Gervinho helps Arsenal thrash Reading 4-1

Gervinho scored one goal and set up two others as Arsenal beat
Reading 4-1 on Saturday, boosting its chances of Champions League
football next season and ruining Nigel Adkins’ return to managerial
life in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast forward set Arsenal on its way with the opener
in the 11th minute and then provided assists for Santi Cazorla and
Olivier Giroud to net in the second half.

Hal Robson-Kanu pulled a goal back for Reading, but Mikel Arteta
ended the struggling visitors’ hopes of an unlikely comeback by
slotting home a penalty 13 minutes from time.

The victory lifts Arsenal to within two points of fourth-place
Chelsea and drops Reading provisionally bottom of the table after
Adkins’ first game in charge of the club.

”I thought Arsenal were very good, they’ve passed the ball very
well,” said Adkins, who was fired by Southampton in January.
“Unfortunately, we’ve made our own downfall on a couple of
goals.”

The Emirates Stadium wasn’t exactly an ideal venue for Adkins to
resume his coaching career, with Arsenal full of confidence after
back-to-back 2-0 wins against Bayern Munich and Swansea before the
international break.

And Gervinho, back in favor at Arsenal following a mid-season
slump in form, continued the team’s momentum by smashing in from
close range after Cazorla drove in a cross. The Ivory Coast forward
also scored against Swansea.

”He was always lively and created many dangerous situations,”
Wenger said of the much-maligned Gervinho.

Cazorla, the instigator of many Arsenal attacks, clipped in a
great finish from the edge of the area in the 48th after being
picked out by Gervinho, who then led a counter-attack in the 68th
and passed for Giroud to drill home low to make it 3-0.

Robson-Kanu stooped to head in a cross from the left a minute
later, with Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal having to go off after
injuring his knee in the build-up to the goal.

But Arteta ensured there were no late anxieties for the hosts by
calmly stroking in a penalty after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was
fouled.

”We played with good collective spirit, technical quality and
always went forward,” Wenger said. ”We created many chances,
that’s the most pleasant thing. We defended well, had good
discipline and didn’t become easy when the game became easy.”

Arsenal is four points behind third-place Tottenham with a game
in hand.