Arsenal 2 Reading 0

Last updated : 19 April 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Reading slipped closer to the drop zone with a limp performance that led to a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners hardly got out of second gear such was the extent of their comfort zone.

First-half goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Gilberto Silva were enough for the points as they attempt to overtake Chelsea in second place.

Few would have believed just two months ago that this game would have meant more to Reading than the Gunners.

At that time Arsenal were sitting at the top of the Premier League table and Reading were comfortably in mid-table.

Arsenal's interest is now trying to finish second behind Manchester United, whereas Reading's is a fight for survival.

Unfortunately for Steve Coppell, his team didn't show the urge that would have been expected with them being in such a position.

The game began slowly and the first real action came after nine minutes when Alex Hleb put Cesc Fabregas through on goal, but there was enough space for the Reading defenders to crowd him out and the result was a tame shot which was easily saved by Marcus Hahnemann.

The move did however raise the intensity of the game a notch as Theo Walcott was beginning to emerge as a real threat on the right flank.

The flying forward almost scored on 24 minutes when his header from a corner was goalbound, but the Reading keeper got both arms in the way to block the effort.

Robin van Persie came close on 29 minutes when his low free-kick on the left side of the area was fired under the leaping Reading wall and just turned away before it crossed the line by a brilliant Hahnemann save.

Reading eventually caved in under the pressure when Adebayor was picked out by a precise past from Kolo Toure and the Togolese striker pulled the ball down and in one movement shot past the helpless Hahnemann.

The Gunners could have gone two up within seconds but Fabregas couldn't make the slightest of touches needed to redirect Toure's cross into the net.

A second goal did come for the Gunners on 38 minutes in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when Silva's shot on the edge of the area struck the head of Andre Bikey and looped beyond the dive of the Reading keeper.

It should have been 3 -0 on 42 minutes when Adebayor pulled the ball back for van Persie, but the Reading keeper again made a magnificent save.

He did the same to deny efforts from Toure, Fabregas and Silva as the Gunners peppered his goal just before half-time.

Arsenal began the second half as they finished the first to keep the Reading goal under siege.

The visitors had nothing to offer and were fortunate not to fall further behind in the 71st minute when Arsenal hit the woodwork twice within a matter of seconds.

First van Persie's stunning free-kick clattered back of both the bar and post, before Walcott's fierce shot bounced of the top of the bar.

Reading's first real effort came after 77 minutes when Bobby Convey showed good determination to muscle his way into the Arsenal area, but his close-range shot was well saved by Jens Lehmann.

Substitute Michael Duberry kept the deficit to a minimum with a goalline clearance that denied Fabregas and, despite Arsenal's efforts, the game ended with just the two goals in their favour.