s no such thing as a shot he doesn’t have time to react to? That makes no sense at all.


Of course there is, that’s clearly not what I said but he definitely did have time to react to that one. It was right at him even with the rebound, in fact he almost saved it.

A clear mistake, if you don’t agree I won’t lose any sleep over it but the player and the manager will both look at it as a mistake, they have high standards 🙂


You’ve got to respect that Ramsey for trying throughout. It just didn’t quite come off for him, and it was noticeable not having so much pace (Bellerin) on the right today. Rambo almost scored the winner today…


Precisely. At the same moment Chelsit won against a dominant MU with 70% possession – and I bet pundits call it “True Grit”. But no when Arsenal won (while playing lopsided)…they are shit.

Fuck those Anti Arsenal pundits, FUCK them all.


The pundits are shit,but in this case it may be a matter of perception.We are known for playing fluid football,so when we are scratchy,they assume we played badly.Everyone knew Mourinho was going to park the bus against United,even Van Gaal.So when they executed it well,they are praised for their “disciplined” performance.


Some of the worst aspects of how “British” football is discussed were on show today. Fuck them for lionizing aggression over control and congratulations to us for playing our game and seeing it through to victory. I give zero fucks about British commentator tears for Federici or the unlucky underdog. Fuck them all.

Great result and Alexis is God-like. He’s the only one they should’ve been talking about.


That’s English football for ya! Thuggery over technique.




That you Federici?

chippy's chip

Awesome alexis saved our season


Quick stuff.

We are the famous Arsenal!

Silent Stan's Content Mustache

Not the prettiest game ever played by AFC, but win is a win. Oh and that lad Alexis is pretty good. Sprinting in 119th minute like it’s 9th.


Absolutely. I realized almost a minutes later that those were the closing minutes of the second half of extra time. Alexis is the solution for world’s alternate fuel problem.


the two big signings combined today to make the difference with 2 goals and an assist. Its also worth noting that at the end of time extra time both were still making a big contribution defensively. Sanchez pressing and winning the ball back high up the field with Özil dropping in to the space that he left and winning the ball back in the left back slot. Both are super talented players but also have great workrate and team ethic.

bims lay

Amazing to see how ozil has modified his game by being more defensively minded to suit AFC and the premiership, but then that is the hallmark of a true world class player!

Walcott can borrow a leaf or two from him……and Alexis!… If Ozil can do it, so can he!………provided of course he signs, if not, then dont give a toss how he choses to play at his next club!


ramsey and sanchez making me question my sexual orientation since 2013…


Also how much of a downer is danny murphy. I know we weren’t great but he makes every small mistake seem inconceivable like he was gods gift to football.


better than the guys in the studio though. apparently having 30% possession and about half as many shots now counts as dominating.


Football coverage is going down the drain, just wait till Michael Owen is commentating champions league football… too much negative thoughts COYG


Pundits who think being thuggish instead of having technique and skills is dominating… no wonder why the England football team sucks.

North Bank Gooner

Danny Murphy is the biggest [email protected] since I pulled that bird that was like throwing a chipolata down the Blackwall tunnel.

Fuck him, fuck the BBC commentators, WERE GOING TO WEMBERLY!!!!!!!!!


The downside to this most understandable urge is that -in all likelihood- they will not reciprocate and question theirs 😉

gooner bank

Alexis !!!!!!!!!

Ex-Priest Tobin

Thanks Federici for bringing the A-League blooper reel to the FA Cup.

Scott P

We made it through! That’s what matters!

I think we saw today why some of our #1 choices are our #1 choices. It’s understandable that some players would be rusty, but I realized that I feel more comfortable with Ospina in goal and Monreal in defense today. Not that either Szcz or Gibbs had a nightmare, but still. Altogether, it’s fun watching our defense make it look easy to win possession back these days!


We are the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley!


Thank you live arseblog.. We in the final baby

Arsenal Till I die


Arsenal Till I die

But to be honest i feel bad for Federici


I don’t.

