Arsenal’s starting XI for the game against Reading (match preview and round-up).

Monday Dec 17th: FA Premiership, Reading (a)

Morning, intrepid followers.

The last couple of days are conspicuous for the lack on any posts from me. The last weekend before Christmas is, as most Chefs will tell you, utter mayhem, and to someone with my disdain for the profession, a full-blown anathema. I’ve spent the last couple of days working long hours, and if I never see another turkey dinner, it’ll be far too soon.

But all that is behind me; a tumultuous journey I can wave goodbye to from the comfort of a quiet week by comparison. Things are looking up.

With a bit of good fortune, this evening will see things brighten up for all us miserable Gooners. After such an unbridled shambles in midweek, we’ve waited what seems like an eternity to get back on the horse. A quick victory is the best way to plunge terrible results into the drawer marked, “Oh dear God…”.

Team news – at the time of writing – is far from conclusive. Walcott, Diaby and Andre Santos all continue to be unavailable. Olivier Giroud has recovered from the ailment that preventing him joining in the fun at Bradford. Wenger has stated he is unsure of those he’ll select and those that will be rested after their exertions (…) on Tuesday. I’ve a sneaking suspicion we will see changes, in some respect, for tonight’s fixture. I’d personally like to see Tomas Rosicky start the game, as he has the type of busy-bee urgency on the ball that’s infectious, and it’s something our midfield has lacked.

Your guess is as good as mine how we’ll line up. I think it will be:

Arsenal need to win. Not just for the sake of my sanity, or yours, but for the sake of themselves. As professional footballers with pride, I’d like to imagine they’re upset and angry with themselves, and they will be looking to put things right. That may not be the case, of course. For all I know, Gervinho and the other more maligned members of squad dispatch their troubles using a bag of money to recreate Demi Moore’s infamous scene in Indecent Proposal. That I don’t like to think about.

Predicting what will happen tonight is pointless. If the season so far has proven anything, it’s safe to bet Arsenal will do something stupid at some point. Our previous trip to the Madjeski Stadium saw us concede 5 and score 7. I’d be happy with a boring, formulaic 1-0 victory tonight. Nothing flashy, or special; simply a professional job.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your views. Who would you pick? Would you opt for a formation change? Have you ever writhed naked on a bed covered in £20 notes? Let me know.

If you fancy using a few of the aforementioned £20 notes to have a flutter on the game, head on over to my firends at Bet Victor. Every new membership comes with a £25 free bet. You can register here.

Reading vs Arsenal odds.

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