Arsenal 2, Reading 1

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted that victory over Reading at the Emirates Stadium provided a welcome end to a difficult week.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted that victory over Reading at the Emirates Stadium provided a welcome end to a difficult week.

The Gunners boss had seen the fall-out from the brawl at the Carling Cup final rob him of three players through suspension and captain Thierry Henry was also out injured.

But Wenger's makeshift side still had enough quality to secure a 2-1 win which closed the gap on third-placed Liverpool to a point.

Wenger said: "After the week we have had, it was very important for us to get the win. A bad result would have pushed us into a bit of a crisis, confidence-wise - but three points gets us into a good position in terms of qualifying for the Champions League and takes off some of the pressure."

A penalty from Gilberto and a fine effort from fellow Brazilian Julio Baptista settled matters in the second half.

Reading had a couple of half-chances, with former Gunner Steve Sidwell unable to hit the target. However, they did pull a late goal back when Cesc Fabregas put the ball in his own net to set up a tense finale.

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