Crouch End Gooner

Ok maybe Federici but seriously f*ck Reading, I don’t feel sorry for them one bit.

MAYBE, if they hadn’t been playing for penalties from the bloody start of ET and actually tried to, I don’t know…SCORE A GOAL and win the game, then they wouldn’t be in this situation.

Giroud Awakening

When our keeper makes a mistake it’s “poor goalkeeping”, “lack of focus” or “rustiness”.
When Reading’s keeper fucks up there’s suddenly so much sympathy for him.


Hypocrisy and double standards. Pundits love that.


I couldn’t bring myself to clap the goal in extra time, but a win’s a win.

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

I feel really bad for their keeper, Reading played great and it’s a shame it was settled by such a horrendous error. But I’ll take it. 🙂


The Most succesful team in the history of the FA cup EVER. More semi finals more finals than any other team. Time for some beers. Coyg


Obviously Wenger isn’t taking the FA Cup seriously. We need to be more like that admirable English club Man $ity.


I feel like I need to poo but I’ve been twice already today so I suspect it’s just nerves

Canuck Gunner

Why win comfortably when you can do it the Arsenal way and keep the supporters nervous!
But another big win and one step closer to retaining the Cup!!



We are there baby.

Surprised that Le Coq was taken off as he was playing very well but it was fine in the end.


Wemberlee! Wemberlee! We’re The Famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wemberlee!


Fuck yes! We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley… Again! Time to retain our cup!


I thought I was watching rugby with all that backward and sideways passing. And we were so slow. But it doesn’t matter, we’re going to Wembleyyy to play the last game of the season.

I hope we play better against the Chavs though


Ozil assisted even the ones that hit the woodwork


Giroud put Ramsey in *


Semi finals are there for winning performance is secondary. We missed hector for the width today. Giroud was super when he came on and has to start the final.


Credit to debuchy tho winning duels and making strong clearances late in his first game back


Underwhelming performance but we got the job done. Feel sorry for their keeper. Hope we play better in the final

Crouch End Gooner

Are you feeling alright mate? An actual sensible comment for once…

Giroud Awakening

I didn’t think Fatgooner felt any empathy

Stringer Bell

Sensible comment, meds must have kicked in!


Fuck his “underwhelmed”, over-entitled, judgmental commentary on Arsenal. Like our team didn’t just slog through a highly pressurized 120mins so we could all be proud and have a final day in the sun at Wembley. Mate.


Why couldn’t we play exciting dashing football and just sweep away an average mid-table Championship side? Why should it take extra time to see off a team like Reading?


A football player with your “this game should be a doddle” attitude simple does not become a success in the modern game, and ironically, would be subject to abuse by fans who cannot wait to jump on bad performances, like yourself. Secondly, you may have never played an 11-man team sport, especially in a tournament. Or you’d have focused instead on the achievement of 2 Finals in succession means instead of what “excites” or “entertains” you. Third, as an Arsenal fan, you need to check your privilege; it is showing – and it looks ugly to fans of less wealthy… Read more »


Tell that to Chelsea and city.


Yeah, as Gunners we’ve been through enough ups and downs with our lean years to be humble about our success unlike doped-up City and Chelsea.


We were average but had extra class that counted. Some of our passing was shite and wondered if the pitch was ”sticky” like my throat watching the game at 8am on a sunday in NZ … Reading were up for it tho and must be congratulated.
we need another world-class defender and top-class finisher/striker. But who?

Crash Fistfight

I was thinking the same about the pitch being ‘sticky’. I’m not sure if it was, or it was just that our movement was bad. It was similar to the Burnley game (and would have had the same outcome if it wasn’t for some terrible defending and a goalkeeping error). I thought the same problem persisted, in that Coquelin was the only pass out from the back and he often didn’t actively look to move into space for a pass. Various players dropped deep to help out (Ramsey even dropped all the way back from the right wing on one… Read more »


Massive kudos to Reading for running us close. Some players were rusty, especially Debuchy and Gibbs, who I thought were poor. Bad choice starting Welbeck up front, he kept drifting out wide. Walcott should have came on earlier, Ramsey wasn’t penetrating enough. I’m sooooooooo relieved to get to another final, but come on Wenger, set the team out right for games like this, where was the urgency?

