Tag Archives: reading

Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott out of Arsenal"s Premier League clash with Reading

Crocked Wilshere STILL missing for Arsenal and Walcott is out, too… but Wenger confident Gunners will finish in top four

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

09:56 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:17 GMT, 28 March 2013

Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of Arsenal's Barclays Premier League clash with Reading on Saturday.

The Arsenal midfielder hasn't played for the North London outfit since he injured his ankle in their defeat at Tottenham earlier this month.

Theo Walcott, who picked up a pelvic muscle tear on international duty, will also miss the visit of the relegation-threatened club this weekend.

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere will not be fit to face Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday

Sidelined: Jack Wilshere will not be fit to face Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday

Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

Blow: Theo Walcott left the England camp early after picking up a groin strain before the San Marino clash

'Wilshere is still out,' said Wenger. 'Walcott is an accident that could have happened.'

The Arsenal boss also insisted he had no issue with England manager Roy Hodgson.

'When it’s competitive for England, like it was in the last two games, the manager has to pick his best team,' added Wenger.

'There's no ideal way when your
international manger is under pressure to deliver. There can be
complications between the two medical departments – because you can send
a player who is half-injured and they still play, so it is about
communication. But we have a good relationship with England.'

Arsenal host Reading on Saturday four
points adrift of rivals Tottenham having played one game less, and
despite the injury concerns at Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger remains
confident the Gunners will qualify for the Champions League.

'There are nine games to go, five at
home and four away, and with the form we showed at Bayern Munich and
Swansea, I think we have a very good chance of finishing in the top
four.

'We have a special desire to be together at this club. This is a good opportunity for us and we want to grab this chance.'

Reading will arrive at the Emirates
seven points adrift of safety and under a new regime after former
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins was appointed earlier this week.

'We may play a team who are fighting
not to go down, but we fight to get in the top four so those games are
just as important for us, too,' added Wenger.

More follows…

Brian McDermott sacked by Reading – players informed by text message – Roberto Di Matteo emerges as favourite

Reading callously sack McDermott…and send the players a group text message to let them know with Di Matteo emerging as the firm favourite to replace him

By
Sami Mokbel and Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

22:47 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:57 GMT, 11 March 2013

Reading's shocked players learned boss Brian McDermott had been sacked yesterday when they all received a round-robin text message from the club.

A core group of senior players were said to be baffled and angered by the treatment of the manager who led them into the Premier League just 10 months ago, as last night former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio emerged as an early contender to replace McDermott.

Former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant position with large stakes placed on the Italian returning to English football at the Madejski Stadium.

*Scroll down to watch highlights of McDermott's final match in charge

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

The bottom six of the Premier League

The bottom six of the Premier League

Striker Jason Roberts said: ‘He’s a
football man and a good man and I just think at this moment in time we
take stock of what he has achieved and place on record our thanks.’

McDermott, 51, had been at the club
for nearly 13 years, first as Under 19 and reserve manager, then chief
scout before taking charge of the first team, and sent texts to friends
saying he was ‘devastated’ by the decision.

The Royals’ billionaire owner,
Russian Anton Zingarevich, took the decision after Saturday’s 2-1 home
defeat by Aston Villa, which left the club off the foot of the table on
goal difference.

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Leading contender: Former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio was spotted at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and is the bookies favourite for the job

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

The sacking was confirmed by a club
statement put out just minutes after the players all received the text —
which also ordered them not to speak to the media and said any comments
on Twitter should be pre-approved by club officials.

That didn’t stop Roberts talking,
while Noel Hunt tweeted: ‘Want to say thanks to Brian for everything he
did for me especially. He’s been a great manager, man and friend to me
and will be missed!’

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Famous night: Shane Long scores for Reading against Liverpool at Anfield in 2010

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Taking the applause: Shane Long salutes the Reading fans after the win

Di Canio was installed as the
bookies’ favourite for the job after he was spotted at the Madejski
watching Saturday’s game (above) but Di Matteo could be offered the job tomorrow.

Former Russia boss Dick Advocaat,
currently in charge of PSV in Holland, is also believed to be on the
wishlist as Zingarevich aims to name a replacement before Saturday’s
trip to Manchester United.

.epl_container,.epl_top_container, .spon_left, .spon_right, .epl_cleardisplay:block;margin:0px;padding:0px;min-height:0px;font-size:0px;border:0px;white-space:nowrap;
.epl_containerbackground-color:#000000;
.epl_top_containerbackground:#F9F9F9 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/bkg.jpg) repeat-x scroll top;
.spon_leftwidth:140px;float:left;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/ylogo.jpg) no-repeat;
.spon_rightwidth:160px;float:right;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/right.jpg) no-repeat;
.epl_clearclear:both;

Brian McDermott sacked by Reading

McDermott SACKED by Reading with strugglers four points adrift of Premier League safety

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

17:32 GMT, 11 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:50 GMT, 11 March 2013

Brian McDermott has been sacked as Reading fight to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

The Royals suffered a demoralising 2-1 home defeat against drop rivals Aston Villa on Saturday to push them deeper into trouble.

And McDermott has paid the price as they bid to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

Roberto Di Matteo and Paolo Di Canio are among the early frontrunners to take the post.

*Scroll down to watch highlights of McDermott's final match in charge

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

Sacked: McDermott guided Reading to the npower Championship title last season

The bottom six of the Premier League

The bottom six of the Premier League

A statement from Reading read: 'Reading Football Club has announced today the departure of Manager Brian McDermott.

'Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to Brian who had achieved great success with the club since taking over as Manager in December 2009.

'Brian gained promotion to the Barclays Premier League last year for only the second time in the club’s history thanks to a remarkable run at the end of last season. However, in our current situation, owner Anton Zingarevich felt that a change was necessary.

