Santi Cazorla scored a hat-trick for Arsenal as they won 5-2 at the Madejski Stadium as Reading remain rooted to bottom of the Premier League.
The victory will go some way to easing the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger after their loss last week to Bradford in the Capital One Cup.
Both sides showed attacking intent early on and unsurprisingly it was not long before the first goal arrived on 14 minutes. A cross from the left landed at Lukas Podolski’s feet and the German forward made no mistake with a strike from six yards out.
The visitors grabbed their second when Cazorla scored with a diving header from close range as he connected with Podolski’s excellent cross.
Just two minutes later the Royals failed to deal with another ball delivered into the box and Cazorla’s shot on the turn flew into the net. Things could have got even worse for the home side when captain Jobi McAnuff was only shown a yellow card after a wild challenge on Jack Wilshere. The Gunners almost added a fourth on the stroke of half-time when Alex Oxlade-chamberlain’s header was beaten away by Federici.
Arsenal were in no mood to rest on their laurels and from the restart were once again posing an attacking threat. The Gunners produced a fine passing move and Cazorla was on hand to complete his first hat-trick for the club with a side foot finish from close range.
Substitute Adam Le Fondre gave the Royals some hope when he scored after rounding the keeper. Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses resurfaced when they failed to stop Jimmy Kebe getting Reading’s second from inside the area. Any thoughts of a Royals comeback were dashed on 80 minutes when Walcott cut inside his marker and guided an accurate strike into the corner.
This match was the eleventh time the teams had met competitively and the Gunners have won on each occasion. More worrying than that statistic for Reading boss Brian McDermott is the fact that his side are still at the foot of the table.