English Premiership

Reading eye mighty upset

2015-04-16 08:54
Alexis Sanchez. (Ben Stansall, AFP)

London - Championship strugglers Reading will have to produce one of the great FA Cup upsets to beat holders Arsenal in their semi-final at Wembley on Saturday and reach the final for the first time.

Arsenal, winners of 16 of their last 18 matches in all competitions and victorious over Reading in all 12 competitive meetings, will be overwhelming favourites to face Liverpool or Aston Villa in an all-Premier League final on May 30.

Arsenal's run of eight successive wins, which has surprised even manager Arsene Wenger, has opened up an outside chance of the League and Cup double as they have climbed to second in the table, albeit still seven points behind Chelsea.

About the only thing in Reading's favour is the FA Cup's enduring capacity to deliver the most unlikely upsets, as illustrated by third tier Bradford City's stunning 4-2 fourth-round win at Chelsea in January after trailing 2-0.

Reading's task is just as daunting as Steve Clarke's men have dropped to 18th in the second tier Championship and are without a win in their last five league matches.

Arsenal not only have form on their side but history and tradition.

This will be their record-equalling 27th semi-final, while it is Reading's first since their sole appearance in the last four 88 years ago.

The nearest Reading ever came to beating the Gunners was in an amazing League Cup tie in October 2012 when Arsenal came from 4-0 down to make it 4-4 with two goals in the last two minutes and went on to win 7-5 after extra time.

Read more on:    arsenal  |  reading  |  fa cup  |  english premiership  |  soccer

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