Good problems for Wenger, but no solutions yet

Posted by Sam Limbert

Ian Kington/AFP/Getty ImagesThere were lots of Arsenal group hugs in Saturday's rout of Reading, which was a positive exercise in group therapy for the Gunners.

It is easy to take Arsenal's 4-1 victory over Reading Saturday with a pinch of salt as the Gunners' opposition looked like a team seemingly doomed to relegation. Despite playing with the majority of the team behind the ball, Reading’s defence were still regularly picked apart, with Arsenal securing one of their most comfortable wins of the season.

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However, the confidence such a dominant win will give Arsenal shouldn't be underestimated. At both ends of the table at this stage of the season, momentum and form can be the crucial factor in staying up or making the Champions League places. While it might have seemed like a regulation win, the victory over Reading means Arsenal's momentum from before the international break has been enhanced.

It was also the sort of result that breeds confidence throughout the squad, rather than just the starting XI. With Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere coming back in the next two weeks, they could find their place in the team isn't guaranteed, with others working well to push Arsenal toward the top four. Arsene Wenger is set to have some difficult selection problems in the coming weeks, but they're good ones considering the performances of the players.

Gervinho stood out with a lively showing. With two goals and two assists in two games, he has made a strong case to keep Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski out of the team. However it was good to see the latter two make an appearance off the bench, with Oxlade-Chamberlain winning a penalty later in the game. By their own admissions, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski haven’t had stellar seasons, but having them find form in the latter stages of the season can only be beneficial for Arsenal.

In midfield, Santi Cazorla continued his recent resurgence with another fluent performance. Even though he started on the left, he interchanged positions well with Tomas Rosicky and Gervinho behind the main striker. While his goal might have looked like a casual, nonchalant finish, the view from behind the goal showed how small the gap was Cazorla found to bend the ball around defenders into the near post.

Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta combined well to not allow Reading any time to settle in possession, with Jem Karacan and Danny Guthrie unable to provide service to their wingers or lone striker. Arsenal's midfield put pressure on Reading and then kept them chasing when the Gunners had possession. Having written about Ramsey a few weeks ago, this was the sort of match that was good for him to start to rebuild confidence.

In defence, I was surprised to see Bacary Sagna return in place of Carl Jenkinson. While not really tested, he showed few signs of some of his struggles this season. Nacho Monreal was caught napping for the Reading goal, further muddling the picture as to Arsenal's first-choice left back, whilst Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny strengthened their partnership in the centre.

The match didn’t give a clearer idea of Arsene Wenger’s strongest lineup; rather, it made it harder for the manager to choose it. The challenge for Wenger is to not let pre-set reputations dictate who gets selected at this stage of the season. Without other distractions to get in the way of the league, Wenger can pick the best available XI for every game with those in form to continue the pursuit of Chelsea and Tottenham.

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