For the second consecutive season Arsenal travel to Wembley for an FA Cup semi final showdown with midtable Championship opposition. Last year it was then-holders Wigan Athletic, this Saturday they face Reading.
Earlier in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career he steered them to the double twice, in 1998 and 2002. He also won English football’s famous competition in 2003 and 2005, with many more trophies expected to follow. Fast forward to 17th May 2014, however, and it had been nine years since the Gunners had won a trophy of any kind. Their comeback win in the final against Hull City whet Wenger’s appetite for more at a time when his future was in the balance.
Reading stand in his and his team’s way. Steve Clarke has steadied the ship since joining the Royals, but he will be well aware of the fact his team are big underdogs going in to the weekend clash. They have had nothing but pride to play for in the league for a while, so will be putting everything in to this game.
Arsenal, meanwhile, haven’t given up on the Premier League title race following a fantastic run of form, and will see this as a chance to gain further momentum rather than look on it as an untimely distraction.
PROBABLE ARSENAL XI: Szczesny; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
PREDICTION: Reading 0-3 Arsenal – they struggled to victory against Wigan at this stage last time around, but Arsenal have since taken a monkey off their back meaning less pressure, and are currently enjoying their best run of form in years.