Cazorla Hat Trick Powers Arsenal Past Reading
Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla tallied a hat trick to lead Arsenal to a 5-2 triumph over English Premier League cellar-dweller Reading Monday at Madejski Stadium.
The convincing win moved Arsenal to fifth place in the standings with 27 points in 17 games, two points behind Chelsea and Tottenham.
Manchester United still leads the pack with 42 points while closest rival and defending champion Manchester City second with 36 points.
Before the game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his players to step-up on offense after a penalty shootout loss to Bradford City last week in the Capital One Cup.
Cazorla and Lukas Podolski immediately answered Wenger's call. Podolski delivered the opening goal in the 14th minute before Carloza took over, scoring in the 32nd and 34th minute for a brace, giving Arsenal a 3-0 halftime lead.
Carloza completed the hat-trick with a goal in the 60th minute to become the third Spaniard behind Fernando Torres and Jordi Gomez to tally a hat trick in the Premier League.
Reading finally broke its dry scoring spell with a goal from Adam Le Fondre in the 66th minute and another from Jimmy Kibe in the 71st minute to close in at 4-2.
Theo Walcott completed the romp with a goal in the 80th minute, handing Reading its 10th loss of the season.
Meanwhile, Wenger hinted that Gervinho will not be rushed back into Premier League duty following his trip to South Africa for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
The striker may miss over a month of club football as he could be called up for international duty as early as Jan. 5 with players required 14 days prior to the tournament, which commences on Jan. 19.
With the competition concluding on Feb. 10 and Ivory Coast the favorites, Gervinho is likely to miss crucial matches against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, and even the FA Cup game at Swansea on Jan. 6 - a problem Wenger recognizes as inevitable, alongside the issue of fatigue.
"Usually it's always a battle to get him to play in the FA Cup third round. When they come back, the players have played a massive competition," Wenger told the club's official website.
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