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Heroic Gunners progress in thrilling finish

Reading 5-7 Arsenal (AET)

By | 30th October 2012
theo walcott

Arsenal came from four goals down to produce one of the most dramatic comebacks of all time by eliminating Reading from the Capital One League Cup with a 7-5 win following extra time.

Jason Roberts, Mikele Leigertwood, and Noel Hunt all scored in a fantastic first half for the Royals at the Madejski Stadium, with a Laurent Koscielny own goal also frustrating the shaky Damian Martinez.

Theo Walcott pulled one back for the Gunners at the stroke of half-time, in the process sending the visitors into the dressing room trailing 4-1.

While Arsene Wenger was just as furious at the touch-line throughout the opening forty minutes as the traveling supporters, the Frenchman’s half-time strategic revisions would ultimately result in a turn-around of historic proportions.

Substitute Olivier Giroud made it 4-2 moments after the hour mark before another France international, Koscielny, made amends and this time headed into the right net.

Some may have felt that Koscielny’s 89th minute goal came a bit too late but the Gunners were still in it heading into stoppage time somehow trailing by a slender margin at 4-3.

Following the allocated four minutes of stoppage time, the score remained 4-3 and the hosts started pleading for the full-time whistle, but it was all to no avail as the late substitution of Simon Church for Roberts led to more time being added.

With the last kick of the game, Walcott tucked in a brilliant equalizer for the persistent Gunners, incredibly setting up an extra time period that once looked almost impossible.

Marouane Chamakh then took the initiative to give Arsenal the lead with a wonderful strike from the top of the box early in the first period of extra time.

However, the Royals had their own response awaiting as Pavel Pogrebnyak halted the visitors’ early celebrations with an equalizer late in the second period.

Ultimately, though, Walcott pushed Arsenal ahead 6-5 with another late finish, completing a well-deserved hat-trick that couldn’t have come at a better time given the uncertainty surrounding his future at the club.

Another unsettled forward, Chamakh, then went on to end the night on a remarkable note, scoring the twelfth goal of the night with a chipped finish over goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Wenger’s men now proceed to this weekend’s Premier League clash away to bitter rivals Manchester United with some much needed momentum while Brian McDermott’s Royals will travel to QPR still reeling in disbelief on Sunday afternoon.

The Rest

Elsewhere in the Capital One League Cup, Leeds United eliminated Southampton with a resounding 3-0 win at Elland Road while Sunderland fell 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough.

Aston Villa claimed a 3-2 win away to Swindon and following a goalless affair at the DW Stadium, Bradford City knocked Wigan out of the competition on penalties.

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