Struggling: Reading have lost five games in a row in all competitions

Struggling: Reading have lost five games in a row in all competitions

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

Ruthless: Zingarevich (left) showed no quarter in sacking McDermott

'The search for a successor will start immediately and it is hoped that a new Manager will be in place as soon as possible to lead the fight against potential relegation.'

Reading are four points from safety with nine matches remaining to secure their top-flight status.

McDermott took Reading up last season as champions but they have struggled to make an impact in the Premier League.

Russian owner Anton Zingarevich has
now acted to save their season – with the new manager set to start with
an away match against title favourites Manchester United on Saturday.

.epl_container,.epl_top_container, .spon_left, .spon_right, .epl_cleardisplay:block;margin:0px;padding:0px;min-height:0px;font-size:0px;border:0px;white-space:nowrap;
.epl_containerbackground-color:#000000;
.epl_top_containerbackground:#F9F9F9 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/bkg.jpg) repeat-x scroll top;
.spon_leftwidth:140px;float:left;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/ylogo.jpg) no-repeat;
.spon_rightwidth:160px;float:right;height:60px;overflow:hidden;background:#000000 url(http://l.yimg.com/i/i/uk/any/e/right.jpg) no-repeat;
.epl_clearclear:both;

Reading 1 West Ham 0 – match report

Reading 1 West Ham 0: Pogrebnyak's early strike is enough as Royals earn three crucial points in relegation battle

|

UPDATED:

17:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

Pavel Pogrebnyak struck his third league goal for Reading to give Brian McDermott's side their second Barclays Premier League win of the season at the expense of West Ham.

The Royals had halted a run of seven defeats with a draw at home to Swansea on Boxing Day and went one better against a poor Hammers side, moving three points clear of bottom club QPR in the process.

McDermott had said before the game that his players would do whatever they had to do to start picking up victories.

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

Celebration time: Pavel Pogrebnyak marks his goal after five minutes which gave Reading the lead at the Madejski Stadium

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 74), Guthrie (Hunt 64), Pogrebnyak

Subs not used: Taylor, Morrison, Cummings, Tabb, Le Fondre

Goal: Pogrebnyak 5

Bookings: Pogrebnyak, Pearce, Harte

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Tomkins, O'Brien, Collins, Nolan, Jarvis, Taylor (Collison 53), Noble (Maiga 78), O'Neil (Vaz Te 66), Cole

Subs not used: Spiegel, Demel, Spence, Diarra

Bookings: Collins, Noble, Nolan, Tomkins

Referee: Michael Oliver

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

As it turns out they had to do almost
nothing to beat a lacklustre West Ham as James Collins presented
Pogrebnyak with a late Christmas gift.

The Hammers defender looked to play a
simple ball back to goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Pogrebnyak stole
in to slot past the Finn and put Reading ahead with just five minutes on
the clock.

Royals' winger Jimmy Kebe was causing
problems down the right flank early on and a 14th minute cut-back almost
found Pogrebnyak but was well cleared.

Two minutes later the same duo combined well on the edge of the area but Kebe's final ball drifted behind for a goal-kick.

West Ham struggled to make an
impression in attack but skipper Kevin Nolan released Matt Taylor just
before the half-hour mark, but his cross was collected by Reading
goalkeeper Adam Federici.

A few tough tackles started flying in
as the first half progressed with Pogrebnyak joining West Ham's Mark
Noble in referee Michael Oliver's notebook for a foul on Winston Reid.

The hosts then gifted West Ham a
half-chance in the final seconds of the first half as they dallied on
the ball outside their own penalty area.

Nolan pounced and found Gary O'Neil, but he appeared to be caught in two minds and his final ball was neither a shot or a cross.

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Cool finish: Pavel Pogrebnyak opens the scoring for Reading following a poor back pass by West Ham's James Collins

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Dejection: West Ham defender James Collins after his weak backpass gifted Reading's Pogrebnyak the opening goal on five minutes

Pogrebnyak had the ball in the back of
the net again five minutes after the restart but was flagged offside
after latching onto a through ball from Mikele Leigertwood.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce introduced
Jack Collison in place of the ineffectual Taylor with 54 minutes gone
with the Wales international making only his second appearance since
returning from a career-threatening knee injury.

The 24-year-old almost drew the
visitors level 10 minutes later but his low shot was parried by Federici
with no West Ham player able to tap home the rebound.

Although the Hammers were starting to
finally find their feet in the game they almost fell further behind when
Jem Karacan's thunderous effort was tipped onto the bar by Jaaskelainen
with Kebe firing the rebound into the crowd.

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Scrap: West Ham's Winston Reid (left) and Reading's Pavel Pogrebnyak battle for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Eyes on the ball: Gary O'Neill (right) and Danny Guthrie keep a close watch

Ricardo Vaz Te was the next player to
be thrown on by Allardyce with the Portuguese returning to first-team
action for the first time since dislocating a shoulder in early October.

The winger had impressed earlier in
the campaign and flashed a cross in with 10 minutes remaining that was
hacked clear by Chris Gunter in front of the sliding Modibo Maiga.

Vaz Te was involved again moments
later as he missed West Ham's best opening of the game, inexplicably
heading Matt Jarvis' cross wide of the goal from four yards out.

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

How did he miss West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te (bottom left) reacts with incredulity after missing an easy header

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Firm grip: Winston Reid with his arm around Reading's Jimmy Kebe

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Touchline battle: Sam Allardyce implores his West Ham players on, while Brian McDermott keeps a close check on proceedings

Reading managed to see out the closing
stages to claim what could be a vital three points while West Ham's
lack of away goals again proved their undoing.

The Hammers have only scored five
goals on their travels in the league so far this season and the defeat
leaves them only six points off the bottom three.

Frankel reads his Christmas cards from well wishers

Unbeaten Frankel enjoying his first Christmas in retirement by reading cards from fans

|

UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 23 December 2012

Frankel, the world’s best racehorse, is busy getting ready for his first season as a stallion but like most of us he will enjoy a relaxing Christmas Day.

