Reading – Arsenal, 1-2 after extra time. We didn’t make it easy for ourselves.

By Walter Broeckx

Compared to our match at Burnley Arsenal made a few  changes. Szczesny started in goal and Ospina was on the bench. At right back Debuchy made his first start since his injury and Bellerin didn’t play or was involved. Gibbs started at left back and Monreal was on the bench. Up front Welbeck started in the place of Giroud.

The team that started was: Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck. On the bench we had : Ospina, Gabriel, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud.

A good start from Arsenal with some early chances for Arsenal. Welbeck just couldn’t get on to a through ball and the ball bounced of him from the keeper for a goal kick. A bit later Alexis had his shot deflected  and from the resulting corner Mertesacker had a good header but the keeper saved it on the line.

Atkinson letting a few rough challenges go like a poke in  eye on Ramsey and some kicking on Alexis. Reading then with a shot but Szczesny could hold on to the ball. Reading most of the time leaning back and letting Arsenal do the playing. A free kick from Özil just missing the target after 17 minutes. A few minutes later Cazorla had a curling shot but it went wide over the target. Cazorla setting Alexis up but the keeper came out and did enough to rush Alexis in to not making proper connection. Atkinson missing an elbow to the face of Koscielny, not stopping the match despite a clear head injury but luckily Reading players were offside after that.

Reading with a lot of unpunished challenges but well this is Atkinson so not unexpected. Arsenal completely dominating things but still 0-0 after an half hour. What was expected did happen after 38 minutes. Özil with a fantastic ball to Alexis who controled, turned around his man and his shot could only by touched by the goalkeeper his leg but went in. 0-1 to The Arsenal.

Reading seeing this as a signal to use even more force. Atkinson being the lenient himself and just having a word. Arsenal trying to go forward and Reading trying to counter after a corner but the shot was harmless but better be careful for this. On the stroke of half time finally the first card when Chalobah hacked Gibbs down with his umpteenth foul in the first half. 0-1 to Arsenal at half time.

A header with the back of his head from Mertesacker or even the shoulder was the first attempt from Arsenal in the second half but it went wide. Arsenal not really sharp at the moment and suddenly Reading get away on the left and the ball bounces over the line and Reading equalise.  The cross from the right and then the shot took a deflection of the leg of Gibbs and went over the line. The team being a bit sloppy in the last minutes and we pay for it in cash. 1-1 after 54 minutes.

Arsenal trying a bit more after that but not realling carving out many chances at first. Mertesacker who got nasty kick after the equaliser has to go off the field limping and Gabriel comes on after 62 minutes. Another Atkinson casualty one could say. Reading claiming a penalty when a cross hits Debuchy his arm from close range. Luckily Atkinson couldn’t see it.

Gabriel with a great header after a corner from Özil but Reading keeper clawed it from under his crossbar. Thats a bit better from Arsenal. Giroud came in the place of Welbeck after 71 minutes. Another free kick for Arsenal but this time Gabriel heads over, the cross once again from Özil.

Özil then being kicked on the achilles without Atkinson doing anything once again. Alexis then trying to reach Giroud but the keeper is first to the ball. Progbeniak shoots wide for Reading and so did Özil within a minute. Chalabah with a swerving shot forcing a corner for Reading. Arsenal bfreak on the counter with Alexis and with the help from Giroud it comes to Ramsey who hits the post. Unlucky.

Progbernyak almost away but thanks to Koscielny the ball rolls to Szczesny. Gibbs then with a low cross but Ramsey shoots over. A last header from Giroud but in the arms of the keeper and we go in to extra time. 1 -1 after 90 minutes.

A shot from Cazorla from just outside the penalty area went over. Reading defending in numbers and trying to speculate for penalties it seemed.  Walcott making himself ready on the touch line. Coquelin is taken off after 10 minutes in the first period of extra time and so Theo enters the field. A fierce shot from Ramsey is just saved by the Reading keeper in to a corner. A mix up in midfield almost gifting Reading a chance to break but Walcott gets the ball gives it to Özil who feeds Alexis. Alexis runs in to the box and has a low shot at goal that Federici lets roll between his hands and over the line. 1-2 to the Arsenal just at the end of the first period of extra time. Federici going from hero zo zero for Reading there.

McGea for Reading with a shot from distance but it went over. Özil with a low shot after good defensive work from Giroud and Alexis but it went well wide.  Gabriel taking a yellow card because of the team not defending resolute enough then. Arsenal then again with a great move from Özil setting up first Ramsey and then Giroud but the latter hit the post again. Second time Arsenal hit the woodwork.

Reading now trying to push forward and Arsenal defending the lead. Giroud with some great footwork on the flank to keep the ball in possession. Walcott then pushed off the ball just outside the penalty area but Atkinson sees no foul. Now in the closing minutes it was bringing the match over the line. The with a strong run being chopped down from behind just outside the penalty area. The free kick results to nothing.

Arsenal wins 2-1 and that is already an improvement compared to last season when we had to go to penalties. A typical semi final where we had things in control but didn’t do enough to score that second goal early in the second half and paid for it with an extra half hour of football.

