Reading Preview: Time for the Fringe Players to Step Up
Arsenal has been on an amazing run lately which culminated in 9 consecutive wins up until Saturday, when Middlesbrough pooped Arsene Wenger’s birthday party. In fairness to Boro, it wasn’t a stroll in the park for the Gunners as Petr Cech earned his pay with some excellent saves to keep the game at bay. On the other end of the pitch, Victor Valdes had a stormer and the scoreline was a reflection of the proceedings.
With the Premier League shoved to the corner for some EFL Cup action, Arsene Wenger is set to rest his first team starters, allowing the second string side to take center stage. The official site showed pictures of the players training and it was nice seeing Carl Jenkinson in action. For a player that has missed so much action after suffering that nasty knee injury while on loan at West Ham, it would be a proud moment for Corporal Jenks wearing the sacred Red and White again.
Arsenal Team News
There would be wholesale changes to the squad with Emiliano Martinez in goal for Petr Cech. David Ospina is the club’s Champions League goalkeeper and possibly the FA Cup goalie, so I don’t expect him to be the custodian in goal against Reading today. In defense, I expect to see the British triumvirate of Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and the exciting Rob Holding playing alongside the fit-again Gabriel Paulista. These four players are badly in need of games and would be hoping the midfielders and attackers do their business to ensure they qualify for the next round.
In midfield, I believe we would see Mohamed Elneny in action but with Mesut Ozil, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla set to be rested, we could see Jeff Reine-Adelaide and possibly Alex Iwobi in the creative midfield role. I would also expect the ‘forgotten’ Olivier Giroud to be flanked by Lucas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has been pushing hard for a starting berth and this would be offer another opportunity for the young Englishman to strut his stuff.
Arsenal Injury / Suspension News
Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Granit Xhaka (suspension)
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Reading Team News
Arsenal’s opponents will not be pushovers and the recent draw with Boro would be a stark reminder of the team not to underrate any side. Jaap Stam’s side aren’t doing badly in the Skybet Championship, fresh off a 1-0 away win over Rotherham that has seen them languish in eighth place. Reading has featured in three EFL Cup rounds before the draws cast them against the Gunners. They had already dispatched Plymouth Argyle, Milton Keynes Dons and Brighton. The Gunners will have to be mindful of John Swift that is currently leading the scoring charts for the Royals with four goals.
Reading Injury / Suspension
Reading has a clean bill of health
Reading Predicted Lineup
- Last Five Games: W W W W D
- Last Result: Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough
- Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott (8)
- Last Five Games: L D D L W
- Last Result: Rotherham United 0-1 Reading
- Leading Goalscorer: John Swift (4)
Gooner Daily predicts a 4 – 1 win.
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