December 17, 2012
Duo battling to make Arsenal clash
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.2||1.3|
|Goals against *||1.7||0.7|
|Last 5 home||L-D-D-L-L||W-D-D-W-W|
|Last 5 away||L-W-L-L-L||W-W-W-W-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Reading | Arsenal|
Reading strikers Jason Roberts and Pavel Pogrebnyak could return from injury for Monday's Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jem Karacan (knee) have returned to training but will not play, while Sean Morrison (ankle) is still sidelined and Alex McCarthy is out long term.
Manager Brian McDermott has been installed as favourite to become the third Premier League manager to be sacked this season.
The Royals now lie bottom in the table after winning just one match this season. A 3-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Sunderland on Tuesday saw McDermott replace Martin O'Neill at the front of the sack race, which has already accounted for Mark Hughes and Roberto Di Matteo.
The 51-year-old only spent modestly during the summer, but still accepts the precarious nature of his position.
"People talk about my job and I understand that. I don't go home at night feeling great about myself because we're not winning games,'' McDermott said.
"I'm favourite to go first, we all know that. Sixteen games ago I'd have been 50-1, now I'm 7-4.
"That's how it works in football and I completely understand because it's a results-driven business.
"Generally over the last three years we've won a lot of games and our record is good, but all I do is focus on what I can do. We're not winning but we're trying to win.''
Arsenal should have striker Olivier Giroud in contention again following a back problem.
Defender Laurent Koscielny has resumed training after his thigh injury, but England winger Theo Walcott (calf) will be assessed.
Full-back Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) continue their rehabilitation.
Boss Arsene Wenger has challenged his battle-weary squad to look within themselves and provide a response against the Royals.
The Gunners head to the Madejski in need of a confidence boost following the shock penalty shoot-out defeat at npower League Two Bradford.
Wenger accepts the atmosphere has been somewhat subdued at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base this week, but maintains it is now up to the players to show their strength of character.
"There has been disappointment and frustration [this week], but that is normal when you go out in a competition like that,'' Wenger said.
"However, having said that, we can only look at ourselves, get on with it and look for the future.''