But the most important thing at Wembley is to win at the end. A visit to Wembley at the end of May is what we earned today.

93 Replies to “Reading – Arsenal, 1-2 after extra time. We didn’t make it easy for ourselves.”

  1. No disrespect to Reading FC, they played well but if one team is being favoured by the Referee it is very difficult for the opposing team to make any real impact into the game? Professional fouls and no fair play is really starting to effect the way we play.

  2. There was a chance that Keown’s son could have played against us today. I don’t see Niall’s name on the game sheet (I hope I spelled that correctly).

    Mertesacker is expected to have a minor ankle problem. From the post-game interview.

  3. A good win against an energetic and workmanlike Reading who were permitted to get away with some thuggery and rugby by a totally incompetent prick of a ref.

    I listened to the BBC commentary and “expert” analysis – what a lad of partisan prattle by a pack of dorks – how low has the BBC fallen.

    Despite it all a very satisfying and hard fought win. Well done the team!!

  4. How did Debuchy do? He didn’t get time with the U21 to bring up his fitness? First game back, going to extra time, he will be sore tomorrow.

    Most of the “English” news sources are painting the game as Arsenal got one lucky goal, and one very lucky goal, and Reading got a deserved goal. Some more rabbid than others. Yahoo/Eurosport was among the very rabbid. Small news sources near reading, and southern hemisphere sites seemed to have the balance.

    LocalBerkshire has a pretty good commentary.

    > 39 mins: GGGGGGOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL. Reading 0-1 Arsenal. Sanchez puts the Gunners in front. Sublime through ball from Ozil is wonderfully controlled by the Chilean who twists and turns before firing past Federici. They have that kind of quality.

    London and Manchester commentaries aren’t even close.

  5. They did seem to get away with a lot, and were able to foul us out of our stride at times. But we bought in three or four very rusty players who took a while to get into the game, but kept on plugging away, working hard and never hiding. Must be tough playing the whole game plus extra time when you have not played for a few weeks, or a few months in the case of Debuchy.
    Sometimes, despite the class in our squad, it is other qualities that tell in the end, tenacity, work ethic, never giving up, forcing mistakes in opponents,that’s what ultimately happened today tho there were moments of pure quality as well. The media narrative will most likely be that plucky Reading deserved to win, but that would be forgetting we hit the woodwork three times.
    I know this article is about Arsenal, but away from that, it seems one of the richest clubs in the world treated us to yet another bore fest. Yes, they will win the league, Utd losing today might ultimately help us to second, but how long before RA , like the rest of the world becomes bored by Jose’s football….again….the man just cannot help but play anti football it seems, despite rumours his boss wants him to play a more attractive game.

  6. Really poor performance. They did not seem up for the game at all. Slow and weak in the tackle. Lucky we were not playing a decent side or we would be out. I actually felt sorry for Reading. They deserve to be in the final. We got very lucky. It was another Monaco like performance that this set of players seem to display randomly. There may be some truth in the mental aspect of it where we go out thinking we don’t have to work to win in some games.

  7. @Jayramfootball

    As much as I agree that we didn’t play especially well, Reading were hardly unlucky to lose. We outplayed them throughout the game, having more chances and better chances throughout – don’t forget that we hit the post three times. With a little better finishing we’d have run away with the fixture, even though our defending was a little lax at times, it always looked like we’d outscore them.

    This was despite how heavily Reading exploited Atkinson’s neglect. The fouls they were putting on us in the middle of the park grew more and more extraordinary, and particularly after we scored our second they started to make increasingly desperate/dangerous tackles. Several of their chances came directly from fouls in the middle of the park that Atkinson ignored, and yet more of their attacks came as our players lay injured on the ground. I counted at least four instances where our players were hit by their players’ fingers, hands, and elbows. While some of these were surely accidental, they were also consequential of Atkinson’s laissez-faire attitude. Reading players clearly knew they could get away with a lot.

    All in all (though Reading should feel aggrieved with that early offside call), we deserved to win, and your appraisal of our team is bizarre. We were comfortably the better team, produced by far the best chances and played by far the best football. If we’d finished better we’d have won comfortably.

  8. @Gord

    Our first goal was class – a super assist from Ozil with a fine finish from Sanchez under considerable pressure.

    The second goal came after a good build up and also good individual play from Sanchez, who tried to shoot between the keeper’s feet from close range – the keeper tried to stop it, but failed to do so – the ball trickled into the net – this trickle made the goal appear “lucky” to the imbecilic dorks commentating – the “lucky” comment being repeated by the aaa asshole clan.

    Overall Reading were industrious, solid defensively, used thuggery with the approval of the ref, but were outplayed for most of the match. Debuchy looked a bit rusty but came through 120 mins well – not bad for someone just back from a long layoff.


    “Really poor performance” – bollocks!!! Given the Reading tactics and the poor ref it was a good and well calculated response from our team. Just remember Ramsey had a finger in the eye, Kos a fore arm smash on the nose & Gibbs a chop on the back of his head – all deliberate, all relatively early in the match and all unpunished – I would like to see how well an armchair critic like you would perform in such circumstances.