The Sir Henry Cecil-trained unbeaten colt, whose new breeding is scheduled to begin on Valentine’s Day, has been taken on a series of seven-mile walks as part of his preparations at Banstead Manor Stud, near Newmarket.

Judging by his mail-bag, he clearly remains as popular as ever. Over the last few days Frankel has been keeping a close eye on all the Christmas cards that he has received with the help of Juddmonte’s head stallion man Rob Bowley.

Season's greetings: Frankel looks at his Christmas cards with head stallion man Rob Bowley

Season's greetings: Frankel looks at his Christmas cards with head stallion man Rob Bowley

Philip Michell, Juddmonte Farms general manager, said: “Frankel touched the lives of so many people during his career and we have been inundated with emails and cards enquiring about him – not least in the lead-up to Christmas.

‘All being well, we are intending to stage a series of stud tours next summer when people can come to visit him and the other stallions at Banstead Manor and find out more about the breeding industry.

Unbeaten: Frankel wins theThe Sussex Stakes

Unbeaten: Frankel wins theThe Sussex Stakes

‘Frankel is enjoying his new life with us here and is already very much at home.’

A line of top mares are already booked in to mate with Frankel, the latest being German 2011 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream whose retirement was announced last Friday.

Manchester City v Reading, Tottenham v Stoke, West Ham v Everton, Newcastle v QPR, West Brom v Norwich, Southampton v Sunderland live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: All the action from around the grounds as it happens

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 22 December 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester City host Reading in one of six games kicking off at 3pm. Elsewhere it is Newcastle v QPR, Southampton v Sunderland, Tottenham v Stoke, West Brom v Norwich and West Ham v Everton. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Manchester City 0-0 Reading

Newcastle 0-0 QPR

Southampton 0-1 Sunderland

Tottenham 0-0 Stoke

West Brom 1-1 Norwich

West Ham 1-0 Everton

Wigan 0-1 Arsenal FT

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

16.05: Everton nearly find an equaliser at Upton Park but Nikica Jelavic wastes a good chance by firing straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen.

16.04: Just the one change at the break with West Brom sending Graham Dorrans on for Marc-Antoine Fortune.

16.01: Just the four goals in the first half but games have a tendency to open up in the second period when it's like this, so expect much more in the next 45 minutes.

15.58: From InfostradaLive:

Zoltan Gera scored his fourth PL goal of the season. Only once has he scored more in a single season – six for West Brom in 2004-05.

15.55: Biggest surprise of the half has to be Reading keeping a clean sheet at the break against a Manchester City side that has scored in their last 40 home games.

Biggest confusion has to be Everton's disallowed goal. I'm still scratching my head at that.

West Ham have dropped deeper since scoring with Everton having the majority of the play.

15.52: From InfostradaLive:

In top 5 leagues (PL/Liga/Bundesliga/Serie A/Ligue 1), only Barcelona (16) are on longer unbeaten league run than Norwich (10).

15.49: It's half-time across the board in the Premier League.

15.46: Claims for a Southampton penalty as Emmanuel Mayuka is body-checked by Carlos Cuellar but nothing is awarded by the referee – I've seen those given.

15.45: GOAL! WEST BROM 1-1 Norwich

The Baggies have pressed for an equaliser and finally get one. Olsson's header is tipped on to the crossbar by Mark Bunn but Zoltan Gera converts the rebound.

Back on form: Steven Fletcher (right) pounced before the break to give Sunderland the lead

Back on form: Steven Fletcher (right) pounced before the break to give Sunderland the lead

15.44: GOAL! Southampton 0-1 SUNDERLAND

James McClean plays through Sessegnon, but although the forward scuffs his shot, the ball falls for Steven Fletcher who makes no mistake from six yards out.

15.42: A disappointing spectacle at St James' Park. Newcastle are on top but Green has hardly been tested in the QPR goal as Demba Ba wastes successive free-kicks from promising positions.

15.40: Decent stop from Reading keeper Adam Federici, who manages to keep out Gareth Barry's header following a Carlos Tevez cross.

15.38: Nearly a trademark Spurs goal. Dembele releases Bale down the left wing but his cross for Emmanuel Adebayor is headed over by the striker. Best chance of the game.

15.35: Reading have impressed me in that they have held out for this long, but to their credit they have shown ambition going forward too.

Kolo Toure's clearance is brought down by Jobi McAnuff, who lays the ball off for Jem Karacan to shoot just over the crossbar from 25 yards.

15.32: Newcastle are on top against QPR but haven't found a breakthrough as yet as Robert Green punches clear a Vurnon Anita corner.

15.29: From OptaJoe:

5 – Robert Snodgrass has scored (3) and assisted (2) five goals in his last five Premier League appearances for Norwich City. Form.

Set-piece special: Norwich celebrate after Robert Snodgrass's (second right) free-kick handed them the lead

Set-piece special: Norwich celebrate after Robert Snodgrass's (second right) free-kick handed them the lead

15.26: GOAL! West Brom 0-1 NORWICH

Peter Odemwingie gives away a free-kick and from the set-piece, Robert Snodgrass fires into the top corner.

Ben Foster thinks he should have saved it but that doesn't change the fact that the Canaries are once again in front in the Premier League.

15.24: You sense Manchester City will score at any moment as they lay siege to the Reading goal. Javi Garcia sees a shot deflected over.

15.21: Maybe a bit too much scrutiny…

From Sportsmail's Laura Williamson at the Lane:

'Steven N'Zonzi and Mousa Dembele have clashed twice already. The Stoke man's very fortunate the ref didn't see his elbow in holding off Dembele earlier.'

15.19: Interesting scenes at Tottenham by the way. As Spurs go to take a long throw, the referee stops play to have a word with Ryan Shawcross about his shirt pulling. The defender looks to be under heavy scrutiny from referees now following that headbutt from Everton's Marouane Fellaini last week.

