Arsenal ready for Reading on March 30

Arsenal finally gets back to Premier League action on Saturday March 30 when they take on relegation-battling Reading at home at the Emirates. As has been the case all season long, the Gunners will be determined to earn all three points in the race for third and fourth place along  with Tottenham and Chelsea. Reading players will be trying to impress new manager Nigel Adkins, who was let go earlier in the season by Southampton and replaces the sacked Brain McDermott.
When these two teams get together all sorts of strange things seem to happen. Perhaps there have been full moons or something on their previous dates this season. They’ve played twice so far this campaign, once in the league and once in the League Cup and have managed to score 19 times between them. The Gunners won 5-2 at Reading in the league and back in the fourth round of the League Cup they overcame a 4-0 deficit to earn a 7-5 victory.
Arsenal is back in the race for a top-four spot as fourth-place Spurs, like last season, are starting to choke. Arsenal’s still in fifth place though, but are only four points behind Tottenham and they also have a game in hand on their London rivals. Arsenal’s just five behind third-place Chelsea and are two ahead of sixth-place Everton.
After playing Reading, Arsenal takes on West Brom, Norwich, and Everton before engaging in a London derby with Fulham. Spurs have to play the likes of Swansea, Chelsea, and Man City and still have their Europa League matches to contend with. Arsenal has some injured players to worry about though. Midfield engine Jack Wilshere is expected to be out of action for about two more weeks while Theo Walcott, the Gunners leading scorer, will likely moss the match against Reading.
It’s unclear when Wilshere will be back as Wenger said, “Wilshere’s injury is not better or worse. It was an inflammation of his ankle bone and we had such history with him that we are a bit more cautious than we would be with you or with me. We deferred a little bit his rehab by one week. We gave him one more week’s rest because it was wise medically to do it. Honestly, it’s very difficult to say when he will be back. I believe in two weeks on Sunday, that means not the next game, the game after.”
In addition, midfielder Abou Diaby will be sidelined for up to nine months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in training. Wenger has to decide whether to put Wojciech Szczesny back on goal or to stick with Lukasz Fabianksi, who has played the last couple of games.
Adkins has his work cut out for him as Reading’s new manager as there are just eight games remaining in the season and relegation is looming for the 19th-place club. Reading is seven points behind 17th-place Aston Villa and are four behind 18th-place Wigan. Reading has lost five straight league games and have managed just three wins in their past 10 matches. They’re also the worst road team in the league with just five away points so far this season.
Arsenal has three wins and a pair of losses in their past five games overall, so they’re not exactly firing on all cylinders either. Reading usually plays with just one striker on the road and if they do, expect Arsenal to dominate the proceedings. Look for the Gunners to create numerous scoring chances in this game, but the question will be how many can they convert?
Wengers’ side needs to make sure they take care of things in their own end as well. There have been far too many times this season where the defenders seemed to be a little clueless when it came to knowing who to mark. If Adam Le Fondre plays for Reading, they’ll need to keep a close eye on him. Look for Arsenal to put in a decent performance here and take all three crucial points from the game.

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