    Chill out and enjoy the moment.

  9. Bet Jose gave his ex assistant manager, Steve Clarke a few tips on how to stop Arsenal… get a lenient ref, and foul by whatever means.

  10. My take on the game was that although we controlled the match we were not fluent. Also we have become, despite our hugely advantageous possession stats, more of a direct side. We took on their defenders a great deal and were not hugely successful because they played so deeply. It was a curious thing. We could have 10 very partial chances or 2 very good chances and we were trying for the 2 very good chances…and it worked. Ozil’s pass to Alexis was sublime.

    I dislike the term “deserved to win”. Depending on what incidents you cite, you could probably claim that Accrington Stanley deserved to be in the final. We won because we scored more than them. Sometimes we lose.

  11. bjtgooner,

    For some weird reason, my comment to jayramfootball keeps disappearing but you and T Ross have made my points abundantly.

  12. Atkinson was really blind sometimes today. That helped Reading on their way to fight for the final. This was the game of their lives!

    The sublime first goal and the sheer will of the 2nd goal from Sanchez was the gulf of quality that put Arsenal through.
    In recent matches Sanchez was unlucky with wis finishes, but today other players got unlucky.

    Pure joy.
    Wenger at his best: reaching not only 2semifinals, but 2 finals in a row. Now he have players to deliver it. Next season, after another great transfer, it will be much easier to make another run in the cups. And finally properly attack the premiership crown.

  13. No matter how one looks at it, to play a one-off game against a team low down in a lower division was never going to be easy.
    Tactically, a match versus (say) Liverpool would be far less stressful affair than the Reading contest when they had nothing to lose. That is to take nothing effort away from the 100 effort they gave, although the difference in class was plain to see throughout.
    As far as Arsenal was concerned, my MOTM was clearly Alexis.
    Szczesny’s mistake in conceding the Reading goal has done nothing to aid his comeback cause.
    And Gibbs continues to worry me with his reluctance to use his right boot. All this impressive cutting inside to help the attack with the ball solely attached to his left boot simply cannot be allowed to continue.

  14. I didn’t believe our goals were “bad”, that was just the feeling I got from much of the “English” media (which includes things like ESPN, the wonders of having Stewart Robson as an employee).

    I agree we generated lots of chances. The second goal is why people insist that your shots end up on target, not wide or high. Things happen, and “fluke” goals result. But if the ball is off target, it is probably just another goal kick.

    Some of you have played goal. Ever have a moment like Adam Federici did for Reading?

    I was playing goal for an indoor soccer (North America) game. A high ball came in that was going to land outside of the box. I came out to play the ball, and stopped about the right place to play the ball as it struck the surface. With my feet too wide, The ball bounced off the surface directly between my legs, and then bounced on the goal line on its way into the net.

  15. @bjtgooner

    Glad you picked out those three blatant early fouls by Reading, unpunished by Atkinson. Also Per Mertesacker was fouled and had to go off limping.

    There were obviously reasons why we weren’t our fluent best. Still, as Arsene Wenger pointed out, we had over 70% possession and over 20 shots at goal. We certainly did deserve to win. Very glad we did.

    On to another final – two years in a row.

    @Mandy – yes, boring, boring Chelsea again. Something like the sixth one nil victory in a row.

    I’d rather be a gooner any day.

  16. GoingGoingGooner,

    If you have better stats in all respect and you score more goals than your opponent then you deserve to win. I don’t understand how that statement is problematic.

  17. Jayramfootball
    while this wasn’t a vintage arsenal performance you were so off the mark with your comments and your analysis bordered on sensationalism. I guess after flipping the pages of the gutter press you’re letting them think for you. Arsenal categorically deserved to win!!!!! they were the better footballing side even though not as good as we’re used to.
    Reading were spirited at best and deserve praise for a tough match yet not even Clarke can spew such crappie statement like you.

  18. @Bootoomee

    Thanks; although I always feel you phrase your thoughts particularly well – much better than my efforts.

    Anyway, the good guys won & we are in the final – time to celebrate!

  19. I couldn’t find fault with Szczesny on their goal. The ball was deflected 2 yards from him.

    As for the fouls that Atkinson let go…well done to the team for playing on and not letting it get in their heads. I don’t think Reading were particularly thuggish compared to what we have experienced in other matches; they simply got away with fouls that they committed because they were outclassed. Kudos to Atkinson for letting them get away with it 🙂

  20. Misery loves company!

    The team that I claim to support just made the 2nd consecutive FA cup final but rather than celebrate, all I’ll do is bitch and moan.


  21. Think Gibbs was one of the rusty players for a while at least. Take Nickys point on Gibbs, but I did note he seemed less gung-ho in galavanting forward than in the past, think his way back into the team these days is to copy the magnificent Monreal.

  22. @Bootoome – my comment was directed at those who thought Reading “deserved” to win. 99% of the stats and incidents were in our favour but there will always be one Liverpool commentator that will dig up some incident or arcane statistic and claim that our opponent deserved to beat us! We won…end of. Cue smiles.