15.18: From Sportsmail's Laura Williamson at White Hart Lane:

At #THFC, feeling a bit sorry for Aaron Lennon whenever either side have a corner. Still 0-0. #landofthegiants

Taking advantage: Carlton Cole pounced to fire West Ham ahead against Everton

Taking advantage: Carlton Cole pounced to fire West Ham ahead against Everton

15.15: GOAL! WEST HAM 1-0 Everton

Well wouldn't you know it. Football can be a cruel game and here is proof as the Hammers go straight up the other end and take the lead through a neat Carlton Cole strike.

15.13: Everton are very unfortunate not to be in front. Leon Osman thinks he has converted a chance at the back post from a corner, but the goal has puzzlingly been ruled out – the midfielder (and David Moyes) look furious.

Moments earlier, Victor Anichebe headed a Leighton Baines free-kick off the ground and over the crossbar for the Toffees.

15.11: Back to St Mary's but this time it's a chance for the hosts as Rickie Lambert's free-kick is deflected just wide by Sunderland's Craig Gardner.

15.08: West Brom are another home team on the back foot. Jonas Olsson's headed clearance only falls as far as Robert Snodgrass, but the Norwich midfielder rifles straight at Ben Foster.

15.05: So much for that tense start on the south coast too. Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon lets fly from 30 yards out, with Southampton stopper Kelvin Davis tipping over the bar.

15.03: Stoke nearly score within seconds of kick-off. Kyle Walker plays a disastrous ball across goal that is intercepted by Kenwyne Jones, but the Stoke striker fires off target. Huge let-off for Spurs and especially the full-back.

On the charge: Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) battles with Reading's Mikele Leigertwood

On the charge: Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (left) battles with Reading's Mikele Leigertwood

15.01: Away we go then folks.

14.59: Finally as the teams make their way out, check out Martin Keown's preview of the weekend's action with his Boot Room.

14.56: And finally from the Hawthorns where West Brom will try and end Norwich's unbeaten league record that stretches back to the start of October:

West Brom v Norwich
West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Brunt, Odemwingie, Gera, Dorrans, Lukaku. Subs: Myhill, Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Long, Jara Reyes, Tamas, Fortune.

Norwich: Bunn, Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Hoolahan, Johnson, Pilkington, Morison. Subs: Steer, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Elliott Bennett, Barnett, Kane.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

14.53: Are we set for a nervy contest at St Mary's Both sides playing on the south coast today hover narrowly above the relegation zone:

Southampton v Sunderland
Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Puncheon, Cork, Schneiderlin, Mayuka, Lambert, Ramirez. Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Richardson, De Ridder.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose, Johnson, Colback, Larsson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

14.50: Manchester City hand an unexpected Barclays Premier League debut to defender Karim Rekik as bottom side Reading visited the Etihad Stadium.

The 18-year-old Dutchman started in the absence of injured left-backs Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov while senior centre-halves Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott only make the bench.

Kolo Toure and Matija Nastasic are the centre-back pairing.

Reading make four changes following their 5-2 defeat by Arsenal earlier in the week with Jem Karacan returning from injury and Chris Gunter, Ian Harte and Alex Pearce also coming in.

Star showing: Adel Taarabt helped QPR on their way to their first Premier League win last weekend

Star showing: Adel Taarabt helped QPR on their way to their first Premier League win last weekend

14.48: Interesting fixture at St James' Park. Can the Hoops record back-to-back wins after picking up their first victory of the season last weekend Or can the Toon arrest an alarming slide down the table:

Newcastle v QPR
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Anita, Tiote, Perch, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse. Subs: Harper, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson.

QPR: Green, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Hill, Mackie, Mbia, Granero, Faurlin, Taarabt, Cisse. Subs: Murphy, Diakite, Traore, Derry, Wright Phillips, Onuoha, Hoilett.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

14.45: Spurs have been one of those teams you just can't trust this season, but they have the chance to end the day in third with a win over Stoke at White Hart Lane:

Tottenham v Stoke
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Bale, Defoe, Adebayor. Subs: Friedel, Parker, Gallas, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Townsend.

Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron, Shotton, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Whitehead, Upson, Kightly, Crouch, Jerome.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

14.42: QPR defender Jose Bosingwa is missing from the 18 at Newcastle today after being fined for refusing to sit on the bench last week.

It is understood the former Chelsea full-back, who was said to be injured yesterday, was punished for his reaction to being left out for the victory over Fulham, and he does not figure at St James' Park as Anton Ferdinand, Fabio da Silva and Esteban Granero are drafted into the starting line-up.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew names the same side which started against Manchester City on Saturday after James Perch recovers from a neck problem.

14.39: It's full-time at the DW Stadium, where Arsenal have managed to hold on and secure a 1-0 win at Wigan – the Gunners move into third in the table, the Latics remain 18th and in the relegation zone.

14.37: Full line-ups from Upton Park where Everton will hope to record an away win that could see them end the day in a Champions League spot:

West Ham v Everton
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Noble, O'Neil, Taylor, Nolan, Jarvis, Cole. Subs: Spiegel, Collison, Maiga, Diarra, Spence, Moncur, Lletget.

Everton: Howard, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar, Jelavic, Anichebe. Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Barkley, Vellios, Duffy.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Left out: Gael Clichy (right) is replaced in the Manchester City starting line-up by 18-year-old, Karim Rekik

Left out: Gael Clichy (right) is replaced in the Manchester City starting line-up by 18-year-old, Karim Rekik

14.34: And here is the full team news from the Etihad Stadium:

Man City v Reading
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Nastasic, Rekik, Barry, Javi Garcia, Toure, Silva, Aguero, Tevez. Subs: Wright, Kompany, Lescott, Milner, Dzeko, Sinclair, Razak.

