Arsenal recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over Reading in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed a brace.
The first attempt on goal arrived on six minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jeff Reine-Adelaide combined well to find full-back Carl Jenkinson in the area. The former-West Ham loanee saw his powerful effort saved by Ali Al Habsi, only for the full-back to head the rebound over the bar.
Two minutes later Oxlade-Chamberlain produced an effort that flashed across the face of the goalmouth, with Lucas Perez unable to get on the end of the ball. The next chance of the game also came to the home side on 20 minutes.
Oxlade-Chamberlain beat Van den Berg, only for his cross to be headed out as far as Ainsley Maitland-Niles whose curled effort went just past the far post. The visitors had their first attempt on goal of the game a minute later.
Oxlade-Chamberlain lost possession and the ball fell to winger Jordan Obita whose first-time effort on goal was dealt with relatively easily by Martinez in the Gunners goal. Soon afterwards the home side went straight up the other end of the field and had a glorious opportunity to take the lead.
Lucas was put through on goal. Instead of shooting tried to find Maitland-Niles, but the ball was behind the youngster and the Royals defence cleared the ball. On 26 minutes Oxlade-Chamberlain fired an effort over the bar. A few minutes later Alex Iwobi curled an effort wide of the far post.
On the half hour mark, Jenkinson found Mohamed Elneny and the Egyptian’s first-time volley was saved well at his near post by Al Habsi. The Royals launched a rare attack on 31 minutes, but Samuel blazed an effort well over the bar.
The home side took the lead on 33 minutes. Oxlade-Chamberlain drove at young Tyler Blackett, before firing a low effort through the legs of the former-United defender and into the far corner of the net.
The Royals threatened on the stroke of half-time. First Harriott saw a header loop off an Arsenal defender onto the roof of the net, then Martinez had to produce a save from a Blackett headed effort.
The first attempt of the second half arrived on 50 minutes, as Lucas saw an effort on goal deflect wide of goal for a corner kick. The visitors came close to equalising just after the hour mark, as Yann Kermorgant’s header towards the far corner was saved well to his right by Martinez.
The Gunners came close to adding a second goal on 70 minutes, as Al Habsi produced a superb save from a header by Arsenal substitute Oliver Giroud, before a goal-line clearance from Liam Moore.
The Gunners came forward again on 74 minutes with a counter-attack involving Giroud and Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter being denied once again by Al Habsi. The rebound fell to Iwobi, who got the ball stuck under his feet as the goal was unguarded.
Three minutes later Iwobi was in the action once again, as the Nigerian winger drew a save from Al Habsi. The home side doubled their lead on 78 minutes. Oxlade-Chamberlain fired in a powerful effort that deflected past Al Habsi, after Rob Holding and Giroud have kept the ball in the danger zone.
On the stroke of full-time, Gunners ‘keeper Martinez had to get down low to his left to keep out a Kermorgant’s free-kick. That was the last effort of the game as Arsenal ensured their progress to the next round of the competition in comfortable fashion.
Will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain start Arsenal’s game against at the weekend?