All season long Arsenal has suffered from inconsistency. Be it starting or finishing games, the gunners have dropped crucial points and now find themselves in a similar position to last season, having to play catch up. Their opponent this weekend is a team fighting to avoid relegation and will come all guns blazing as they have nothing to lose. While three points is a must for both sides, a draw for Reading would seem like a mammoth achievement.
The last two meetings between the clubs this season, have produced 19 goals with Arsenal emerging victorious on both occasions. This could possibly be a banana skin for the Gunners and they need to ensure they are up for the fight. The manager will have to marshal his troops to ensure victory and all three points for the home team.
Starting XI: How Arsene Wenger approaches this game will be key. While some of his players would have suffered from fatigue from their international endeavors, the manager needs to ensure the starting XI are up for the fight. Under no circumstances can the Gunners have another sloppy start and would need to push on from the word go.
Possible starting XI: Giroud, Podolski, Chamberlain, Arteta, Cazorla, Diaby, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna, Szczesny.
The Substitutes: Arsene Wenger would surely hold the record for the least number of substitutions at half-time. Yet, commencing with the Reading game the manager needs to ensure he changes things around even if it means bringing all three substitutes at once. Drastic changes during a game is not what the Arsenal manager is known for, yet measures need to be taken to ensure the outcome of the game is favorable for the Gunners.
The Gooners: Throughout the course of the season, there have been a section of supporters who have voiced their opinion about how the club has fallen from grace. For the last nine games, all Gooners must put aside their differences and have one voice. Transfers, criticisms, questions etc. all need to be put aside for now as their support is what the manager and the team need and could well be the deciding factor for Arsenal to achieve a top four finish.
While the Gunners can take heart from the reverse fixture (where they won 2-5), the manager needs to ensure that the approach to the game is positive. On paper, with current form, the Gunners should emerge victorious however, considering Reading’s fight for survival and with the appointment of new manager Nigel Adkins, the Royals could well be up for this one