When Reading and Arsenal met at the Madjeski Stadium in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season, it produced one of the most dramatic and entertaining encounters seen for quite some time. The Gunners were 4-0 down at one stage, but took the game to extra-time and ended up winning 7-5. On Monday evening, they meet again, only this time it is in the Premier League.
Although the neutral will be hoping for a similar kind of match between these two, both Arsene Wenger and Brian McDermott are sure to be looking for solid defensive performances from their teams. Both of these managers are coming under pressure at the moment and Monday’s result could have a big say on their future.
The Royals have now lost five top flight matches in a row and seem to have an inability to defend right now and as we all know – that is likely to leave you in trouble. They are six points adrift from safety and have only managed one victory in the league all season. The games do not get any easier for McDermott as he knows just what a superb side Arsenal can be on their day.
Survival is usually about how well you do against the teams around you and Reading have not been able to win matches against fellow relegation candidates, so need to pick up some points against the big teams, starting on Monday evening.
Not many would have been expecting Wenger to be under pressure this campaign as Arsenal fans usually say ‘In Arsene we Trust’. However, it looks as though some fans are losing patience with the Frenchman as they currently sit in seventh place and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup to Bradford City on Tuesday evening.
A win here is what Wenger needs to silence some of his critics and in truth, things aren’t actually that bad at Arsenal. They sit just two points away from the Champions League spot and a good run of results over Christmas is likely to see them move into fourth.
Both sides have a lot of quality going forward, but have looked far from steady at the back this season, so goals are expected in this one. After their previous meeting, Reading are sure to be fairly anxious about what might happen here and they will not see any lead they may have as being safe.
An enthralling 90 minutes of Monday Night Football awaits and with this being the final Premier League game to take place in this round of fixtures, the demand for points could be even higher than they are now.