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.