Reading v Arsenal an in-play nightmare for bookies

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Reading and Arsenal’s frankly ridiculous 120 minutes of football at the Madejski Stadium left a hole in Ladbrokes’ pocket courtesy of the dizzying fluctuation of prices in the in-play stakes.

The Gunners prevailed 7-5 after extra time in a game that will surely go down as the greatest in Capital One Cup history. They started the match as heavy favourites and were as short as 4/9 to qualify for the quarter-finals before kick-off.

You would feel slightly aggrieved had you backed Arsene Wenger’s men at that price as, when Reading raced into a 4-0 lead before half time, the visitors’ odds ballooned to 66/1, which one daring individual slapped £100 on.

Whoever this person was, they will have required the stiffest of stiff drinks come the end of 90 minutes, when the Gunners entered injury-time still needing two goals to level the tie.

As the Royals’ nerves jangled they managed to pull off the unimaginable, but only in as dramatic a fashion as would be fitting of a game like this. Theo Walcott’s shot definitely crossed the line before being cleared (with the help of a hand) yet no goal was given until Carl Jenkinson acrobatically smashed home the follow-up.

By the time extra-time commenced the Gunners were 4/6 to qualify and were subject to 90 per cent of in-play bets at this point.

Everyone would have been counting their money when Maroune Chamakh made it 5-4, but the fun was far from over as three goals were to come. Pavel Pogrebnyak looked as though he had taken the tie to penalties before Walcott completed his hat-trick and Chamakh a brace to dump Reading out.

This outcome could not be contemplated when Brian McDermott’s charges raced into a 4-0 lead; they were priced up at 1/500 to progress to the quarters at this point and a 1/250 shot to win the match.

When the curtain finally fell on this titanic tussle, pay outs of up to £200,000 were triggered, with Arsenal’s mammoth price to qualify doing the most damage.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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