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan, Tabb, Kebe, Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Le Fondre, Hunt, Gorkss, Robson-Kanu, Guthrie.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

14.31: West Brom keeper Ben Foster returns after a seven-game absence with a groin injury in place of Boaz Myhill for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich.

Albion boss Steve Clarke makes two other changes with midfielder Graham Dorrans and striker Romelu Lukaku replacing the suspended Youssouf Mulumbu and rested top scorer Shane Long respectively.

Norwich make one enforced change with striker Grant Holt ruled out with a hamstring injury and replaced by Steve Morison.

14.28: Some interesting team news coming from Manchester City as 18-year-old Karim Rekik makes his first start for the club at left-back in place of Gael Clichy.

14.27: Southampton's Emmanuel Mayuka is handed his first Premier League start in this afternoon's clash with fellow strugglers Sunderland.

The Zambia international comes in for injured captain Adam Lallana and his inclusion is one of two changes to the side that beat Reading 1-0 last time out, with Gaston Ramirez replacing Jay Rodriguez.

Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson and Danny Rose all overcome knocks to start for Sunderland at St Mary's.

14.24: Everton captain Phil Neville makes a surprise return from knee surgery for today's Barclays Premier League game at West Ham.

Neville was ruled out for up to eight weeks just over a month ago but he is back in the side this afternoon, with David Moyes also handing a rare start to Victor Anichebe and recalling Johnny Heitinga.

West Ham draft in James Tomkins in the only change to their starting XI.

Attacking boost: Gareth Bale is a key player in Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham side

Attacking boost: Gareth Bale is a key player in Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham side

14.21: Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson return to Tottenham's starting XI as Andre Villas-Boas looks to move his team ahead of Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League with a win over Stoke at White Hart Lane.

Emmanuel Adebayor overcomes a hamstring problem to start up front while Scott Parker has to settle for a place on the bench.

Ryan Shotton comes in for Charlie Adam, who has been given compassionate leave due to the death of his father, while former Spurs striker Peter Crouch is named among the Stoke substitutes.

14.18: First up though we have one game already underway as Wigan and Arsenal are currently doing battle at the DW Stadium.

There is just over 15 minutes left and there has been one goal so far. Click here to see who has got it and to follow our live coverage with Martin Domin.

14.15: Yesterday may have been the start of the great Christmas get away for a well deserved break (or sadly not).

But it's business as usual if you happen to be a professional footballer (or not if you play in the Football League).

It's a full programme in the Premier League though, with the usual bunch of six afternoon games coming at you (seven if you if you include today's 5.30pm kick-off) and the team news for them is on the way.

Christmas crackers: Manchester City, Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham are in action from 3pm

Christmas crackers: Manchester City, Newcastle, Tottenham and West Ham are in action from 3pm

Jimmy Kebe blames Reading owner Anton Zingarevich Premier League slump

Stop the rot and buy someone! Kebe blames Reading owner Zingarevich for slump to bottom of Premier League table

|

UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 18 December 2012

Jimmy Kebe has launched a scathing attack on Reading owner Anton Zingarevich and blamed him for the club's dismal league form.

He admitted Reading are only 'a good Championship team' and will only stay up if the Russian, who took over the club in May, spends money in the January transfer window.

The Royals are bottom of the league, six points from safety and have lost six matches in a row. And Kebe blames the club's owner who invested barely any money on transfers over the summer.

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Basement boys: Santi Cazorla hit a hat-trick for Arsenal as Reading crashed to another heavy defeat at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night

Time to splash the cash Reading's Russian billionaire owner Anton Zingarevich

Time to splash the cash Reading's Russian billionaire owner Anton Zingarevich

The 28-year-old, who has been at Reading for four years, fumed: 'We're bottom of the table and you can see straight away that we are in big trouble. We are trying to do our best, but let's be honest we look like a good Championship team. We are a good Championship team trying to compete in the Premier League – that's it.

'For me we should have bought some decent players during the transfer window. Don't get me wrong, I like my team-mates and we are working hard for each other and we brought some good players – but there is a big difference between being in the Championship and the Premier League.

READING'S TERRIBLE MONTH
1st Dec Reading 3 – 4 Man United
8th Dec Southampton 1 – 0 Reading
11th Dec Sunderland 3 – 0 Reading
17th Dec Reading 2 – 5 Arsenal 22nd Dec Man city v Reading26th Dec Reading v Swansea29th Dec Reading v West Ham

'There is nothing to expect if you don't spend any money to make the team better. Right now we are trying to fight our best and we won't give up – but there is nothing to expect.'

'Someone bought the club last season.
We won the Championship – so surely we need to add decent players. We
have some good players, but it wasn't enough and we knew it. We're
behind the manager and we are trying our best. There is no miracle in
football.'

Consolation: Jimmy Kebe hit the target for Reading in the defeat by Arsenal

Consolation: Jimmy Kebe hit the target for Reading in the defeat by Arsenal

Reading manager Brian McDermott has his eye on signing two or three players with Premier League experience in January to try to save their season.

But they have a torrid period of festive fixtures. Before the window opens and they can sign anyone they face Manchester City and Tottenham away and Swansea and West Ham at the Madejski Stadium, teams all in the top half of the table.

Kebe argued the dire position they are in is not the fault of the players or manager and that Zingarevich needs to put his hand in his pocket if they want any chance of staying in the Premier League.

He added: 'You should ask [the owner] but I think he has the money. It's not the manager who decides who he can buy or not. Right now we are in big trouble so you should ask if he wants to spend any money to make the team better so we can compete in the Premier League.

Reading 2 Arsenal 5 – match report: Santi Cazorla delivers Christmas presents for Arsene Wenger

Reading 2 Arsenal 5: Santi delivers for Wenger with help from Walcott and Podolski as Gunners gloom lifted in romp over Royals

|

UPDATED:

07:34 GMT, 18 December 2012

Arsenal relieved the pressure on Arsene Wenger with a five-star attacking display at the Madejski Stadium.

