Santi Cazorla helped himself to a hat-trick as Arsenal closed up on the top four of the Premier League with a 5-2 win at bottom club Reading.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had called for a response following last week’s shock League Cup penalty shoot-out defeat at Bradford, and got it tonight as the visitors surged into a 3-0 half-time lead following Lukas Podolski’s well-taken goal and a brace from Cazorla.
The Spaniard completed his treble on the hour, and although the Royals rallied with goals from substitute Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe, Arsenal made sure there would be no late drama when contract rebel Theo Walcott slotted in a fifth with ten minutes left.
For all the hysteria about how bad Arsenal have played this season, they are only two points behind third place Chelsea in the league. Plus they are still in the Champions League. Makes me think that that the cloud hanging over Arsenal has been a bit overdone.
Arsene Wenger’s team selection was interesting tonight in that he played want-away striker Theo Walcott in his preferred role of center forward. Walcott scored one, but could easily have got a hat-trick tonight and showed enough for Arsene Wenger to continue the experiment.
As for Reading they look like relegation certainties. They are now 6 points from safety and they have a defence that is leaking goals. Thirty six now in 17 games. Reading are fun to watch, but until they show some defensive backbone, they will continue to really struggle.