Crash Fistfight

I think for all the talk of players being out during the bad run, the game yesterday highlighted that the big difference between the run of poor performances and what the team has been doing on this run was the central striker.

As soon as Giroud came on we had the option of going long, but more than that, we could get the ball to him and build up play, instead of having to play back to front.

Ramsey's Spirit

was shouting for walcott, but my heart was in my mouth when i saw who he was coming on for! we really need a replacement for that man if the worst happens

Crash Fistfight

Agree – thought he should have come on for Ramsey. To be fair, I thought Ramsey had a fairly good game, considering he was having to play out wide. I just don’t see the point in him doing so when there are more natural wide players available.

It’s the whole ‘Ramsey and Wilshere in the same team’ thing over again. The manager shouldn’t have to try to shoe-horn players in just because they’re the best players – it’s about what is the best TEAM.

happy gunner

Jesus Christ the BBC is so fucking shit. If it was chelshit or utd winning badly they would say its champions material … When its arsenal then arsenal were poor, reading played so well..


Beat me to it. If you just caught their Postmortem of the game you’d have sworn we just lost.

Still. Fuck ’em all.

Wembley awaits.


We won, and that’s all that matters. You can’t help but feel we look a more cohesive unit when ospina, bellerin and monreal are playing. I’m not doubting mathieu’s ability – I just think he wasn’t match sharp. I think monreal over Gibbs is a no-brainer though. On to the final we go !

Giroud Awakening

Gibbs is such a good player, he honestly has been playing well this season, and I thought he did good today. It’s just Monreal has been so solid


Ludicrous discrepancy in judgement on the two goalkeepers by the BBC pundits. Szczesny gets criticised because he should’ve saved Reading’s equaliser, Reading’s keeper gets sympathy because he should’ve saved Alexis’s winner. Bullshit. One mistake each. We won on merit.


Yes mate! Both goals were deflected so if you want to assign blame, blame both or don’t bother. These guys have so much natural bias they cannot step back analyze incidents dispassionately, which by the way is what they’re paid for.


I cant blame Szczesny for that goal. If gibbs did his job, he wouldnt even have to make a attempt at save. Gibbs moved in even before the ball was released. He was aupposed to be challenging for the ball. He just nade it all the more difficult for the keeper.

And the commentators..God.. according to them, center defender can take 2-3 hits on their face every week. If they dont get it in the game, they should do a free fall facing down so that their face get smacked! Idiots getting paid for being idiots!


Do you blame Federici for their goal ..or should the defenders have stopped Alexis before he got that far?

You will rarely see a goal where someone hasn’t made a mistake or two. Gibbs was shite for their goal and so was the defending up to that point but Szcz has to save that shot. If you were to ask him, I bet he’d say he should have saved it too.


Thank goodness for Alexis. And boy I wish I didn’t have to listen to Warren Burton on US TV after the game.


The commentary crapfest goes global!

The best commentators may just be working on the Bundesliga, particularly Alan Fountain and Phil Bonney.

AN other

Another final. Let’s win it and break all the fa cup records.

dick law

Impressed by Gabriel. That bear post flick almost resulted in a goal.Giroud made a significant impact after coming on. Was it debuchy who slipped resulting in a two on one?
I am disappointed by the fox sports commentary – when we hit the post and Sanchez scored the second it was made to look as if injustice was done to Reading. Yes it was an error but readings goal also took a deflection which they made it out to be a world class goal


gabriel will be a great player, he was good today but in two occasions on long ball he hesitated and let the reading player take the ball if they had dangerous striker and not the old and slow pogrebnyak we would concede one goal at least but he needs to settle in the league first learn the league well and then he will be great as for per he would’t make those two long ball mistakes in a million years that is why he is getting the nod and is a starter.