Wenger has rarely been under more strain during his 16 years as Arsenal manager, but fortunately for him only Reading were standing in his team’s way.

The Frenchman is off the hook, returning to winning ways against only the second team — after Wigan — to record 10 defeats in the Barclays Premier League this season. Santi Cazorla scored a hat-trick for Arsenal and the little Spain midfielder was the class act on show.

Main man: Mikel Arteta tweeted this picture of Santi Cazorla

Santi's Christmas cracker: Playmaker Cazorla celebrates his hat-trick at the Madejski Stadium

Top man: Mikel Arteta tweeted picture of Santi Cazorla (left) with hat-trick ball

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Tabb, Kebe (McCleary 74), Hunt (Robson-Kanu 61), Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 61).

Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Pearce, Harte.

Goals: Le Fondre 66, Kebe 71.

Booked: McAnuff

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla (Coquelin 83), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ramsey 74), Walcott (Giroud 85), Podolski.

Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Gervinho.

Goals: Podolski 14, Cazorla 32, 34, 60, Walcott 80.

Booked: Wilshere

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

Attendance: 24,125

Click here for latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Germany forward Lukas Podolski,
Arsenal’s opening goalscorer, was also a cut above, as was Theo
Walcott, up front at last and scorer of the visitors’ fifth goal.

Arsenal were good but let us not
forget the part played by Reading.They were shocking, save for the two
streaky second-half goals scored by Adam le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe that
gave Arsenal’s defence the jitters at 4-2.

These days, the Gunners can barely get
through 90 minutes without becoming nervous wrecks and their manager
is feeling the heat following the embarrassing Capital One Cup exit on
penalties to League Two Bradford last week.

Last night Wenger clenched his fist in relief each time the net bulged behind Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Wenger nudged Steve Bould after
Podolski scored the opener with a tidy left-foot finish and the
assistant manager responded by smiling. It looks like they are friends
again.

The players were patting each other on
the back when Cazorla scored Arsenal’s second goal by heading
Podolski’s cross beyond Federici. They are, in Walcott’s words, a family
again.

Start of the rout: Lukas Podolski blasts the ball past the helpless Adam Federici in the Reading goal

Start of the rout: Lukas Podolski blasts the ball past the helpless Adam Federici in the Reading goal

Clinical: Germany forward Podolski celebrates his strike against the Premier League's basement boys

Clinical: Germany forward Podolski celebrates his strike against the Premier League's basement boys

In focus – by Sami Mokbel

Kieran Gibbs

Arsenal, once a team of foreigners, could soon lose that tag. The full back was one of four Englishmen, with Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Jimmy Kebe

Winger might have been feeling a bit left out as
Reading’s only midfielder not formerly to play for Crystal Palace — like Jay Tabb, Jobi McAnuff and Mikele Leigertwood.

Adam le Fondre

A 350,000 signing from Rotherham last year, the striker is now Reading’s top scorer after his
second-half consolation took his tally to five goals from nine games.

Niall Quinn

The former Arsenal striker enjoyed a pre-match bite in the press lounge. And his appetite would have been satisfied by his old club’s convincing win.

High up in the south stand, Arsenal’s
travelling throng celebrated by waving red and white scarves above
their heads every time a goal went in. They are together again.

It was just like old times as the
three-man midfield — Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere — steered
Arsenal out of troubled waters.

After 16 years at the club, Wenger —
the highest-paid Premier League manager on 7.5million a year — has
convinced himself he is in credit.

It was pay-day for Podolski and his
team-mates last night, but the bigger picture is putting together a
team that can compete for silverware. After five years of hearing all
about this great team, Wenger’s Friday morning spin at London Colney is
beginning to wear thin.

Reading were cannon fodder for them, conceding five when it could easily have been 10.

/12/17/article-2249631-168EF732000005DC-374_634x389.jpg” width=”634″ height=”389″ alt=”Head boy: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla dives to nod in the second goal of the game” class=”blkBorder” />

Head boy: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla dives to nod in the second goal of the game

That's more like it: Arsenal enjoyed a fine return to form after their recent struggles

That's more like it: Arsenal enjoyed a fine return to form after their recent struggles

McDermott’s side are hurtling straight
back to the Championship after this depressing start to the season.
They have picked up only nine points from their opening 17 league games.
Performances rarely come this bad at the highest level.

The general rule of thumb is that
being out-thought by Arsenal is OK but being out-fought by them is
unthinkable — and Reading lost out comprehensively on both scores last
night.

Podolski came good — and about time,
too. He began the move for Arsenal’s opener in the 14th minute and
finished it when he converted Kieran Gibbs’ cross.

Fox in the box: Cazorla fires home from inside the penalty area for Arsenal's third goal

Fox in the box: Cazorla fires home from inside the penalty area for Arsenal's third goal

Two's company: Cazorla (centre) celebrates with his Gunners team-mates after netting his second goal

Two's company: Cazorla (centre) celebrates with his Gunners team-mates after netting his second goal

Standards have been slipping of late at Arsenal, but at times last night they showed some special touches in front of goal.

Podolski set up the second, providing
the ball for Cazorla to head beyond the desperate arms of Federici. It
was fun time for the visiting fans, mocking Reading’s support with
chants of: ‘We’ll never play you again.’

Arsenal can still play a bit, no-one
ever doubted that. The midfield triangle popped the ball around the
pitch at will, all pass-and-move as they continued to expose Reading’s
defence.

Cazorla scored with another strike
just before half-time and he completed his hat-trick when he put
Podolski’s cross past Federici in the 60th minute.

It would not be an Arsenal game
without the team being gripped by fear at some stage and the moment duly
arrived when Le Fondre, on as a substitute, got on the end of Jay
Tabb’s through ball.

