Reading take on Arsenal this Saturday at 5:20 pm at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup semi finals, and as a Reading fan I think we can beat them.
Perhaps Arsenal are on top of their game at the moment, but frankly so have we.
That may sound a bit ridiculous given we’ve only won once in the last 10 games, but the last few games have been really impressive from our lot.
We should have beaten Cardiff City a couple of weeks back, if it weren’t for Cardiff’s only decent chance of the game being converted very impressively by Connor McAleny with 19 seconds left.
At Blackpool we were admittedly poor, but we didn’t put out a good team and, let’s be honest, who can be on their top game on THAT pitch?
We 100% dominated Blackburn last Saturday, and if Pavel Pogrebnyak had behaved more like a striker on the day then we would’ve had a hat full.
On Tuesday night we played AFC Bournemouth out of the park and made them look extremely average, and if we had a proper striker (and if we hadn’t let in a silly goal) then we’d have won that game.
So performance wise, we’ve played really well, but this Saturday is the time to pull it out the bag, and strap both good finishing with solid defending.
Unfortunately over the last few it’s been a bit either or.
Our solid defensive efforts over the past two games have been influenced by a midfield of three central midfielders (most likely to be Chalobah, Karacan and (hopefully) Williams this weekend). But that does sacrifice our ability going forward, but given Arsenal’s options up font, it’s better to focus on defending.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we have to rely on Pavel Pogrebnyak to put in a stellar performance for us.
And, to be honest, I trust him to do so. The thing is with Pogrebnyak is that he still believes he should be in the Premier League and that he’s a Premier League striker.
On the big stage, in front of lots of viewers, if he were to tear Arsenal apart, he’d hopefully (for him) catch the eye of someone better than Reading.
That will be his incentive, and I imagine someone like Pog desperately wants out of this struggling Championship club.
On top of that, whenever Reading have needed to perform well in the cup this season (i.e. Bradford at home) our boys have always been outstanding.
The Bradford game was arguably the performance of the season, and against a team like Arsenal, they’ll be up for it again.
A lot of our inconsistent players tend to step up in situations like this, like Alex Pearce, who’s been great over the last few games, Hal Robson-Kanu, a leading player in our FA Cup campaign and Garath McCleary, who I love, but it’s not been his greatest season. These players all step up to the occasion whenever Reading need it, despite their inconsistencies.
Our players will be on their A game this weekend, and when they are they’re unbeatable.
We’ve got to hope Arsenal are on one of their off days, because that will double our chances of reaching the final. See you on the other side.