EPL 2007-2008: Reading 1 – Arsenal 3

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 13th, 2007 • 3:23 pm

Normal service was resumed yesterday. In other words, having successfully (although some would argue just barely) passed the two big tests against Liverpool and Manchester United, the Gunners were back to strutting their stuff against less ambitious opposition, and—well, you could tell the difference, couldn’t you?

It was, of course, a very comfortable win. Reading’s game plan was quite obviously to defend, defend, defend, and it failed. The real question is whether it failed because they were not very good at it or because the Gunners this year are too good for such a plan to work in the first place.

In this particular case, I tend to think it is a bit of both. Reading’s recent track record suggests that they are not very good at protecting their goal, but at the same time, there is obviously a significant difference in the Arsenal team too. They are more tenacious and seem to be more willing to experiment, possibly in part as a consequence of Thierry Henry’s departure. And it pays off, because the goals can come from a variety of moves and from a variety of players.

Sometimes they get lucky deflections, but on the whole I would argue that most of the goals are of very high quality, and the result of excellent build-up play. It’s just a shame that Adebayor was denied a perfectly good second goal by an incorrect offside decision, and that the defense had a bit of a lapse in concentration at the end that allowed Reading to get a consolation goal.

But on the whole, it was more than enough to put the Gunners back on top, and it certainly is a good psychological advantage (with that game in hand and everything) before the international break. Let us hope that the French players in the squad will come back from that break with their Euro 2008 ticket in the pocket, and that everyone will be able to maintain this good form through what promises to be a very busy month of December.

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