Consolation: Adam le Fondre finishes with ease after rounding Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny

Consolation: Adam le Fondre finishes with ease after rounding Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny

Comeback Jimmy Kebe side-foots the ball into the net as Reading briefly battled in the second half

Comeback Jimmy Kebe side-foots the ball into the net as Reading briefly battled in the second half

Panic engulfed the Arsenal defence and Kebe capitalised when he beat Wojciech Szczesny 19 minutes from time.

‘I could see the headlines,’ admitted Wenger — but he need not have worried as his team responded.

Walcott picked up on Cazorla’s pass and finished Reading off with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area.

All over: Theo Walcott, used as a central striker, rounds off the scoring with a cool finish

All over: Theo Walcott, used as a central striker, rounds off the scoring with a cool finish

Local boy: Walcott celebrates his successful return to Berkshire, the county where he grew up

Local boy: Walcott celebrates his successful return to Berkshire, the county where he grew up

Arsenal’s fans were loving it, in full voice as they urged Wenger to ‘sign him up’.

Walcott, finally playing through the
middle, thrived in the role before being replaced by France striker
Olivier Giroud as the home fans were begging the referee to blow the
final whistle.

As Arsenal’s players celebrated a decent win, Wenger leapt out of the dug-out and high into the air to celebrate.

When he landed, he was back on safe ground.

Wenger and Walcott shake on it

Walcott and Wenger hug

Shake on it Arsene Wenger congratulates Walcott on a job well done… and these pictures suggest the manager and player are united, despite the ongoing uncertainty over a new deal for Walcott

Danny Guthrie apologises to Reading staff and players for refusing to travel to Sunderland

Guthrie apologises to Reading staff and players for refusing to travel to Sunderland

|

UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 14 December 2012

Danny Guthrie has apologised for refusing to travel to Sunderland on Tuesday in front of the whole group of Reading staff and players.

It could be an act that has saved his Reading career following three run-ins with McDermott in only six months at the club.

Yesterday ahead of training the Royals boss had not spoken to Guthrie and refused to guarantee his future at the club.

Saying sorry: Danny Guthrie has apologised for refusing to travel to Sunderland

Saying sorry: Danny Guthrie has apologised for refusing to travel to Sunderland

Three days after his refusal to travel to Sunderland, in a crucial match Reading lost 3-0, McDermott was still waiting for Guthrie to approach him to discuss the incident.

The 51-year-old said: 'I'm sure he'll want to talk to me but we'll see. I've got 20-odd players in the squad and I'm focussed on them and the game we've got coming up [against Arsenal].'

But Guthrie then asked his manager to let him speak in front of the entire group before training at their Hogwood Park training ground.

Struggling: Brian McDermott sees his Reading side in the bottom three

Struggling: Brian McDermott sees his Reading side in the bottom three

And McDermott said: 'Importantly, we can all put this to bed now. Every person in life makes mistakes and Danny apologised to all of his teammates and the staff in a group meeting today.

'It took a lot of courage for him to do that and he deserves respect for his reaction. Now myself, the players and staff will all move on. We have 22 games ahead of us and together as one unit we can achieve our goals for Reading Football Club and for you the supporters.'

Bradford v Arsenal, Norwich v Aston Villa, Sunderland v Reading live

LIVE: Follow the Capital One Cup quarter-finals and Premier League drama as it unfolds

|

UPDATED:

19:50 GMT, 11 December 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of Tuesday night's action that includes two Capital One Cup quarter-final ties and a bottom of the table clash in the Premier League. League Two side Bradford will hope to cause a shock when they host Arsenal while the other last eight tie sees Norwich host Aston Villa.

In the Premier League, two of the bottom three sides collide when Sunderland host Reading with the Black Cats aiming for three points to climb the table into 15th. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Live scores (7.45pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Premier League

Sunderland 1-0 Reading

Capital One Cup quarter-finals

Bradford 0-0 Arsenal

Norwich 0-0 Aston Villa

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the FA Cup (R2)

All the latest from the Scottish Cup (R4)

19.51: GOAL! SUNDERLAND 1-0 Reading

19.48: Norwich so close to taking the lead! I'm not too sure if Steve Morison is attempting a shot or a cross but either way he beats Shay Given only to see his effort come back off the post.

19.46: We are underway in all three games.

19.44: From Sportsmail's Laurie Whitwell:

Is Darren Bent starting a sign that Paul Lambert is playing his strongest side or giving some of the reserves a run out

19.42: The teams are out at all three grounds.

From OptaJoe:

4 – Aston Villa have faced Norwich City in four previous League Cup ties, progressing on all four occasions. Pedigree.

19.39: From Sportsmail's Colin Young:

'Sunderland owner Ellis Short relaxing with the press in media suite. Fairly strong exchange of views for those suggesting O'Neill under pressure.'

19.36: Just before kick-off I have one more handy piece of reading for you and it comes from our Football League expert, Joe Ridge who has compiled 10 reasons why we love Bradford City.

19.33: From Sportsmail's John Edwards:

'They've got a sense of humour in these parts, at least. Reading the teams out by the side of the pitch, the pa announcer declared, with the broadest of Bradford accents, 'now the Arsenal team. You won't be familiar with these names. Probably never heard of most of them.'

'It's a strong Arsenal starting line-up, all right, and a strong bench, but will they fancy it in these Arctic conditions The temperature is hovering around freezing point, and there's no undersoil heating.

'A night for hardy souls. Perhaps it's as well they sold Samir Nasri to Manchester City, after all…'

19.30: So did we expect Sunderland to be struggling near the bottom of the Premier League at this stage of the season

With Martin O'Neill as manager I certainly didn't but the pressure is on the former Aston Villa boss to start delivering results.

Should he stay or should he go Click here to find out what Sportsmail's Colin Young thinks in his excellent Northern Exposure column.

