News and Views

Can Semi-Final History With Arsenal Repeat

23 March 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

When Reading face Arsenal at Wembley on the 18th of April in the FA Cup semi-final, bookmakers, neutrals, Arsenal fans and probably most Reading fans will be expecting only one outcome. As well as the obvious gap in class between the two teams, there is a huge gap in league places with Arsenal trying to finish the season in the top two in the Premier League and Reading struggling in 19th place in the Championship.

History is also strongly in Arsenal's favour. Everyone remembers that insane night at the Madejski Stadium back in October 2012 where we went down 5-7 in the League Cup after leading 4-0 with 37 minutes on the clock. Stoppage time saw Arsenal make it 4-4 and then score three more in extra time as Reading crumbled. Our recent history of 3 seasons in the Premier League allowed Arsenal to clock up another straight 6 victories over the Royals. Our last three games alone have seen Arsenal score 16 goals against us. 16 goals. 3 games. Definately not pretty.

In fact, Reading have lost all 11 of their last meetings with the Gunners. If Reading beat Arsenal at Wembley it will be unexpected giant killing on a similar level to Bradford City's 4-2 victory at Chelsea earlier in this season's FA Cup. You have to go all the way back to 1957 to find anything other than a defeat - but that's where the good news begins.

Not only did we avoid defeat to Arsenal on 3 April 1957, but we actually beat them. And it was in a cup semi-final. The Royals were 2-1 winners over Arsenal in the Southern Professional Floodlit Cup at Elm Park. Jimmy Wheeler scored both the goals that night in front of 9,799 fans. The Reading team that night included Maurice Evans, Douggie Webb and Tommy Dixon. Reading were then picked to play at Elm Park again against Luton Town in the final where they lost 1-2, with Wheeler scoring again in front of a crowd of 15,599.

So the history books confirm that Reading have already had cup semi-final success over Arsenal - and that's something we'll be hoping to continue at Wembley on the 18 April - 58 years since our last win over Arsenal. Reading did pick up some wins during the Second World War, but putting games during that period aside as it would be wrong to include them in a competitive record, there is just one other victory over Arsenal.

Thanks to Reading FC statistician Strap, we can confirm that the Royals beat Arsenal 1-0 on 23 September 1907 at The Manor Ground in a charity cup competition. The Southern Professional Charity Cup was a brief competition played between 1901 and 1915. The Royals were joint winners in 1904/1905 after a 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the final, and were also losing finalists in the following year... against Arsenal. Our other meeting with Arsenal in that competition was also a defeat. However, that 1-0 win in 1907 is another cup victory over Arsenal to add to our semi-final win in 1957.

Reading and Arsenal - The full competitive record:

14 Sep 1898 H United League Woolwich Arsenal D: 1-1 No report
03 Oct 1898 A United League Woolwich Arsenal L: 0-2 No report
27 Sep 1899 H Southern Combination League Woolwich Arsenal L: 0-3 No report
26 Mar 1900 A Southern Combination League Woolwich Arsenal D: 1-1 No report
18 Jan 1904 N Southern Professional Charity Cup Woolwich Arsenal L: 1-3 No report
30 Apr 1906 N Southern Professional Charity Cup Woolwich Arsenal L: 0-1 No report
23 Sep 1907 A Southern Professional Charity Cup Woolwich Arsenal W: 1-0 No report
16 Feb 1935HFootball Association CupArsenalL: 0-1No report
04 Jan 1941HLondon War CupArsenalW: 2-0No report
11 Jan 1941ALondon War CupArsenalW: 1-0No report
29 Nov 1941ALondon LeagueArsenalL: 1-3No report
07 Mar 1942HLondon LeagueArsenalL: 1-4No report
24 Oct 1942AFootball League SouthArsenalL: 1-4No report
30 Jan 1943HFootball League SouthArsenalL: 4-5No report
04 Mar 1944ALeague Cup SouthArsenalW: 3-2No report
25 Mar 1944HLeague Cup SouthArsenalW: 5-1No report
04 Nov 1944HFootball League SouthArsenalW: 3-1No report
03 Feb 1945HLeague Cup SouthArsenalL: 1-3No report
24 Feb 1945ALeague Cup SouthArsenalL: 0-3No report
31 Mar 1945AFootball League SouthArsenalW: 2-0No report
03 Apr 1957HSouthern Professional Floodlit CupArsenalW: 2-1No report
11 Oct 1967ALeague CupArsenalL: 0-1No report
05 Feb 1972HFootball Association CupArsenalL: 1-2No report
02 Oct 1974HFriendlyArsenalL: 0-2No report
10 Jan 1987HFootball Association CupArsenalL: 1-3No report
29 Nov 2005ALeague CupArsenalL: 0-3Read report...
22 Oct 2006HFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 0-4Read report...
03 Mar 2007AFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 1-2Read report...
12 Nov 2007HFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 1-3Read report...
19 Apr 2008AFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 0-2Read report...
30 Oct 2012HLeague CupArsenalL: 5-7Read report...
17 Dec 2012HFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 2-5Read report...
30 Mar 2013AFA Premier LeagueArsenalL: 1-4Read report...

Thanks to Strap for the details.

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