Royals to Copp it
Matt Le Tissier expects Reading to be on the receiving end of an Arsenal backlash in Saturday's live game.
Last Updated: 18/04/08 5:19pm
Without question this is a bigger game for Reading than it is for Arsenal.
After last weekend's results Arsenal are well and truly out of the title race and Reading have been dragged right back into the relegation scrap.
I can't believe Reading managed to lose at home to Fulham because everyone has been able to beat Roy Hodgson's side when they've been on their travels this season.
Bolton and Birmingham also got good results last week so Reading are in trouble again when only a few weeks ago they looked safe.
I still think Steve Coppell's side have got enough to stay up, but when you're only three points above the relegation zone and you've got a trip to Arsenal coming up at the weekend, the nerves will be jangling.
I can't see them getting a great deal of change out of their visit to the Emirates, and it could be a lot tighter down the bottom after this round of fixtures.
I still think Fulham aren't good enough to stay up, despite a good result last week and I think Bolton, Birmingham or Reading will be the other team to go.
Having watched Bolton in recent weeks, I struggle to see anything that makes me think they can overhaul Birmingham or Reading in the race to survive, especially now Kevin Davies is out.
Coppell will be looking at Reading's trip to Derby on the last day of the season and thinking that's a great chance of three points and they might only need one more point on top of that.
So while I think Reading will stay up, they will be disappointed after such a good season last year. The forwards all chipped in with goals last term, but Kevin Doyle, Dave Kitson, Shane Long - and Leroy Lita - have all really struggled this time out.
Added to that, they've missed their regular centre-backs and have shipped a lot more goals. Those two problems combined explain why they've struggled this season.
To make matters worse, they are facing a backlash from an Arsenal side looking to respond after a big disappointment last week.
They're out of the title race now and that might take some of the pressure off the players' shoulders. In the heat of the battle they could only manage draws at home to the likes of Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, but now the pressure is off I expect them to beat Reading.
It has been a season of glorious failure for the Gunners. The football that they've played has been incredibly entertaining, but the strength in depth of their squad has cost them in the final kickings of the title race.
If Arsenal's best XI, Chelsea's best XI and Manchester United's best XI played for the entire season then I think Arsenal would have taken it all the way to the last day, but in reality they haven't been able to cope with their injury problems as well as their rivals.
The question will be raised as to why Arsene Wenger didn't strengthen in January. I know he likes to keep a tight-knit squad and he doesn't like to unsettle things, but realistically he's got to admit his squad wasn't big enough or strong enough.
I've heard he's only looking to buy one major player in the summer, but I don't think that would be enough to sustain both a title challenge and a Champions League challenge. They need two or three.
Saying that, we might see a couple of fringe players on Saturday. I expect Theo Walcott to start and I think the time has come for him to play a few full games. It wouldn't surprise me if Emmanuel Eboue made way because he's struggled somewhat on the right-side of the Arsenal midfield.
Arsenal will have a full Emirates Stadium shouting them on and I'm sure they'll try to pass Reading to death. Although they don't have anything to play for, they'll want to finish the season strongly so that they can prove to their critics that they're not a spent force.
Le Tiss Predicts
HOME WIN - I'm sure Arsenal will win this and Reading's defence is so fragile I think it could be something like 3-0 to the home side.
Matt's Main Man
THEO WALCOTT - I predict he'll start the game and get a goal. I think he's had a raw deal for such a talented boy and it's about time he was given a run in the side and a chance to prove himself.