Ox double fires Arsenal into EFL Cup last 8
Ox double fires Arsenal into EFL Cup last 8

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Arsenal beat Reading 2-0 in their EFL Cup 4th Round tie at the Emirates Stadium this evening.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has seen his Premier League opportunities limited so far this season.

The youthful faces alongside him in the starting line-up tonight demonstrate that the competition for first team places isn’t going to get any easier.

Alex Iwobi has already moved ahead of Oxlade-Chamberlain in the pecking order. Whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide produced mature encouraging performances tonight.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain has now scored three goals in two matches in the EFL Cup – he netted the Gunners fourth goal in the win at Nottingham Forest in the last round. He also scored in the 6-0 rout against Ludogorets in the Champions League last week.

It’s the positive response that Arsene Wenger would have wanted to see from the England International. Theo Walcott has responded in similar fashion this season too.

Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring n the 33rd minute when Reading surrendered possession from their own goal-kick and he latched onto the loose ball before finishing low past Al-Habsi to open the scoring.

Reading almost equalised before half-time when Callum Harriott’s deflected shot landed on top of Emiliano Martinez’s goal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain should have had a second but Al-Habsi was in the way, before Iwobi scuffed the rebound when he could easily have put Arsenal further ahead.  The Reading goalkeeper then tipped over an Iwobi drive.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sealed the win in the 78th minute with a deflected right-footed shot from outside the box into  bottom right corner.

Second half-substitute Olivier Giroud helped to set up the goal following a corner. It was Giroud’s first appearance since a late cameo as a substitute in the 3-0 win over Chelsea a month ago. The Frenchman almost scored with a bullet header, with Al-Habsi making another good stop to prevent the forward opening his account for the season.

Another plus for Arsene Wenger will have been Carl Jenkinson playing the full 90 minutes in his first Arsenal appearance for two and a half years. Jenkinson suffered a serious knee injury on loan at West Ham in February.

His previous Gunners game was the 2-0 win at Norwich on the final day of the 2013-14 season, in which he scored a rare goal.

So Arsenal progress to the last eight of a competition that Arsene Wenger has never won. They are joined by Liverpool, Hull City, Newcastle United and Leeds United. The remaining 4th round ties are played tomorrow night.

Arsenal: Martinez 7, Jenkinson 7, Holding 7, Gabriel 6, Gibbs 7, Elneny 7, Maitland-Niles 7, Reine-Adelaide 6 (Giroud), Oxlade-Chamberlain 8 (Zelalem), Iwobi 7, Lucas 6 (Willock)