Arsene Wenger has never needed three points more than he does at the Madejski Stadium.
Following their humiliating penalty shoot-out defeat at Bradford in midweek, pressure on the Frenchman has never been as intense and if the Gunners fail to justify their 4/6 favouritism here, expect to see it cranked up another couple of notches.
A touch of fortune allowed them to beat West Brom last weekend and that win is the only one Arsenal have managed in five games. Hapless Reading have fared much worse – they’ve lost five on the bounce – but, given the way things are going for the visitors at present, you can’t rule them out at 4/1.
The pair recently clashed in the Capital One Cup fourth round and, although Arsenal fielded a much-changed side from the one that will start this game, the Royals demonstrated a commendable ruthlessness racing into a 4-0 lead. They inexplicably managed to squander this sizeable advantage, but if they can replicate that first half performance here they’re sure to be in with a shout.
A repeat of the same 4-4 90 minutes scoreline this time around can be backed at a heart-stopping 225/1, but this encounter is sure to be a touch on the cagey side given the lack of confidence in both camps.
A 1-0 home win is the most tempting of correct score punts at 14/1, while the 6/5 on offer for the game to produce fewer than 2.5 goals is as good as money in the bank.
If you fancy the home side to heap more misery on Wenger and Arsenal, the Reading and under 2.5 goals combination is on offer for a very enticing 10/1; it’s arguably the best bet available on this match.
One glimmer of hope for the beleaguered north London club is that, including their extra-time success in the aforementioned League Cup clash, they have won every single meeting they’ve had with Reading.
Five of the six duels that predated their 5-7 spectacular saw the Gunners ahead at both half and full time. Albeit an unadvisable punt, a recurrence of this trend here can be backed at 5/4.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date