  23. Gord,

    Alexis scored a similar goal against Stoke City (his second of the match and our 3rd). That was even slightly worse because Begovic palmed the ball in himself. The only reason why we will not hear the end of this one is because of the stage and its implication. Had Federici conceded the same goal as the 4th in a 4-0 win, no one will keep going on about it.

    There is nothing peculiar about the goal and all the tears being shed for the goalkeeper is fucking hypocritical. Szczesney conceded a similar goal today and I can’t recall anyone crying for us when we conceded the second goal due to a defendive miscommunication in the 2011 League cup final to lose out to Birmingham City.

    Reading gave the match their all but on the balance of play and in terms of taking chances by goals scored, we absolutely deserve to win.

  24. Looking at Arsene’s interview at, I don’t think he seen a deflection on the goal.

    I have no idea what planet this question came from, but I like Arsene’s response.

    > on whether Arsenal wash the goalkeeper’s shirt before he wears it…

    >> No. I am not aware of that tradition. I am quite mature and experienced but I wasn’t watching football in 1927. I didn’t know that history so I have learnt something today.

  25. GoingGoingGooner,

    Apologies man!

    I am really getting annoyed by those crying more than the bereaved and trying to rubbish our success today. I misread your post.

  26. @Bootoomee

    We won – We could win 5-0 and there would still be some claiming that we missed the convert!:) 🙂

  27. I live in Reading, All I got was lucky lucky arsenal who keep diving all over the place, I also run with the Reading Sweatshop luckily I won’t get any abuse! I love next to the Madeksi stadium too! So I look forward to Mondays run! Watched a bit of the match some dodgy decisions as predicted! But well done lads! now to aston villa arsenal final! :p

  28. Jayramfootball – your appraisal is wrong. I was at the game & saw more two handed pushes from Reading than in a maternity ward. The PGMO cheat was having a field day. He allowed them to kick Alexis (serial fouling) and push as many Arsenal players without any ‘officiating’. His display was the most corrupt vile display of cheating at Wembley this year. Arsenal were fortunate not to have 4 players injured with eye or facial injury. The number of foot injuries would probably be half the remaining players.

    It is clear that Atkinson is corrupt & cheats when Arsenal are involved. If Reading are officiated in this manner they are certainties to win the Champions League & the World Cup.

    Three times Atkinson should have shown Red cards yet nothing was shown. The final foul on Theo was at least a yellow – ie second one & then a red. The height of cheating is when a card is converted to a chat about the grazing in the country.

    Arsenal won 2 -1 despite a cheat evading all forms of honesty while dressed like a canary.

  29. Yes, Atkinson seemed especially lenient on fouls on Alexis. Then there were others as well, a stamp on Ozils Achilles for starters. Still, soften our players up for Atkinsons team of choice next weekend….why not?
    Have not seen tomorrow’s papers, but could we be something unique, a team LUCKY to win, that scored two, hit the woodwork three times, had rather a lot of possession, were within a whisker of a penalty, against a team that should not have finished the game with a full compliment of players.

  30. A panda walks into a bar, sits down and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter dead.

    As the panda stands up to go, the bartender shouts, “Hey! Where are you going? You just shot my waiter and you didn’t pay for your sandwich!”

    The panda yells back at the bartender, “Hey, I’m a PANDA! Look it up!” The bartender opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for panda:

    “A tree dwelling marsupial of Asian orgin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.

    Courtesy ebaumsworld.

  31. Glad we’re through, now to talk about our performance and our old friend Atkinson.

    I’ve not found it easy to figure out how much of the the way the game went was down to us, how much to Reading, and how much to the work of Atkinson.

    As the minutes and hours have passed I’m getting increasingly angry about Atkinson’s part in it. We were nowhere near our best, yet there is simply no way of knowing how the game would have went with a decent referee doing his job properly.

    If you think of how careful we have to be in the majority of our matches, how easily the players can find themselves getting booked- Chambers two at Stoke, for instance- effectively you are talking about a different sport to the one Atkinson enabled or even shaped today. In Atkinson’s sport today, it it incredibly hard to get booked, and you can foul and foul and foul.

    Any time there’s a chance, you have a little kick, or you grab a shirt, or flail your arms about and catch someone in the face. Most of the time, it’s not a free kick. The rest of the time, when it is a free kick, it almost certainly won’t be a booking for an individual foul, and you can have as many of them as you like. That’s a different sport. Then throw in a studs up tackle at great force. So easy to imagine that constituting a red for us (think Giroud’s one against Fulham two years ago. Very little force, but it had the ‘form’- studs, downward motion- of a dangerous challenge)

    A head injury? Atkinson will watch that with a perfect view, see someone catch an arm heavily in the face, and almost gleefully allow the game to continue, turning his head away as soon as he’s ascertained that ,yep, he got whacked in the face, now he’s on the floor. For Reading meanwhile he promptly stops it when he notices the keeper has hurt his finger. On and on it went. Was Walcott inside or outside the box? It was as close as it gets, but it still smarted knowing how happy Atkinson would have been with the chance to give Reading a pen if it had been at the other end.

