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Gunners pump in seven at Reading

sports Updated: Nov 01, 2012 01:59 IST
Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott inspired Arsenal to a crazy 7-5 win at Reading as they reached the League Cup last eight on Tuesday and kept alive their chances of ending a seven-year trophy drought.

Arsene Wenger's shell-shocked side looked dead and buried as they trailed 4-0 at the Madejski Stadium inside 37 minutes. But Walcott's goal moments before half-time began a scarcely believable recovery before the England winger completed the turnaround with the 11th goal of a 12-goal thriller.

This will rank as one of the most memorable League Cup games in the competition's history. Few could have predicted scoreline, but Wenger will be relieved to see his side progress as they look for their first silverware since 2005.

Reading set the tone as they came flying out of the blocks and were unfortunate to see Sean Morrison's second-minute header bounce back off the post.

But Arsenal clearly had not heeded the warning as Jason Roberts' opener sparked a three-goal blitz in just 12 minutes. Noel Hunt's fine pass freed Hal Robson-Kanu and the Welshman's cross was met by Roberts at the far post.

It was the least Reading deserved and it would get even worse for the Gunners just six minutes later.

Garath McCleary's clever pass freed Chris Gunter and his low cross was turned past his own goalkeeper by Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal goalkeeper Damian Martinez was having a game to forget.

Arsenal's evening was turning from embarrassment to humiliation but they were offered a chink of light by Walcott deep into added time.

Andrei Arshavin's pass cut open the Royals defence and Walcott galloped clear before showing composure to lift the ball over Adam Federici.