19.27: From Sportsmail's John Edwards at the Coral Windows Stadium:

Arsene Wenger clearly means business. It’s freezing here at Bradford’s Coral Windows Stadium, and the pitch looks rock hard, but Wenger clearly expect his Arsenal team to relish the task of booking themselves a place in the Capital One Cup semi-final, judging by his team selection.

Bradford v Arsenal
Bradford: Duke, Darby, McHugh, McArdle, Meredith, Thompson, Doyle, Gary Jones, Atkinson, Hanson, Wells. Subs: McLaughlin, Ravenhill, Ritchie Jones, Connell, Hines, Turgott, Good.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Podolski, Coquelin, Gervinho. Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Chamakh.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Back in business: Steven Fletcher has regained fitness to lead Sunderland's attack against Reading

Back in business: Steven Fletcher has regained fitness to lead Sunderland's attack against Reading

19.24: Leading scorer Steven Fletcher hands Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill a major boost by returning to the starting line-up for tonight's crucial Barclays Premier League clash with Reading.

The Scotland international has missed the two previous games with an ankle problem, but runs out among a team which features just one more change, with Jack Colback joining him in the starting XI and Connor Wickham and Phil Bardsley making way.

Royals manager Brian McDermott makes three changes as Alex Pearce, Garath McCleary and Noel Hunt come in for Sean Morrison, Jason Roberts and Hal Robson-Kanu.

19.21: Full line-ups from the Stadium of Light for the battle at the bottom of the Premier League table:

Sunderland v Reading
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Johnson, Rose, Larsson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Bramble.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Le Fondre. Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Gorkss, Harte, Gunnarsson, Obita, Samuel.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

19.18: Darren Bent starts for Aston Villa in a Capital One Cup quarter-final meeting at Carrow Road.

Bent, who has not started for Villa since a fourth-round victory over Swindon in October, partners Christian Benteke in attack, with Shay Given preferred to Brad Guzan in goal.

Lambert also hands starts to midfielders Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi.

Norwich manager Chris Hughton makes three changes to the team that beat Swansea 4-3 on Saturday, with Leon Barnett, Marc Tierney and Steve Morison replacing Steven Whittaker, Javier Garrido and Wes Hoolahan.

19.15: Full line-ups from Carrow Road where Paul Lambert returns to Norwich for the first time since leaving the club for Villa Park earlier this year:

Norwich v Aston Villa
Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Tierney, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington, Holt, Morison. Subs: Rudd, Turner, Jackson, Fox, Elliott Bennett, Garrido, Francomb.

Aston Villa: Given, Clark, Herd, Baker, Lowton, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman, Lichaj, Benteke, Bent. Subs: Guzan, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Bannan, Weimann, Williams.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Gunning for the semi-finals: Santi Cazorla (second right) starts in a strong Arsenal team at Bradford

Gunning for the semi-finals: Santi Cazorla (second right) starts in a strong Arsenal team at Bradford

19.12: From OptaJoe:

10 – Arsenal have made it to the quarter-final of the League Cup for the 10th year in a row, the longest ever run in the competition. Depth.

19.09: Speaking of Cazorla's diving, there was a much worse offender at the weekend…no, really there was.

Check out Leonardo Bonucci's terrible attempt at simulation for Juventus at Palermo on Sunday. It's certainly one of the worst dives I have ever seen.

19.06: 'Wonder when was the last time Arsenal fielded such a strong team in this competition. #CapitalOneCup'

Scotty2Smithy, Twitter

It's a good point. Sign of desperation from Arsenal to win a trophy or a sudden realisation that this cup is worth winning

Either way I'm all for it. The big question is of course can Santi Cazorla still produce the goods on a cold Tuesday night in Bradford (and no I don't mean the diving.)

19.03: What a game this is for Bradford who are finally back under the spotlight again.

The Bantams have sadly dropped like a stone in the football pyramid since relegation from the Premier League 11 years ago.

But despite Arsenal's strong side, the League Two outfit will surely be up for this one to make it a closer contest on the pitch than it is on paper.

19.00: Bradford starting XI:

Duke, Darby, Meredith, Hanson, Thompson, Atkinson, McHugh, G.Jones, Wells, McArdle, Doyle

18.59: Norwich starting XI:

Bunn, R. Martin, Bassong, Barnett, Tierney, Pilkington, Johnson, Howson, Snodgrass, Holt, Morison

Frozen out: Darren Bent had recently lost his place in the Aston Villa team

Frozen out: Darren Bent had recently lost his place in the Aston Villa team

18.57: Aston Villa starting XI:

Given, Clark, El Ahmadi, Bent, Holman, Delph, Benteke, Lichaj, Herd, Baker, Lowton.

18.55: Arsenal starting XI:

Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Gervinho.

18.53: Sunderland starting XI:

Mignolet, Rose, Larsson, Gardner, Colback, O'Shea, Johnson, McClean, Cuellar, Fletcher, Sessegnon.

18.51: Reading starting XI:

Federici, Shorey, Cummings, Pearce, Mariappa, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, McCleary, Hunt, Le Fondre.

18.48: It's not just cup action we have lined up either. You may remember back in the very early stages of the season that Sunderland's Premier League home game with Reading was abandoned due to a ridiculous amount of rain making the pitch unplayable.

This evening they try again and my goodness does it seem an awful lot more important now.

A win for Sunderland and they climb out of the bottom three. Reading meanwhile need three points just to keep Premier League safety on the horizon. Defeat for the Royals and they stay six points away from it.

18.45: We are done with European football until early next year but luckily for us the domestic cups are still around to help fill the midweek void.

And those of you that remember the last round of the Capital One Cup will recall that we had goals, drama, goals and upsets. Did I mention we had goals too

With two quarter-final ties this evening it certainly isn't going to be a quiet evening in the League Cup.

Back to winning ways: Arsenal go into their quarter-final fresh off beating West Brom in the Premier League

Back to winning ways: Arsenal go into their quarter-final fresh off beating West Brom in the Premier League