    The guy is an absolute menace to us. Easily the worst thing, though, is how much more likely an injury is when he’s in charge. Today it seems Per has paid the price. You let a team get away with too much and of course they are more likely to barrel into a challenge with studs up and without the control the rules say you must have. Atkinson- how much longer will he be around to perform like that?

  32. Atkinson, how much longer will he be around to perform like that……unfortunately as long as Riley is around.

  33. Mandy Dodd

    I know….aaargh.

    He is the golden ticket now for teams looking to gain advantages through foul play against us. Leaves us depending on rival managers not being too cynical in their approach to games when they know he’ll be the ref. Not good. Seriously increases chance of bad tackles and the injuries to go with them.

    Sanchez got lucky, Per could easily be out for weeks. The shake of his head as he left field was of a man not only in pain and unhappily weighing up the nature of it, but one disgusted a fellow pro had chosen to go in like that and been allowed to get away with it

  34. Agree with the comments re the GBH on Per.

    Just viewed the goal by Atkinson’s team, Chelski – it arose following a blatant not given foul by Terry.

    Lucky Chelski?? I wonder will the media make that comment??

  35. Rich
    Well said. Atkinson let Reading attack when he clearly saw Koscielny getting whacked in the face when he was just a few yards away but stopped play to see if the reading keeper’s finger was ok from palming the ball out of play. Fortunately the reading players strayed offside or we’d have been punished for his negligence, just like he did two years ago when ramirez stamped on Coq leaving him sprawling on the ground and Chelsea went on to score at our end. He strikes me as someone who’ll cheat, even blatantly, and does not care as he’s fully aware he won’t be asked to explain his decisions, and he knows the pundits will somehow find a way to defend him.
    He doesn’t care to hide his bias at all. That man does not have an honest bone in his body, and the sooner he’s kept away from any competitive matches the better it’ll be for all.

  36. Bjt
    they’ll never call Chelsea lucky (that’s a term only reserved for Arsenal) despite that utd had 70% possession and double the number of shots. We really need a muckracker…

  37. Strange how many decisions Chelsea get, when they are not exactly nice to refs, they even went as far as falsely accusing a ref of racism, yet no comeback

    Just surprised how far we are on this ref abuse table, but then again, the decisions we get…….
    Nice one pgmol, your decisions have helped a team about to win the league that behave the worst against your employees. Now why would that be….what exactly do Chelsea have in more abundance than others?

  38. This is a game of rugby . It is so physical play by Reading that it disrupted tempo. Most checks by Reading players ended up with a contact with a Arsenal Player.

    referee was not helping us too. It is a dirty Burley in Reading .

    We deserve to win . But of course, some rusty players made us look bad.

    It’s expected ..

  39. Mandy, I looked at that table a while ago (days). It is very likely that all of those values for team behavior are statistically the same.

  40. Jayramfootbal and Shoot

    its a wonder the both of you bother to come on this site and make the comments you do.

    I take it you’re both perfect and anything other than that is beneath you. So as you both are able to have complete control over one’s own Destiny, can you please share some of that Miraculous/Perfect Insight and help us ‘Not so Perfect Untolders’ the exact score of the Liverpool-v- Aston Villa and the names of scorers, just so the Bookmakers can never mess with us again, because we have you both to correctly predict scores on any Match. (I could do with a big Win)

  41. I’m usually the first to support the referee, but not this time. Fortunately Reading are not a particularly dirty team or they would have put our medical staff under considerable pressure. The worst foul that has so far gone unmentioned (I think!) was the one on Ozil’s Achilles.
    There were also a couple of poor lino decisions and two (one for each team) penalty calls, so a bad day all round for PGMO.

  42. When Ramsey hit the post in the second half, he did so despite being dragged back in a bear hug by a defender. Why not a penalty?

    No surprise that the “experts” on the BBC did not even mention it.

  43. Now that I’ve patted down my testicles from the top of my head, a quiet thought…
    For all Atkinson’s failures, let’s just be grateful that he ignored/didn’t see that handball when the score was 1-1. I’ve seen less obvious penalties given.

  44. Jayramfootball, If we had not been ready for this game, we could easily have lost. But you could see that every Arsenal player had the desire to win. I think this is what helped us in the end. I do have a feeling that had we gone to penalties, we would still have won. Anyway, the Reading game (together withn the Bunley one) have set us nicely for Chelsea. They will play more or less the same, and should we keep the desire to work hard, we will win Mourninho on the 14th attempt!

  45. @Mandy

    About the table of teams’ attitudes to referees – I thought it was ridiculous that we were so high up that table and it leads me to believe that the people deciding on these scores are as subjective and as anti-Arsenal as the PGMO. I don’t know who they are – maybe they ARE the PGMO!

