LONDON — Arsenal battled back from 4-0 down to beat top-flight rivals Reading 7-5 on Tuesday, powering their way into the League Cup quarter-finals after one of the most extraordinary matches in the competition’s
Report by Supersport
Manager Arsene Wenger said last week that the League Cup was at the bottom of his priority list and it looked as his second-string Arsenal team conceded four goals in the opening 37 minutes at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading, third from bottom in the Premier League, ran riot early on thanks to Jason Roberts, a Laurent Koscielny own-goal, Mikele Leigertwood and Noel Hunt.
Theo Walcott gave twice former League Cup winners Arsenal hope with a goal before half time and impressive substitute Olivier Giroud made it 4-2 on 64 minutes with a classy header.
The Londoners were a different side in the second half with France striker Giroud making a big impact.
Defender Koscielny made up for his earlier error with another headed goal in the 89th minute before the Arsenal fans went wild with delight when Carl Jenkinson was credited with the equaliser after he smashed the ball in after Walcott had appeared to score.
The visitors thought their comeback was complete in extra-time when the much-maligned Marouane Chamakh, making his first start since January, drilled the ball home to make it 5-4.
Pavel Pogrebnyak hauled Reading level with a header from six metres and then, just as the goalkeepers were preparing for a penalty shootout, Andrei Arshavin’s shot was cleared off the line only for Walcott to grab his second goal.
Chamakh added Arsenal’s seventh just before the whistle with a smart lob over keeper Adam Federici.
Elsewhere, third tier Bradford City caused an upset by beating Premier League Wigan Athletic 4-2 on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes.
Aston Villa needed a last-gasp goal by Christian Benteke to ease past third tier Swindon Town 3-2 after having thrown away a 2-0 lead in the last 12 minutes.
Southampton, second from bottom in the Premier League, went down 3-0 at second tier Leeds United.