Cazorla hat-trick fires Arsenal romp

LONDON Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:39am IST

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (L) celebrates with team mates after scoring a hat trick against Reading during their English Premier League soccer match at the Madejski stadium in Reading, southern England December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (L) celebrates with team mates after scoring a hat trick against Reading during their English Premier League soccer match at the Madejski stadium in Reading, southern England December 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

Kishore Pandey, 82, lies on a bed as his daughter, Usha Tiwari, holds him and a priest stands by them (L) at Mukti Bhavan (Salvation House) in Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Waiting to die at Salvation House

The city of Varanasi is Hinduism's holiest city and many Hindus believe that dying there and having their remains scattered in the Ganges allows their soul to escape a cycle of death and rebirth.  Slideshow 

LONDON (Reuters) - Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla scored a hat-trick as Arsenal stylishly dismantled bottom club Reading 5-2 to move up to fifth in the Premier League on Monday.

Reading's lowly league position was reflected in their school-yard defending as Arsenal cut through the home team at will to open up a four-goal lead before the hosts briefly threatened to make a game of it late on.

Arsenal, under pressure following their humiliating League Cup defeat at Bradford last week, produced an impressive attacking performance.

"It was important to stay strong and play football. Success comes with playing football," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports. "And it was a very convincing win tonight."

Germany forward Lukas Podolski put Arsenal ahead after 14 minutes while Cazorla scored twice in the first half and once after the break as the visitors ran riot.

Adam Le Fondre grabbed what looked like a consolation before Jimmy Kebe briefly stirred the home fans to believe in an unlikely comeback before Theo Walcott wrapped up the match.

Arsenal now have 27 points from 17 games, two behind local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth and 15 behind leaders Manchester United. Reading stay bottom with nine points.

Arsenal were looking to rebound from the loss at fourth tier Bradford City last week and took the lead when Podolski took a touch and fired left-footed into the net for his fifth Premier League goal of the season.

The lead was almost doubled eight minutes later when Walcott, handed the central striking role he craves, sprung the offside trap but his low shot was parried by the feet of Reading keeper Adam Federici.

It was only a matter of time before Arsenal grabbed a second and on 32 minutes Podolski turned provider, darting down the left flank and curling in a cross that found Cazorla arriving in the centre unmarked to head past Federici.

Cazorla's second was another example of poor Reading defending.

Full back Kieran Gibbs headed a Podolski cross back into the danger zone and Cazorla found space to swivel in the area and score with a volley that bounced up off the ground and into the net.

The Spaniard's hat-trick arrived 14 minutes after the break when midfielder Jack Wilshere fed Podolski who crossed from the left and Cazorla swept home from close range.

The last time these teams met was the extraordinary League Cup tie in October when Arsenal recovered from a 4-0 deficit to win 7-5 in extra-time.

Memories of that improbable comeback were stirred as Reading briefly threatened.

Le Fondre grabbed a goal back on 66 when he rounded Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and tapped in before Kebe latched onto a throughball and slotted home with 19 minutes still to play.

Walcott squashed any hopes of a home comeback, however, when he cut inside his marker to add a fifth 10 minutes from time. (Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Justin Palmer)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Commonwealth Games

SPORTS SHOWCASE

Fastest Man

Fastest Man

Interview - Usain Bolt says his best is yet to come.  Full Article 

After 23 Years

After 23 Years

Mexico is back on the F1 calendar in 2015.  Full Article 

NBA Update

NBA Update

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies to hometown.  Full Article 

Zidane Takes Charge

Zidane Takes Charge

Zidane makes mystery man Markkanen his first Madrid signing.  Full Article 

Rising Star?

Rising Star?

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s pursuit of cricketing excellence.  Full Article 

Dismissing Reports

Dismissing Reports

I'm not heading to PSG, says ex-Juventus boss Conte.  Full Article 

2016 Olympics

2016 Olympics

Interview - World Cup will inspire Rio Olympics - IOC's Bach.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage