Opta Big Match Stats: Arsenal cup master to play key semi-final role

Reading v Arsenal
Saturday, 17:20
Live on BBC One

Match Odds: Reading [16.0], Arsenal [1.27], The Draw [6.6]

The last three games between Reading and Arsenal have seen 24 goals scored

This number is given quite the boost by the exceptional 7-5 Capital One Cup tie (4-4 after 90 minutes) in October 2012 but, rather than proving a one-off, it acted as a standard-setter, as their two Premier League meetings later that season finished 5-2 and 4-1 in Arsenal’s favour.

There can’t be many teams who have topped 4.5 goals in three successive clashes, yet there was always a touch of magic about showdowns between these sides. Nine of the past ten have gone over 2.5 goals at the very least – the anomaly falling one short – and four of those were cup contests.

Recommended Bet: Back over 2.5 goals @ [1.67]

Olivier Giroud has scored seven and assisted four goals in his 12 FA Cup appearances

Arsenal’s favourite Frenchman since Thierry Henry has been one of the most reliable goalscorer bets in the country since mid-February, only failing to fire on one of his most recent eight domestic starts and striking nine times in total in that run. It all started with an FA Cup brace against Middlesbrough.

Opta note that he usually has a great time against Reading too, notching in two of his three collisions with them, with the other one justifiable considering he came on in the 85th minute with the Gunners already 5-2 up.

Recommended Bet: Back Giroud to score @ [2.0]

Reading have had opponents sent off against them in three of their five FA Cup games this season

Jonathan Hogg, Stephen Warnock and Filipe Morais have all been kind enough to give Reading a helping hand on their way to the FA Cup semi-finals, though the club that they are facing are also familiar with being assisted by their adversaries.

Man United’s Angel Di Maria earned himself a stupid double booking in their quarter-final at Old Trafford, while their latest Premier League encounter in London – a 4-1 triumph over Liverpool – featured the 84th-minute dismissal of Emre Can for a second yellow card.

Recommended Bet: Back there to be a sending off @ [6.0]