Arsenal wreck Adkins’ big day

Gervinho was the inspiration as Arsenal strolled to a
comfortable 4-1 win over struggling Reading at the Emirates
Stadium.

The Ivorian scored the opener and set up two more as the Gunners
gave their hopes of a top-four place a real boost.

The defeat for Reading meanwhile was a sixth on the spin and
leaves new boss Nigel Adkins with a mountain to climb if he is to
lift his side out of trouble.

The Gunners were on top from the outset and made the perfect
start on 11 minutes, Gervinho tapping home Santi Cazorla’s
cross-shot from close range to finish a move he had started on the
right wing.

Arsenal thought they had won a penalty when onrushing Reading
goalkeeper Stuart Taylor clattered Olivier Giroud in the area on 18
minutes, only for referee Chris Foy to wave play on.

Arsene Wenger’s men were utterly dominant in the first 45 but
could not find a second, the best chance coming when Cazorla
drilled just wide of the left-hand post from inside the area.

Adkins will have been relieved to have got in at half-time at
just 1-0, but whatever he said at the break went out of the window
three minutes into the second period.

Reading again failed to close Arsenal down, allowing Gervinho to
lay it off to the excellent Cazorla, who coolly stroked the ball
home from the edge of the area.

Gervinho again had a role in the third on 67 minutes, collecting
the ball on the halfway line after Reading made a mess of their own
corner, striding forward and laying it off to Giroud who drilled
low first time beyond Taylor.

Reading gave themselves hope just a minute later, Jobi McAnuff’s
teasing cross from the left converted at the far post by Hal
Robson-Kanu.

That hope was quickly snuffed out though when substitute Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain was tripped in the area 13 minutes from time,
allowing Mikel Arteta to slot home from the spot.

Aaron Ramsey and Per Mertesacker both had late chances to make
it five, as Arsenal closed out one of their easiest victories of
the season.