Even the reading defenders were urging Walcott to have a go at them.

Sanchez is sexy eh? and do you know Ozil has silently produced 2 assists?

Crouch End Gooner

Ozil had a great game, but that shot at the end was hilarious, poor guy was knackered.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Will Welbeck ever score a goal again ? It has been ages.

Crouch End Gooner

His last goal got us to the match we just played.


I will forever love Welbeck for that winner at old trafford to knock them scum out! So even if he never scored again, (which he will) i will remember that goal for years to come, and it played a part in us reaching the final this year again and hopefully winning it! 16mil was a bargain! And those scummy united fans will be crying watching Welbz lift the FA cup trophy(hopefully)

Crouch End Gooner

Oh my god, Welbz holding the trophy and Arsenal finishing above Utd wouldn’t ‘U MAD?’ personified.

Tom thumb

its ok federici ,szczesny will give u one of his fags for the shower


Well played mate. HAHAHA

Funky Gooner

At least there was no penalties!

Chelsea fans in the pub where giving me hassle saying ‘it’s only Reading’

They clearly forgot two words : Bradford and City

Funky Gooner

At least there was no penalties!

Chelsea fans in the pub were giving me hassle saying ‘it’s only Reading’

They clearly forgot two words : Bradford and City

Springbank 1962

I still can’t shrug off the feeling that if we’d started Bellerin, Monreal, and Giroud life would have been a whole lot easier, though equally as sweet.

Two Wembley’s in a row. Little else matters right now.

Arsenal's Legend

who cares about what the c*nts vomit on air. This is Arsenal and the F.A cup is our birthright so let’s get it. Good work there guys


I definitely think Welbeck performs better with Giroud on the pitch.

Giroud just heightens the performance of everyone around him. He just buys his teammates so much time and space with his presence.

Giroud Awakening

Agreed, I also think Welbeck is best on the wing. Walcott did pretty good when he came on, but the game was pretty stretched.

Big Dave

120 mins listening to Danny Murphy talk shite.

2014-2015 = the year we've been waiting for

Shit player, even worse pundit.

If you threw a live frog in his mouth he’d be Michael Owen’s twin.


A win is a win and a goal is a goal

On to the final


Return to Wembley. Fuck d BBC


Extremely happy to be in the final again and great effort from the lads. However, I am really not a fan of Ramsey playing on the right. We have looked alot less dangerous the last 3 games and with Alexis, Ramsey and Ozil, they all love dropping deep and picking the ball up quite centrally, absolutely no width!

Optimus Prime

Don’t underestimate how good that turn from
Alexis was in front of goal. Gave the defender
his bus fare and off he went.

gooner E

Those bbc pundits minus ian were pissing me off with thier emotionally bias bullshit. Lord this was almost jamie twatknapp level punditry. You’d think we didnt hit the woodwork 3 times score a high quality goal and dig deep to win against a good reading team. Ffs its like jason Roberts felt we should have forfeitted our cup final place as we had the audacity to win and celebrate lol anyway, coyg

jimmy goonerholic

Hahaha @ forfeiting our cup place


Alexis Alexis, bringing back the sexy.


I just wanted a win.
Thanks Mr Sanchez.
I sincerely hope we play much better than this next week.
Mourinho takes us personal and him and his Uruk-hais will work their asses off not to lose at Emirates.
So boys eat that spinach, get that rest, leave the wags alone 2 days before the game and let’s go break this jinx.

gunnersaurus rex

There was a break late in the extra time when ozil giroud and Sanchez were running their lungs off towards their half and Walcott came in only once the counter was no longer a possibility

gooner bank

Hello Jose … we will beat you !!

The Only Olivier is Giroud

Sloppy display but ffs with all the posts we hit it could have been 4-1. (I only caught the last couple of minutes so tht was hyperbole). Anyway, was just womdering, uh…


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