  46. Atkinson has to be investigated. It’s no longer funny.

    At the same time, were in the final so happy days. Have to say though, I don’t think I’ll be going to Wembley again. An absolute fucking disgrace of a stadium. Poorly designed. And it took me 2.5 hours to get home due to the ridiculously poor travel infrastructure.
    And I live in North London. Frankly it would have been quicker to have driven home from Villa Park.
    As for the game experience – the idiot FA kill all atmosphere by ensuring that the PA system is more fitting for a 70’s Motörhead concert than a foot ball match, drowning out chanting and talking. It takes in excess of 15 minutes to get to the toilets and back to your seat at half time causing disruption to supporters as they constantly have to stand up to let people past. How difficult can it be to design a football stadium?. On the site of a football stadium? For £800m?
    Looking forward to watching the final on the telly on the day.

  47. Clockendrider, you might enjoy the latest post: “Fear and Loathing in Wembley Park.” I am most very certainly with you on this one.

  48. from my elevated position over the halfway line my take on Gibbs was that his positional sense was poor. He looked better in extra time as Reading tired and he was more effective going forward. Both he and Debuchey looked rusty but on occasion Gibbs was stranded upfield and had to be helped out my his midfielders. I’m a fan of Gibbs but Monreal has that berth now for me.

    As for the keeper I think we have to look at his all round game, not simply the goal. Szczesney is much more likely to gamble than Ospina, he’s a risk taker and so more prone to mistakes. He rushed out at one point and thankfully got there, but he had no need to as there was cover. His distribution is poor by comparison too. Szczesney’s kicking has improved but on more than none occasion (and on one particular instance) he threw the ball out and put his team under pressure.
    Finally a word on Theo – where was he when we were attacking late on? There were 4 or more Arsenal players ahead of him and he was just lost. I’d be amazed if he is at the club next season 🙁

  49. I think Theo is one of those players, a bit like Jack who needs four or five solid games to return to form, and he is not getting that at the moment

  50. Clockender – spot on about the stadium & infrastructure.

    Shoot – you are absolutely right – anyone who knows the game & is passionate about Arsenal would need help. Are you sure you spelt your name right? I think it should be choot!

  51. We weren’t lucky to win the game, Reading were lucky not to concede more than two goals in 120 minutes. I understand that consumers like the whole David vs Goliath story but that doesn’t mean media should allow further cretinization of their consumers. When it comes to the refereeing, I think we were lucky with that Debuchy’s handball and couple of offside decisions that went our way. Atkinson allowed rugby-tackles to Reading players though. It was like that time we played Blackburn in 2005 semifinal.

  52. For a while I was getting flashbacks to the game at the chavs place. Williams/Oscar fouling at every opportunity and only getting an ineffective talking to by the useless ref. We certainly didn’t play well in the last 3rd but were still the better team.
    Disappointed with Danny, yesterday as CF he moved well across the front 3 but rarely came to the ‘hole’ to show for the ball. That’s something HFB does and it allows the MF to run past him into the space. I though Debuchy did reasonably but was clearly rusty. Gibbs was very rusty and gave the ball away at least twice in dangerous places and seemed to be a yard or two out of position for the whole game. Also disappointed that we had to wait until the last minute of extra time before Theo actually ran at the defence with the ball. That’s one of his strengths (along with running past a defender) but he was more interested in a making a ‘nothing’ pass than being an attacker (as Alexis does).
    On a separate issue, it may be better if Per doesn’t make the Chavs game. If Gabby can control his tackling then his speed should be useful with Hazard.

  53. We laboured to win this game, but this was expected after seeing the team, mainly because of the changes of a few players, players who has not had many games since injury, players who need these games to get back to fitness. In order for them to play (as well as the players who sat out) and integrate in the team seamlessly they need to have these games.

    On Theo, he does not look his normal self at all, in fact he looks like a new signing who has not yet gelled with the team sometimes. Of course he needs games, but i sense that there are mental issues a.t.m.

    Of course he is also being kept safe from injury in case Arsenal and Theo cannot agree and he leaves, this will get a bigger price. We sometimes forget that this is also a business that has to be run properly.

    If Arsenal and Theo agree, we will see a different Theo, and i hope this comes before end of season.

  54. I only watched ‘normal time’ on TV, but I am also getting annoyed by all this talk of ‘unlucky Reading’, if anything they were extremely LUCKY to get to extra time, thanks in no small part to Martin Atkinson’s ‘performance’:

    In the first half alone, Obita, McCleary and Chalobah should have got early yellow cards (Chalobah committed 3 such offences before getting booked for clattering Gibbs), and how on earth did Federici get away with catching Welbeck outside the box – no foul given let alone at least a yellow card!

    Then the second half saw Reading step up the aggression, including hacks on Debuchy and that stamp on Oezil’s ankle (possible red card), and, to back John up on here, I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw the pull on Ramsey when he shot, a pen for sure and a red card!

    Reading’s equaliser is the fault of both Gibbs and Sczcesny; when the ball is out wide, Gibbs’ feet are in the wrong position, so when it gets delivered, he has to turn with his back to the ball and travel a greater distance to try and get out to his opponent which allows time for a shot which hits his knee and wrongfoots the goalkeeper. As for the winner, I suppose payback’s a b…h after the Birmingham City debacle!

