Reading have been playing catch up for much of the season after having their game against Sunderland delayed because of a water logged pitch. That game finally took place on Tuesday night, and while the result didn’t go in Reading’s favour, they have now played the same amount of games as their Premier League rivals. While Arsenal continue their pursuit for a top four finish, having lost to Bradford City in the Capital One Cup last week.
Here are some facts and stats about the two sides ahead of their Premier League game tonight at the Madejski Stadium:
1. Reading are now one of only two teams in the league to have covered over 1,000 miles this season. 64.71 miles covered against Sunderland takes them to 1,000.6 miles this season, a figure bettered only by fellow newly promoted side Southampton.
2. That charge has been led by Mikele Leigertwood and Jobi McAnuff who are now both in the top 20 players in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for distance covered this season, with 95.25 and 91.36 miles respectively.
3. Catching up on the game in hand means Reading players have moved up the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in other categories as well. Kaspars Gorkss is now ranked 15th for the most defensive contributions so far this season. Gorkss has won 63.2% of his 38 attempted tackles this season and made an impressive 84 interceptions.
4. McAnuff, meanwhile, is now ranked 8th for completed dribbles this season with 16 and is joint 4th for assists with six. He also joins team-mate Nicky Shorey in the top five for crosses delivered, with Shorey in 3rd with 53 crosses delivered and McAnuff 5th with 49. Norwich are the only other club to have two players in the top ten crossers of the ball.
5. Arsenal got a much needed three points courtesy of two Mikel Arteta penalties in their last outing against West Brom, but will need to bounce back from a disappointing league cup exit in midweek.
6. Arteta has worked tirelessly to turn around Arsenal’s fortunes this season, and last weekend was one of four players to break the 100 mile barrier for distance covered over the season, totaling 101.3 miles so far, the fourth highest total in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
7. Arteta has also completed 626 passes in the opposition half this season, the third highest in the Premier League so far this season, just one place behind team-mate Santi Cazorla, who has completed 658.
8. Cazorla and Arteta have continued to build a formidable midfield pairing, with Arteta dong the defensive work and Cazorla proving the greater threat at goal. Cazorla has had 51 efforts at goal 60.7% on target, compared to Arteta’s 11 efforts with 54.5% on target. Defensively these stats are reversed, with Arteta attempting 62 tackles compared to Cazorla’s 22.
9. Arsenal fans bemoaning a lack of killer finishing may point the finger at new summer signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski who between them have had 77 shots at goal and just seven goals, averaging 11 shots per goal. However, with 41 of those shots on target, the pair must surely feel that they are due a change in fortune soon.
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