Today, Reading take on Arsenal at the Madejski Stadium in another FA WSL clash. Last week’s hosts suffered a 5-0 defeat at home to league holders Chelsea, meanwhile the Gunners haven’t competed in the league in almost a month.
Along with many of the other teams in the league, Arsenal were unable to play their last fixture against Aston Villa due to a COVID outbreak. However, the Gunners will want to start 2021 as they mean to go on by securing all of the points in this match. On the other hand, Reading will be eager to claim the points in order to boost them up the table from their current position of sixth.
Emillia Hawkins takes you through all the action as it happens.
Reading Starting XI: Grace Moloney, Kristine Leine, Deanna Cooper, Emma Mitchell, Molly Bartrip, Jess Fishlock, Angharad James, Amalie Eikeland, Rachel Rowe, Natasha Harding (c), Lauren Bruton.
Reading Substitutes: Erin Nayler, Rhiannon Stewart, Kiera Skeels, Bethan Roberts, Molly Childerhouse, Fara Williams, Danielle Carter, Emma Harries.
Arsenal Starting XI: Manuela Zinsberger, Anna Patten, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie McCabe, Lia Walti, Malin Gut, Kim Little (c), Jill Roord, Lisa Evans, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle Van De Donk.
Arsenal Substitutes: Lydia Williams, Fran Stenson, Leonie Maier, Noelle Maritz, Ruby Mace, Jennifer Beattie, Leah Williamson, Caitlin Foord, Beth Mead.
2′ Arsenal have had a very positive start to the game. Miedema almost gets a shot away after Van De Donk finds her in the box, however the Reading defensive line remains strong and the ball is cleared.
5′ Goal for Reading: Mitchell sends an excellent ball into the Arsenal penalty area from a free kick on the left side of the pitch, it finds the feet of Bruton who hooks the ball into the goal at the front post. A very well-worked set piece to put the home side ahead.
Reading 1-0 Arsenal
13′ Foord receives the ball on the right-wing, she drives forward and sends a low driven cross into the box but there are no Arsenal players there.
15′ Miedema receives the ball 10 yards in front of the Reading goal, she attempts to break through the defence with some great footwork however the final shot is blocked and cleared away.
20′ Arsenal’s lack of recent game time is really starting to show in this first half, the defence are looking very nervous and the Reading attack are trying to exploit that. Bruton almost finds herself through on goal again after gaining possession following a poor touch from Patten, but the defender manages to get back in time and prevent the striker from getting a shot away.
28′ The home side have held the Gunners in their own half for the majority of this half, as it currently stands it looks like they might double their lead.
36′ Aside from the goal in the opening five minutes, neither side have really challenged the goalkeepers. This has certainly been a quiet first half.
40′ Goal for Arsenal: The ball is crossed into the penalty area and finds Gut who heads it towards goal, Moloney makes a great save, however the ball heads straight to Miedema at the back post who taps it in with ease.
Reading 1-1 Arsenal
45′ The fourth official has indicated that there will me an additional one minute of added time.
Half Time: Reading 1-1 Arsenal
The Gunners have certainly not been at their best in the opening 45 minutes, but Vivianne Miedema’s equaliser has certainly given them the confidence boost that they have desperately needed. Reading have shown some improvement from their defeat against Chelsea last week, and will try to capitalise on Arsenal’s mistakes in the second half.Embed from Getty Images
Substitution for Arsenal as Mead, Beatie and Williamson replace Wubben-Moy, Patten and Gut.
50′ Mead sends the ball into the box from a corner, it finds the head of Miedema but the striker is unable to control it properly and so the ball heads behind for a goal kick.
58′ Mitchell sends a free-kick into a dangerous area in the Arsenal box, but Zinsberger does well to punch the ball away to safety.
59′ Fishlock is shown a yellow card after a challenge on McCabe, the Reading midfielder expressed her frustration to the referee which saw her receive the booking.
64′ Substitution for Reading as Bruton is replaced by Carter.
67′ Mead crosses the ball into Miedema who is five yards away from goal. The Arsenal striker makes contact with the ball, however, her shot is sent wide. Miedema appeals for a penalty as she believes that she was pulled back by Bartrip.Embed from Getty Images
68′ Substitution for Arsenal as Van De Donk is replaced by Foord.
69′ Mead finds herself through on goal, but her shot flies well wide of the goal following pressure from the defence.
70′ Foord does very well to make her way down the left side of the pitch, she makes an excellent cross to Mead in the box, who gets in front of the defender and flicks it towards goal, but her effort is saved by Moloney.
80′ McCabe sends the ball into the Reading penalty area, it heads in the direction of Little, who fails to react to it and the ball is cleared with ease.
83′ Substitution for Reading – After what appears to be some confusion between the coaching staff and the players, Fishlock is replaced by Harries.
87′ The Gunners come close to taking the lead as Roord drives towards goal and is one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Leine attempts to make a challenge but clashes with Moloney as she retrieves the ball. The Reading defender looks to be in a lot of pain as a stretcher is called over.Embed from Getty Images
90′ Substitution to Reading – Leine is stretchered off of the pitch with what looks to be an ankle injury, she is replaced by Williams.
90′ The fourth official has indicated that there will be an additional nine minutes of added time following the injury to Leine.
90+7′ Neither side look to have too much urgency going into the final minutes of the game, it looks as though both teams will walk away from this one with a point each.
Full Time: Reading 1-1 Arsenal
A lacklustre performance from the two teams sees them both share the points. Arsenal’s return from their extended winter break certainly did not go to plan and Joe Montemurro will certainly look for improvements going into their next game against West Ham. Meanwhile, this result means that Reading remain in sixth place going into their next game away to Aston Villa.Embed from Getty Images