    Judging by the responses about the stadium, I’m glad I didn’t accept my ticket offer – not a fan of Wembley at the best of times, having watched the final defeat in 2011 and watching Brentford and Luton Town lose there as well, getting out of there is a nightmare! Emirates Stadium is much much better!

  55. Vikrant Dogra,

    I refuse to blame Szczesny (who didn’t have a perfect game) for the equaliser. You wrote:

    “”…….which allows time for a shot which hits his knee and wrongfoots the goalkeeper”

    If the keeper was wrong-footed by a deflection, how can he be blamed for the goal?

    Personally, I think Reading’s equaliser was more lucky than our winner.

  56. @Bootoomee,

    I understand where you’re coming from. It’s just interesting as a coach myself that sometimes Kieran Gibbs gets his feet in the wrong position when the ball is the other side of the pitch – in yesterday’s example, when the ball is wide, he is leading with his right foot instead of opening up his body so the weight is on his other foot. If he led with his left on an open body, he would have seen flight of the ball more easily when it got crossed and closed down the opponent quicker.

  57. As long as the Arsenal fans moan and groan, argue and tear each other apart, Arsenal FC will always be an easy meat for the media. We have such fans who complains the players didn’t try enough, need more substance than silk, and then when the team labored to a cup win against the corrupt, these parasites suddenly lose all the substance themselves. They instead should try harder to be true fans, labour with the team during hard times. Now, we have self-proclaimed experts who think they are better than the manager and the players. A lot of non-Arsenal fans lambasted the writer in regarding an article I mentioned earlier and over here, we have morons who still criticize the team despite a semifinal win. I hope stupidity is not sexually transmitted cause I really don’t wanna read same stupid comments about Arsenal 20 years later.

  58. I cannot believe that we are so high up in this ‘bad attitude’ table. I’d be very confident that we are almost polite in taking our bookings. Never are we seen behaving like a rat pack, foul-mouthing linesmen, surrounding the refs, swearing and pushing (Rooney, Toure, Cahill etc).

    Twatkinson has a record of leaving injured players, while play goes on. The foul from behind on Ozil was a shocker. Also at one point in the first half, Santi? wanted to take a quick freekick and Atkinson rushed up to position himself in front of the ball, to prevent this. A new pgmol tactic?

  59. @Micheal Ram,

    I can not thumb you up, but best comment for ages. First sentence was spot on. If we want Arsenal to be treated fairly, we should start fighting back, as the fans, before the players, we shoulf give it all.

  60. Good summary, Walter.

    I’ve just read through the article and comments. I particularly liked the first comment by Menace. (And many others).

    I like “twatkinson”. Appropriate Maximus.

    The stamp on Ōzil’s achilles was similar to the one visited upon Theo, which effectively put him out for 18 months. (Walcott mightn’t be “effective” until the next season).

    Minute 57: Reading player goes through Mertesacker like a train. The only reason play was stopped was due to the linesman raising his flag for offside. If I were to go through the full list of assaults…
    It’s against this background that the plundits and negative-ocrasy can spout utter shite al a “Arsenal are no good”.

    BBC were simply disgusting. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Jason Roberts, who among other things declared that “Reading dominated Arsenal”, and “Reading deserve more credit”. What, Jason, you want credit for playing rugby at Wembley? For telling fibs? What?
    Yes, Jason, you’re a part-time, fully paid player for Reading, and you obviously want a career in media, but your contribution was complete and utter bolux! You should be a politician. (Cue: Apathy).

    Some may say: a why bleat, we won, we’re going to Wembley. Again!
    Well, say it. Fools!

    Very well done, Arsenal. I hope your collective wounds heal quickly, and that you give the chavs the spanking they so richly deserve, and even if you don’t, I’ll still love and support you.

  61. I’d like to see the PMGO review of Atkinson’s performance. Anyone like to wager it was less than 98% correct? 100% correct in favor of Reading. I hope Mertesaker’s injury is not too serious, Ozil’s Achilles tendon is functioning and Kos gets the knuckles out of his nose before the Chelsea match. An utter disgrace. But the Arsenal still won! All the possession, all the chances. If Gibbs hadn’t been out of position Reading would still be looking for a goal. On to the Final and 2nd in the table. COYG!

  62. Watch FA and PGMO appoint Anthony Taylor for the final now that we are playing Villa. Wouldnt put it past them tbh

  63. Will be interesting to see which ref we get for Chelsea. We know the preference would be for Atkinson or Taylor, but even Riley can’t get away with either of those for this one. Mike Dean is also ruled out, by doing Chelsea’s last game.

    Who will it be? He won’t want to risk the young lad after that fiasco of reffing properly at Old trafford. Clattenberg probably isn’t dodgy enough. Mike’s down to the bare bones here! Can Dowd pass a fitness test? Howard Webb come in on an emergency loan? I’ll go for the lad from King of The Hill, now all grown up, Mason. Things have been pretty weird with Mike Jones this year ,though, so he could get a surprise call up.

  64. @Mahdain – even if it is Taylor, we can beat Villa if we give a proper performance. We have beaten them this season 5:0 with the bald wanker in charge and Alexis didn’t even play.

