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.