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Premier League preview: Reading v Arsenal

Arsenal will be hoping to recover from the embarrassment of their League Cup defeat to Bradford when they visit Reading on Monday.

The League Two club stunned Arsene Wenger’s side on Tuesday, winning on penalties after the scores were locked at 1-1 after extra-time, and the Gunners’ boss – who fielded a strong line-up for the tie – has come in for some scathing criticism in the wake of the loss.

Former Arsenal star Ian Wright called it the most humiliating defeat in Wenger’s reign, which began way back in 1996.

Although they have qualified for the next phase of the Champions League, Arsenal’s league form has also been suspect – and they head into the trip to Madejski Stadium in seventh place – 15 points behind leaders Manchester United.

They did, however, snap a run of three league games without a win with a 2-0 triumph over West Brom at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

While Arsenal’s problems have many in north London calling for Wenger’s head, further west those issues pale in comparison with the plight of Brian McDermott’s Reading side.

Reading are second bottom, with just one win for the season, and they have lost their past five matches in succession, most recently a 3-0 thumping against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Both sides have problems from the physio room, with Arsenal set to be without Olivier Giroud (back) and Theo Walcott (calf) is also doubtful.

Abou Diaby (thigh), Laurent Koscielny (hip) and Andre Santos are all also under fitness clouds.

The news is also grim at Reading, with Sean Morrison missing their last match against Sunderland with an ankle problem.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) is out for the season, while Pavel Pogrebnyak, Jimmy Kebe and Jem Karacan are all in a race against time to be fit.

Thu 13 Dec, 2012
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