Arsenal beat Reading

London, April 19:

Emmanuel Adebayor scored his 21st league goal of the season and Arsenal easily beat relegation-threatened Reading 2-0 on Saturday.

Gilberto Silva had his first goal of the campaign to make it 2-0 at halftime, and the Gunners twice hit the bar and missed several more chances at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal’s second victory in nine league games put the club within four points of second-place Chelsea and lifted some of the depression hanging over the club after last week’s loss at Manchester United put the team realistically out of the title race.

Cesc Fabregas should have given Arsenal a ninth-minute lead when he was put through by a stunning 40-yard pass by Alexander Hleb, but he shot weakly at goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. Then, Adebayor was allowed a free header from Fabregas’ cross but put it wide from eight yards.

Despite Reading’s man-for-man marking, Arsenal continued to create chances and Alex Song headed wide in the 29th minute before the Gunners took the lead. Adebayor skillfully collected a cross from Kolo Toure and turned clear of two Royals defenders to side-foot the ball past Hahnemann from 12 yards in the 30th.

It was 2-0 eight minutes later when Fabregas slipped a pass back to Gilberto, whose powerfully struck shot from 25 yards was on target but also took a deflection off the head of Reading defender Andre Bikey. Hahnemann got his fingertips to the shot, but could not stop the ball flying in.

Hahnemann saved from Robin van Persie and Gilberto before halftime as Arsenal continued to make chances.

In the second half, Van Persie curled a second half free kick which almost bounced

in after hitting both the bar and post. Seconds later, Theo Walcott’s left-footed shot also struck the bar.

In a rare Reading threat, Convey cut in from the right and beat two defenders before Gunners goalkeeper Jens Lehmann pushed his angled, left-footed shot over the bar.