    That said, Alexis has taken the lead on our score-chart in FA Cup. He has a chance to become the first Gunner to top the score-chart in four competitions since Dennis Bergkamp in 1997-98.

  65. Marriner was 4th official and is pro Chelski, and has been lauded by Moano. On a few occasions I’ve seen the 4thy get Ars’s match the next week, perhaps as a “watch and learn” thingybob.

    Not that Andre needs to learn how to act in such a match. Most refs are absolutely on-song about how to miss-ref Arsenal matches.


  66. Rantetta.

    Cheers. The mystery for me is that I’m sometimes able to partially forget/downplay what these refs are like and how much their antics disgust me. It’s probably a necessity which allows me to keep getting a lot of enjoyment from football in general and, of course, Arsenal in particular.

  67. Rantetta.

    Also, had a little look at Marriner’s fixtures on premier league website just to jog my memory.

    Eye-catching thing is that he’s not done a single Utd match this year. Only did two for them last year, and two the year before. So for nearly three full years one of league’s busiest refs has only done Utd four times, and not for more than a year.

    7th December 2013 was the last one. It’s like he has been unofficially black-listed by them. And considering they lost 3 of the 4 games he’s done since 12/13, well, you can understand why they might not be keen on seeing him again.

    With us, if we get a ref we lose a lot with with, they give us that ref as much as possible. With Utd, it seems having the cheek to oversee more defeats than wins can get you the boot. Or it could be a harmless coincidence.

  68. I’ve just been looking at the recording of our match. Atkinson was looking directly at the studs first tackle that damaged Mertssakers foot. He was also looking at the stamp on Santi’s foot. The cheat ignored both red card fouls. Reading players kept taking the ball away from free kicks & Atkinson didn’t do a thing. The BBC commentators were diabolical in that their comments were totally biased against Arsenal. When Ozil was raked on his achilles Atkinson ignored the foul.

    When Ramsey was put through in the 84th minute he was being held back in clear view of the assistant. He couldn’t see the foul because of instructions on high (the corrupt bastard). He & Atkinson should never be allowed to officiate any sporting event.

  69. Atkinson let’s far too much go in general, but especially when Arsenal are involved. Other blogs have also picked up on this refs lack of enforcing the laws of the game, not just Untold. Guess our players were being softened up for our next match against the team of choice of Atkinson.
    Atkinson did call some of the fouls, but he always seems to let one player away with a lot…in this case Williams, and like others , gives Alexis no protection at all. I am thankful he obviously did not see the ball striking Debuchys hand , from a cross about a foot away from him, if he had seen it think it would have been a very harsh penalty.
    Fergie said Atkinson should not be allowed to referee Chelsea games, think we can add Arsenal games to that.
    Have a nasty feeling we are due Probert very soon.

  70. I just want to go through a match without ever calling the referee a cunt/twat/prick but alas that has been almost impossible with PGMOL referees. They truly are the worst of the lot. The biased, bent and shit twats

  71. Im sure whoever Riley appoints for the Chelsea match we can expect to get totally screwed over by him. What truly suprise me is why would Riley burn through his favourites in the build up to this match? Forget about Dean and Taylor why not keep Atkinson seeing how he is Roman’s fav? The cynical side in me thinks Mikey must have a job for young Oliver and wants him to rectify his *mistakes for the performance in our match against United.
    * As in not giving united penalties for their dives and have the audacity to send off Di Maria

  72. The cynical side of you may be right Mahdain, but having said that, Chelsea are virtually home and dry, maybe this might be a game to disguise the true agenda. Hope so , anyway.

  73. Reading certainly used some mourinho tactics ,well established yellow card avoiding techniques, as well as preventing quick free kicks, leaving boots in, studs up, taking advantage of what one blog described as a 1970s throwback ref.
    For such tactics that are holding the ultra moneyed English-national team somewhere below Costa Rica and Romania ….with all due respect, , they got what they deserved, valiant effort, but nothing more, not that the commentators will have you believe that though.

  74. Spelling Mississippi-

    A bus stops and two Italian men get on. They sit down and engage in an animated conversation.

    The lady sitting behind them ignores them at first, but her attention is galvanized when she hears one of he men say the following:

    “Emma come first. Den I come. Den two asses come together. I come once-a-more. Two asses, they come together again. I come again and pee twice. Then I come one lasta time.”

    “You foul mouthed swine,” retorted the lady indignantly. “In this country we don’t talk about our sex lives in public!”

    “Hey, coola down lady,” said the man. “Who talkin’ abouta sexa? I’m just tellin’ my frienda how to spella ‘Mississippi’.”

  75. Winners are not people who fail , but people who never quit .
    You don’t have to be great to start , but you have to start to be great .
    This team have started to be great and despite setbacks , strive never to quit.
    Up the Gunners !

    As for the moaners on here …..nah ! Not worth the effort !

  76. Aston Villa looks to have turned a real corner with that game. Vlaar is talking about staying now, and I suspect Shay Given is saying similar. Sherwood is winning people over. Good luck to him.

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