Reading v Arsenal
Kick off: Saturday April 18, 2015 – 17.20 PM BST
A really poor performance, but we booked our place in the FA Cup final nonetheless. We made things far more difficult than they needed to be, but an Alexis Sanchez double – assisted by a goalkeeping howler – gave us the win.
Here are the player ratings for our 2-1 win over Reading:
GK) Wojciech Szczesny – 6.0
The Pole looked a little rusty, and should have done better for the goal we conceded. He didn’t look totally self assured, which is exactly what you need in a goalkeeper.
RB) Mathieu Debuchy – 5.5
He understandably struggled a bit after being absent for so long, and the Frenchman was really quite poor. In his defence, he had nobody in front of him for the majority of the game, with Aaron Ramsey constantly moving inside.
CB) Laurent Koscielny – 7.0
A solid performance for the most part, although he looked a lot shakier alongside Gabriel Paulista after Per Mertesacker went off injured.
CB) Per Mertesacker – 7.0
The German wasn’t exceptional, but he didn’t do anything wrong. Was forced off with injury and replaced by Gabriel.
LB) Kieran Gibbs – 5.5
Gibbs was really poor for large parts of the game, and looked lethargic and unaware in the first half.
He came to life somewhat in the second half, but did nothing to suggest he should displace Nacho Monreal.
DM) Francis Coquelin – 7.0
Solid as usual, but couldn’t impact the game as much as he usually does due to the aggression and pressing Reading were applying.
CM) Santi Cazorla – 7.5
One of the standout performers for us, and was decent right from the first whistle. He didn’t have as much space as he would have liked, but did well in a deeper role.
CAM) Mesut Özil – 7.5
An excellent performance from the German, who was a creative spark throughout. He supplied the superb pass that led to the opening goal, and worked hard for the team.
RAM) Aaron Ramsey – 6.5
Things didn’t go right for Ramsey this evening, despite the Welshman getting into the right positions. He struck the woodwork agonisingly, and probably should have scored.
He has been excellent on the right wing recently, but was caught coming inside far too often against Reading.
LAM) Alexis Sanchez – 8.0
The difference maker in this FA Cup semi-final, with the Chilean scoring both goals.
He was tireless and full of energy, and really dug us out of a hole.
ST) Danny Welbeck – 6.5
His pace was an outlet when we were struggling to create, but he didn’t offer much else. He was replaced by Olivier Giroud, and the team looked much stronger for it.
Gabriel Paulista – 6.5
He came close to scoring twice, with Federici pushing one effort onto the bar, and another headed high and wide when he really should have found the back of the net.
The Brazilian looked suspect defensively at times, and clearly needs to adapt to the aggression and pace of the English game.
Olivier Giroud – 7.5
The Frenchman really changed the game when he came on, and was superb during extra time.
His hold up play and work-rate were immense, and his absence showed how much our game now revolves around him.
Theo Walcott – 7.0
Didn’t do a huge amount after coming on, but his mere presence changed things somewhat. Having him on the right meant play was far more stretched, and there was much more space for his teammates to operate in.