ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger described his side’s almost-unbelievable victory away to Reading as a “miracle” after they recovered from four goals down to secure a 7-5 scoreline and their place in the fifth round of the Capital One Cup.
The evening had strongly threatened to be an embarrassing one for the manager after his team – in which he had made 11 changes from the weekend’s 1-0 victory over QPR – were 4-0 down after only 37 minutes and still losing in the fourth minute of the second-half’s added time when they finally completed an astonishing comeback with a tenacity that many had considered to be beyond them.
“You always see new things in our game,” Wenger said. “That is why it is never boring.
“It finished well for us but they [Reading] made a fantastic start. We were not sharp, beaten in every single one-against-one and it was 4-0. It could have been one or two more.
“After that, I believe, in the second half, we came back after 4-1. We created chance after chance and it was 4-2 but, at 89 minutes, we still needed to score two goals.
“The miracle happened. In extra time, we were always in front.”
It was Theo Walcott – whose contract expires at the season’s end and who last night secured his second hat-trick since first signing for the club – who scored Arsenal’s only first-half goal on the brink of half-time and it was this that Reading manager Brian McDermott insisted was ultimately crucial.
“The goal we conceded just before half-time [was crucial], we’ve got to clear that and make sure it's 4-0,” said McDermott, who was also annoyed at the sixth minute of what was supposed to be only four of added time. “I was waiting for him to blow his whistle but he’ll have reasons.”